By Gavin Menu
The Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League celebrated Independence Day at Mashashimuet Park on Monday with a game between the Sag Harbor Whalers and Shelter Island Bucks, held annually in memory of Lance Corporal Jordan C. Haerter and First Lieutenant Joseph J. Theinert, who died in action in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The somber remembrance played out against a festive background with Girl Scouts presenting the colors and Pierson student Daniel Hartnett singing the national anthem before a lively crowd on hand under glorious summer skies.
Colman Vila, an alumni of Pierson High School who currently pitches at the University of Delaware, started the game and delivered another stellar performance, allowing just one run on three hits through five innings. Vila left the game with a 5-1 lead, but Shelter Island rocked reliever Griffen Dey (Yale) for five runs in the sixth. The Whalers snatched back the lead with two runs in the bottom of the seventh, and after Shelter Island scored in the top of the eighth to tie the game, Sag Harbor scored again in the bottom of the ninth for a walk-off victory.
The result improved Sag Harbor’s record to 11-12-1, which ties the Whalers for fourth place with Riverhead in the seven-team league standings. Westhampton, at 16-7-1, is in first, followed by Montauk (14-9) and the North Fork (14-12). The top four teams will qualify for the playoffs at the end of this month.
Aaron Schiavoni, another son of Sag Harbor and soon-to-be junior catcher for SUNY-Maritime, was on hand Monday to watch the Whalers as he will miss the summer season due to a minor knee injury. Schiavoni recently returned home after 45 days at sea, traveling aboard a government ship from New York to Virginia and across the Atlantic Ocean to Italy and Ireland.
“The things I’ve been able to do and see, it has been incredible,” said Schiavoni, who batted .247 with a team-high 25 RBI’s at Maritime last year as a sophomore. “We spent 45 days at sea. We’re working, taking classes, and then on watch where we’re on the bridge steering the ship, looking at the radar. We use the sun, the moon and the stars to navigate. The stuff we do in class during the year, we put to work out there.”
Maritime finished with the program’s best-ever record at 22-14, but made a quick exit from the playoffs with a 3-2 loss to St. Joseph’s in Brooklyn. Personally, Schiavoni said his season had its “ups and downs” but that he was happy with how he finished and was looking forward to next season.
Moving back to the HCBL, the league will host its annual mid-summer All-Star game at Baseball Heaven in Yaphank on Monday, July 11. There will be a homerun derby held prior to the game’s 7 p.m. start, with Griffin Dey representing Sag Harbor. Manny Ramirez Jr., the son of the former Boston Red Sox star with the same name, is one of seven players currently being voted on to fill one final spot in the homerun derby lineup. To vote or to view schedules for the upcoming week visit hamptonsbaseball.org.