Postponements due to the severe weather that hit Long Island late last week created havoc for some teams of the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League, while others had minimal disruptions to their schedules.
The Sag Harbor Whalers got all six of their games in last week while the Southampton Breakers had just one game canceled because of the rain. The Westhampton Aviators were not as lucky. They had two games rained out, and as of Monday afternoon, the Aviators had only played four games so far this season, whereas the rest of the teams in the league have played in at least five contests.
Sag Harbor WhalersThe Whalers (4-3) were one of the few teams that did not have to postpone a game last week, playing in all six of their scheduled contests. As with most of the teams in the early goings this summer, Sag Harbor has been playing .500 baseball. Last week, the Whalers split their games to go to 3-3 on the season, with the most satisfying win being a 4-3 come-from-behind victory on Saturday at Westhampton.
The Aviators took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the seventh inning after Jake Rogers (Johns Hopkins) hit a two-out single that drove in J.C. Brandmaier (Dowling) and Heath Holliday (Oklahoma State). The Whalers came back though with three runs of their own in the top of the ninth.
James Clements (Georgia State) scored the first run of the inning on an error, then Justin Montemayor (University of Houston)—the team’s hottest hitter so far this season—later drove in Aaron Smith (Wake Forest) and John Palladino (Catholic University) on a base hit.
Westhampton threatened in the bottom of the ninth, but Whaler Jacob Bodner (Xavier) got Rogers to strike out with runners on second and third to end the game.
“There’s been a lot of back and forth so far, which I think shows a lot of parity in the league,” Sag Harbor head coach Brenden Monaghan said. “A game can change in a heartbeat, so our players have to really stay locked in and focused for nine innings, because you never know what’s going to happen.”
The toughest loss for the Whalers came last Thursday, June 6, a 4-3 defeat to the Breakers at Stony Brook Southampton. Sag Harbor held a lead for seven innings and then the wheels fell off for the Whalers in the bottom of the eighth when Southampton was able to score three runs to take the lead and eventually win the game. The Whalers committed four errors in the contest.
“That one kind of burns a little still,” Monaghan said.
The majority of his pitching staff, Monaghan said, has been throwing the ball well so far this season. The starters have thrown five quality starts in seven games thus far. Offensively, Montemayor, Scott Hagan (Binghamton) and Dan Shea (Monmouth) have been leading the charge from the middle of the lineup.
Southampton BreakersSouthampton (3-3) had last Friday’s home game against Center Moriches postponed due to rain, but still managed to play its other five games last week. The Breakers went 2-3 in those contests, and head coach Rob Cafiero said he liked what he saw in his team’s 9-5 victory at Sag Harbor in the second game of Sunday’s doubleheader.
The nine runs were the most in a game for the Breakers this season, and Andrew Gorecki (Manhattan) hit the team’s first home run of the summer, a three-run shot in what was a four-run third inning. Southampton led 9-0 after four innings before giving up five runs in the final three innings.
“We finally started swinging the bats better,” Cafiero said. “Our pitching has been pretty good, our defense has been pretty good, we were just not swinging the bats lately. That home run by Andrew really got us going.”
The first game of the doubleheader was another story though. Ryan McCormick (St. John’s) pitched a very good game, going all six innings and allowing just two runs on four hits while striking out five, but the Breakers wound up losing 2-1. Southampton couldn’t get anything going offensively.
“We had a couple of guys in scoring position—we just couldn’t get them in,” Cafiero said. “We didn’t have enough innings. We were battling back the whole game. We just couldn’t put another run across.”
John Ramon (Evansville) and Ben Ruta (Wagner) have been hitting the ball well for Southampton so far this season. Ruta had five hits in two games on Sunday.
Westhampton AviatorsThe Aviators (1-3) have not been able to put together any type of winning streak, and the weather has not helped them build any positive momentum. Still, T.J. Baxter does not think the postponements have had a negative impact on his team.
“I think it’ll matter more when we have to play those games later in the season, when we reschedule those games,” he said. “I think we’ve been battling in every game, we just need to put together a number of hits in one inning.
“We’ve been scattering hits here and there, but nothing to really put together a long inning,” he continued. “But our pitching has been good—other than the one game last week.”
Baxter was referring to an 11-2 loss at Shelter Island last Thursday, June 6, where the Bucks scored five runs in the fifth and three runs in the sixth to break open the game. The Aviators actually only committed one error to the Bucks’ three, but the Westhampton relievers had a rough game, allowing eight of the 11 runs.
“It’s tough to come back from an 11-2 deficit late in the game like that,” Baxter said.
The game before, on June 5 at North Fork, Westhampton looked like it was going to suffer another loss. It was down 2-0 after six innings and the Aviator bats were silent.
But the Aviators came back to tie the game in the top of the seventh inning. Rogers hit a single and an error on the same play and allowed Joe Uccello (Southern Connecticut State) and Holliday to come around to score.
Westhampton then took the lead in the top of the ninth. Joey Havrilak (Akron) singled in Holliday, and later in the inning, Rogers scored on a wild pitch. Andrew Sesto (Dowling) got the win in relief for Westhampton while Ryan Crawford (Hamilton) earned the save.
Brandmaier (.308), Holliday (.300) and Havrilak (.250) have all led the team in batting this season.
“Once we get our middle of the lineup going, I have all the confidence in the world we’ll be able to turn things around,” Baxter said. “We had an off day [Sunday], but a lot of the guys went to All-Pro in Bellport to take some swings and work on their hitting.”
For up-to-the-date scores, stats and game schedules, go to www.hamptonsbaseball.org.