Liam Adipietro, who will start his junior year of college in the fall, had a special summer. A club-team pitcher at Villanova — he’s entering his junior year this September — he pitched in June and July for his hometown Shelter Island Bucks in the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League.
“I fell in love with the game of baseball right here,” Liam said recently at Fiske Field, looking out at the diamond where he played his Little League games. He was in the spot where his dad, Dr. Frank Adipietro, sits where he’s announced Bucks games through the years.
This season, when Liam was on the mound, Dr. Adipietro would play Frank Sinatra’s “My Way,” always getting a smile from his son, who said simply, “It’s a favorite song in my family.”
Liam has been involved with the Bucks as a fan and through his dad since they first took the field in 2012. He shared a fond memory from a Bucks games when he was little: “In one of the first years, I was hanging out with a few of my buddies watching the game, and there was a rain delay. I remember coming out of the delay, a Bucks player hit a home run to the left field pole.”
Growing up on Shelter Island was a different experience than the one most kids have, he said. There are no fast food places, and few places to hang out, so Liam and his friends ended up playing sports all the time. He gets part of his love for athletics from his parents.
Dr. Adipietro is not just the voice of the Bucks, but also of the Island’s signature sporting event, the Shelter Island 10K. Mary Ellen Adipietro, his mother, has been the race director for more than 20 years, and has been one of the guiding spirits keeping the race alive, which brings elite athletes to the Island every summer (except for a pandemic hiatus) and raises thousands of dollars for charitable causes)
Liam went to Shelter Island School until 8th grade, when he transferred to St. Anthony’s High School in South Huntington for high school. There, he was captain of the varsity baseball team and later decided to continue his academic and athletic journey at Villanova, a school closely connected to his family through his mother’s side.
At Villanova, Liam plays club baseball in a competitive league that has about four games every week, “I really enjoy being on the club team,” he noted. “Like I said, I love baseball, and it’s a great way to stay in touch with the sport I’ve played my whole life.”
Liam termed this past season with the Bucks as “amazing,” and spoke about the pride he felt to be representing his hometown. When asked the best part of the season, he immediately answered, “The guys. Meeting my teammates has been great. It’s a group of guys that I’m never going to forget and will be friends with for a very long time.”
Diving into the specifics of the game, Liam shared some takeaways from this season. Playing in a competitive college league like this has been a learning experience, and the most important lesson learned was “using his off-speed more on the mound.” In other words, mixing in his slower pitches to keep hitters off-stride.
Ready for the trip back to Philadelphia and another college year — he’s studying finance — his one over-riding impression, out of many of the Bucks’ season, was witnessing the passionate support from his Island community.
Even though he’s known it for a long time, Liam said that he and his out-of-town teammates agreed that, “Shelter Island has the best fan base. Everybody comes out to support the team.”
Liam didn’t mention it, but many came out to cheer their own hometown player.