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July 17, 2013

Aviators, Whalers Make Their Move



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By Rick Murphy

What a difference a week makes. Last week at this juncture the Center Moriches Battlecats were in first place and on a roll.

But while the Battlecats have come back to earth, the Westhampton Aviators have taken flight. Sag Harbor has moved into the thick of the race as well -- the Whalers have quietly won seven of their last 10 games.

The bottom line: all three teams are scrambled for the top spot in the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League standings, with Westhampton (16-12) holding on to a slim 1/2 game lead after beating Shelter Island on Thursday.

Credit Cole Miller -- his fourth inning two-run blast first opened the scoring giving the Aviators 2-0 lead, and a solo shot in the eighth, his third of the season, made it a 4-0 affair. That was more than enough support for Preston Brown, who was on the hill for the winners. The right-hander, making only his second start of the season, went eight innings and struck out seven batters. Chris Appell and Paschal Petrongolo each had two hits for Center Moriches, now 16-13 for the year. Jake Rogers had a pair of hits for the winners.

Sag Harbor moved within a half game of the top spot by blanking Riverhead 3-0 last Wednesday. Lefthander Keenan Kolinsky, on the bump for the winners, had his good stuff on this day. He pitched seven shutout innings – he has yet to give up a run on the season – and struck out five. Jacob Bodner recorded the save, his 10th, the most ever in the HCBL. Connor Faust had two hits for the Whalers. Riverhead fell to 14-14.

Shelter Island is hanging tough. The Bucks beat North Fork 5-0 last Wednesday to even their record at 14. Frank Trimarco took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and simply overwhelmed the Ospreys, who dropped to 12-17. Ryan Burns broke up the no-no with a solid single to center. Five Bucks finished the night with multiple hits, including Ty Blankmeyer who drilled with a pair of singles and had a stolen base in his first game of the season. Southampton (12-17) knocked off Center Moriches 6-1 last Wednesday. T.J. Pecoraro, making his HCBL debut, tossed a complete game five hitter while whiffing seven. Andrew Gorecki went deep for the winners, cracking a two-run blast in the fourth. Rivers Frederick added a triple and two ribbies for the winners. The league took a well-earned all-star break over the weekend. Jerry Downs of Riverhead is the home run leader at the halfway mark with six. Rob Moore (Center Moriches) has 26 ribbies, tops in the league. J.C. Brandmaier is the batting leader, stroking the ball at a .380 clip. Jack Sundberg of Riverhead has 24 stolen bases. David Jesch (North Fork), Max Watt (Center Moriches) and Mike Wallace (Shelter Island) have all recorded four wins thus far. Jesch leads all pitchers with 40 strikeouts. Brendan Mulligan of Riverhead has the league's lowest earned run average, 1.11.

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