08/10/13 8:00am
08/10/2013 8:00 AM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | North Fork players posing for photos with the trophy they won as the first Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League champions.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | North Fork players posing for photos with the trophy they won as the first Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League champions.

As a player on the North Fork Ospreys, I want to thank all the people who made our summer baseball experience so special. If every person is defined by the communities they belong to, then the Osprey baseball players have been extraordinarily fortunate.

Thank you to our coaches: manager Bill Ianniciello, pitching coach Chris Morris, assistant coach Mike Czenszak, and general manager Jeff Standish, who spent the better part of their summer helping us play at our peak. They helped us with our hitting, our fielding and our pitching. They taught us to be gracious when we won and to be humble in defeat.

Thank you to our wonderful host families. Your kindness, hospitality and generosity made us feel like we were part of your family. Our host families came to our baseball games, cheered for us and made us feel special. They made our favorite meal before a big game. They brought ice-cold Gatorade and frozen grapes to the baseball field during the never-ending heat wave. They made us feel welcome in their homes when we came home dirty, sweaty and tired. Our host families showed us nothing but kindness, and they will always be a part of our lives.

Thank you to all our fans and supporters at our games. We appreciate you coming to see us play and always cheering for us. We love that our fans took time out of their busy days to support us. They knew all of our stats, and all of our nicknames … “Meat Truck,” “Bama,” “B,” “Sunscreen.” Some of our fans even picked up our bill at O’Mally’s. That is extraordinary.

Thank you to all the people who cooked for us after every game. The food was excellent and we ate a lot. We were rewarded when we did really well … and even when we lost, there was always great-tasting food and really nice people at our sides.

Thank you to all the people who take care of the Ospreys’ home field. It was always in immaculate condition and the pitching mound was perfect. Thank you to all the announcers, the people who produced the audiocasts, the broadcasters, the statisticians, and the DJs who made our games that much better. Thank you to the talented singers who made the national anthem sound so spectacular. Thank you to the doctors and EMTs who came to our games and tended to our injuries.

Thank you to the bus company that makes our trips to the other fields so comfortable.

Thank you to the generous supporters of this league that keep it alive. Thank you to all the local gyms that allowed us to work out in your facilities. Thank you to all the delis, the restaurants— especially O’Mally’s and the Magic Fountain ice cream shop — that served great food and are all so friendly. Thank you to all the people who publish the pocket baseball schedule, the team yearbook and the newsletters. Thank you to the people who manage the Hamptons Baseball website, your up-to-the-minute reporting, stats and photos were awesome. Thank you to the photographers, who took the amazing action shots, and the writers, who covered our games and were able to file a well-written article within hours.

Thank you to The Suffolk Times for covering the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League’s games in your fine newspaper. There is nothing better than reading a professional account of the latest victory. We loved when our photos were included in the story. They were awesome.

I apologize if I have missed anyone who made our stay on the North Fork so special. We appreciate everything that this amazing community has done for our team.

There is magic in baseball, and there is definitely love and kindness all over the North Fork.

Cody Johnson is a sophomore pitcher at Fordham University and a native of Sea Cliff, N.Y. He finished the summer season with a 2-1 record and a 3.29 ERA in eight starts for the Ospreys. He filed this column on behalf of his teammates.

07/10/13 3:41pm
07/10/2013 3:41 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | North Fork Ospreys outfielder Nick Heath slides into third Tuesday against Southampton. Heath is one of nine North Fork all stars.

The 2013 Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League All-Star game will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday at Cochran Park in Peconic.

The seven baseball teams that form the league will be divided into north and south teams.

Ten Riverhead Tomcats players were selected to the all-star team along with nine North Fork Ospreys.

Those north all-stars, which includes North Fork, Riverhead and Shelter Island, will be coached by Riverhead coach Randy Caden.

The all-stars include:

• Dalton Curtis, NF, pitcher

• David Deliz, NF, pitcher

• Mike Dolce, RIV, pitcher

• David Jesch, NF, pitcher

• Brendan Mulligan, RIV, pitcher

• Matt Peacock, RIV, pitcher

• Anthony Rosati, NF, pitcher

• Mike Brosseau, RIV, infielder

• Jerry Downs, RIV, infielder

• Jake Farr, RIV, infielder

• Austin Miller, NF, infielder

• Tom O’Neill, NF, infielder

• Andre Jernigan, RIV, infielder

• Tyler Fox, RIV, outfielder

• Michael Fries, NF, outfielder

• Nick Heath, NF, outfielder

• Jack Sundberg, RIV, outfielder

• Doug Kraeger, RIV, designated hitter

• Jim Pjura, NF, designated hitter

06/28/13 7:54pm
06/28/2013 7:54 PM

JOE WERKMEISTER PHOTO | Riverhead Tomcats outfielder Jerry Downs connects on a two-run home run in the first inning Friday against the North Fork Ospreys.

TOMCATS 12, OSPREYS 4

At the end of his freshman season this past spring at St. Thomas University in Miami, Jerry Downs’ coach sent him packing north.

“He told me, ‘You’re going to go play summer ball somewhere,’ ” Downs said.

The 6-foot, 205-pound outfielder landed with the Riverhead Tomcats in the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League. One month into the season, it’s turned out to be a terrific pairing.

“I love it,” Downs said. “No regrets.”

The Tomcats have loved his bat in the middle of the lineup as well. Downs hit a two-run home run in the first inning of Friday afternoon’s 12-4 victory over the North Fork Ospreys at Cochran Park in Peconic.

It was his league-leading fourth home run of the season.

“I’m seeing good pitches and hitting the ball hard,” Downs said.

He nearly missed another home run when he rocketed a double to center field in the fourth inning. His double actually appeared to be a better struck ball than his home run, an opposite field shot to left field that was aided by a strong wind.

Downs said he was surprised the ball left the park on his home run.

“The wind helped me out there,” he said.

As Downs walked back to the dugout after touching home plate, a teammate joked with him saying, “Nice pop fly.”

A Miami native, Downs made his first ever trip to New York to play with the Tomcats. He’s gotten a chance to take in the sights all while working on improving his game before heading back to college.

“I’ve been in Times Square a few times, on the beach with the boys,” he said. “Having a good time. It’s summer.”

At St. Thomas, Downs batted .263 with a home run and 24 RBIs in 44 games during his freshman season.

In the summer league, Downs said he hopes to improve on several parts of his game.

“Try to work on my defensive skills, hit more offspeed, little fundamentals,” he said.

Riverhead coach Randy Caden said Downs has shown he can hit with a lot of power.

“You got to be careful with him,” Caden said.

The Tomcats have quickly developed a deep lineup that can produce runs from top to bottom. The Tomcats added two more home runs Friday when designated hitter Josh Mason and catcher Charley Gould hit back-to-back home runs in the  eighth inning.

“This team, you can’t make too many mistakes with,” Caden said. “They’re staying focused and having fun.”

When Mason returned to the dugout following his two-run homer, his teammates gave him the silent treatment, pretending as if nothing had happened.

“That was his first one of the year so we decided to do it,” Downs said.

The Tomcats scored five runs in the third inning to take a 7-1 lead and the Ospreys never got any closer.

Joseph Kuzia, a 6-foot-4 righty from St. John’s University, started for the Tomcats and earned the win pitching 5 1/3 innings.

Kuzia made his first start and got his first extended pitching outing of the summer season.

Early in the game Caden made a trip to the mound to tell Kuzia to quit relying so much on his fastball.

“I said I don’t care if you give up 100 runs,” Caden said. “Work on your change-up and other pitches. Then you see how he pitched great.”

The summer league mostly is an opportunity for players to improve on their games. The only tricky part, sometimes the players aren’t quite sure what those specific things are, Caden said.

“You get some rookies and they’re not sure what they should be doing,” Caden said. “So you say, this is for you. The league is for you.”

North Fork center fielder Nick Heath had a big day at the plate against the Tomcats going 5-for-5. Hid second was one of the more peculiar hits in baseball. With runners on first and second, Heath bounced a ball back to Kuzia. Thinking he needed to turn a double play, Kuzia turned to throw toward third, then looked at second before simply holding onto the ball while Heath ran safely to first.

The Tomcats, only needing one out, got out of the inning unscathed, so they could laugh about it afterward.

“You’ll see something new in baseball every day,” Caden said.

[email protected]

04/04/13 6:00am
04/04/2013 6:00 AM
GARRETT MEADE FILE PHOTO | The North Fork Ospreys players need a place to stay this summer.

GARRETT MEADE FILE PHOTO | The North Fork Ospreys players need a place to stay this summer.

To the editor:

I’m so excited that I saw one of my first ospreys of the season.

That means we are really close to the return of the North Fork Osprey collegiate baseball team. They’re one of seven teams in the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League that play here on the East End.

This will be the third year our family will host one of the players. These college baseball players come from all over to hone their baseball skills and get a chance to be spotted by a Major League scout.

These past two summers have been a lot of fun for the four of us. In our first year our 6-foot, 8-inch pitcher came from Iowa and had the time of his life and we still keep in contact with him and his parents. James Kohler loved to fish and learned a whole new vocabulary living with us as he had only ever fished in fresh water. We made it a point to help him discover salt water fishing as well as the shellfish. Too bad he wasn’t around for scallop season.

James is still playing for his college baseball team and holds the highest GPA on his team at the University of Evansville. He majors in biology and will go pre-med.

Last year we hosted Mark Brennan, who attended Marist College on a full academic scholarship. His shellfish allergy kept us from encouraging salt water activities, except for tubing and fishing or just hanging out at the beach.

He was on his feet with the mention of strawberry picking. When he left in August, my son was able to add catcher to the list of positions he was able to play. Mark bonded quickly with us and the kids keep in touch with him on social media.

We are so looking forward to seeing who will be living this summer in our spare bedroom, now known as the “Ospreys” room.

We are in need of a few more Osprey host families. If you think you can host a player, please call 734-7167.

Janet, Ken, Julie and Sam Dickerson, Cutchogue

To read more letters to the editor, pick up a copy of this week’s Suffolk Times on newsstands or click on the E-Paper.

03/23/13 10:00am
03/23/2013 10:00 AM

GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | Yianni Rauseo of Mattituck will play for the North Fork Ospreys this summer. Rauseo is in his sophomore year at SUNY/Oswego.

COLLEGE BASEBALL: Ospreys, Tomcats rosters released The newly formed Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League, which includes the North Fork Ospreys and the Riverhead Tomcats, recently released its rosters for the 2013 season.

The Ospreys have a player with strong local ties, SUNY/Oswego outfielder Yianni Rauseo of Mattituck (’11). Three other Suffolk County residents are on the team: Temple sophomore catcher Mike D’Acunti of Dix Hills, St. John’s sophomore pitcher Anthony Rosati of Copiague and Queens College senior pitcher/utility player Joe Salanitri of West Islip.

New York colleges are also represented on the roster by St. John’s sophomore pitcher Thomas Hackimer and Fordham sophomore pitcher Cody Johnson.

Bill Ianniciello will return for the second year as North Fork’s head coach.

The Tomcats have two Long Island products on their team, Connecticut sophomore pitcher Christian Colletti of Rockville Centre and Richmond sophomore infielder Doug Kraeger of Malverne. Two other new Tomcats, New York Tech sophomore pitcher John Axley and Wagner junior catcher Jason Gordon, play college ball in New York.

Randy Caden returns as the coach.

One hundred college programs are represented on the rosters in the seven-team league, which includes teams in Center Moriches, Sag Harbor, Shelter Island, Southampton and Westhampton.

Former Shoreham-Wading River High School standout Mike O’Reilly (’12), a pitcher for Flagler College (Fla.), will play for the Center Moriches Battlecats.

Hamptons Collegiate Baseball spent the past five years as a member of the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League before pulling away to create its own league.

“We are looking forward to taking this next step and working toward becoming one of the elite summer baseball leagues in the country,” the HCBL president, Brett Mauser, said in a statement. “Through the efforts and support of many we have reached this point, and we are excited about what the future holds.”

The HCBL has applied to join the National Alliance of Collegiate Summer Baseball, which includes the prestigious Cape Cod League. In addition, the HCBL filed an application to become sanctioned by Major League Baseball.

“Major League Baseball and the Alliance are two organizations that you want to have in your corner,” Mauser said. “Their support and direction would help assure that we continue to provide a great platform for student-athletes to develop their skills as they strive toward their goal of playing professionally.”

The league will begin play in early June.
BOB LIEPA
o
Powers is Pitcher of Week Junior pitcher James Powers of Jamesport recently earned Skyline Pitcher of the Week honors. Powers tossed three and two-third innings of scoreless relief to earn his second victory of the season as Farmingdale State edged Plattsburgh State, 1-0. He allowed just one hit and fanned three, not issuing a walk. This season Powers has allowed six hits in 12 innings, with 13 strikeouts.

David Zilnicki, a senior left fielder from Riverhead, collected his 38th career stolen base, which passed Luis Feliciano for the most all time in Farmingdale State history

AUTO RACING: Figure Eight champ to be honored The Suffolk Association of Figure Eight Racing will honor Riverhead Raceway’s 2012 champion, Mike Mujsce of Westhampton Beach, at its annual awards banquet on April 7. Mujsce’s championship was the first of his career.

11/25/12 6:00am
11/25/2012 6:00 AM

GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | North Fork’s Eric Romano, connecting on a pitch from Center Moriches’ Jason Schilling last summer.

For five summers, Hamptons Collegiate Baseball has provided baseball action to seven communities on the East End of Long Island. Another chapter will begin next summer as the organization becomes a league of its own, the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League (HCBL).

The organization said earlier this month it will continue its mission to provide free family entertainment for area baseball fans and inspire community youth while aiding in the development of collegiate athletes whose dream it is to make it to the major leagues.

“We are looking forward to taking this next step and working toward becoming one of the elite summer baseball leagues in the country,” said league president Brett Mauser. “Through the efforts and support of many we have reached this point, and we are excited about what the future holds.”

As Hamptons Collegiate Baseball, the organization had spent the last five seasons as a member of the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League. In 2012, HCB hosted more than 175 players from over 100 universities to play for teams located in Center Moriches, Riverhead, Sag Harbor, Shelter Island, Southampton, Westhampton and the North Fork. Since its inception, more than 550 players from over 190 universities, including from every major collegiate conference, have played on the East End. Nineteen Hamptons alumni played in the professional ranks in 2012, and the organization has had 17 players selected in the Major League Baseball draft.

The HCBL has applied to join the National Alliance of Collegiate Summer Baseball, which features a number of the top summer leagues in the country, including the prestigious Cape Cod League. In addition, the HCBL has filed an application to become sanctioned by Major League Baseball.

“Major League Baseball and the Alliance are two organizations that you want to have in your corner,” Mauser said. “Their support and direction would help assure that we continue to provide a great platform for student-athletes to develop their skills as they strive toward their goal of playing professionally.”

The first pitch for the 2013 HCBL season is scheduled for early June.

08/22/12 8:00pm
08/22/2012 8:00 PM

GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | Evan Miller of Southold played in his second national cup final in four years with Lake Grove United.

BOYS SOCCER: Miller plays in national final If Evan Miller is asked to write an essay about what he did this summer when he returns to school, he will have a lot to write about.

For the second time in four years, Miller played in a national cup final with Lake Grove United. This time, however, the result wasn’t favorable to Miller and his teammates.

Miller, a Southold High School senior, started at striker for Lake Grove United in its recent 3-0 loss to Merced Atlas (Calif.) in the boys under-17 super group title game as part of the National Cup XI Finals in Chicago.

“It hurt, but it didn’t hurt as much as I thought it would,” Miller said of the loss. “We’re still proud of how far we went with a team that went as far as it did.”

Perhaps one reason why the loss wasn’t as painful as it might have been was because Lake Grove wasn’t expected to go as far as it did in the national tournament, having lost about half of its players to college.

“When we went to regionals, it was just a brand new team put together,” Miller said. “We somehow made it to the national final and we were all shocked.”

It may have also helped that Miller won a national title with Lake Grove in 2009, receiving a medal and a jacket for his efforts.

Miller played midfield and striker for Lake Grove. He scored five goals in nine games for Lake Grove in this year’s tournament.

Miller, who will be entering his fourth varsity season for Southold, recognizes that most players don’t play in one national cup final, never mind two. “Just getting experience, getting the experience of having the pressure and atmosphere of the game. getting that under your belt, it’s insane having done that,” he said.
BOB LIEPA

BASEBALL: ACBL MVP award shared Center Moriches Battlecats catcher Joe Solomeno (Pace) and Shelter Island Bucks infielder Thomas Roulis (Dartmouth) were named co-winners of the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League Most Valuable Player Award. Solomeno also collected the league’s Hitting Award, awarded to the player with the highest batting average. Staten Island catcher Gabby Molina (Keystone) earned the slugging award with a .726 slugging percentage.

Southampton lefthander Paul Paez (Rio Hondo Junior College) reeled in the Most Valuable Pitcher Award after leading the league in wins and strikeouts.

Voting was done by a panel of the 17 field managers in the ACBL. The co-MVP honors were the first since 2009 when Jersey’s Ken Gregory and Riverhead’s Peter Greskoff split the award.

Solomeno had one of the best years in the league’s history, leading all hitters in average (.421), hits (61), doubles (14), runs batted in (53) and total bases (96). His year included a five-hit effort on opening night, a 10-9 triumph over Westhampton, and a stretch of 11 straight games in which he had at least one RBI. He was the starting catcher for the Hampton Division All-Star Team on July 19 at MCU Park in Brooklyn.

All Roulis did in his summer on Shelter Island was lead the league in runs scored (41) and stolen bases (24) while hitting at a .399 clip and finishing second behind Solomeno in hits with 59. He sparked a Bucks offense that led the league in runs scored with 281, leading the first-year squad to the Hampton Division regular-season crown. Roulis enjoyed a mid-season stretch in which he had a hit in 14 consecutive games.

Paez, an 18th-round pick of the New York Mets this year, dominated from day one in Southampton, striking out 12 over five innings in his debut against Shelter Island on June 4. He fanned a season-best 13 in Southampton’s victory over Riverhead on July 14, and Paez tied former Riverhead right-hander Nick Tropeano for single-season wins by recording his seventh in the Breakers’ 9-4 triumph over Center Moriches on July 22.

He finished his season with 82 strikeouts, breaking Tropeano’s Hamptons mark of 77 in 2009. It also put Paez just outside the top five in ACBL history. Paez, who was named the starting pitcher for the Hampton Division All-Stars, limited hitters to 35 hits in 60 regular-season innings.

Molina was a mainstay behind the plate for Staten Island, but he also wielded a mighty bat. Of the senior’s 27 hits this season, 16 went for extra bases, including 11 doubles and five home runs.

GOLF: Golfing for Porters The eighth annual Gridiron Golf Classic will be held on Tuesday at Island’s End Golf & Country Club in Greenport, with a shotgun start scheduled for 1 p.m. The fee is $175 per golfer. The tournament benefits the Greenport/Southold/Mattituck/Shelter Island high school football team. For more information, call Darryl Volinski at (631) 477-2523.

08/16/12 4:00am
08/16/2012 4:00 AM

PECONIC

The plot of a cat

The recent anti-dog rhetoric, be it based on aggressive attacks on hapless beachgoers, unprovoked slobbers on the unreceptive or the dreaded scourge of dog poop, has a fishy smell to it.

Everything poops; birds, deer and worst of all the countless humans who have encroached on every available piece of waterfront land.

Our waste treatment plants dump directly into both the Sound and bay. Lawn care and farm chemicals — such as fertilizers, fungicides and pesticides — excess oils and fuels of the pleasure boating industry all end up in local waters. Yet we have found a new villain — dogs.

This campaign could only have been the plot of a cat, a mastermind with feline-minded human proxies forwarding a vision of a dogless future.

Sound silly? So do dogless beaches as proposed by a few meow-fixated whiners. People are the problem, whether reckless dog owners or relentless complainers. They both need to be kept in check.

Jack Gismondi

GREENPORT

Bag the plastic bags

The excuses never cease to amaze me why people won’t bring their own bags to stores.

A recent Town Hall Notes story reported that “Mr. Schriever is up in arms over a proposed ban on the use of plastic bags to pack merchandise” due to the fact that he needs the plastic bag handles. I would be more than happy to give Mr. Schriever bags with handles that are not plastic and are reusable.

The only way to stop the ridiculous amount of plastic bags taken from stores is to start charging for them. IKEA started charging five cents a bag in 2007 and it didn’t take long for people to stop expecting the plastic bags to put their purchases in.

Joann Tamin

PECONIC

Watch the skies

On Aug. 6 the new mandatory routing for helicopters flying from Manhattan to the Hamptons was supposed to take effect.

As those of us in the path of the onslaught have noticed, there is yet to be full compliance. Senator Schumer was the first to be called when the roar of the rotors invaded sleep at 6:56 that Monday morning. The Long Island office was not answering its phones and Washington referred calls to New York City, where the staff took it upon themselves to have the Long Island office return the call.

Marissa from that office offered up an FAA complaint number of 718-553-3365, found to be yet another recorded line. Frustrated, I discovered the Internet served as a more helpful source and after a call to the FAA’s Dan Hubbard, it was suggested that a call to Laura Brown, assistant deputy at the FAA would be helpful. Email was the communication of choice here and a response arrived by Friday of that week.

She said she wasn’t able to find out the status of the complaints since many people were not in the office.

“I can tell you that we do forward some reports to our inspectors to follow up if there is enough information to look into it,” Ms. Brown wrote. “We have civil enforcement authority and can levy civil penalties if we conclude there was a violation of our regulations.”

The more people who communicate the non-compliance events the better. There are consequences and we must ensure that the FAA follows through. Please call that number and make note of all of the inappropriate flights and report them through that phone number and by email to [email protected]

Remain diligent. This time the outcome is in our hands.

Carla Rosen

GREENPORT

Coverage deserved

What a beastly video!

I give high marks to our hometown paper, The Suffolk Times, and to our community.

Everyone involved with the making of the video reported on in the Aug. 2 issue donated time and space in our community and that was very newsworthy.

Bravo to all cast and crew of “Beastly.”

Carol Allen

GREENPORT

That was offensive?

I must say that I was very surprised to read the letter in last week’s Suffolk Times from Helen Passanant.

I find it hard to believe that someone would be offended by a picture that depicts the creativity of a group of our own young people.

Mike Check (Michael Checklick) was born in Greenport, as were his parents. He graduated from Greenport High School, went to college and most days after working at his full-time job, he pursues his dream of making it in the music industry.

Unlike so many, Mike has never forgotten his roots and came home to do his latest video with his friends and family. The pictures that Helen Passanant find so offensive are made up of our local youth, and the amazing makeup was also done by one of our own. The Suffolk Times has traditionally been a hometown newspaper and this indeed is hometown news.

Thank you for your coverage. It really means a lot to everyone who has worked so hard, and is still working hard, on this project.

Marilyn Corwin

“Beastly” video producer

SOUTHOLD

Good neighbors

Residents of Founders Village in Southold are asking the Peconic Land Trust to not locate their proposed two large plastic greenhouses so close to our patios.

Forty of us attended the public hearing on their site plan on July 9 to voice our concerns of noise, odors and diminished views if these structures are built so close to our border.

We did not come with expensive attorneys or experts but simply to ask the Trust to be good neighbors and find another place for the structures.

We welcomed the Land Trust next door in 2008 and we continue to support their programs and goals. However, the realities of life on the North Fork today call for flexibility and accommodation.

This land had not been farmed in a generation and during that time 92 families moved in next door and forever changed the landscape on Youngs Avenue.

We were back for the Aug. 13 Planning Board hearing to again try to persuade the board and the Trust to locate the 12-foot-tall greenhouses in a location out of sight and sound of our neighbors’ homes.

We want to be good neighbors and we know the Land Trust wants to be a good neighbor.

Please join us in asking the Peconic Land Trust to step up.

Carol Bertsch

LAUREL

Where they belong

Two thumbs up to the police involved in capturing all of the drugs that were being shipped into the Riverhead and North Fork communities.

These men who prey on people who are addicts should be behind bars.

Good riddance to bad rubbish.

Brenda Casey

SMITHTOWN

Whatta league!

This was my first year involved with Hamptons Collegiate Baseball, with my son playing on Riverhead Tomcats. It was the experience of a lifetime. Not only was my son on the team, but we were fortunate enough to host a young man from Louisiana. This gave my son someone to drive back and forth with, since we live 45 minutes from the field, and someone to practice hitting with on those rare off days. They were able to share and blend together the coaching tips from the Northeast and the South. This benefited them both tremendously.

The league gave each player a gym membership for the summer. Here again, these young men shared their collective knowledge and all became bigger and stronger. Also, I could not believe all of the people who became host families when they did not even have a son on the team. I have never met such nice people on any previous league. The coaches, assistants, managers and administrators were all exceptional. This is a team that my son, my husband and myself will remember forever. Thank you, Hamptons Collegiate Baseball!

Diane Gorecki

Brooklyn

They gave great care

I am writing to express my gratitude and appreciation to the medical and nursing staff of Eastern Long Island Hospital for their professionalism and care demonstrated during my stay in early July.

I would also like to commend the emergency medical team of the East Marion Fire Department for its dedication and diligence.

I hope they will accept my sincere thanks.

Robert Halikias

NEW SUFFOLK

GOP in a nutshell

Romney and Ryan: The perfect embodiment of the 2012 Republican platform.

Solicitude for the rich, indifference to the middle class and contempt for the poor.

Stanley Brown

GREENPORT

What we’ve become

I’m coming into my 89th year. I’ve had a long, full life, supported by a democratic government that provided for the needs of the country and thrived on the creativity and industriousness of the people.

World War II was everyone’s war. The draft providing the armed forces, the government rationing foods, materiel and gas, Rosie the Riveter and many others, working in the factories, growing vegetable gardens, knitting warm socks and baking cookies to send to the troops, volunteers acting as community wardens. Sharing the news and the terrible lists of the dead and the missing.

After the war, the G.I. Bill sent the men to college and they came out as scientists, engineers, researchers, innovators, and entrepreneurs. They propelled the U.S. into an age of economic growth and national dominance. Social Security, to protect the elderly from destitution, Medicare to protect the ill from bankruptcy because of medical expenses. the Civil Rights Movement and later, the Women’s Movement, bringing us closer to becoming “the land of the free.”

Not only a long life, but a grateful one. I am not afraid of dying. But I am dreadfully worried for my children and grandchildren and yours. We are no longer a democracy, providing for the needs of the people, the infrastructure of the country, or all levels of education to build for the future. We have become a corporate oligarchic state, governed in their financial interests, like the Third World countries we used to disdain.

This government cuts food stamps when more people are in need, cuts food and health programs for children, denies money for states to provide teachers and firemen. Wants to cut Social Security benefits and turn Medicare into for-profit enterprises.

Having exploited our natural resources to fill their coffers, they have not put any of their profits back into restoring the land or repaying the workers.

It’s no longer the America I lived in, thrived in and was proud of. I pray that the decent people who are working courageously to bring back our democracy will succeed.

I pray that my children and grandchildren and yours will be able to lead decent and satisfying lives, supported by the essential and humane programs that all other industrial, advanced nations provide.

Merle Levine

LAUREL

Over the cliff

As Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan press for ever-lower taxes and massive spending cuts while praising entrepreneurialism and the beauty of ever-growing profit-making business unfettered by government and regulation, let’s look at the whole picture.

As the CEOs and financiers grab theirs and competitive pricing continues to be a part of the equation, wages and benefits become further depressed and economic inequality increases. Taxes are lowered, government expenditures are cut and government aid to the disadvantaged, the sick, the poor, the elderly and the unemployed is reduced.

Aid to those trying for college entrance is eliminated, government-financed infrastructure improvement ends and the United States slides further toward mediocrity. This is America’s decline, about to happen in our lifetime. Is this our America? Will we watch or will we act?

Follow the arguments, get mad and get out and vote. With Paul Ryan added to the ticket ,the Romney express will take us all right over the cliff.

Howard Meinke

AQUEBOGUE

Undecided?
Just vote Republican

As we all know, there are those of us who are staunch Republicans or totally loyal Democrats. People choose the party lines, regardless of the ultimate results.

Many people are undecided. In order to guide those of you who are questioning whether we are going in the right direction? The answer is a resounding “NO!” If you wish runaway inflation, higher taxes, municipal layoffs while salaries stay the same, or in many cases these days just fade away. If you wish to continue this trend, it is easy. Just vote in the present failed administration.

Regardless of our political affiliation, the time has come to employ our common sense. We need lower fuel prices and lower food prices, coupled with a realistic increase in the value of dollars we spend.

We need affordable health care, however, not this ridiculous plan this present administration has concocted. As usual, the working American pays for the rich and the poor. What else is new?

The real solution to this dilemma is simple. Cost of pharmacy should be much less, medical malpractice limited to gross negligence and redundant testing limited. These items I just mentioned will save millions in real numbers.

Since the Supreme Court dubbed health care a tax, let’s do it right. A graduating tax just like Social Security would be exacted based on one’s individual income. This would be paid through the working years of the individual. If he or she were laid off for awhile, this person would keep his or her individual care. As far back as I can remember, people were in some cases afraid to change employment. The reason would have been the fact that they would lose their health insurance. Under this plan, they would keep their standard package. I must point out, these thoughts are just highlights. Many other factors go into the final equation. Something like this is far better than “Obamacare.”

All things considered, we must open our minds and hearts. It is time for changes. I urge you to consider Romney for president, Long for Senate and Altschuler for Congress. They will work tirelessly for you.

Frederick Rodgers

08/07/12 8:00pm
08/07/2012 8:00 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Joe Forney pitched three innings of relief for Riverhead in Game 2 of the Hampton Division finals against Southampton.

I have to admit that when I first heard about this idea of forming a summer league for college baseball players from throughout the country who would spend their vacation months on eastern Long Island, living with host families and playing in what would be a showcase league for pro scouts, I was skeptical. And it was more than just the skepticism that seems to be inherent in journalists. My skepticism was based on past experience.

I had heard and written about similar things in the past, grand plans that never went beyond the drawing board. Anyone, you see, can come up with a good idea. Turning that idea into reality, now that’s the trick.

In my defense, though, when I first heard about this concept six years ago, I wasn’t fully aware of just how determined a person Rusty Leaver is.

I have since learned that Leaver, the cowboy-hat-wearing owner and operator of Deep Hollow Ranch in Montauk, is someone who makes things happen. Leaver’s vision was to model a league after the famed Cape Cod Baseball League, giving college players a place to play in the summer as well as gain exposure to pro scouts.

Leaver founded Hamptons Collegiate Baseball in 2007 with one franchise, the Hampton Whalers, who reached the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League final that year.

Four new franchises, including the North Fork Ospreys and the Riverhead Tomcats, joined HCB in 2009, competing in the Kaiser Division. One of those new teams, the Westhampton Aviators, won the ACBL title. The following year it was the Ospreys who took the league crown.

With the addition this year of two expansion clubs, the Center Moriches Battlecats and the Shelter Island Bucks, HCB grew to seven teams, forming the ACBL’s Hampton Division.

In its time, HCB has seen 17 of its players drafted, including former Ospreys player Andrew Cain (the Milwaukee Brewers in 2011 and the San Francisco Giants in 2012) and former Tomcats Justin Echevarria (the San Diego Padres in 2010) and Nick Tropeano (the Houston Astros in 2011). HCB has sent 12 other players into the professional ranks where they have been able to pursue their dream of playing in the big leagues. The ACBL, which calls itself the “gateway to professional baseball,” is partially funded by Major League Baseball.

In addition to giving players the opportunity to chase their dreams, HCB has also provided what it calls free, family entertainment. For those accustomed to watching high school baseball, say, the college level is a real eye-opener. My first real taste of the HCB came in 2008 when I watched an exhibition game between the Hampton Whalers and the Long Island Battlecats. The players made an impression on me before the first pitch was thrown. During pregame practice, I saw a player catch a ball deep in the outfield and then fire the ball home. The throw was a laser that popped into the catcher’s glove on the fly, a perfect strike.

“Wow!” I thought to myself. “These guys are good.”

And they are. They surely have a gift, being able to do what 99.9 percent of us cannot do.

I would judge HCB to be a clear success. The biggest challenge, it seems, for the teams is finding housing for players, but things seem to have worked out on the field and off.

It’s a compact schedule, a 40-game regular season followed by the playoffs. I have sometimes wondered whether the 40-game playing schedule is too demanding of the players. Six game a week isn’t easy. Wouldn’t it be O.K. to make it five-game week instead, giving the players another day off to enjoy themselves? One player told me that the busy schedule is just what he wanted. Then a coach pointed out that the crowded schedule is by design, to give players a feel for what a professional player has to go through.

That makes sense.

From a competitive standpoint, the season that concluded on Sunday was a home run. The top five teams in the Hampton Division finished within three games of each other. Brett Mauser, HCB’s busy president and director of recruiting, deserves credit for that.

The playoffs brought surprises, with the No. 3 seeded Southampton Breakers and the No. 4 Tomcats pulling off upsets to reach the division finals, which the Breakers swept in two games last week.

“The top five or six clubs on a given day, with the right pitching, the right hitting, anyone can win it. That’s what’s great about it,” Tomcats coach Randy Caden said. “Seedings mean nothing. You just want to make it to the playoffs because then it’s a new season.”

And now we can begin looking forward to another one in 2013.

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