Whalers, Mustangs Start Second Half Strong

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Not much has changed within the past week of the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League standings, as the seven teams have been going back and forth since the All-Star Game on July 11.

The Westhampton Aviators remained atop the league with a 22-11-1 record, as of Monday morning. The Montauk Mustangs (19-13) and North Fork Ospreys (19-14) continued to leap frog one another for second place while the Riverhead Tomcats, who started off the season strong, sat in the final playoff spot in fourth place with a 17-15-1 record. The Tomcats are followed by the Sag Harbor Whalers (15-18), Southampton Breakers (13-22) and Shelter Island Bucks (9-21-1), respectively.

The Whalers looked as if they were going to make a run for the fourth and final playoff spot after winning their first four games following the All-Star game, but have recently dropped their past two games. The most recent was a 4-3 defeat at Mashashimuet Park to the first-place Aviators on Sunday.

Westhampton scored single runs in the fourth, sixth and seventh innings to take a 3-0 lead, only to see that all go to waste in the bottom of the eighth inning. After seven shutout innings by Aviator starting pitcher Seamus Brazill (Hoftsra), Jonathan Faraci (St. John’s) came in and gave up three consecutive singles to Alejandro Aponte (George Mason), Matt Feinstein (Dartmouth) and Jackson Overlund (Cochise College). Aponte and Feinstein came around to score on an error and Overlund scored after a fielder’s choice to make it 3-3. The Aviators loaded the bases in the ninth inning, though, and with one out, Matt Dunlevy (VMI) drove in Jack Massa (Canisius) with what would be the game-winning run on a sacrifice fly to left field.

Jake Bufo (Hofstra), who got the Aviators out of the eighth-inning jam, was credited with the win, allowing no walks or hits in the final two innings. Jake Williams (SUNY-New Paltz) went 3 for 4 with an RBI for the Whalers.

Pierson alum Nick Kruel (Tampa) continued his strong summer with eight innings of shutout ball in a 2-0 victory over the Ospreys on Thursday, July 14. He allowed five hits and a walk and struck out two in winning his third game of the season. He lowered his earned run average from 3.99 to 3.13 in the process.

Like the Whalers, Montauk started off last week hot, winning three straight games, which included the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday at home against Southampton. The Mustangs lost the back end of that doubleheader, 9-5, to end the wining streak.

In that game, Montauk broke a 4-4 tie in the bottom of the sixth when Nick Camilleri (St. Peter’s) doubled in Chris Reilly (Farmingdale State), but Kevin Kolesar (Queens College) tied the game again with a solo home run the very next inning to force extra innings. The Breakers then went off for four runs in the top of the eighth to win the game.

Kolesar finished the game 4 for 5 with four runs scored. He pushed his batting average to .348.

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