Founded in 2008, the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League (HCBL) began with the mission "To recruit the nation's best college baseball players and provide a venue that will showcase skills and provide eastern Long Island with free family entertainment during the summer." No strike-outs here - with healthy competition, excellent coaching and facilities, and alliances with businesses, civic leaders and community members, HCBL has achieved a grand slam with its goals.
In partnership with local businesses, including major sponsors Hampton Jitney
, Bridgehampton National Bank, and Emil Norsic & Son, the HCBL has become one of the top summer programs in the country, providing "Eastern Long Island with world-class collegiate baseball in a small town setting." The not-for-profit organization is sanctioned by Major League Baseball and has seen more than 100 of its alumni go on to play professionally.
The HCBL is comprised of seven teams: Montauk Mustangs, North Fork Ospreys, Riverhead Tomcats, Sag Harbor Whalers, Shelter Island Bucks, Southampton Breakers, and the Westhampton Aviators. Many players have established lasting relationships in these communities, and have enjoyed ample playing time, accommodations provided by host families, as well as free gym memberships. With locales close to area beaches and New York City, players have enthusiastically endorsed their experiences with HCBL.
The league has invested in communities not only with top talent who conduct free clinics for area children, but a state grant has also provided improvements to ball fields in Westhampton, Sag Harbor, Southold, Mattituck, Shelter Island and Montauk, as well as a state-of-the-art baseball facility at Stony Brook.
Where does this top collegiate talent hail from? Each summer, HCBL recruits talented and dedicated athletes from top programs across the country, everywhere from Stanford and Vanderbilt to local stand-outs at St. John's and Stony Brook. (Note: Former Hamptons.com sports writer, Brett Mauser, is the HCBL recruiter and places players on each team.)
The HCBL is comprised of seven teams. (Photo: Brett Mauser)
Celebrating his first year as President of the HCBL, Henry Bramwell, gave us some facts/stats:
Homerun 1: This summer, the sixth HCBL alum, Baltimore Orioles pitcher Donnie Hart (Westhampton '10), was called up "to the show." Hart just pitched against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.
Homerun 2: There are eight weeks of play, and then the playoffs. The last regular game for this season is Wednesday, July 27th, and the playoffs are scheduled for Friday, July 29th through Friday, August 5th.
Homerun 3: The Westhampton Aviators are currently leading the league, and are currently ranked 29th in the nation.
Grand Slam: A former HCBL player can be found in all 30 major league teams' system except for one - the Miami Marlins!
So grab your family and friends and head on out to catch a game, who knows...maybe you'll get some peanuts and Cracker Jack too!
For more information, visit www.hamptonsbaseball.org.
Eileen Casey spent many years working in the television and music industries in New York City on the "ABC In Concert" weekly series, as well as several prime time network and cable television specials. An award-winning journalist, editor, and artist, and former Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com, she enjoys staying warm in Charleston and cool in the Hamptons.