North Fork shortstop Kyle Colletta fielding a ground ball during his team’s season-opening win over Riverhead. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)
OSPREYS 3, TOMCATS 1
Despite the threat of thunderstorms and rain, the weather held up. So did the pitching.
Receiving the starting pitching assignment on Opening Day was an honor bestowed upon Cameron Burt of the North Fork Ospreys and Dan Jagiello of the Riverhead Tomcats. Both right-handers responded with quality performances on Sunday when the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League opened its third season.
After both teams went hitless in the first five innings, the Ospreys prevailed in a pitcher’s duel, 3-1, at Veterans Memorial Park in Calverton.
All the scoring came in the seventh inning, by which time both Burt and Jagiello were done for the day.
The Ospreys shot out to a lead on three successive hits. James Morisano and Ryan Mahoney both singled before the designated hitter, Peter Papcun, drove a triple over the right fielder, Hunter Dolshun. Moments later, Papcun scored to make it 3-0 when the home-plate umpire called a balk.
The Tomcats had only 13 players available. They were missing 11 players who are still in the playoffs with their college teams. That prompted their manager, Randy Caden, to utilize one pitcher, Tanner Watkins, as a designated hitter, and another pitcher, Jake Reinhardt, at first base for the last three innings. Another pitcher, Adam Wolhorf, was picked up at around 9:30 p.m. the night before to help with the pitching shortage, said Caden. Wolhorf pitched the last three innings.
Jagiello, who completed his sophomore season at LIU Post, certainly did his part. Caden said he was looking for three or four innings from him. Instead, Jagiello provided six innings of shutout stuff, during which he conceded only two hits, no walks and struck out seven.
The 6-foot-4, 195-pound Burt, a former Mattituck High School star who plays for Queens College, had a pretty good game himself. He brought his side five shutout innings, allowing three hits. He walked four and struck out four.
The Tomcats had mounted threats, but stranded two runners in the second and fourth innings.
In the fifth, the Tomcats had the bases loaded with no outs, but came away with nothing. The Ospreys second baseman, Nick DelPrete, made a tremendous diving grab of a liner hit by Nate Soria and then quickly darted a throw to second to catch the runner off the base for a double play. The third out came when catcher Jake Lieberman made a perfect throw to DelPrete to catch Paulie Russo trying to steal.
The Tomcats finally broke through with a run in the seventh. Watkins, who drew a two-out walk and advanced to second on an errant pickoff attempt, reached home when Russo bounced a single up the middle.
Both teams, sporting new uniforms, had a little time to kill when an oddity occurred. Before the fifth inning started, it had gotten considerably darker and the umpires called for a darkness delay that lasted about five minutes while some ominous clouds floated by and the sky lightened up a bit.
Former Shoreham-Wading River High School standout Tyler Osik made his debut for the Tomcats, starting at second base. Osik, who will be a sophomore at Coker College (S.C.), walked in his first three plate appearances and looked at a called third strike in his fourth. He had two assists and one putout.
The Ospreys manager, Bill Ianniciello, said he liked what he saw from his pitchers. The Ospreys used five of them — Burt, Shane McDonald, Frank Moscatiello, Danny Pobereyko and Daniel Jacobson.
After facing only two batters in the sixth, McDonald left the game because of trouble with his left elbow. Moscatiello got the win, striking out three and giving one hit in two innings, and Jacobson picked up the save.