By Jesse Rosenthal
The Sag Harbor Whalers, our own summer league collegiate baseball team, kicked off the 2010 season last week with a win (4-2) against the Southampton Breakers on Friday and a loss (3-1) against the North Fork Ospreys on Saturday. This Tuesday the Whalers improved their record to 2-1 with an 11-5 victory in Westhampton against the Aviators.
With another thirty-six games to be played this season, sixteen of which are home games in Sag Harbor’s own Mashashimuet park, there will be plenty of quality baseball to be seen this summer through the end of July.
After multiple injuries led to a disappointing finish in 2009, the Whalers are looking for a fresh start and some forward progress in new Head Coach Jim Buckley. Buckley spent five years playing the Boston Red Sox farm system, playing as high as Triple-A Pawtucket in 2005 and 2006. Most recently, Buckley has been the Head baseball instructor at All-Pro Sports Academy in Bellport, N.Y.
The Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League has had some fairly notable alumni move on to the majors including Jamie Moyer (Cubs), Frank Viola (Mets / Twins) and Walt Weiss (Athletics).
The team’s roster this season includes thirty-two players attending colleges and universities across the country, who hail from hometowns as close as right here in Sag Harbor and as far as Seymour, TX and Las Vegas, NV.
Left fielder Ryan Miller, a freshman at SUNY Cobleskill, calls Sag Harbor home, and C Michael Rodriguez, a Junior at Pace, is from East Hampton.
With only three games played, “the stars of the team have yet to show they’re day in and day out ability to be consistent,” said coach Buckley, but if Tuesday’s game in Westhampton was any indication, the players are beginning to adapt to the use of wood bats for the first time in game situations.
“We began swinging the bats well on Tuesday,” said Buckley. “Luke Campbell had two big hits for us and was tough all day.” Right fielder Kevin Grove also came up big for the Whalers, hitting a three-run homer in the first inning, helping the Whalers get out to an early 5-0 lead in the top of the first.
Pitching has been sharp too according to Buckley. The starting pitching rotation so far has been Ryan Bresnahan, Anthony Mannuccia and Sam Robertson. “All of them thus far have pitched very well,” said Buckley. Bresnahan gave up only one run over six innings, Mannuccia pitched five scoreless and Robertson gave up two over five innings.
In Tuesday’s game at Westhampton, Kyle Prohovich came in to relieve Elmore in the top of the sixth for a bases loaded, one out situation and got the batter to hit into a double-play on one pitch. Not bad.
The defense saw some cohesion on Tuesday as well. After committing two errors in each of the first two games, none were made in the win in Westhampton.
In addition to playing baseball, the Sag Harbor Whalers are involved in community outreach with local schools. The players participated in the daily morning program at Sag Harbor Elementary last friday, and will be attending a barbecue at Bridgehampton School this Thursday night.
Because most of the players are from different parts of the state, and in many instances different parts of the country, there resources are somewhat limited when it comes to finding summer jobs in the hamptons, a task that can be daunting even for local residents.
Anyone with information about summer jobs or anyone interested in housing a player can contact General Manager Tom Gleeson at (516) 361-0998 or General Manager Sandi Kruel at (631)725-9138.
Also, be sure to come see Legendary Yankees pitcher Tommy John who will be in attendance at Saturday’s Westhampton vs. Sag Harbor rematch which starts at 5 p.m. in Mashashimuet Park. John will be there at 5 to meet and greet players and fans from the community.