The Bridgehampton School — which graduated Carl Yastrzemski, the Red Sox Hall of Famer, in 1957 — is making a play to bring baseball back to its lineup of sports offerings for the first time since 1963.
Elementary school science teacher Lou Liberatore, who also coaches baseball at Bayport/Blue Point High School as the varsity assistant, has set his sights on fielding a junior varsity Bridgehampton team in the 2020-2021 school year. During last Wednesday’s school board meeting, Liberatore laid out a step-by-step plan that he hopes would ramp up interest and skills among potential players.
“Our goal over the next two years is to get the boys to buy into baseball,” he said. “We’re just interested in getting better right now. If we can get better right now, everything can take care of itself.”
This year, Liberatore will be offering monthly camps for students in grades four to eight, with intramurals on Thursdays during November and December and a weeklong summer camp planned for 2019. The following school year, a four-week “machine league” would be offered at the school in September. Open gym practices would be added in the winter, along with springtime outdoor practices for students in grades five through nine. The summer camp in 2020 would be for kids in grades six to 10.
Then, in the 2020-2021 school year, the goal would be a junior varsity team stacked with eligible seventh to 10th graders, with a varsity team hopeful for 2021-2022.
“They have a lot of energy and they give a lot of effort,” said Liberatore, who played baseball at Molloy College. “These are great kids and I think we’re moving in the right direction. Hopefully the best is yet to come.”
His best friend, Shea Spitzbarth, a right-handed pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers AAA farm team, recently led a clinic at the school. Fifth-grader Constantine Reilly called it “the best camp ever.”
“I had the best time because all my friends at Bridgehampton were playing the sport that I love,” he said. “The energy seemed contagious. We all had so much fun.”
After he and two other students made their case for a team on Wednesday, school board president Ron White — who is also the school’s varsity basketball coach — seemed to think the idea was a home run.
“I think this is amazing and I really appreciate someone with energy and direction,” White told Liberatore. “You make me a believer. … This is exciting.”