Featured Story

Shelter Island Bucks near the top of the league at end of June

If their foes have learned anything two weeks into the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League season, it’s that no lead is safe when they face the North Fork Ospreys.

Case in point: Friday night’s come-from-behind win over the Shelter Island Bucks at Cochran Park in Peconic.

Trailing 5-1 after 2 1/2 innings, the Ospreys rallied for 16 runs over the next four innings for a 17-6 triumph, capping off the victory with a walk-off, 3-run home run by catcher Steven Kienzle with one out in the bottom of the sixth inning.

North Fork was awarded the win due to the league’s 10-run mercy rule.

But then again, the Ospreys have showed very little mercy to opposing starting pitchers this season. They lead the HCBL with a 10-6 record.

“They have some strong hitters. I don’t think I’d want to be pitching to them,” said Bucks Coach Vern Hasty, whose team is 9-7.

The Bucks used a field player, infielder-outfielder Charlie Knighton (Richmond, Va. Washington College) for the final three outs. He allowed 6 runs.

Coach Hasty has been around long enough to know there is always a next day in baseball and that teams can run hot and cold. “You get to come back the very next day when you lose or win, but we’re just going to regroup at Sag Harbor [Saturday],” he said.

Regroup the Bucks did, and with a flourish, shutting out the Whalers in Sag Harbor 5-0. Noah Terzo (Lesley) won his second game of the season throwing six shutout innings, allowing four hits with five strikeouts and three walks. Shane Moriarty (Emerson) pitched a scoreless seventh inning.

JD Stemhagen (Manhattan) had his second straight three-hit game for the Bucks going 3-for-4 with a double and a run scored. Aidan Paradine (Siena) and Briggs Loveland (Emerson) each had a pair of hits and an RBI in the win.

Got it all the way. Bucks outfielder JD Stemhagen for the put out. JD is having a great season at the plate, hitting .413 for the season. (Credit: Adam Bundy)

Earlier in the week, the Bucks split a doubleheader at Fiske Field on June 26 against Westhampton. In the top of the first inning of game one, Westhampton took an early lead on a Shelter Island error. However, the Bucks quickly responded by scoring four runs in the bottom of the first inning on back-to-back, bases-loaded walks to John Gannon (St. Lawrence) and AJ Cook (Elms), followed by a two-run single from JD Bogart (Bradley).

Bogart added another RBI in the third inning, giving the Bucks a 5-1 lead. The Aviators cut into the Bucks’ lead by scoring three runs in the top of the fourth, thanks to a Luca PiPia (Ithaca) solo home run and a pair of Shelter Island errors.

Bogart continued his impressive performance with his fourth RBI of the game on an infield single. The Bucks then broke the game open, scoring five runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, making the final score of game one 11-4 in favor of the Bucks.

Aidan Urbom (Dakota St.) pitched five innings in Game 1, allowing one run on four hits with six strikeouts and two walks, improving his record to 2-0.

In the nightcap, with the Bucks playing as the visiting team, they got out to an early 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning on a two-run single from Gannon and an RBI ground-rule double by Jack Lincoln (Bradley).

In the bottom of the fourth, the Aviators got two runners on with two outs when Zev Moore (MIT) reached on an error and Jake Russo (New Haven) doubled. The next batter, Eitan Moore (MIT), singled to bring in two runs, cutting the score to 3-2.

In the bottom of the fifth, the Aviators took the lead by scoring three runs in the inning, with the highlight being a two-run single from Tyler Smith (Saint Peter’s) that put Westhampton ahead.

The Aviators added insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth on an RBI double from Jakob Chavez (Paradise Valley CC) and Smith’s second two-run single, giving them an 8-3 lead. Everett Garber (Bucknell) pitched a scoreless seventh inning for the Aviators to secure the doubleheader split.

Westhampton starter Ray White (Manhattanville) settled down after the first inning, not allowing a run after the first. He threw four strikeouts, didn’t allow a walk, and didn’t give up an earned run.

The Bucks are still very much in the hunt for a championship, ending June with a 9-7 record, one game out of second place in the league. The team is home on Friday, July 5 at Fiske Field, taking on Sag Harbor at 5 o’clock.