By Gavin Menu
The Sag Harbor Whalers of the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League have been reeling in recent weeks, losing eight of their last 10 games to slip into sixth place in the seven-team standings.
More importantly, the Whalers were three games out of the fourth and final playoff spot as of Wednesday, with the postseason set to begin later this month.
Bigger things were at play this week, however, as the Whalers and their July 4 opponent, the Shelter Island Bucks, honored a pair of local war veterans who were killed in the line of duty. The Whalers lost, 5-0, in the teams’ annual Independence Day game, which honors Army First Lieutenant Joseph Theinert, a native of Shelter Island, and U.S. Marine Corps Lance Corporal Jordan C. Haerter, a native of Sag Harbor.
Shelter Island righthander Anthony Alicki (Bridgeport) improved to 5-0 by pitching the hosts to victory, hurling six shutout innings while giving up just five hits and a season-low one walk to keep the Whalers off balance. Alicki also struck out seven, and with three weeks to go, he stands just two wins shy of the league’s all-time mark of seven, set by current pros Nick Tropeano (Riverhead ’09) and Paul Paez (Southampton ’12).
Sag Harbor’s Matt McCann (Fairleigh Dickinson) and Joey Sanchez (Long Beach State) each had two hits, but it wasn’t nearly enough against the Bucks, who are just a half-game behind first-place Westhampton in the league standings.
Fans of both squads came out to honor Theinert, who was killed in Afghanistan in June of 2012, and Haerter, who was killed in action in Iraq in 2008. Billy Theinert, Joseph Theinert’s brother, and Joanne Lyles, Haerter’s mother, threw out the game’s first pitches.
For a complete schedule of upcoming games visit hamptonsbaseball.org