Perhaps it was only a matter of time before the South would rise again, but who thought it would do so with such a vengeance?
After rocking the North All Stars for five first-inning runs en route to an 8-0 lead, the South All Stars won the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League All-Star Game in convincing fashion, 9-1, on Monday night at Baseball Heaven in Yaphank. The North had won the first three All-Star Games.
Nick Fanneron of the Montauk Mustangs, the only player with two hits (one of them a home run for the South), was named the game’s MVP.
The South’s stellar pitching showed as nine South pitchers combined for 13 strikeouts, no walks and allowed four hits.
North Fork Ospreys and Riverhead Tomcats accounted for all of the North’s hits: a seventh-inning, opposite-field homer by Dan Schock (Ospreys), doubles by Anthony Lazar (Tomcats) and Sean Buckhout (Ospreys) and a single by Tim DeGraw (Tomcats).
Former Shoreham-Wading River High School catcher Jack Massa (Westhampton Aviators) played for the South. He struck out in his only at-bat.
With scouts watching, the South effectively took control of things in the bottom of the first when it struck for five hits and a 5-0 lead. Within a span of four at-bats, Billy Schlich (Southampton Breakers), Jack Thompson (Sag Harbor Whalers) and Hunter Courson (Breakers) singled in a run each and Gable Whitacre (Breakers) whacked an RBI double off beleaguered Ospreys pitcher Anthony Catinella.
Things settled down until the fifth when Matt Dunlevy (Westhampton Aviators) jumped on a pitch for a two-run homer and the next batter, Fanneron, took the ball over the left-centerfield fence for a commanding 8-0 lead.
Following Schock’s homer in the seventh, Oscar Marchena (Whalers) replied in kind in the bottom half of the inning, restoring the South’s eight-run lead.
Eleven Ospreys and 11 Tomcats were named to the North squad, which was managed by Bill Ianniciello of the Ospreys.
John Rooney of the Breakers set the tone for the South pitchers by retiring the side in order in the first, the first two batters on strikeouts.
The North didn’t collect its first hit until Lazar drilled a one-out double in the fourth.
Meanwhile, the South spread the wealth, with eight players driving in a run or two and 10 of its batters getting a hit or two.
Ping Goes Bam. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the HCBL’s home-run leader, the Westhampton Aviators’ Aaron Ping, won the league’s second Home Run Derby on Monday. The manner in which Ping won, however, was a bit interesting.
Ping survived a sudden-death tiebreaker against the North Fork Ospreys’ Dan Schock to reach the semifinals before going on to top the Sag Harbor Whalers’ Griffin Dey, 3-2, in the final. Ping was two swings away from defeat before driving a deep shot over the leftfield fence at Baseball Heaven on his final swing to win it.
Ping, who slugged 26 homers altogether, was awarded a bat afterward by league commissioner Ben Bonaventura.
In the first round, Ping managed only three homers, leaving him and Schock to face off in a tiebreaker for a place in the semifinals. After the two drew, 5-5, they went into a sudden-death round with 10 swings each. Ping prevailed, 6-3, before then clocking nine homers in the semis.
Ping has hit a league-leading 12 homers this season.
Stephen Haring of the Riverhead Tomcats led the eight-player competition in the first round with six homers, but another six in the semis wasn’t enough for him to advance to the final.
Richie Palacios of the Ospreys, who was voted into the derby by fans, did not hit a homer in eight swings.
Photo caption: North Fork Ospreys manager Bill Ianniciello, far right, and the North All Stars pay their respect during the playing of the national anthem. (Credit: Garret Meade)