03/14/14 10:00am
03/14/2014 10:00 AM
BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | A dugout at the Flanders Little League baseball field at Iron Point Park.

A dugout at the Flanders Little League baseball field at Iron Point Park. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch photo)

In 1971, just south of the Peconic River and the turf of the long-established Riverhead Little League, a separate four-team league was formed in Flanders. It was something for the community to rally around, as much a part of its identity as the Big Duck or the Men’s Club.

But slowly, the Flanders Little League waned. Fewer children were interested in joining and sponsors dried up. Four teams became two.

The popularity of other sports had eaten into its base of players, which was already shrinking as fewer families moved into the area and demographics of the hamlet changed. (more…)

03/12/14 6:00pm
03/12/2014 6:00 PM

Mercy varsity baseball coach Skip Gehring goes over instructions with his team during practice Tuesday. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)

It’s not the soreness that’s been a problem so much for Mercy’s new baseball coach. It’s the blisters.

Such is the price to pay for the constant barrage of fly balls hit into the outfield during practice.

“In the first week of practice I probably hit 800 fly balls to the outfielders,” said Skip Gehring, who replaces Ed Meier as the varsity coach this season.  (more…)

03/06/14 1:00pm
03/06/2014 1:00 PM

Keven Pimentel played one year of varsity at Shoreham last season before transferring to Florida along with Nick Bottari. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk, file)

As Shoreham-Wading River baseball players arrived to the season’s first practice Monday, two noticeable faces from last year were gone.

Nick Bottari, who in 2010 became the first eighth-grader to ever play varsity at Shoreham, and Keven Pimentel, a hard-throwing pitcher who transfered to Shoreham as a junior, were both more than 1,000 miles to the south in Florida. The two close friends, both Division I players signed to the University of Miami, decided at the end of last year to transfer out of Shoreham for their senior year.  (more…)

02/21/14 8:00am
02/21/2014 8:00 AM

McGann-Mercy athletic director Paul Mastronardi, who previously coached at Eastport-South Manor, said he will coach football and lacrosse at Mercy, but would not be the head coach. (The Press News Group/Kerry Monaco photo)

From Mercy High School’s humble beginnings in the 1950s, when 47 students in a temporary building on Roanoke Avenue made up its inaugural class, the small Riverhead school has served as the East End’s home for secondary students seeking a Catholic education in a close-knit community. As the school expanded, eventually becoming Bishop McGann-Mercy Diocesan High School in 2002, students there continued to gravitate toward athletics as a part of their education.

The Monarchs, while successful at times in certain sports, have never been known as a powerhouse program.

Administrators now hope to change that.  (more…)

12/29/13 7:00am
12/29/2013 7:00 AM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Matt Crohan, the only non-senior starter for Riverhead on Senior Day, did not allow an earned run and gave up two hits in six innings for his first career win.

GARRET MEADE FILE PHOTO | Blue Waves baseball pitcher Matt Crohan.

At times during the 2013 season, it seemed almost unfair for any batter who stepped up to plate against Riverhead’s towering left-hander, Matt Crohan.

For two months, he mowed through one lineup after another. He posted a streak of 44 straight scoreless innings and threw a pair of no-hitters. His magnificent season earned him the Carl Yastrzemski Award as the top baseball player in Suffolk County.

He became the first Riverhead player to ever win the award. He was also the League IV Most Valuable Player and was Newsday’s Long Island Player of the Year.

Crohan now attends Winthrop University, where he’ll continue his baseball career this spring.

Editor’s note: We’re counting down the top 10 sports stories of 2013. Check back every day until Jan. 1 to follow along.