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07/25/17 8:10pm
07/25/2017 8:10 PM

Before the start of Tuesday’s doubleheader, someone mentioned to North Fork Ospreys coach Bill Ianniciello that his team needed “just one more point” to clinch a playoff berth.

“Don’t say ‘just’,” said Ianniciello, who advised that the word “just” be removed. In other words, just because the Ospreys needed only one point didn’t mean it would be easy, and it wasn’t.

07/02/15 2:47pm
07/02/2015 2:47 PM
North Fork center fielder Tyler Houston making a throw home to complete a double play during Thursday's game against Sag Harbor. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)

North Fork center fielder Tyler Houston making a throw home to complete a double play during the fourth inning of Thursday’s game against Sag Harbor. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)


An error here, some missed opportunities there. It can all add up — to defeat.

The North Fork Ospreys found that out on Thursday when they dropped a 4-2 loss to the Sag Harbor Whalers in a Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League game at Jean W. Cochran Park in Peconic. Tristan Chari squeezed a two-run single between first baseman Austin Guzzo and second baseman Kyle Colletta with two outs in the seventh inning to snap a 2-2 tie.

Chari, who came into the game tied with teammate Matt McCann for the fourth-highest batting average in the league at .355, had two runners on base when he stepped into the batter’s box. Ospreys pitcher Anthony Catinella had retired the first two batters that inning on groundouts before hitting Scott Hagan with a pitch and giving up a single to McCann.

The Ospreys (14-12), playing a rare home day game, twice took leads, only to see the Whalers (11-13-1) bounce back twice to even the score.

After Guzzo’s run-scoring single in the first made it 1-0, the Whalers drew level in the second when Kyle Cunningham scored on an errant throw.

Nick Heath, who played for the Ospreys’ 2013 league champion team and recently rejoined the squad, socked a home run to lead off the third. (Heath later made a nice diving catch to rob James Clements of a hit in the eighth.)

But that lead was short-lived as well. The next inning started with singles by Sag Harbor’s Brandon Elmy and Clements, who were then moved on a sacrifice bunt by Cunningham. Elmy came home when a ground ball hit by Nico Maida was booted.

The Ospreys averted further damage that inning, however, when a fly ball by Blaine Griffiths was turned into a double play. Center fielder Tyler Houston made the catch and then fired a throw home to catcher Jake Lieberman, who applied the tag on Clements.

The Whalers were 2-7-1 in their previous 10 games.

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06/12/13 12:01am
06/12/2013 12:01 AM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | North Fork's starting pitcher, Cody Johnson, left the game after six innings with a 6-4 lead.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | North Fork’s starting pitcher, Cody Johnson, left the game after six innings with a 6-4 lead.


Some may consider Yianni Rauseo to be the best all-around athlete to come out of Mattituck High School in decades. So, it’s saying something when Rauseo looks at the players he plays with and against in the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League with glowing admiration.

“It’s a lot of talented players,” said Rauseo.

Rauseo, a Mattituck resident, is spending his summer essentially playing in his backyard, for the North Fork Ospreys. He is hoping that the high caliber of play in the league, which draws players from throughout the country, will help him regain the form he showed last year as a freshman right fielder for SUNY/Oswego.

Rauseo didn’t have just any freshman season. He finished with a .343 batting average, two home runs, 21 runs batted in, 28 runs scored, eight stolen bases and no errors. He tied for the team lead in runs scored, tied for second in RBI, was second in stolen bases and third in batting average.

No wonder he was selected the 2012 State University of New York Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year as well as a member of the all-conference second team.

But then there was the fall. And it was a steep one.

This past college season, Rauseo struggled mightily. His batting average dropped to .149. He had 11 RBI, 12 runs scored and two stolen bases for the Lakers.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Former Mattituck High School star Yianni Rauseo is virtually playing in his backyard this summer for the North Fork Ospreys.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Former Mattituck High School star Yianni Rauseo is virtually playing in his backyard this summer for the North Fork Ospreys.

Now he’s trying to work his way back, with the aid of the Ospreys and the HCBL.

“I’m just trying to get back to the basic stuff,” Rauseo said. “Hopefully this will help me for next year.”

Rauseo said the level of play in the HCBL is higher than what he sees while playing for NCAA Division III SUNY/Oswego.

“This is one of the best leagues out there,” he said. “They’re all fundamental players. They all know how to play the game.”

The Sag Harbor Whalers showed the Ospreys that they know how to play, for a full nine innings. Jacob Bodner’s first home run of the season evened the score for Sag Harbor at 6-6 in the ninth inning and, two outs later, John Palladino scored the go-ahead run on an errant throw on an attempted forceout for a 7-6 triumph over the Ospreys on Tuesday night.

“I don’t like coming back,” Sag Harbor’s new manager, Brendan Monaghan, said after the game at Jean W. Cochran Park in Peconic. “It’s not easy on the ticker, but it shows the character of these guys, I think. They have the ability, I think, to play with anybody as long as you play for nine innings.”

As fulfilling a victory as it must have been for the first-place Whalers (5-3), the last-place Ospreys (2-4) could not have felt good about seeing a game slip through their grasp. They had led since the fourth inning, and were three outs away from winning.

“Turn the page, come back tomorrow,” North Fork manager Bill Ianniciello said. “That’s the good thing about baseball. You play almost every day.”

When North Fork’s starting pitcher, Cody Johnson, was relieved after six innings, the Ospreys were ahead, 6-4. But then came that ninth inning that the Ospreys would love to forget.

Bodner, who had three runs batted in, picked up a rare sort of save in the bottom of the ninth. He registered four strikeouts that inning. The first batter Bodner faced, Rauseo, swung at a low pitch for a third strike, but the ball ricochetted off the dirt and the catcher, Dan Rizzie, couldn’t stop it, allowing Rauseo to reach first base. But Bodner then fanned the next three batters to wrap up the game, the start of which was delayed 25 minutes by threatening clouds and rain.

Palladino also homered for Sag Harbor.

Nick Heath hit a home run for North Fork, which produced three-run bursts in the second and fourth innings.

The 6-foot, 180-pound Rauseo put his athleticism to good use. He went 1 for 4, showing his speed with an infield single to keep the second-inning rally going. Rauseo, who has been timed in the 60-yard dash in 6.43 seconds, also drove in a run in the fourth on a fielder’s choice, scored a run himself later that inning on an infield single by Joe Salanitri, and stole a base. He also struck out twice and caught all three fly balls hit his way in right field.

Rauseo has started the season going 3 for 15 with four RBI.

“He does a lot of things,” Ianniciello said. “He swings the bat, he’s got some speed, he’s good defensively, so we look for him to contribute in a lot of ways. He’s doing the things we need him to do.”

Rauseo indicated that he hopes the fine play he is surrounded by rubs off on him.

“Being around with the good players,” he said, “ultimately I would like to become one.”

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07/21/12 11:02pm
07/21/2012 11:02 PM


Defense and pitching. Bill Ianniciello is big on both of them.

Not that the North Fork Ospreys coach didn’t appreciate seeing his team knock four balls over the outfield fence for home runs on Saturday night, but it was the defense, especially, that caught his eye in the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League game against the Sag Harbor Whalers. Ianniciello took special delight in a sixth-inning double play made possible by his talented shortstop, Alex Perez. With a runner on first base, Dennis Mitchell bounced a grounder that the smooth-fielding Perez got to before initiating the double play. Score it 6-4-3.

“He made a good pick going to his right, and then he made a good turn,” Ianniciello said. “I love that stuff.”

Then again, there was a lot for the Ospreys to love about their 10-1 win at Jean W. Cochran Park in Peconic. Robb Paller drove in four runs and delivered one of the four home runs struck by the Ospreys (20-12). The Ospreys also received homers from Kyle Adie, Dan Kerr and Ryan Burns. Those four homers accounted for seven of North Fork’s 10 runs. Paller and Perez led North Fork’s 12-hit parade with three hits each.

Meanwhile, Vaughn Hayward turned in a winning pitching performance, going six innings while allowing three hits and one unearned run. Hayward picked up three of his seven strikeouts in the fifth inning when he struck out the side.

But the fielding had to make Ianniciello smile. The Ospreys could jot down some stars in the scorebook next to a few plays they made in the field. One of them was Anthony Aceto’s diving grab of a ball hit by Collin Williams for the third out in the second, leaving the bases loaded. Another was center fielder Kyle Adie’s fine sprawling catch of a fly ball from J. J. Franco for the game’s penultimate out.

The Ospreys looked sharp.

“We played terrific,” said Hayward.

The Hampton Division leaders, who started the day one game ahead of the second-place Shelter Island Bucks, want to be sharp, too. The regular season is making its final turn before hitting the final stretch.

Finishing in first place would be nice for the Ospreys, no doubt, but like many coaches, Ianniciello would rather his team not look too far ahead and focus on the immediate task at hand.

“You know what baseball is, it’s a grind,” he said. “You can’t start thinking too far ahead. Once you start thinking about tomorrow, today doesn’t go well.”

Saturday night went more than well for the Ospreys, starting in the first inning. Within a span of four pitches, Adie and Kerr socked back-to-back home runs for a 2-0 lead.

As it turned out, those were the only runs the Ospreys needed, thanks to the pitching of Hayward, who was ably followed on the mound by Jared Weed, Meindl and Ryan Calby.

The Whalers (12-24) managed their only run in the third. Grant Shambley doubled before heading to third base on a wild pitch. An errant throw on the play allowed him to score.

Paller chopped a run-scoring single up the middle in the fifth to restore the two-run lead.

Sag Harbor’s starting pitcher, Jim Duff, didn’t have a bad outing, striking out eight over five innings. After he made his exit, though, the Ospreys went to work in the sixth. Vinny Citro shot a double to left field, scoring a run, and then Paller followed up with a three-run blast over the right-field fence, making the score 7-1.

“We gave Vaughn way more than he even needed,” said Paller.

Adie scored on a wild pitch in the seventh, and Burns clocked a two-run homer in the eighth to complete the scoring.

“It’s much easier when your team backs you up,” Hayward said. “They made the plays today. We threw up a 10 spot. It makes the pitching that much easier when you have a cushion. So, you just throw strikes, and good things will happen.”

And the presence of a shortstop like Perez helps a lot, too.

“We lost, I think, four games when Perez was away,” Ianniciello said. “You see, he makes a play coming in on the grass that probably nobody in the league makes. He’s a pro-caliber shortstop. It’s a pleasure to watch.”

The other facets of the Ospreys’ game have been easy on the eyes, too.

“We’re putting it together,” Hayward said. “When you’re having fun, everything just falls into place.”

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07/25/11 12:02am
07/25/2011 12:02 AM

The Sag Harbor Whalers scored a pair of one-run wins to take an Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League doubleheader from the North Fork Ospreys, 5-4 and 7-6, at Mashashimuet Park in Sag Harbor on Sunday.

Joe Solomeno, Nate LaPointe and Matt Simone had a double and two hits each for the Whalers in the opener. Solomeno and LaPointe each drove in a run as well, according to www.hamptonsbaseball.org.

Matt Carroll drove in four of North Fork’s runs, going 3 for 3 with a double. Ryan Brockett went 2 for 3 with two runs scored, a double and a walk for the Ospreys.

In the second game, Brian Bruening homered and knocked in three Sag Harbor runs. Chris Gill had two hits, walked and brought in a run.

The Ospreys received two runs batted in from Ian Vazquez and a pair of doubles from Rocco Gondek, who also walked and scored twice.

07/23/11 12:21pm
07/23/2011 12:21 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Cody Perkins went 2 for 3 and scored a run for North Fork in the first game of a doubleheader against Sag Harbor on Friday.

Kyle McGowin pitched a two-hitter with 13 strikeouts as the Sag Harbor Whalers left Jean W. Cochran Park in Peconic on Friday night with a split from an Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League doubleheader against the North Fork Ospreys.

McGowin pitched the entire seven innings in the nightcap, a 7-3 Whalers win. The Whalers (17-18), who took a 5-0 lead in the first inning, received three runs batted in from Kyle Weeks, two doubles by Mike Blumenthal and another two hits from Matt Simone (double, hit by a pitch, stolen base), according to www.hamptonsbaseball.org.

Matt Halloran had a triple and two RBI for the Ospreys (19-16).

In the first game, five Ospreys had an RBI each in a 5-3 defeat of the Whalers. Chris Hueth homered for the Ospreys and Halloran and Cody Perkins added two hits each.

James Kohler was the winning pitcher, giving up five hits and two earned runs over five innings.

07/14/11 11:59am
07/14/2011 11:59 AM

The Sag Harbor Whalers scored a run in each of the first two innings and they held up for a 2-1 home win over the North Fork Ospreys in the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League on Wednesday.

The Whalers (13-14) prevailed with only three hits — singles by Ryan Kresky (two stolen bases), Joe Solomeno and Charlie Curl.

The Ospreys (16-13) managed five hits and did not have a batter with more than one hit. Four of those hits came off pitcher Kevin McCarthy, who went eight innings, striking out five and walking three.

Vaughn Hayward took the loss despite throwing seven innings of two-hit ball. He recorded nine strikeouts and five walks.

07/06/11 11:07am
07/06/2011 11:07 AM

The North Fork Ospreys built a 7-0 lead by the seventh inning and went on to beat the Sag Harbor Whalers, 7-1, in an Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League game at Jean W. Cochran Park in Peconic on Tuesday night.

Rocco Gondek (4 for 4, three runs batted in) homered for the Ospreys (12-11) as did Matt Carroll and Pat Brennan (2 for 4, two runs, double).

Ospreys pitcher Milan Mantle went the distance for a five-hitter with nine strikeouts. He walked two and did not allow an earned run.

Three of the hits Mantle allowed came from Ryan Kresky’s bat.