Hamptons league eyes Calverton for Tomcats games

GARRETT MEADE FILE PHOTO | The 2010 Riverhead Tomcats watch their season come to an end.
GARRETT MEADE FILE PHOTO | The 2010 Riverhead Tomcats watch their season come to an end.

Hamptons Collegiate Baseball league organizers are interested in playing games at Riverhead’s new town fields at the Enterprise Park at Calverton.
If allowed to do so, the league would consider paying for improvements at the fields, said league organizer Henry Bramwell, who addressed the Town Board at its Thursday work session.

“It’s our hope to someday play up in Calverton,” Mr. Bramwell said. “We think it’s going to be a great spot. It will offer us a lot of opportunities because some of the things we do are free clinics where we have coaches and college players on hand to run these free clinics.”

The wooden-bat league, which makes up a division of the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League, is entering its third year playing on the East End. It consists of five teams based in Riverhead, Southold, Westhampton, Southampton and Sag Harbor, which play 40-game schedules.

There is no admission charge to watch the games and pro scouts are often present, Mr. Bramwell said.

The league, started by Montauk cattle rancher Rusty Leaver, is supposed to get $250,000 in state grant money over a five-year period, Mr. Bramwell said, but hasn’t seen any of that money. The state does want a memorandum of understanding from the town stating that if the league undertakes improvements at the park, that league has no ownership interest in the park, something both the town and the league agree to.

The Riverhead team, called the Riverhead Tomcats, has played most of its home games at the Riverhead High School field.
“Rusty wants to commit money from this grant to the Calverton field,” Mr. Bramwell said, although he couldn’t specify how the money would be spent or when it would become available.

Of course, the other big hurdle is getting the fields open.

Riverhead Town has run into roadblocks from the state Department of Transportation that have since been resolved, and additional roadblocks from the county health department, which is preventing the fields from opening because of sewage requirements.

“We need to figure out how we get to the point where we open it,” Supervisor Sean Walter said at the meeting.

Mr. Walter said the town has only $850,000 in recreation fee revenues on hand to cover all of the work planned for the proposed Calverton park, which already has completed baseball fields that can’t be used until the county permit is obtained.

“We’re going to have it open,” Mr. Walter assured.

Mr. Bramwell said the league prefers to hold games at night, but for now, Riverhead is not planning to install lights. But league member Bob Furlong mentioned that the group has contacts in the field lighting industry, and may be able to help in that effort down the line.

The supervisor said the town is “110 percent in favor” of having the Hamptons league hold games at EPCAL.

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