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No Island baseball? Say it ain’t so — It’s up to Islanders to make the summer game happen here

One of the joys of summer on Shelter Island is having its own baseball team, playing regularly at Fiske Field, bringing energy and excitement to the Town.

That enduring American experience of summer time is in jeopardy here, however.

The Shelter Island Bucks might fail to take the field if a sufficient number of hosts can’t be found to house the college athletes from around the country who will come to play for the Island, according to General Manager Brian Cass.

But he hasn’t given up hope, noting he still needs 14 hosts in June and 20 in July. He has a couple of additional families considering the possibility of hosting, he said, but that doesn’t close the gap.

Hosts don’t have to do much for the players but provide a comfortable place to sleep, ability to launder uniforms and provide some space in the refrigerator for players to put food.

In return for what so many have said is a rewarding experience, hosts can ask for a $50 per week stipend for each player housed.

Players arrive at the beginning of June and the season goes through July.

“Generally it’s a great experience and [we] made long lasting relationships with some of our players,” said Julie O’Shea, describing housing Bucks players in past years. Her response is typical of what host families have said about sharing their homes during the spring-summer baseball season.

Ms. O’Shea’s advice to hosts taking players in for the first time is to set house rules on curfews and other concerns, but realize they are in your home and they should have a “safe and comfortable place to live.”

Hosts aren’t required to cook for players or drive them around town and to and from games. But they will appreciate a good home cooked meal with the family from time to time.

“I cooked for my family and texted players and told them there was food at home after the game,” she said. While many group meals are provided, players sometimes tire of those and prefer to join their host families.

She also let them know about small town living and pointed out those places on Shelter Island she thought would be of interest.

“Housing a Bucks player is a great opportunity for both the host and player,” Ms. O’Shea said.

Joanne and Hoot Sherman have hosted most years. “It has always been a positive and uplifting experience for us. Our kids and grandkids are grown and gone. Having these young people in the house fills it with a youthful energy again,” Ms. Sherman said.

Mr. Sherman let’s the players know from the outset that obeying house rules is the way to get along well and the players have respected their hosts and complied.

The Shermans go to most home games to cheer on the local team and make “extra loud noise for our particular players,” Ms. Sherman said.

Don and June D’Amato have hosted players for four seasons and for three of those, they had two Bucks players in their home.

They’ve maintained contact with their initial player, Thomas Roulis of Dartmouth College, who was named co-MVP of the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League. The D’Amatos have enjoyed the camaraderie getting to meet many of the families of players they’ve hosted.

If you’re willing to invite a player or two to share part of the summer with your family or ask questions about hosting, you can reach Mr. Cass at 631-445-0084 or email [email protected]; Mr. Vecchio at 516 317 8687 or email [email protected]; or Mr. Austin at 415-613-1991 or email [email protected].