09/15/17 10:00am
CHARITY ROBEY PHOTO | Just like the baseball playoffs, the East End’s giant peaches are an end-of-summer treat (and bigger than a baseball).

CHARITY ROBEY PHOTO | Just like the baseball playoffs, the East End’s giant peaches are an end-of-summer treat (and bigger than a baseball).

It gives me great satisfaction to roast something large. The pride of the Thanksgiving turkey, the suckling pig, the rack of lamb placed on the table in triumph, the dish that practically yells, “There is plenty, have some more.”  (more…)

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07/16/15 7:42am
Shelter Island's Eddie Haus  hits a home run to left field in the third inning of Wednesday's all-star game. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)

Shelter Island’s Eddie Haus hits a home run to left field in the third inning of Wednesday’s all-star game. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)

HCBL ALL-STAR GAME  |  NORTH 2, SOUTH 1

Eddie Haus posed for a picture alongside Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League president Brett Mauser when a woman came rushing toward the field, camera in hand.

Haus, an outfielder for the Shelter Island Bucks, turned and smiled wide as the woman steadied her camera for a shot of her own.

It was his mother.  (more…)

07/13/13 11:42pm
ROBERT O'ROURK PHOTO | The caps of the Riverhead Tomcats, the North Fork Ospreys and the Shelter Island Bucks on top of the North All Stars dugout. For one game, representatives of those teams were teammates.

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | The caps of the Riverhead Tomcats, the North Fork Ospreys and the Shelter Island Bucks on top of the North All Stars dugout. For one game, representatives of those teams were teammates.

HCBL ALL-STAR GAME | NORTH ALL STARS 4, SOUTH ALL STARS 1 (10 INNINGS)

It’s safe to say that the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League does things differently.

For one thing, the first-year league’s inaugural all-star game was played a full 10 innings, not out of necessity, but in order to give the 10 pitchers on each team a chance to pitch.

What would Abner Doubleday think?

Well, for one thing, he might have been the first to applaud another oddity, or rather a treat to behold. Matt Peacock, a closer for the Riverhead Tomcats, snatched a line drive out of the air with his bare hand to earn the save for the North All Stars in their 4-1 victory over the South All Stars on Saturday night at Jean W. Cochran Park in Peconic. Numerous witnesses said it was something they had never seen before.

“Maybe in a video game, but not in real life,” said Shelter Island Bucks catcher Joe Burns, who joined with other representatives of the Bucks, the North Fork Ospreys and the Tomcats to form the North team. “That was crazy.”

Peacock turned in the undoubted play of the game — if not the year. After striking out two straight batters with two runners on base, he made the remarkable barehanded grab of the liner hit by Mitch Montaldo in the top of the 10th inning, clinching the game. Peacock held the ball up in his bare right hand for a moment as if he had just surprised himself with what he did. Spectators were stunned.

ROBERT O'ROURK PHOTO | Shelter Island catcher Joe Burns was named the most valuable player of the inaugural Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League All-Star Game.

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | Shelter Island catcher Joe Burns was named the most valuable player of the inaugural Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League All-Star Game.

“It just kind of happened, a reaction like, oh, a ball, catch the ball and out,” said Peacock, who claimed afterward that his hand felt fine. “I saw it come at me. It wasn’t [hit] that hard. I didn’t want him to get to first.”

Like others, Riverhead third baseman Andre Jernigan had trouble believing what he saw. “It’s the craziest thing I’ve seen in a while,” he said.

Randy Caden, the Tomcats manager who served as the North’s head coach, said he would have to explain to Peacock’s college coach at South Alabama what happened. “It was an amazing play,” said Caden.

A fitting one, perhaps, given the high-caliber performances on display. Neither side made an error over the course of the 10 innings.

Some may say it was only an exhibition, but it was the league’s showcase event. Playing in front of major league scouts, players undoubtedly wanted to look their best.

“You get to see how talented this league is, a lot of great players,” Ospreys pitcher Dalton Curtis said. “You want to do well because you’re representing your team and everything.”

If some nerves were involved, that would only be natural.

“If anything, I think everybody is kind of amped up, a little nervous, but once the first pitch is thrown, all the nerves go away,” Jernigan said. “It’s just another game of baseball and it’s really fun. Have fun with it.”

Burns and Jernigan both clocked two-run doubles, accounting for the North’s runs. Burns, a St. John’s player whose two-out double in the third inning brought the North a 2-1 lead, received the game’s most valuable player award for his contributions.

“It’s a great honor to come out here with a bunch of great players and hold this up at the end,” said Burns, clutching the MVP award and the bat he was presented with after the game. “Honestly, I was just going in trying to have some fun tonight.”

The South, which included players from the Center Moriches Battlecats, the Sag Harbor Whalers, the Southampton Breakers and the Westhampton Aviators, scored first in the third. Riverhead pitcher Brendan Mulligan, who was credited with the win, issued full-count walks to both David Real and Ryan Spaulding before Kyle Zech dropped a single into shallow left-center field, loading the bases. Joey Havrilak then delivered a sacrifice fly.

But walks helped the North pull in front almost immediately after that. In the bottom half of the inning, Austin Miller of the Ospreys and Jerry Downs of the Tomcats drew passes before Burns brought them home with his double.

The North gave itself more of a cushion in the fifth. After Justin Jones worked a leadoff walk, his Bucks teammate Kevin Brantley singled. Then Jernigan golfed a two-bagger to deep center field, scoring them both.

The South made things interesting in the 10th when its first two batters, David Leiderman and Dan Shea, reached base on an infield single and a walk. But then Peacock buckled down, striking out Zach Persky and Justin Montemayor before making that memorable grab.

“It’s something I’ll never forget,” Jernigan said of his all-star experience. “You see some amazing things.”

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ROBERT O'ROURK PHOTO | The North All Stars during the singing of the national anthem.

ROBERT O’ROURK PHOTO | The North All Stars during the singing of the national anthem.

04/26/13 7:33pm
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Southold's Alex Poliwoda sliding safely under Shelter Island shortstop Hunter Starzee and kicking up a dust cloud.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Southold’s Alex Poliwoda sliding safely under Shelter Island shortstop Hunter Starzee and kicking up a dust cloud.

FIRST SETTLERS 3, INDIANS 1

The same instinct that tells Southold’s baseball coach, Mike Carver, when to call for a bunt or a hit-and-run, told him that something was up.

After Friday’s game, Carver was trailing his players as they marched from their Southold High School field to the gym. Then, one of his players, Anthony Esposito, lugging a large, apparently empty water bucket with him, tracked back to the field, past Carver, saying he forgot something on the bench. While Carver and the rest of the First Settlers stopped and waited for him, Esposito walked back to the bench, picked up a package of crackers and then returned Carver’s way. With the coach eyeing him suspiciously, Esposito suddenly hurled water that had been in the bucket at Carver, who quickly jumped aside so that only some of the water hit him.

As far as Gatorade baths go, it wasn’t the best, but it was the spirit behind the subterfuge that counted.

The First Settlers had their own way of celebrating Carver’s 150th career win, a 3-1 victory over Shelter Island that moved them a step closer to the playoffs in the process.

“It was just a last-minute thing,” Southold third baseman Alex Poliwoda said. “We kept a little bit of water in the water bucket and said, ‘We should get him with this.’ He’s got to expect it. It was a great win, 150.”

The Suffolk County Baseball Coaches Association will recognize the milestone with a plaque for Carver, whose 12-year record is 150-102 (.595). Prior to the start of this season, Carver ranked 14th among the county’s active coaches in wins.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Southold second baseman Sean Moran backhanded this ground ball but was unable to make a play on it.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Southold second baseman Sean Moran backhanded this ground ball but was unable to make a play on it.

“It’s a nice accomplishment,” Carver, 40, said. “It’s a nice milestone. I’m real proud of what we, the team, the boys over the years have accomplished with Southold baseball. I’m proud of that. It’s definitely a sign that we had success. We have had success. Without the players, we wouldn’t have any wins.”

The win on Friday, Southold’s sixth straight, did the team’s playoff chances a world of good. The First Settlers (9-5, 9-5 League IX) need two wins from their final six regular-season games (three each against Smithtown Christian and Greenport) in order to clinch a postseason place.

“We’re in a great position right now,” Poliwoda said. He said the team’s playoff scenario is “doable, so I feel pretty confident.”

Rob Mahony (2-2) turned in the complete-game win with eight strikeouts. He allowed six hits and three walks.

The First Settlers scratched out the win with the aid of two runs in the third inning. Three successive doubles by Noah Mina, Anthony Fedele and Poliwoda brought in those runs for a 3-0 lead.

Southold had opened the scoring in the first. Poliwoda led off with a single, stole second base and, after two walks, came home on a fielder’s choice by Dillon Engels.

Shelter Island’s sole run came in the fourth. Hunter Starzee, who led off by shooting a single to right field, stole second base and advanced to third on a single by Matt BeltCappellino. Then Starzee scored when a fly ball by Spencer Gibbs was misplayed in the outfield for the game’s only error.

Shelter Island’s leadoff hitter, Riley Willumsen, produced three singles.

The Indians, who returned to varsity baseball after five straight years of junior varsity ball, dropped to 2-12, 2-12 with their sixth loss in a row.

Shelter Island coach Peter Miedema said the move back to the varsity level on Shelter Island brought some excitement as well as a little “nervousness” among his players. Although the core of the team is made up of juniors, he said, “We had to take some eighth-graders and some ninth-graders, and that’s a scary thought to go from a junior high to a varsity level.”

“Batting-wise, it’s tough for us to put together six, seven good at-bats in a row,” Miedema said. “The pitching has improved … and the defense has improved immensely. Hopefully the wins come eventually.”

The progress was evident on Friday. Absent were the handful of errors that the Indians have been known to make in a game (they had none Friday). BeltCappellino (1-5) gave up five hits before being relieved by Gibbs with two out in the fourth.

“We knew we weren’t going to be that good [this season], but it’s a little tougher than we expected,” Willumsen said. “We’re still working on a lot of things that we have to work out, but we’re getting better.”

Carver’s big day clearly meant something to his players.

“It just feels great to be part of the history of Southold baseball,” Poliwoda said. “You know, being part of his 150th win, we all did it together. It just feels great to be part of that.”

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