By Andrew Rudansky
This week the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League passed the midway point in their season, with the Sag Harbor Whalers at a disappointing half-a-game out of last place. But their poor record, currently 8-13, this far into the season does not reflect their level of play in the past few games. Since the start of the month the whalers have gone 3 and 2, both losses coming from close games that could have gone either way.
On Friday, July 2, the Whalers surged ahead of the Southampton Breakers with two runs scored in the first inning. They held on for a 5-2 win thanks to starting pitcher Ryan Mikalsen, and team slugger Kevin Grove who hit his third home run of the season.
The following day the Whalers played host to the Riverhead Tomcats for a grueling double-header. Whaler pitcher Andrew English was rattled by Riverhead’s power hitting and the game quickly turned into a 6-1 flop. However, in the bottom of the fifth the Whalers thundered back with four runs of their own. This proved to be too little too late; when in the last inning, with no outs and the tying run on second base the Tomcats showcased their game closing ability, finishing the game with a 6-5 Riverhead victory.
The second game of the doubleheader was a pitching duel between Tomcat Joey Novak and Whaler Ryan Bresnahan who only allowed six hits between the two of them. The Whalers won the extra-innings game 1-0, splitting the double-header when Kevin Grove hit an RBI Double.
Sunday, July 4, the Whalers fought another pitching battle, this time against the last-place Southampton Breakers. The game, which was tied at zero well into extra innings, was decided by a bottom of the inning surge by the Breakers, who won, 5-1.
On Tuesday, July 6, the Whalers beat the top-seeded North Fork Ospreys in a hard fought 6-4 victory.
“Earlier in the season we may have laid down and taken a loss,” said Whalers Assistant Coach Dave Pahucki, “but it’s good to see [the team] take their swings, bear down on the mound and play defense.” The Whalers are eight-and-a-half games behind first place, but there is still plenty of time left in the season and they are still very much in the chase.