By Gavin Menu
A new manager will be at the helm of the Sag Harbor Whalers baseball team this summer, hoping to breathe new life into the program, which is now entering its sixth season.
Brendan Monaghan, an assistant coach at St. John’s University and former all-star with the Long Island Ducks minor league team, will manage the Whalers starting with the opener on Sunday, June 2.
Monaghan recently returned to St. John’s, where he was a first-team All-Big East player, after spending four years as a professional, signing first with the Baltimore Orioles as an un-drafted free agent. In 2011, he hit .291 with 18 doubles and 24 RBIs in his all-star season with the Ducks.
But now he has turned his career toward coaching, and in an interview this week said he was looking forward to taking another step in that progression by managing the Whalers of the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League (HCBL) this summer.
“I’m excited for the opportunity to be out there,” Monaghan said. “I’ve heard how great the community is and I’m excited to be part of it.”
Roots for the HCBL began in 2008 with one franchise, the Hampton Whalers, who in their first season won the Kaiser Division of the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League, which no longer exists. Four new teams joined the league the following year, and two more joined last year. Today, teams from Center Moriches, Riverhead, Shelter Island, Westhampton, Sag Harbor, the North Fork and Southampton, the league’s defending champion, compete in the HCBL.
The Whalers will host Shelter Island at 5 p.m. on June 2 to kick off a 40-game schedule.
“All the kids are college players and they’re all off at their respective schools right now, so you get about two days of meet and greet and then you just roll it out there and see what fits,” Monaghan said. “You get kids from all over the place, from all different levels.”
Monaghan said this year’s roster includes players from top-level and lower-level Division I schools and from the lower divisions as well. The Whalers roster includes Pierson graduate Brandon Kruel, a junior at Long Island University’s CW Post, as well as Deilyn Guzman, a graduate of East Hampton High School who is now a sophomore at Molloy College. Monaghan said summer leagues are all about the players having an opportunity to continue their development, hopefully in a nurturing atmosphere.
“It’s about making the kids understand what they need to do to get better,” the Whalers new manager added. “As college coaches, we send kids away to play, to get more at bats or more innings. But you also want to win, you want to be competitive. I think you learn more about the game when you’re in a competitive atmosphere.”