After a few postponements, mainly due to weather, the 30-and over, wooden bat Hamptons Adult Hardball league held its inaugural baseball game and opening day on Sunday, June 6, at Mashashimuet Park in Sag Harbor.
The initial Opening Day, May 30, was rained out following the storm system that washed out the region Memorial Day weekend. Jim Kinnear and Peter Barylski, co-founders of the league, had moved opening day to June 1 at Southampton High School’s junior varsity field, but that wasn’t in a playable condition, so they moved it to Sunday, back in Sag Harbor.
The inaugural game between the South Fork Giants, managed by Barylski, and the New York Reds, managed by Frank Vespe, was played under sunny skies, with very summer-like hot and humid conditions. The Giants went on to defeat the Reds, 14-2.
Later in the afternoon, the Harbor Krakens, managed by Tim Pilinko, defeated the Sag Harbor Royals, managed by Kinnear, 19-7. Both games ended early due to a 12-run-after-five-innings mercy rule.
While the scores may say otherwise, both Kinnear and Barylski said it was a great start to the season, but with room for improvement.
“The games went off without a hitch. The field was in great shape,” Kinnear said. “My game was competitive up until the third inning. We’ve got some bugs to work out. It was warm. I thought my pitcher would last a little bit longer, but he sort of ran out of gas.
“But four teams are out there playing. Everybody is uniformed,” he continued. “I was very positive with my guys afterwards. The majority of the league has not played in many years and so they’ve all got a lot of learning to do. For me, it’s very challenging managing and being a catcher. I’ve played the past 10 years but haven’t managed, so that’s a learning experience all and of itself. But we’re off to a great start and we think it’s going to be a lot of learning this year, but it’s going to be great.”
Barylski started on the mound for his team, the Giants, and said it was nice being able to play in front of a home crowd, as opposed to playing 60 to 70 miles away as he and Kinnear did for many years, and was the inspiration for the new league.
“It was a good feeling to be pitching at home,” he said. “I looked around and there were a lot of fans there, wives and kids. It was a great feeling to see that. Typically, when we go away, there are two or three people at the game, so we had a pretty good turnout.”
Again, while the scores may not indicate it, Barylski was surprised with how good the pitching was on the first day. Pitchers just need to build up their arm strength, which will come they play more.
“Pitchers really have not conditioned their arms yet to go five, six, seven innings. I think that had a lot to do with it,” he said. “Otherwise it was exciting.”
Games are sporadically played throughout the week. Schedules, and any other information, such as how to register to play, can be found at hamptonsadulthardball.com.