Gurney's Inn
April 26, 2006

Bonackers Keep Moving On Up!

Independent / James J. Mackin Travis Field (#11) is safe at second, but East Hampton fell to Comsewogue 8-6 last Wednesday. (click for larger version)
A three-game sweep of the Huntington Blue Devils followed by a masterfully played 2-1 win over Comsewogue on April 17 has put the East Hampton baseball team in a position that is somewhat unfamiliar to them, right in the hunt for the playoffs after finishing the 2005 season with a dismal 4-14 record.

The Bonackers have already matched their win total of last season while showing their opponents that they've matured not only on the pitcher's mound, but also in the field. In East Hampton's series opening victory against Comsewogue, Gardner Leaver improved his undefeated pitching record to 4-0, allowing only two hits and two walks while striking out six.

With his four wins against zero losses, Leaver currently ranks tied for first among all Long Island High School pitchers and, much like basketball star Mikey Russell, another East Hampton standout athlete, Leaver is an example of small school talent making a large impact.

"Gardner's really done a nice job for us on the mound this year as has Robbie Cuthel," says Bonackers head coach Ed Bahns. "It's nice to see a well pitched game like that this early in the season. The whole team has done a really nice job in the field this year and we're getting the hits when we need them. It's very encouraging."

Last season, East Hampton was constantly plagued by what Bahns described as "one bad inning," leading to more than a handful of winnable games being given away due to mental lapses in the field.

But this season, the Bonackers (4-2 in League V, 7-3 overall) appear more confident with their fielding and with each victory, a team that was easily overlooked in preseason polls, moves closer to achieving its ultimate goal — qualifying for the playoffs.

"Comsewogue is a pretty good team, but the toughest part of our schedule is still ahead of us," Bahns says. "We needed to have this kind of start to put ourselves in a playoff position. I think that we should be in most of the games [this season]."

In its 2-1 win on April 17, East Hampton scored a run in the first inning before Comsewogue answered with a run of its own in the bottom of the inning. The Bonackers scored what would stand up to be the eventual game-winning run on a delayed steal in the top of the third as Charlie Collins scored from third base after a throwing error. Billy Collins' two hits paced East Hampton's offense, which left the bases loaded three times although the game belonged to Leaver.

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