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07/31/16 8:53pm
07/31/2016 8:53 PM

Riverhead pitcher Nick Morena 073116

The critical plays didn’t go the Riverhead Tomcats’ way on a day they needed to win in order to play another day.

The Westhampton Aviators finished the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League regular season in first place for a reason. Just leave the door open a crack for the Aviators and they will burst through it.
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07/11/15 8:00pm
07/11/2015 8:00 PM
Former Shoreham-Wading River High School catcher Jack Massa is spending his summer with the Westhampton Aviators. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)

Former Shoreham-Wading River High School catcher Jack Massa is spending his summer with the Westhampton Aviators. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)

The players on the 2014 Shoreham-Wading River High School baseball team were a close bunch. “The closest team I’ve ever been a part of,” said catcher Jack Massa.

Massa said he still sees former Wildcats teammates and spends time with them when he is home from college. He even crosses paths with one of them, Tyler Osik, on the baseball diamond.  (more…)

07/06/15 9:38pm
07/06/2015 9:38 PM
Riverhead's Tyler Osik waits for the throw at second base as he tries to turn a double play against Westhampton (Credit: Daniel De Mato)

Riverhead’s Tyler Osik waits for a throw to second base as he tries to turn a double play against Westhampton (Credit: Daniel De Mato)

AVIATORS 9, TOMCATS 2

It seemed hard to believe afterward, looking at the scoreboard at Aviator Field in Westhampton, but for six tight innings, the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League game had been a classic pitching duel.

And then the wheels came flying off, sending the Riverhead Tomcats tumbling to defeat.

That’s baseball for you.  (more…)

07/27/13 8:08pm
07/27/2013 8:08 PM

AVIATORS 6, TOMCATS 4

Consider the meaning of  “meaningless,” as in “meaningless game.”

What would happen if two baseball teams were assembled to play a meaningless game? Well, for one thing, a debate about the terminology might ensue, and one could conclude that “meaningless” is in the eye of the beholder.

While some observers may have attached little to no importance to the Riverhead Tomcats-Westhampton Aviators game on Saturday, it didn’t appear that any players or managers were among them. Because the game didn’t have any affect on the Hampton Collegiate Baseball League’s final standings or the playoffs, some may have regarded the final regular-season game between the two teams as meaningless, but “meaningless” is apparently not in the vocabulary of either club.

Although there was a light mood surrounding the contest, neither side played as if it was meaningless. The Aviators produced a meaningful five-run burst in the seventh inning and walked away with a 6-4 win at Aviator Field in Westhampton. The rally featured a leadoff home run by Joey Havrilak and a two-run, pinch-hit single by Dan Parisi.

“I don’t think the game was meaningless,” John Melville, the Tomcats’ starting pitcher, said. “Like I said, you’re out here just trying to make yourself better. Guys are getting at-bats, guys are getting innings. You play the game to win.”

By virtue of their 4-2 loss to the Sag Harbor Whalers on the same field earlier in the day, the Aviators (24-16) were locked into second place. The Whalers clinched first place with that win, leaving them with a 24-15 record heading into their final regular-season game Saturday night against the North Fork Ospreys.

Earlier in the day in Riverhead, the Tomcats had dropped a 4-3 loss to the playoff-bound Ospreys. A win by the Center Moriches Battlecats the night before had already eliminated the Tomcats (18-22) from playoff contention, though. (Ironically, it was a loss by the Battlecats in their final regular-season game last year that brought the Tomcats a playoff spot.) That took an awful lot of meaning out of Riverhead’s final two games on Saturday.

Regardless, Tomcats Randy Caden dismissed the notion of that meaningless thing. “The kids that come here, they’re competitive,” he said. “There’s no meaningless game.”

The 2013 season had started so promisingly for the Tomcats, who can pinpoint their downfall. After starting the season with a 13-8 record, they lost two of possibly their best players, catcher Charley Gould and shortstop Mike Brosseau, to injuries. The impact was immediate. With those two players out, the Tomcats dropped 13 of their next 15 games.

Ouch!

“Other teams got hot at the right time,” Caden said. “There were a lot of games that we should have won but didn’t, but that’s life, that’s baseball.”

And so the Tomcats finished in fifth place while the top four teams in the seven-team league move on to the postseason.

“It was the end of a short but long season, I guess,” Tomcats center fielder Jack Sundberg said. “It’s always sad, the last game, a lot of good guys on the team, but I guess it’s got to come to an end sometime.”

Against the Aviators, the Tomcats received three hits from their leadoff hitter, Sundberg, and a two-run homer by Jason Gordon. But it wasn’t enough as the Aviators cranked out 12 hits, including two apiece by J. C. Brandmaier, Mitch Montaldo and Brian Lee.

Both starting pitchers did well. Each gave up one run over five innings. Melville was touched for five hits and one walk, with no strikeouts. Westhampton’s starter, Nick Garcia, allowed three hits. He did not issue a walk and struck out three.

“It wasn’t any different really,” Melville said of his final outing of the summer. “It was another game, I guess.”
Another “meaningless game”?

The participants might take issue with that characterization. Whenever they are wearing uniforms, the score is being kept and statistics are being recorded, they are inclined to compete. That’s their nature.

After the game, Caden was still coming to grips with the finality of a season that had just ended.

“It goes by real quick,” he said. “I don’t believe it’s over already.”

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07/23/11 12:29pm
07/23/2011 12:29 PM

The Westhampton Aviators slugged four home runs in an 11-6 defeat of the visiting Riverhead Tomcats in the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League on Friday. Joe Candela (four runs batted in), Aaron Cohn (3 for 4, two runs, two RBI), Kevin Heller (two RBI) and Brian Guymon (2 for 4, three runs) all went deep for the Aviators (20-17), according to www.hamptons baseball.org.

Adam Michel (two RBI) and Alex Gouin homered for the Tomcats (15-21). Another Riverhead player, Frank Schwindel, went 3 for 5, with a double and two RBI.

The Aviators took a 7-1 lead by the third inning and were in front, 11-1, in the sixth.

07/14/11 11:49am
07/14/2011 11:49 AM

The Westhampton Aviators scored in six of the nine innings and won a high-scoring Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League affair over the host Riverhead Tomcats, 12-8, on Wednesday. Aaron Cohn drove in four runs and homered for the Aviators (18-12), who received three hits apiece from Ray Ortega (two runs batted in) and Mike Ahmed. Ahmed scored twice, tripled and knocked in a run.

The Aviators used eight pitchers, none of whom lasted longer than two and one-third innings.

Keith Herring (one RBI) and Adam Michel had two hits each for the Tomcats (11-18).