With June 2 slowly approaching, the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League is close to playing its first season as a full league. And last week, it took a big step forward with the finalization of its rosters.
After playing in the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League since its inception in 2009, the HCBL will be operating as a seven-team league this season. And the 2013 summer season should be just as competitive as in years past with 100 colleges being represented on the East End.
Last year’s Hamptons Division champion, the Southampton Breakers, will have its star pitcher back from last season in Paul Paez (Rio Hondo Junior College), who was the top prospect in the ACBL last season and winner of the Darrin Winston Most Valuable Pitcher Award. The hard throwing left- handed pitcher was drafted in the 18th round by the New York Mets in the last year’s draft. Paez is 5-1 this season for Rio Hondo with a 1.58 ERA and 47 strikeouts in almost 46 innings pitched.
Catcher Brett Geren (Princeton) is the only other returning player from last year’s team. Rob Cafiero will be back as the head coach.
Ryan McCormick (St. John’s), Drew Bryan (Virginia Military Institute) and Terence Connelly (UNC-Wilmington) are all prospects that could make the Breakers successful this summer. Bryan is currently hitting .346 for VMI.
The Sag Harbor Whalers will have a new head coach this season, since Jim Buckley accepted a scouting job with the Kansas City Royals during the offseason. Brenden Monaghan, a former Major League ballplayer, will now coach the Whalers, which will have a somewhat new look this season. Sag Harbor native and Pierson graduate Brandon Kruel (C.W. Post) is returning to the team while East Hampton graduate Deilyn Guzman (Molloy) will be another local product joining the team.
Grant Shambley (Wake Forest) is the only other returning player from last season for Sag Harbor. He’ll be joined by newcomers Dan Shea (Monmouth), Nathan Bates (Georgia State), Jonathon Mulford (Adelphi) and Jacob Bodner (Xavier). Bates is a 6 foot 7 inch right-handed pitcher who hasn’t given up an earned run yet this season for Georgia State and is holding batters to a .231 average in five appearances on the mound.
Just like Sag Harbor, the Westhampton Aviators will have a new coach in T.J. Baxter, who was named to the staff at Wake Forest University in 2011 as the program’s director of baseball operations and then as a volunteer assistant coach this season. Tom Hoare, the Westhampton Beach varsity baseball head coach, will continue to serve as an assistant for the Aviators, as will former Aviator and Westhampton Beach grad Joe Candela.
Mike Elefonte (Elon) was the only Aviator expected back this season but he suffered an injury early this season and may not make it to the East End this summer. Preston Brown (Mississippi State), Myles Gentry (Mississippi State) and Kal Simmons are top prospects for Westhampton.
Gentry is the main reliever for Mississippi State this season and has allowed only five earned runs in 17.1 innings pitched this season. He has held batters to a .113 batting average. Simmons is batting .306 for Kennesaw State so far this season.
The Center Moriches Battlecats will be made up of a handful of Eastport South Manor graduates. Eastport residents Chris Gili (Pace) and Ryan Gili (Suffolk County Community College) will play on the team along with Logan Frati (Farleigh Dickinson) and Dalton McCarthy (Farmingdale State).