The Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League Hampton Division race came down to the wire and, with all 100 of the division’s games in the books, it was the Westhampton Aviators who finished on top in the closest race in Hamptons Collegiate Baseball’s three-year history. It is the first regular-season title for the Aviators.
In 2009, four HCB teams were separated by three games. This season, three games separated the first- and last-place teams in the division, and every team had between 18 and 21 wins. The Aviators and the Southampton Breakers are both 21-19. They were followed by the defending league champion North Fork Ospreys (20-20), the Sag Harbor Whalers (20-20) and the Riverhead Tomcats (18-22).
The third-seeded Ospreys will face the top-seeded Breakers in a best-of-three division semifinal series that will start Saturday in Southampton and continue Sunday night in Peconic. A third game, if necessary, will be played Monday in Southampton.
With a doubleheader last Wednesday, the Breakers took the season series from the Ospreys, six games to four.
The other semifinal series pits No. 1 Westhampton against No. 4 Sag Harbor on the same days, with the Aviators holding the home-field advantage. Westhampton won six of 10 duels with Sag Harbor this season, with five of them being decided by one run. That includes Thursday’s game in which the Aviators broke a 2-2 tie with two runs in the eighth and hung on to win, 4-3.
The best-of-three division championship series will start on Aug. 2 or 3. The single-game ACBL semifinals are set for Aug. 6, with the league championship game on Aug. 7.