07/09/14 7:00pm
07/09/2014 7:00 PM
Riverhead Tomcats outfielder Andrew Plunkett slides into third as North Fork Osprey Penn Murfee tries to apply the tag. (Credit: Bill Landon)

Riverhead Tomcats outfielder Andrew Plunkett slides into third as North Fork Osprey Penn Murfee tries to apply the tag. (Credit: Bill Landon)

The “Oh, wow” moment happens every year.

Around the middle of June, when the high school sports season winds down, I shift gears toward the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League to help fill the sports pages along with high school summer leagues, features and columns. Inevitably, when I head down to the field for the first time each summer, I know I’m about to watch college players, several of whom come from big-time programs. (more…)

07/08/14 9:50pm
07/08/2014 9:50 PM
Stephen Woods, a Half Hollow Hills East graduate, struck out eight batters in four innings Tuesday against Riverhead. (Credit: Bill Landon)

Stephen Woods, a Half Hollow Hills East graduate, struck out eight batters in four innings Tuesday against Riverhead. (Credit: Bill Landon)

For one of the top pitching prospects out of Long Island in recent years, Stephen Woods’ career on the mound has been remarkably brief.

It wasn’t until his junior year at Half Hollow Hills East High School that Woods turned to pitching full-time as a baseball player. He had been a third baseman and outfielder, winning a gold glove award at third as a sophomore and earning all-league honors.  (more…)

07/07/14 10:00am
07/07/2014 10:00 AM
Nick Ahmed, who played for the University of Connecticut when he was a member of the Westhampton Aviators in 2009, was the first Hamptons League player to reach the big leagues. (Credit: Steve Slade/UConn Athletics)

Nick Ahmed, who played for the University of Connecticut when he was a member of the Westhampton Aviators in 2009, was the first Hamptons League player to reach the big leagues. (Credit: Steve Slade/UConn Athletics)

Brett Mauser had hoped the milestone moment would have come late last summer when Major League Baseball rosters expanded and clubs began calling up players from their farm system. Alas, it never happened.

As the 2014 MLB season unfolded, it quickly became apparent that the race was on. The Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League, now in its seventh year, was on the verge of seeing its first former player called up to the majors.  (more…)

07/01/14 12:36am
07/01/2014 12:36 AM
Tomcats' first baseman Colton Rice reached base three times Monday, including a solo home run in the eighth inning against the Ospreys. (Credit: Garret Meade)

Tomcats’ first baseman Colton Rice reached base three times Monday, including a solo home run in the eighth inning. (Credit: Garret Meade)

OSPREYS 13, TOMCATS 12

Luke Stampfl has a knack for timely hits against Riverhead.

Stampfl singled up the middle in the bottom of the ninth inning Monday night to drive in two runs, rallying the North Fork Ospreys to a come-from-behind victory over the Riverhead Tomcats in the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League. (more…)

06/25/14 8:00pm
06/25/2014 8:00 PM
Riverhead Tomcats center fielder Mike Donadio snags a fly ball against Southampton June 19. Mike's twin brother Mark plays left field. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk)

Riverhead Tomcats center fielder Mike Donadio snags a fly ball against Southampton June 19. Mike’s twin brother Mark plays left field. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)

Randy Caden is well versed in dealing with twins; the Riverhead Tomcats manager has twin boys. Still, when it comes to telling apart brothers Mike and Mark Donadio, two outfielders suiting up for the Tomcats this summer, Caden admits it’s often a toss-up.

“You can’t tell them apart unless you know the number,” he said. “Sometimes I think I have one and I turn and it’s the wrong one.”  (more…)

06/19/14 8:41pm
06/19/2014 8:41 PM
Riverhead Tomcats shortstop Danny Mendick fields a grounder in Game 2 of a doubleheader against Southampton Thursday. Mendick drove in six runs in the two games. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk)

Riverhead Tomcats shortstop Danny Mendick fields a grounder in Game 2 of a doubleheader against Southampton Thursday. Mendick drove in six runs in the two games. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)

As the fifth-year manager of the Riverhead Tomcats, Randy Caden is already one of the elder statesman in the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League.

“I love it,” Caden said. “Coaching at Farmingdale and then coming here, it’s a different type of athlete. It’s baseball, and when you’re playing good baseball, it’s enjoyable.”  (more…)

12/17/13 9:00am
12/17/2013 9:00 AM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | North Fork shortstop Eric Solberg tagging out Riverhead’s Josh Mason in a game last summer.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | North Fork shortstop Eric Solberg tagging out Riverhead’s Josh Mason in a game last summer.

The Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League will expand to the east this season when it welcomes its newest franchise into the league — the Montauk Mustangs.

Montauk will join North Fork, Riverhead, Westhampton, Southampton, Sag Harbor and Shelter Island when the league continues play in 2014. The western most team, Center Moriches, will not return to the league.

“Establishing a team in Montauk has been on the league’s radar even from the very start, and we’re so pleased that it has come to fruition,” HCBL President Brett Mauser said in a press release. “We look forward to bringing free family entertainment to Montauk each summer in the form of high-caliber college baseball action, and thank those in the community and with the school district for pledging their support. In addition, none of this would be possible without our major sponsors – Hampton Jitney, Emil Norsic & Son, and Bridgehampton National Bank — all of whose backing is truly indispensable.”

The squad’s nickname is a salute to the hamlet’s prep school teams, according to the press release. The Mustangs will be headed by general manager Robert Aspenleiter, a Montauk resident, and will play their home games at the Montauk Public School.

The Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League is one of 12 summer leagues sanctioned by Major League Baseball, and since its inception in 2008, more than 60 alumni have continued their careers at the professional level. The 2014 season will feature 140 regular-season games across the region leading up to the playoffs, which culminate with the best-of-three HCBL championship series in the first week of August, the league said.

gparpan@timesreview.com