04/30/12 8:00pm
04/30/2012 8:00 PM

ROBERT O'ROURK PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River senior Mike O'Reilly struck out 13 John Glenn batters Monday.

Mike O’Reilly recorded 13 strikeouts as Shoreham-Wading River cruised to a 7-0 win Monday afternoon to clinch a 27th straight postseason berth.

O’Reilly used a dominating fastball to overpower the Knights, giving Shoreham its 11th league win of the season to secure the defending county champions a spot in the Class A playoffs. He pitched a complete game for his fifth win of the season, giving up two hits while issuing two seventh-inning walks.

O’Reilly improved to 14-1 as a varsity starter going back to last year. His lone loss came against Bayport-Blue Point April 16, a 1-0 defeat.

The Wildcats (11-4 League VII) got a lot of production from the bottom of the order. The seven-eight-nine hitters combined for 6 RBIs. Sean Logan led the team with 3 runs batted in. He was 2-for-2 with a walk. He drove in the Wildcats’ first two runs with a single to center field in the second inning.

Mike DiSanti had an RBI single in the fourth inning and a sacrifice fly to right in the fifth. Dan DeVito hit an RBI single in the second.

John Glenn (5-10) used four different pitchers. The coaches elected to a committee of pitchers while saving their top two starters for games two and three of the series.

Shoreham and Glenn return to action Thursday at John Glenn.

joew@timesreview.com

04/30/12 6:07pm

TUCKERS 7, BLUE WAVES 0

Mattituck is not your typical high school boys tennis team. For one thing, not many teams have three eighth-graders and a freshman in their singles lineup. For another, the undefeated Tuckers are Suffolk County League VIII champions for a second straight year.

Mattituck’s 7-0 defeat of Southold/Greenport last Wednesday, coupled with Longwood’s defeat of Rocky Point the same day, left the Tuckers (11-0, 11-0) with their eighth league title and second since 2000. Last year marked their first title as a League VIII team.

“Well, it’s awesome because now we get to go to the playoffs, and everyone goes to the county tournament,” one of the team’s eighth-graders, first singles player Garrett Malave, said. “I was definitely confident that we were going far because I know last year we lost a lot of seniors, but I did have hope. I knew other teams lost seniors, too, so it was not just us.”

An injection of youth gave the Tuckers new life this season. The eighth-graders — Malave (10-1), Parker Tuthill (10-1) and Thomas Chatin (7-4) — as well as freshman Andrew Young (11-0) have been instrumental.

“I’ve had a lot of young players playing on the varsity level [before], but not this many,” said coach Mike Huey, who started coaching the Tuckers in 1976. “I knew it was all a matter of how the younger kids developed, and obviously they developed very well.”

The unbeaten record may be somewhat misleading. The Tuckers had some close matches, including a pair of 4-3 wins over Longwood.

“It was definitely a challenge to get here,” said Malave.

Mattituck faced less of a challenge on Monday when it defeated Riverhead by a 7-0 score for the second time this season. The Tuckers, playing their first match since learning they had clinched first place, were in total control at Riverhead High School. Mattituck lost only three games in the four singles matches.

Malave defeated Seth Conrad, 6-1, 6-1. Tuthill trounced his second singles opponent, John Rios, 6-0, 6-0. That was the same score that Chatin posted in his defeat of Dillon Fara-Wiggins at fourth singles. Young registered a 6-0, 6-1 defeat of Tim Saletel at third singles.

Mattituck’s first doubles team of Stefen Kuehn and Austin Tuthill brought their record to 10-0 with a 6-0, 6-3 win over Christian Aquirre and Joe Inzalac.

The No. 2 doubles team of Graham Homan and James Rabkevich improved its record to 9-2 by scoring a 6-0, 6-0 win over Steve Velasquez and Clive Williams.

Because Riverhead (0-10, 0-10) had only eight players available, it forfeited third doubles to Mattituck’s Dan Salice and Kevin Schwartz, who are 8-3.

Riverhead coach Bob Lum said his team certainly needs more depth. The Blue Waves have 12 players on their roster, including one injured player. Four of the team members started playing tennis only five weeks ago.

Lum said his players need a better understanding of the off-season commitment required to keep up with opposing teams.

“What they have to learn is how much work is needed,” Lum said. “This is not a, ‘O.K., let’s play for two months and that’s it.’ If you want to compete, you have to play for more than two months out of the year. You have to practice for more than two months out of the year, and then you can see what happens. If you only give something two months out of the year, it doesn’t take too much effort from the other team to come beat you. All they have to do is practice three months out of the year.”

The team losses aside, Conrad said it is a “great season,” and he is enjoying playing alongside his teammates. “There’s a competitive side of me that wants the team to get better, but more importantly, personally, I wish everyone had the outlook that I do,” he said. “I just want to have fun. It’s the love of the sport. I don’t think it should be something taken so seriously that you can’t enjoy it. I try to enjoy it as much as I can.”

The Tuckers have a lot to enjoy. With their young players, they should be a force for years to come. In Malave, they have one of the league’s finest talents, a player capable of making remarkable shots.

“I think Garrett can play with anybody,” Huey said. “He’s got a lot of confidence and he goes for his shots, and he’s playing good tennis right now.”

Others have obviously helped. Young, though, has been something of a wild card. Last year he played junior high school baseball before turning to tennis this year.

“Andrew Young was probably my biggest surprise,” Huey said. “I didn’t even know he existed.”

Young and his young teammates, however, are quickly making a name for themselves.

bliepa@timesreview.com

04/30/12 6:00pm

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Dan Welden adds to the print using a water crayon.

Dan Welden of Sag Harbor, a master printmaker, painter, teacher and author, conducted a free public demonstration of his printmaking process in the Carriage House at the East End Arts in Riverhead Friday.

Mr. Welden, who was assisted by artist Rosamaria Eisler during the all-day program, is the originator of the printmaking technique called the ‘solarplate’ method.

As a pioneer, he is at the forefront of using safer and greener methods for printmaking without the use of acids and other dangerous chemicals.

During his 40-year career as an artist and printmaker he has shown his work in more than 70 solo exhibits and over 500 group exhibitions across the United States and abroad.

Check out photos from Friday’s program below:

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04/30/12 3:55pm

A woman involved in the fatal incident in Hampton Bays two weeks ago that resulted in a Riverhead man’s death has claimed the killed taxi driver punched her in the jaw during a dispute in a parking lot.

Faith Miller of Hampton Bays said she was driving on Bay Avenue on April 21 when a taxi driver “blew through a stop sign” on Norbury Road, causing her to swerve off the road.

Ms. Miller said she later found the cab parked in the lot behind the Chase Bank on Montauk Highway about 3 p.m. and confronted the driver who cut her off, identified by police as Robert Levasseur, 53, of Riverhead, who worked for Four Ones Taxi Service.

“I was yelling, I was upset, but that was the end of it,” Ms. Miller said. “I didn’t chase him down.”

She claimed Mr. Levasseur got out of his taxi, told her to “shut … up” and punched her in the jaw. Ms. Miller said she was backing away from Mr. Levasseur when a nearby friend, Kenneth Tofty-Forrest, 28, of Hampton Bays, approached Mr. Levasseur and struck him once from behind.

“He, out of all the witnesses [at the incident], did something,” Ms. Miller said. “[He] comes running across the parking lot, punches him once and [Mr. Lavasseur] hits the ground.”

Mr. Totfy-Forrest then called police, she said. Ambulance volunteers at the scene treated Ms. Miller for a contusion to her left jaw.

Mr. Levasseur, who twice served in the Air Force, earning the rank of staff sergeant, was taken to Peconic Bay Medical Center for treatment and later transferred to Stony Brook University Medical Center, where he died early Thursday of his injuries, Southampton Town police Sgt. Lisa Costa said Friday.

Mr. Tofty-Forrest was arrested and charged with third-degree assault at the time of the incident, Sgt. Costa said. He was processed, arraigned in Southampton Justice Court and held at the Suffolk County jail on $5,000 bail, though he was later re-arraigned in town court and released on $500 bail, police said.

Bob Clifford, a spokesman for Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota, said Friday that “the defendant is charged with third degree assault and the investigation is ongoing.”

Southampton Police could not be reached to confirm Ms. Miller’s account.

Ms. Miller said she was frustrated that the Southampton police would not allow her to press charges against Mr. Levasseur at the time of the incident due to the severity of his injury.

She added that she has spoken to Mr. Tofty-Forrest’s attorney and the Suffolk County assistant district attorney handling the case. Though Ms. Miller didn’t know Mr. Tofty-Forrest well, she said she “will do whatever I need to do to have him not go to jail for this because this was not this fault.”

“I will be there,” she said. “I will stand behind him no matter what. If he wasn’t there, I could’ve been that driver and I have three kids.”

psquire@timesreview.com

04/30/12 12:00pm

COURTESY PHOTO | Little League founder and coach Bob Burns in a 1985 photo with the Riverhead Moose Little League all-star team.

One night a few weeks ago, about a dozen men and women gathered in a backyard in Jamesport to chat, just as they do on a regular basis. They come from all walks of life and from all across town but are united by a single thread: the Riverhead Little League.

For over 60 years, the Riverhead Little League has provided the opportunity for hundreds of boys and girls to play baseball during the hot Riverhead summers. But for some athletes, parents, coaches, and administrators, the Little League means something more: it’s a place where life-long friendships were made.

The Riverhead Little League was formed in 1953 with no commissioner and just about 70 kids among the four teams, according to former administrators of the league, which celebrated its 60th anniversary this Saturday.

“It wasn’t very formal,” said Alex Doroski, a former treasurer and coach of the Little League who attended the get-together.

From its humble early days, the Little League grew. Charlie Crump served as the League’s first commissioner and implemented a minor league. In 1983, Mitch Skrypecki took over and formalized the league.

“Mitch’s claim to fame was the business side,” Mr. Doroski said.

By then the league had expanded to six teams, each sponsored by an organization in town like the Lions, Rotary or fire department. The Lions were the perennial best of the Little League, the “Yankees” according to former players and coaches, and no one was more revered than its head coach, Bob Burns.

Mr. Burns’ team dominated the league thanks to his smart drafting (the Little League used a drafting system in those days to assign teams) and dedication to coaching.

“He was Mr. Little League, no question about it,” said Vic Bozuhoski, who coached the Lions for 10 years with Mr. Burns.

The group passed around a photo of Bob Burns riding a kids’ carousel and laughed. Mr. Burns had taken an All-Star team to Rome, N.Y., to compete in a state-wide championship, and during a meeting with other coaches he promised he would ride the carousel if the Riverhead team scored a victory their first game.

The team won 4-0.

Today, one field at Stotzky Park is named in his honor.

Ron Schmitt Jr., a former player in the Little League and son of one of the commissioners, said he could still picture what happened when he tried out for Mr. Burns’ team.

“I remember the last thing he said to me was, ‘Throw it to me as hard as you can,’ ” Mr. Schmitt said. “I missed him by 18 feet!”

Mr. Schmitt would be drafted by the fire department team that year and would lead that team to victory on several occasions as a starting pitcher.

Mr. Schmitt’s father, Ron Sr., took over the league after Mr. Skrypecki retired and ran it for more than 12 years. Mr. Schmitt, who also attended the get-together and still keeps a scrapbook of his son’s days in the Little League, has a field named after him at Stotzky Park as well.

The former administrators all praised the town and its people for standing behind the Little League decades ago.

They still remember and appreciate the way the town’s groundskeepers kept the fields in pristine shape, the way the Suffolk County National Bank paid for a scoreboard and the way Riverhead Building Supply gave the league donations and discounts to build facilities.

The companies never publicized their donations and hard work, the former coaches said. They just did it to help.

psquire@timesreview.com

04/30/12 10:00am

GIANNA VOLPE PHOTO | The Long Island champion Blue Waves are celebrated Sunday on Main Street.

Riverhead at it’s best.

That’s what was on display Sunday — along with the Riverhead girls basketball team — at a parade down Main Street celebrating the team as Long Island champions.

It was a first L.I. championship in Riverhead High School history for the girls team. I imagine the ticker tape-type parade was a first as well.

Sunday’s parade was a prime example of what makes this one of the most unique town and one of the most special communities on Long Island.

Having lived in two western Suffolk towns, which were great in their own rights and had great people, there was a big disconnect when it came to what was going on in the schools, and say, what was going on at Starbucks, or the deli or Target or the supermarket.

Not here. Here, the girls’ basketball team was the talk of the town. They still are.

And as long as the team’s current players live here, or come back to visit from school or wherever else, they will always be recognized for their historic season — and how they boosted the spirits of a small town in the winter of 2012.

• Congratulations also to Riverhead Little League on its 60th anniversary, which was marked Saturday at the league’s opening day ceremonies. Hundreds of players, coaches and parents gathered in Stotzky Park during a sunny yet brisk day to kick off another season, and to celebrate the leagues past.

To make the event extra special, league officials brought in Mets legend Mookie Wilson, as well as the Long Island Ducks mascot, Quack Erjack, for the little ones who might not have fully appreciated the unique talents of the man in the black jackets and jeans who once wore blue and orange.

Check back at riverheadnewsreview.com or pick up the newspapaer — on stands now — for a story on the history of the league and its people.

• The Shoreham-Wading River community held its fourth annual LAX-out Cancer event at the high school. The event, which is growing annually in popularity, featured a non-league rematch of last year’s boys Long Island championship game between Shoreham-Wading River and Garden City.
The event drew hundreds of people and also featured plenty of pink, with the Wildcats team wearing pink uniforms. Organizers hoped to raise as much as $30,000 in donations to help fight cancer.The idea for the fundraiser came in 2007 after the Wildcats had won a state championship. The team had planned a ring ceremony around Thanksgiving to celebrate the achievement. A few days before the ceremony, a player lost his father to cancer.

Last year the Wildcats honored Liam McGuire, who was 7 at the time and battling chromosomal leukemia. McGuire was an honorary captain for the Wildcats last season. Twenty-five percent of donations from this year’s event were going to the McGuire family.

The remaining 75 percent will be evenly divided among three cancer research foundations.

CLICK HERE FOR STORY AND HERE FOR SLIDE SHOW

04/30/12 8:09am

VERA CHINESE FILE PHOTO | Riverhead Chamber of Commerce president Janine Nebons at the group's awards dinner last December.

Local businesses are invited to participate in the Riverhead Chamber of Commerce’s collaborative marketing event, ‘The Dealmakers Tailgate Convention,’ on Wednesday, May 16, at Hotel Indigo in Riverhead. Between 4 and 7 p.m., participants will be assigned spaces in the hotel’s back parking lot and work out of their car trunks; setup time is 3 p.m. A prize will be given for the best tailgate setup. In case of rain, the event will move inside, with setup starting at 2.

The fee is $50 for chamber members, $100 for others. Applications and additional information are available at riverheadchamber.com.

• Bridgehampton National Bank has announced the appointment of Mattituck resident Thomas Sullivan as vice president, commercial lending officer for the bank’s Suffolk County market. Mr. Sullivan was most recently a vice president with Capital One Bank, working with commercial clientele.

• Bridgehampton National Bank has reported the results of it winter “Holiday Apple” campaign, which collected $17,000 in donations from customers, employees and the company itself. The funds were distributed to local food pantries, which each received $1,000, along with nonperishable food items that were also collected during November and December.

• The April dinner meeting of the North Fork Chamber of Commerce will be held Monday, April 30, 6 p.m. at Orient by the Sea Restaurant on Main Road, Orient. Carolyn Fahey of the Suffolk County Department of Economic Development and Workforce Housing will speak. The cost is $28 for members, $35 for others. RSVP to 765-3161.