Featured Story
06/07/16 6:00am
06/07/2016 6:00 AM

North Fork Ospreys pitcher Greg Marino 060616

The pieces have quickly fallen into place for the North Fork Ospreys. Fielding. Hitting. Pitching. It has all been there.

That surely was the case for the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League team Monday as pitchers Greg Marino and Tevita Gerber combined for a one-hitter in a 3-1 defeat of the Southampton Breakers at Stony Brook Southampton.
READ

07/14/15 12:18am
07/14/2015 12:18 AM

OSPREYS 18, BREAKERS 9

Before the North Fork Ospreys took batting practice on Monday, their general manager, Jeff Standish, dropped off a fresh new batch of baseball bats for his players. One of those players, Ryan Mahoney, examining one of the bats closely, offered his opinion that there were hits in those bats.

How right he was.

Later that evening, those bats helped the Ospreys churn out 18 runs and 21 hits — both season-high totals — for an 18-9 pounding of the Southampton Breakers at Jean W. Cochran Park in Peconic. Not a bad way to head into the three-day all-star break. The Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League All-Star Game will be played Wednesday night at Baseball Heaven in Yaphank.  (more…)

07/30/14 12:28am
07/30/2014 12:28 AM
North Fork second baseman Brad Witkowski tags out Southampton's Donovan May, who tried to steal second base in the first inning. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)

North Fork second baseman Brad Witkowski tags out Southampton’s Donovan May, who tried to steal second base in the first inning. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)

HCBL SEMIFINALS, GAME 2 | BREAKERS 6, OSPREYS 4

The end is sudden.

A pitcher winds up, fires, the ball pops in the catcher’s mitt, and that’s it. A season is over. An intense run of 42 games in 59 days has ended for the North Fork Ospreys.

And with it came silence from the Ospreys’ dugout and a largely silent reaction from their fans. While the Southampton Breakers rejoiced and exchanged high-fives, the glum-looking Ospreys began the process of coming to terms with the notion that their summer is over. (more…)

07/28/14 9:23pm
07/28/2014 9:23 PM
Penn Murfee slides home for North Fork's first and only run in Game 1 of its semifinal series against Southampton. (Credit: Garret Meade)

Penn Murfee slides home for North Fork’s first and only run in Game 1 of its semifinal series against Southampton. (Credit: Garret Meade)

HCBL SEMIFINALS, GAME 1 | BREAKERS 7, OSPREYS 1

A five-runs-batted-in game doesn’t come along often for a player. They are to be savored. They are to be cherished. They are to be remembered.

Mitchell McGeein knows the deal. But the Southampton Breakers first baseman also knows the good feeling that comes with it is fleeting.

“It will last until I go to bed, but then as soon as I get up in the morning, it’s like it never happened,” he said. “It’s another day at the ballpark and try to repeat what I did today.” (more…)

08/06/12 3:30pm
08/06/2012 3:30 PM

GARRETT MEADE FILE PHOTO | Shaun Hansen in his high school playing days.

Shaun Hansen might be the perfect example of the big fish-little pond syndrome.

During his high school playing days for the former combined Southold/Greenport baseball team and then Southold and Greenport separately, Hansen was a dominant force as both a hitter and a pitcher. He was a monster at the plate who hit for power and average. As a pitcher, he routinely fired fastballs past overmatched batters.

Then again, that was then, in the small pond of high school baseball on eastern Long Island. The present situation is quite different for Hansen. At 6 feet 3 inches tall and 205 pounds, Hansen is a sizable speciman, but he is no longer a big fish. For one thing, he’s no longer playing in the proverbial little pond. He is in a much larger pool now. As Hansen has found, college baseball is a whole new ball game.

Hansen learned early on in his freshman season at Suffolk County Community College that he needed to adjust to a higher level, not to mention a new position: third base.

“It was a lot different than high school, a lot more intense, but I like that,” Hansen said. “Everyone is an all star. I would go out there and I would play terrible the first couple of games. I would be like: ‘Wow, I need to go to the gym. I need to do something different to help me get better. I need to get in the cage more. I need to do this and that.’ It made me want to do better, want to work harder to get better.”

In continuance of that pursuit, Hansen played for the Riverhead Tomcats in the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League this summer. He played first base, took some swings as a designated hitter and pitched some.

Hansen came off the bench in a pinch-hitting role last Thursday to line a single over third baseman Bobby Geren in the ninth inning of a 12-4 loss to the Southampton Breakers in Game 2 of the Hampton Division finals. The victory brought the Breakers their first division championship.

But Hansen, who throws and bats right-handed, had difficulty with a back injury earlier this summer. “They found out that my vertebrae has actually shifted a little bit so it’s pinching my muscle,” he said. “They stretched me out and I guess they popped it back into place.”

The back trouble didn’t help Hansen’s numbers with the Tomcats. He batted .077 (3 for 39) during the regular season with two runs batted in. As a pitcher, he went 1-2 with a 13.50 earned run average. In the nine and one-third innings he pitched, he issued 10 walks against nine strikeouts.

Of course, the other side to this is the quality of the competition he faced in the ACBL, which draws college players from various parts of the country.

“Playing in this league, it’s a little overwhelming at first,” said Hansen. He added: “Really, when I came here, I just wanted to get the experience. I wanted to play against good competition. Even if I did poorly, either way it’s a good experience. It is summer ball. It really doesn’t mean much. It’s just about getting better. It’s what the league is about, developing players.”

Riverhead coach Randy Caden said Hansen has the size and strength to be a good player. “I think he has the ability, he just doesn’t believe in himself yet,” Caden said. “It’s a confidence thing with him. … He’s never played on this level, as most kids haven’t. It’s a new challenge. I try to tell him, ‘It will come; it will come.’ But that’s the thing, as you go up, the competition gets tougher.”

Hansen was in for a surprise this past college season at Suffolk when he was asked to play third base, a position he had little experience at, to fill a team need. He also pitched for the Sharks. Hansen, whose father Brian coached the North Fork Ospreys last year, said he would like to play for a four-year school after completing his sophomore year at Suffolk.

While Hansen may like to reminisce about his high school playing days occasionally, he knows they are done and over with.

“In high school I could throw a fastball right down the middle and usually two out of three times they’re not going to hit it,” he said, “but if I throw one down here, someone’s going to take it out of the park easily.”

[email protected]

07/31/12 8:38pm
07/31/2012 8:38 PM

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | The North Fork Ospreys look on the from the dugout Tuesday afternoon as their season came to an end against Southampton.

The way left-hander Patrick Peterson mowed through the North Fork lineup early in Tuesday’s game for the Southampton Breakers, any lead seemed nearly insurmountable.

But one needed to look back only a night earlier to realize anything can happen. In the opening game of the first-round playoff series Monday, the Ospreys hit a pair of home runs in the ninth inning to nearly come back from a 5-0 hole. They lost 5-4, but carried the momentum into Game 2 of the doubleheader when they jumped ahead 5-0.

This time, the Breakers fought back with five of their own to send the game into extra innings. The Ospreys finally prevailed when Anthony Aceto hit a walk-off home run.

It all set the stage for Tuesday’s elimination Game 3 at Southampton, which looked like it might be headed for more late-inning drama.

The Ospreys trailed 3-0 going into the eighth inning before scratching together two runs and getting the tying run into scoring position with no outs.

But the afternoon belonged to Peterson. He buckled down to retire the next three batters in the eighth — the last threat for the Ospreys as their season ended with a 3-2 loss.

The No. 3 seed Southampton advances to face No. 4 Riverhead for the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball championship in a best-of-three series. Riverhead swept Shelter Island Monday.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO  |  North Fork second baseman Vinny Citro blows a bubble as he makes a catch in the fourth inning.

North Fork coach Bill Ianniciello said the team this season was a tight-knit group.

“A lot of other teams have had guys leaving during the course of the week,” he said. “Our guys were all here. I give them credit. They wanted to be here and they played to the end. It’s just unfortunate we lost a close game.”

It was a pitcher’s duel from the start. Peterson and North Fork starter Justin Hepner were both on top of their game. The only difference for most of the game was one pitch Hepner threw to Southampton cleanup hitter Rob Fonseca in the third inning. Fonseca blasted a two-run homer to left field with two out and a runner on second to give the Breakers a 2-0 lead. Brenton Allen reached with a one-out walk and stole second on the pitch before the home run.

Allen actually started toward second before Hepner began his windup. But he threw the ball to home and Allen easily scampered into second. The next pitch Fonseca put over the fence.

“He pitched a strong game,” Ianniciello said. “He pitches a game like that, he should win the game.”

Peterson, who pitches for Temple University, got the better of him. Through seven innings he allowed only one hit. He finished the game with a three-hitter. He struck out 12 by pounding the strike zone with fastballs early in the count and mixing in a good curveball.

“I was keeping my fastball down and throwing my curveball for strikes the entire game,” Peterson said. “I was consistent.”

After Ryan Burns singled in the second at-bat of the game for North Fork, Peterson retired 20 of the next 21 batters — issuing only a fifth-inning walk.

The Ospreys finally broke through when Alex Perez led off the eighth inning with a double to left-center. A pair of errors on the next two at-bats helped the Ospreys get on the board and put themselves in position for a big inning. Vinny Citro lofted a ball into shallow left to make it 3-2, but the Ospreys couldn’t get any closer.

Peterson got the next batter to fly out to center. And he got the next two hitters to ground out to the infield.

“He’s a quality pitcher,” Ianniciello said. “He’s a competitor. He mixes his pitches well and knows how to go after it. He threw an effective game.”

Peterson said after throwing against North Fork several times already this season, he was familiar with their lineup.

“I think it helped me today,” he said. “I used a little more of the curveball this time than before.”

The Breakers added a run in the seventh inning to make it a 3-0 game, a run that proved to be the difference in the game after the Ospreys got two in the eighth.

Southamptons’ run was set up by a two-out error. Allen hit an RBI single after Vinny Zarrillo reached on an infield error and advanced to second on an errant pickoff throw.

Mike Zaccardo pitched the eighth inning for North Fork and escaped a bases-loaded jam to keep the Ospreys within a run going into the ninth inning.

The Ospreys finished out the year 23-19. Ianniciello, after his first season with the Ospreys, said it was a great experience.

“I would love to work with any of these kids again,” he said. “Hopefully they go back to school a little further than where they were when they came here.”

[email protected]

08/01/11 7:48pm
08/01/2011 7:48 PM

Those were geese flying over the Southampton baseball field, not ospreys. But make no mistake, the Ospreys were flying, nonetheless.

The North Fork Ospreys turned in an impressive, complete performance to oust the Southampton Breakers in the third and decisive game of the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League Hampton Division semifinals. A quality start from pitcher Milan Mantle along with stellar defense and 10 hits worth of offense gave the Ospreys a 7-2 victory on Monday. With that, they advance to the best-of-three division finals for the third year in a row. The first game of that series against the Westhampton Aviators will be on Wednesday afternoon in Westhampton.

“Whenever you put pitching, defense and hitting together, you’re going to win more times than you lose,” said Ospreys center fielder Brendan O’Brien.

The Ospreys did all of the above without arguably their best player, Ryan Brockett, and one of their co-coaches, Michiel Van Kampen. They were both serving a one-game suspension for their ejection from Game 3 the night before. In that game, the Ospreys blew a two-run lead in the ninth inning and lost in 11 innings.

“It was a downer, but we responded great,” said Mantle.

He wasn’t kidding.

Mantle, the Ospreys’ No. 1 starter, relished the prospect of having the ball handed to him for Game 3. “I love these moments,” he said.

He pitched like it, too. In seven and two-thirds innings, the right-hander limited the Breakers to three hits and was charged with two runs. His 110-pitch effort included four walks and six strikeouts.

“I had everything working, kept the ball low in key spots,” said Mantle, who for the record is not related to the late New York Yankees great Mickey Mantle (“I wish I had his bat, that’s for sure,” he said).

Brian Hansen, the Ospreys’ other co-coach, said: “Milan was phenomenal on the mound today. He really shut the door on them.”

And Mantle had some good defense behind him. The Ospreys made plays.

The biggest was undoubtedly a terrific catch by left fielder Andrew Furr that prevented a grand slam and kept a five-run game from becoming a one-run game in the eighth inning. After Brian Monette relieved Mantle with two out and the bases loaded that inning, Brant Whiting slapped a run-scoring single and Andrew Shimkus scored from third base on a wild pitch, making the score 7-2. But it could have been worse for the Ospreys had Furr not robbed Robb Scott of a grand slam, catching the ball with his glove above the fence to end the inning.

“When I hit it, I thought it was gone,” Scott said. “Out of the box I was fired up, and once I saw him catch it, everything went out of me.”

And there was more fancy glove work: Second baseman Cody Perkins made a nice tumbling catch of a fly ball for the third out in the second inning. Ryan Brown snagged a deep drive hit by Steve Harrington while falling over the right-field fence. Shortstop Ian Vazquez turned in a pair of defensive gems, making a flashy leaping grab of a liner hit by Jordan Zech and a great stop on a hard-hit ground ball by James McMahon, who was thrown out on the play. And last, but not least, was Brown’s diving catch of a Taylor Eads fly ball for the first out in the ninth with two runners on base.

“They played phenomenal defense all day,” Scott said. “They just didn’t make mistakes, and that’s what you have to do to win. We still hit the ball hard, they just made all the plays.”

The Ospreys put up three runs in the second inning for an early lead. With a runner on third base, O’Brien struck a slow grounder that neither the third baseman McMahon or the shortstop Scott could come up with. That brought in the first run. Rocco Gondek then connected for a run-scoring double, and later scored himself on a groundout by Darrin Standish.

The gap between the teams widened in the fifth after Breakers pitcher Ryan Phelan issued walks to Standish and Ryan Williams. They were both brought home on a two-out double that Matt Carroll roped to left field, making it 5-0.

But the Ospreys weren’t through scoring. They kept hitting and tacked on two more runs in the sixth. One of them came courtesy of the sun. Perkins socked a stand-up double. He scored when the next batter, O’Brien, skyed a fly ball and left fielder Steve Schrenk lost it in the sun, allowing the ball to fall to the grass. O’Brien himself scored when the first baseman, Harrington, was unable to pull in a tricky popup by Vazquez to shallow right.

Across the board, it was a feel-good day for the Ospreys.

“I think that shows how much our team is together,” O’Brien said. “Nothing’s really going to get in the way of winning.”

[email protected]

08/01/11 12:45am

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | North Fork pitcher Ryan Williams had 10 strikeouts over seven innings.

Baseball can be a wild and crazy game sometimes. Game 2 of the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League Hampton Division semifinal series between the Southampton Breakers and the North Fork Ospreys is a case in point. The game had its fair share of wildness and craziness, not to mention a good deal of sloppiness.

Fifteen walks. Six errors. Four wild pitches. Two passed balls.

They tell much of the tale of Sunday night’s 11-inning, three-hour-plus game. The final score on Jean W. Cochran Park’s new scoreboard read 8-7 in favor of Southampton. In the end, that’s all the visiting Breakers cared about. They stretched the series to a decisive third game that will be played on their field on Monday afternoon.

The winner of the series will advance to the division finals against the Westhampton Aviators, who swept their semifinal series versus the Sag Harbor Whalers.

The Breakers’ catcher, Brant Whiting, scored the game-winning run in fitting fashion, considering everything else that went on in Sunday night’s contest. The Breakers got a break in the 11t inning. After Whiting led off with a lined single, he advanced to second base on a wild pitch, moved to third base on a wild pitch, and then scored the go-ahead run on yet another wild pitch.

“It was win or go home,” Whiting said. “I’m not the fastest guy. I got a little lucky there, I guess.”

Lucky or not, Breakers Coach Rob Cafiero liked the way his team took advantage of opportunities.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Ryan Brown of North Fork made a connection for a ground ball.

“We live to fight another day,” he said. “We had a great comeback there in the ninth, and then Brant, our catcher, he did a great job reading that passed ball. For a catcher, he’s good. He’s not so much fast, but he’s a great base runner, and he read that passed ball very well, and he broke right on it. He stepped up for us right there and he won the game for us.”

The Ospreys are focused on winning a third straight division title and defending their league crown. They will need another road win to have the chance.

“We all came up here in the beginning of the summer saying we want to win a championship,” Ospreys pitcher Ryan Williams said. “That’s what you play for, that’s what you’re here for, and now that you’re here, you just want to finish it out. So, it’s definitely important for us.”

The Ospreys, who had won the opening game of the series by a 3-1 score on Saturday, were left with three outs to work with in the bottom of the 11th. Ryan Brockett started off by hitting a ground ball to shortstop Antonio Alvarez, whose throw to first baseman James McMahon was judged to have been in time for the out. Brockett and Michiel Van Kampen, the Ospreys co-coach who was serving as the first base coach, angrily disputed the call and both were ejected from the game.

After issuing a walk to Matt Carroll, reliever Tim Swatek retired the next two batters to wrap up the win.

The Ospreys had led by two runs going into the ninth, but let the game slip from their grasp.

“That’s the game. You can never tell what’s going to happen,” said Ospreys left fielder Andrew Furr, who went 3 for 6 and drove in three runs. “We have to bounce back and play hard tomorrow and give 100 percent.”

With their season on the line and their backs to the wall, the Breakers, trailing by 7-5, tied the score at 7 in a dramatic top of the ninth. “You got to put runs on the board or you’re going home,” said Whiting.

The Ospreys’ closer, Kris Selvaggi, struggled that inning, walking the first three batters, giving up a two-run double to Whiting, and walking another batter before being pulled. But Vaughn Hayward came to the rescue. With the bases loaded, he got three outs — one on a forceout throw from Carroll to catcher Matt Halloran at home plate — and prevented further damage.

The game’s first three batters reached base. Jordan Zech made it to first base on a bad-hop single over second baseman Brockett’s shoulder on the game’s first pitch, Craig Matteo chopped a single into right field, and Steve Harrington walked. They all scored when Steve Schrenk (3 for 5, three runs batted in) clocked a triple to right-center field.

The Ospreys pulled two runs back in the bottom half of the inning. After walks by Ryan Brown and Brockett, Furr ripped a two-run single through the infield.

The Breakers made it 4-2 in the second. McMahon led off by shooting a double down the left-field line. The next batter, Alvarez, laid down a bunt. Williams scooped up the ball, but fired a low throw past Carroll and into right field, allowing McMahon to trot home.

In the third, the Ospreys knocked out Southampton’s starting pitcher, Anthony Eichhorn, and went ahead. Following a leadoff walk by Brockett, Carroll reached out at a pitch for a broken-bat single. Then Furr singled in a run, and Eichhorn was taken out of the game. The reliever, Tim Trimarchi, retired the next two batters, but then Southold High School alumnus Darrin Standish drove a two-run double over the head of the center fielder, Zech. Standish was thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple, but the Ospreys had a 5-4 lead.

After allowing four runs in the first two innings, Williams settled down. He had 10 strikeouts through six innings, fanning the side in the first (all looking) and in the fifth. Over seven innings, Williams gave up nine hits and five runs, three of which were earned. He threw 100 pitches.

In the fifth, the Ospreys loaded the bases with the aid of a Furr single, two errors and walk. After Trimarchi got the next two batters out, Brown dropped a two-run single into right field for a 7-4 Ospreys lead.

The Breakers made it a two-run game in the sixth when Zech slapped a run-scoring single.

Later in the game, though, the Breakers responded to adversity, and received a little help along the way.

Said Whiting, “That’s baseball.”

[email protected]

07/28/11 2:06pm
07/28/2011 2:06 PM

The Southampton Breakers took two games from the North Fork Ospreys in an Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League doubleheader on Wednesday. Southampton won by the scores of 3-0 and 7-1 at Jean W. Cochran Park in Peconic.

Chris Phelan pitched a seven-hit shutout in the opener with seven strikeouts. The game’s only runs came from Steve Schrenk’s three-run homer in the third inning with Craig Matteo and Steve Harrington on base, according to www.hamptonsbaseball.org.

Matt Carroll went 2 for 3 for the Ospreys.

In the second game, Breakers pitchers Anthony Eichhorn, Tim Swatek and Jared Wagner combined for a four-hitter. Harrington, who homered, knocked in two runs as did Brant Whiting (3 for 4, two doubles, run) and Matteo.

Ryan Brown singled twice and scored North Fork’s run.

The Breakers brought their record to 21-18 while the Ospreys dropped to 20-20.

07/13/11 10:52am
07/13/2011 10:52 AM

Ian Vazquez and Rocco Gondek belted three hits apiece for the North Fork Ospreys in their 8-6 defeat of the Southampton Breakers Tuesday in an Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League game in Southampton. Vazquez scored three runs and drove in another.

Kris Selvaggi posted the win for the Ospreys (16-12). He pitched three and one-third scoreless innings without conceding a hit.

Robb Scott homered for the Breakers (14-15) and teammate Jordan Zech had three hits and two runs batted in. The Breakers were charged with five errors.