Featured Story

Shelter Island Bucks comeback rally falls short against Ospreys: Record is 4-2 on season

After going 4-0 to start their 2024 Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League season, the Shelter Island Bucks came down to earth, dropping two games at home this week. The Island’s team fell to the North Fork Ospreys on Wednesday, June 19, and South Shore Clippers on Thursday, June 20.

After a tough 5-1 loss Thursday against the Clippers, Bucks Coach Vern Hasty gathered his team in the dugout post-game. “Keep your heads up,” Coach Hasty said. “I’m very proud of you all.”

Despite grueling heat and an unforgiving sun, the Bucks played hard, giving the hometown fans several highlights to cheer. Bucks pitcher Jack Ruditzky (Ithaca College) had good velocity during the first six innings on the mound. Colby Arnold (Elms College) relieved Ruditzky for the final three innings. “We were pitching their lights out,” Coach Hasty said proudly in a post-game interview.

By the top of the 5th, the heat of the day was visibly affecting both teams, but didn’t stop Julian Abreu (Marist College), Briggs Loveland (Emerson College), and John Gannon (St. Lawrence University) from playing crisp defense, pulling off an impressive double play.

On offense the Bucks flourished with sharp hits skimming the ground out of reach of the Clippers defense, but the team came up short driving in base runners, and took the loss.

After a nail-biter the next afternoon at Fiske Field against the North Fork Ospreys, Coach Vern Hasty told the Reporter, “That’s baseball, you can’t win every game, but the great thing is you get to come back the next day and play again.”

The final score was 4-3, with the Ospreys coming out on top.

The game was a standoff of skill, with pitching on both sides locked in a battle of arms. Bucks pitcher Aiden Urbom (Dakota State. University) took charge of the mound for the first seven innings, dominating the Ospreys line up. Bucks outfielders Josh Endo (Southwestern University), Noah Terzo (Lesley University), and JD Stemhagen (Manhattan College) played superb defense to keep the contest close.

In the top of the 3rd and 5th innings, infielders AJ Cook (Elms College), Cameron Hawley (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), and Charlie Knighton (Washington College) produced a couple of double plays with such skill it left the crowd in awe. 

By the bottom of the 7th, it was still a deadlock, with neither team sending a player home. Frustration was visible on Urbom’s face after a disagreement over a call by the umpire following his pitch. Though unhappy with the call, Urbom channeled his frustration into his throws, leaving the Ospreys baffled as strike after strike audibly slammed into catcher JD Bogart’s (Bradley University) mitt.

The Ospreys loaded the bases after their teammate Tyler DiRocco (Farmingdale State College) crossed home plate after a wild pitch. The score was now 1-0 Ospreys, as Jason Hanson (California Davis) stepped into the batter’s box. Bucks left hander Jack Lincoln (Bradley University) threw a good fastball, but Hanson turned it around, sending a shot beyond the fence for a 3-run homer.

The score now stood 4-0 Ospreys. In the bottom of the 8th, some spectators thought the Bucks were finished. But the home team came out with flawless defense in the top of the 9th, and the Bucks offense came alive. Infielder Ryan Leclair (Stonehill College) was the first on the team to make it to home making the score 4-1.

General Manager Brian Cass walked the fence line behind home plate as the bases were once again loaded, but this time with Bucks.

With one out, infielder Cameron Hawley readied himself to bat, earning himself a walk that sent outfielder JD Stemhagen home from third. John Gannon crossed home plate next as Briggs Loveland (Emerson College) took first base following another walk.

Score 4-3, one out, fans on the edge of their seats, two Bucks on bases, and Ty Bourne (Emerson College) squaring up to bat.

The final pitch from Osprey Trey Decicco (Allegheny College) was a double play ball for the visitor’s win. The game ended with Ospreys flooding the field to celebrate their victory.

Coach Hasty said, “I’m just so proud of my guys fighting to the end.”

Having the stands lined with supporters motivates this hard-playing team. The Bucks will be at home to play Sunday, June 23,  at 2 p.m., against the Sag Harbor Whalers.