Water Mill Community Notes, May 16

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Sometime around 8:45 a.m. on Sunday, if you see a few people walking the side of the road, give them a honk of support as they continue the relay walk that started in East Islip the day before and ends in Montauk in the evening. I will be one of those walking in the event, organized by the EJ Autism Foundation as a way to raise awareness of the disorder. My plan is to walk all the way from Water Mill or Bridgehampton to the finish at Montauk but right now my feet are hurting just thinking about it.
In the past, I’ve walked from Southampton to East Hampton in this event, and as a result the Flying Point Foundation for Autism, based in Water Mill, has been a beneficiary of a generous donation from EJ. We have a team walking in the East Quoque area too.

If you are interested in joining the relay, please email me or check out the details at www.ejautismfoundation.org.

I’ll wave to my friends Mark and Lesley Middlekauff as I walk by their church, Grace Presbyterian, on the corner of Montauk Highway and Scuttle Hole Road, where they will be celebrating the dedication of the building that the church recently purchased from the Hamptons Alliance Church. It’s been a long time coming, raising $1.4 million through gifts and pledges. The congregation has three years to raise the remainder of the $2.95 million needed to make the purchase.

It’s baseball season and pretty soon Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League players will take to fields across the area. Seven teams—Sag Harbor Whalers, Southampton Breakers, Westhampton Aviators, North Fork Osprey, Riverhead Tomcats, Center Moriches Battlecats and Shelter Island Bucks—comprise the league, which draws players from top baseball schools across the country. The league provides top quality coaching and facilities for its players and free family entertainment for the community.

Besides the dedicated people behind the league’s program, the main reason it can work is because of families who agree to house a player. A handful of players come from the New York area but many are from out of state and the steadying forces of a local family can be very helpful. In many instances, lifelong friendships are made from the pairing of player and family. We’ve housed a player for the Whalers at our house for two years in a row and will have another player staying with us this year (after a player in the U.S. Women’s Open, Carly Booth, who will be staying with us, is finished competing). This year we will host a player for the Southampton Breakers. With Water Mill right between Sag Harbor and Southampton, families from our area can really choose either.

Players arrive early June and stay until the first week in August, but families can sign on for a shorter term, as we did. They practice just about every day and the games are played in the evening. Some players also hold a job while playing with the league. Each player is a member in good-standing with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), meeting all academic, athletic and legal eligibility requirements.

Host families are required to supply a player with a room, bed, laundry and meals. They are not required to provide transportation.

Families with budding baseball stars might be especially interested in hosting a player because it gives their kids free entry to the baseball clinic organized by the league that takes place at Pierson High School.

If you’re interested in hosting a player, go to the league’s website at www.hamptonscollegiatebaseball.org. Click on Support HCBL.

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