Ospreys baseball players in need of nesting place

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

A call has been sounded for North Fork families to consider hosting an up-and-coming baseball player this June and July.

Southold Town’s Hamptons Collegiate Baseball team, the North Fork Ospreys, is seeking people who will open their homes to college-age student athletes. These young men will play a free 20-game season, with home games at Cochran Park on Peconic Lane, and will also provide clinics to teach the game to young players.

“Not only are these outstanding players from schools like Duke and Notre Dame, they’re 3.0 students who come highly recommended by their coaches,” said Ospreys general manager Jeff Standish. He added that Hamptons Collegiate Baseball president Brett Mauser screens players to ensure they are right for the program.

The Ospreys are entering their fourth season, and families who have previously hosted players often open their doors again, said Mr. Standish. But homes are still needed for roughly half the 21 players.

Host families are required to provide players with food and a bed, as well as access to laundry and the Internet. In return, the student athletes are expected to abide by house rules and help out around the house. Mr. Mauser said the athletes tend to evolve into big brothers to the kids they live with and often volunteer their time within the communities.

“It’s amazing how close the families get to the athletes by the end of the season,” he said. “There are people who cry when these student athletes, once complete strangers, leave in August. It’s these remarkable stories that never get old.”

Tanya Newman of Southold, who hosted two players last year, was one of those who cried, when players Vaughn Hayward and Andrew Furr went home. The Newman family attended every game last season and said they continue to communicate regularly with their players.

Ms. Newman’s husband, Todd, offered this advice to anyone considering becoming a host family: “Open your door and let these kids become a part of your family. You will never forget the experience.”

Mr. Mauser said player Ryan Brockett of New Haven, CT., grew so close to his Southold hosts through his two years with the Ospreys that he went to Costa Rica with the family this past fall.

“I’m not saying families should take the athletes to Costa Rica, but it shows just close the host families do get to the athletes,” he said.

Mr. Mauser sees host families as key to the league’s success.

“Host families are truly the foundation for this entire program,” he said. “Without them we wouldn’t have been able to provide the free family entertainment we have over the last few years.”

Hamptons Collegiate Baseball is a seven-team division of the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League, which comprises 17 teams.

Most recently, the Shelter Island Bucks were added to the division’s local teams, which also include the Riverhead Tomcats.

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