By Michael Pintauro
As the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball season nears its end, so do playoff hopes for the Sag Harbor Whalers. The team is 9.5 games back from first place North Fork Ospreys with only three games left to finish this week meaning there is no way for Sag Harbor to make it into the post season.
This week was particularly difficult for the Whalers. The two games the Whalers’ played happened to be against the Ospreys, who crushed Sag Harbor in two painful defeats.
On Saturday, July 21, the Whalers travelled to the North Fork to take on the Ospreys at home in Peconic’s Cochran Park, where ultimately they lost the game 10-1. The Ospreys took an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first, after Ospreys pitcher Vaughn Hayward made easy work of the Whalers with a one-two-three first inning. Hayward threw a solid eight strikeouts against the flailing Whalers, going six innings and giving up only three hits. The Whalers would strikeout 13 times in the game — almost half their at-bats.
Whalers starting pitcher Jim Duff had a game almost as good as his opponent, throwing five strong innings, striking out eight and recording two earned runs on six hits. After giving up two runs early in the first, Duff was solid on the mound. But as the relievers came in during the middle innings, the floodgates opened, and the Osprey runs began pouring in.
Reliever Kevin Korkate gave up four earned runs in one inning of pitching, striking out two, but walked away with a 36.00 Earned Run Average (ERA). Out of the 10 runs recorded by the Ospreys on the day, six were homers. Ospreys’ hitters Kyle Adie, Robert Paller, Ryan Burns, and Daniel Kerr each smacked homers. Paller hit two of them.
On Sunday, July 22 – the Whalers’ would returned to Mashashimuet Park to host the Ospreys at home, in hopes of at least defeating the first place team. However, victory was not in the cards for Sag Harbor. The Whalers struggled to get on offense, losing control of the game in the ninth inning with a final score of 10-3.
Most of the game unwound like a pitcher’s duel, with a score of 2-1 until the ninth inning. Whalers’ starting pitcher David Rowan pitched well through five innings, giving up four hits, striking out three with one earned run. Ospreys’ pitcher, David St. Lawrence, however, was a wrecking ball on the mound, mercilessly striking out 11 Whalers in eight innings, letting up only one earned run on two hits.
As both teams struggled to string together hits and form runs, the game appeared destined for extra innings, but North Fork had other plans when they stepped up to the plate in the top of the ninth.
After a tough play in right field cost John Hennessey an error, the Ospreys’ secured a man on second and third with no outs. With a hard hit ground ball to third base on the next play, Stuart Levy displayed great poise for the tag out at the plate. The Whalers’, looking at runners on second and third again with one out, decided to intentionally walk Ospreys power-hitter Dan Kerr. With bases loaded, the Whalers looked to force a ground ball to turn a double play, but instead, Whalers pitcher Thomas Cardona threw two wild pitches and walked a batter before getting the next out on a ground ball.
With two out, the Ospreys tacked on six more runs in the inning, most of them unearned due to playing errors by the Whalers infield. North Fork continued to be aggressive around the bases, forcing bad throws and capitalizing on whatever play they could as their runners advanced.
The Whalers’ attempted to fight back in the bottom of the ninth. Sure enough, they got runners on the corners with no outs. With slugger Dennis Mitchell at bat, it appeared a rally could be in the works.
Mitchell, however, smacked a hard hit ground ball, leading to the first out, scoring Grant Shambley from third. Hennessey, who would advance to second on the play, would later score off a playing error. Ultimately, the runs did not come, and the two scored by Shambley and Hennessey were all the Whalers could muster in the final inning of the game.