Few things evoke quintessential summer memories more than simply being outside with family and friends. And Hamptons Collegiate Baseball (HCB) provided the perfect opportunity to do just that on Opening Day this past Sunday.
“The day couldn’t have gone better,” says Hamptons Collegiate Baseball president Brett Mauser. “Not only was the baseball extremely competitive, but we were so pleased to see the HCB communities come out in droves in support of the teams.”
Hamptonites from both Forks will have the opportunity to enjoy baseball in a family-friendly environment all summer, and this season brings a new lineup of events and entertainment to the HCB summer roster. Founded in 2007, HCB continues to build on its reputation of providing first-class collegiate ball at no cost to spectators.
This year, fans from two more communities will be able to root for the home team, as HCB has now expanded to a seven-team division. The Center Moriches Battlecats and Shelter Island Bucks will join the North Fork Ospreys, Riverhead Tomcats, Southampton Breakers, Sag Harbor Whalers and Westhampton Aviators in the hunt for the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League (ACBL) Hampton Division Crown.
HCB is one of three divisions of ACBL, a wood bat league that was established in 1967. Each team will play a 40-game regular season through the beginning of August, and four teams will make it to the playoffs.
“Every one of these teams figures to be in the hunt for a playoff spot…and there’s nothing like when we’re heading down the home stretch and every game has so much on the line,” says Mauser.
In addition to the regularly-scheduled games, HCB will host the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball team during the first weekend in August. The team is made up of former and current members of the U.S. Armed Forces who were injured in the line of duty and underwent amputations. The WWAS travels the country playing – and often winning against – able-bodied teams, as members raise awareness of the sacrifices and resilience of the military.
“The charitable aspect of the games against the Wounded Warriors is chief among what we’re proud of,” says Mauser. “What’s also neat about it is how things come full circle – our student-athletes provide a great example for the youth in the seven HCB communities, and I fully expect the Wounded Warriors to be an inspiration to our players.”
While on the East End, players stay with local host families. They work to become a part of the community off the field, participating in local charity events, speaking to Little Leaguers and riding in the annual Southampton 4th of July parade. For example, the Whalers will host free clinics every Sunday morning at Mashashimuet Park for area youth. Unfortunately, there is no official time devoted to “viral music video making,” al la the Harvard Baseball team’s dance to Carly Rae Jepson’s “Call My Maybe.” (But if it happens, send the link to Dan’s!)
And, for baseball nuts who can’t make the game, Hamptons Collegiate Baseball has recently launched a mobile app to enhance fan involvement in the games. The app features up-to-date standings, statistics and rosters on each of the seven HCB teams, and it will allow people to share photos and videos from the games.
The HCB 2012 rosters are made up of players from over 80 national universities, and HCB alumni have found success in the big leagues. Twelve players are currently in the professionals, including Nick Ahmed, a 2011 second-round pick for the Atlanta Braves and Kyle Kubitza, a third-round pick for Atlanta in 2011.
Here’s a rundown of where the teams play, and check out the complete game schedule at www.hamptonsbaeball.org:
Center Moriches Battlecats: Center Moriches High School, 311 Frowein Road, Center Moriches
North Fork Ospreys: Jean W. Cochran Park, Peconic Lane, Peconic
Riverhead Tomcats: Riverhead High School, 700 Harrison Avenue, Riverhead
Sag Harbor Whalers: Mashashimuet Park, 373 Main Street, Sag Harbor
Shelter Island Bucks: Shelter Island High School, 33 N. Ferry Road, Shelter Island
Southampton Breakers: SUNY Stony Brook, Southampton, 239 Montauk Highway, Southampton
Westhampton Aviators: Hite Athletic Complex, 379 Mill Road, Westhampton Beach