The Westhampton Aviators spoiled the inaugural festivities of the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League’s newest team, the Montauk Mustangs, beating the Mustangs, 4-3, at the Montauk Public School on what was opening day for the league on Sunday.
The Aviators scored their first run of the season in the top of the second inning, when Tyler Pagano (Oakland) drove in Trevor Abrams (St. Mary’s College), who reached on an error, with a single to make it 1-0. After Westhampton took a 2-0 lead in the top of the fourth on a solo home run by Dan Parisi (Dowling), Montauk scored the first-ever run in franchise history when Kelsey Richard (Northwestern) singled in Khalil Denson (Barry), who had walked earlier in the inning.
The Aviators responded in the next inning when Daulton Mosbarger (Akron) hit a two-run home run to make it a 4-1 ballgame. Nick Fanneron (Northeastern) hit the first home run ever for the Mustangs in the bottom of the seventh, but Montauk was held in check for the most part by Westhampton’s relief pitchers. The Mustangs had the bases loaded with one out in the bottom of the eighth, but the next two batters struck out to end the threat.
Aaron Lesiak (Prebyterian) started on the hill for Westhampton and pitched five strong innings, giving up just one run on three hits while striking out six. He didn’t allow a hit until the fourth inning. Kyle DeMeo (Dowling) pitched three innings of one-run ball and also struck out six, and David DellaSerra (St. Mary’s College) pitched the final inning to earn the save.
Westhampton manager Lou Bernardi said he was pleased with the way his team played on Sunday. “We scored early, which is always nice to get out of the gate early and put the first run up,” he said. “But our formula for winning was good pitching, good defense and timely hitting. We were able to execute a bunt play, and we also had some big two-out hits, which put us in the lead.
“The first win is always the hardest one to get, but now that they have the first one out of the way, I just want to see the guys play hard, and I hope it’s going to be a successful summer for them,” Bernardi added.
Montauk manager Jason Szafarski, on the other hand, said his team was limited offensively and didn’t play stout defense. Montauk stranded nine runners on base, struck out 12 times and also committed four errors in the field.
“It took a while for our bats to get going, and we kicked the ball around a bit—that extended innings,” Szafarski explained. “Our pitching really kept us in the game despite the lack of defense.”
Szafarski liked how big the opening-day crowd was and has felt welcomed by the Montauk community. Montauk Little League baseball and softball players threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
“The community has been great, and I thought it was great how the crowd stuck around until the end,” he said.