12/17/13 9:00am
12/17/2013 9:00 AM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | North Fork shortstop Eric Solberg tagging out Riverhead’s Josh Mason in a game last summer.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | North Fork shortstop Eric Solberg tagging out Riverhead’s Josh Mason in a game last summer.

The Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League will expand to the east this season when it welcomes its newest franchise into the league — the Montauk Mustangs.

Montauk will join North Fork, Riverhead, Westhampton, Southampton, Sag Harbor and Shelter Island when the league continues play in 2014. The western most team, Center Moriches, will not return to the league.

“Establishing a team in Montauk has been on the league’s radar even from the very start, and we’re so pleased that it has come to fruition,” HCBL President Brett Mauser said in a press release. “We look forward to bringing free family entertainment to Montauk each summer in the form of high-caliber college baseball action, and thank those in the community and with the school district for pledging their support. In addition, none of this would be possible without our major sponsors – Hampton Jitney, Emil Norsic & Son, and Bridgehampton National Bank — all of whose backing is truly indispensable.”

The squad’s nickname is a salute to the hamlet’s prep school teams, according to the press release. The Mustangs will be headed by general manager Robert Aspenleiter, a Montauk resident, and will play their home games at the Montauk Public School.

The Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League is one of 12 summer leagues sanctioned by Major League Baseball, and since its inception in 2008, more than 60 alumni have continued their careers at the professional level. The 2014 season will feature 140 regular-season games across the region leading up to the playoffs, which culminate with the best-of-three HCBL championship series in the first week of August, the league said.

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10/16/13 11:05am
10/16/2013 11:05 AM
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Four fishermen are facing felony charges after they were reportedly caught by the Department of Environmental Conservation illegally spearing 74 striped bass, valued at more than $3,000 over the legal limit.

According to the DEC, the group was caught in the waters off Valiant Rock, in a shallow area east of Gull Island, in late August. Three of them turned themselves in earlier this month and are due back in Southold Town Justice Court, while the fourth is reportedly out of the country and will be charged at a later date.

Christopher R. Miller and Erik A. Oberg, both of Montauk, and Mica Marder, of East Hampton, surrendered to authorities Oct. 4 at New York State Police Headquarters in Riverside, DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said. A warrant was also issued for Peter J. Correale of New Canaan, C.T.

Mr. Miller, Mr. Oberg and Mr. Harder were all charged with taking striped bass worth more than $1,500 in value for commercial purposes with prohibited spears — a Class E felony, Mr. Martens said. Authorities said the group had 926.5 pounds of striped bass in total, valued at $4,632.

They were also charged with two violations of taking the fish out of slot sizes and having untagged fish. Mr. Miller, the fishing ship’s captain, was also charged with unlawful possession of striped bass tags and failing to display a dive flag as required by New York State Navigation Law, Mr. Martens said.

In late August Environmental Conservation Officers were reportedly on a routine patrol from Shinnecock to Fishers Island when they noticed three divers with spear guns in hand boarding a fishing boat called Sea Spearit at Valiant Rock in a shallow area east of Gull Island.

After stepping aboard the vessel, which was operated by Christopher R. Miller of Montauk, the ECOs discovered both tagged striped bass and untagged striped bass in coolers. All the fish had noticeable spear wounds in their gill area, Mr. Martens said.

“Fishing limits were established to maintain a healthy, sustainable striped bass population and violators of this law will be subject to arrest and prosecution,” Mr. Martens said. “When individuals use inappropriate methods to harvest a critical resource like striped bass, they are depleting the fishing stock and penalizing commercial fishermen who play by the rules and harvest fish using appropriate methods.”

According to the DEC, New York State Environmental Conservation Law prohibits taking striped bass for commercial use by spear due to the fact there is a slot size limit that is difficult to determine until the fish are actually in hand. This, the DEC says, is thought to be a much easier way to “secure a fish whose populations have to be managed in order to ensure the continued viability of the fishing stock,” the DEC said.

An arraignment date has been set for Nov. 4 in Southold Town Court for Mr. Miller, Mr. Oberg and Mr. Harder, the DEC said.

On Oct. 2, Mr. Martens said, ECOs also caught Mr. Miller with three speared striped bass hidden in a compartment on his boat off Montauk Point. The total weight of the fish was about 100 pounds and had a value “well over” the $250 threshold, Mr. Martens said — a misdemeanor under the ELC with a minimum penalty of $5,000.

Mr. Miller is scheduled to appear in East Hampton Town Court for the misdemeanor charge Dec. 4, Mr. Martens said.

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