When he wasn’t mowing down batters on the mound during his high school career at Mattituck, Joe Tardif was tracking down balls in center field for the Tuckers. As his career progressed to SUNY/Cortland, where he’ll be playing his final season next spring as a senior, he played primarily in right field.
On Saturday night, he got a chance for a change of pace by playing in left field. Tardif represented the North Fork Ospreys in the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League all-star game held at Cochran Park in Peconic.
And as Tardif showed, it doesn’t matter which outfield position he’s in, he can make plays anywhere.
In the third inning, Tardif fielded a base hit from Shelter Island’s Mike Guanci and fired a strike to home plate to throw out Sag Harbor’s River Town at the plate to end the inning.
“It wasn’t my best night at the plate, but it was good to make a play in the field,” said Tardif, who was 0-3.
The Ospreys represented the blue team along with the Riverhead Tomcats, Westhampton Aviators and Southampton Breakers. The red team featured the Shelter Island Bucks, Sag Harbor Whalers and the Long Island Road Warriors.
The red team struck for three runs in the seventh inning and held on a 4-3 win as the blue team stranded the tying run in scoring position in the bottom of the ninth.
A big crowd turned out on a beautiful night for baseball. Before the game started, the Riverhead Little League 9-and-10-year-old all-star team that won the District 36 championship was honored. And Dylan Newman of Southold threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
John Shields of Shelter Island earned the Most Valuable Player award. He went 1-for-4 with 2 RBIs. He singled to center field in the seventh inning to give the red team the lead.
Tomcats third baseman Bryce Willits, a California native, put the blue team ahead 2-1 in the sixth when he drove a first pitch fastball over the right field fence. He had a chance to extend the game in the ninth inning when he came up with the tying run on second and one out, but he struck out. He finished the night 2-for-5.
Photo caption: North Fork Ospreys all-star Joe Tardif throws out a runner at home plate from his position in left field. (Credit: Joe Werkmeister)
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