For the first time in 42 years a Bridgehampton High School baseball team, sporting the school's black and gold colors and Killer Bee logo, took the field at Sag Harbor's Mashashimuet Park Friday afternoon, a balmy one that seemed made for America's pastime.
Reviving baseball at Bridgehampton has been the mission of Lou Liberatore since he arrived at Bridgehampton in 2017 to teach fifth grade. A former Bayport-Blue Point and Molloy College pitcher, he was also a Bayport-Blue Point coach.
The plan, Liberatore and Mike DeRosa, the school's athletic director, said during an interview two winters ago, was to train about a dozen youngsters the year round so that a junior varsity could be fielded in the spring of 2021, to be followed by a varsity in 2022.
And, lo, all seems to be going according to plan, given the doubleheader sweep of Pierson at the Park on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning.
In the first of those games, the Killer Bees, whose 16-player squad numbers nine players from Bridgehampton and seven from the Ross School, shut out the Whalers' jayvee 4-0 behind Kris Vinski, a sophomore lefty who gave up two hits and struck out 11 through the six innings he worked.
Vinski, whose twin, Scott, started at first base, struck out seven in a row before Brandon Kutchel, Pierson's seventh batter, singled over first with one out in the bottom of the third inning. The Bees were to hold on to their 1-0 lead, however, as a force-out and another strikeout kept the Whalers at bay.
The sixth proved to be the Killer Bees' big inning. Yudai Morikawa, a switch-hitting shortstop from Ross, led it off with a single over second base. With Kris Vinski at bat, Morikawa stole second and came all the way around to score when the Whalers' catcher, Nathan Dee, overthrew first after fielding Vinski's bunt up the third-base line.
Vinski moved up to second on the play and scored himself when his brother bunted. Milo Tompkins, a freshman catcher from Ross -- "one of the top freshmen in the county," according to Liberatore -- then struck out on a 2-2 pitch, but Trevor Grandola, a Ross junior who recently began playing, came through with a two-run double, after which Leah Meyerson, one of two Ross girls on the team, flied out to left field and Jack Boeshore, a Bridgehampton sophomore, popped out to second.
That 4-0 lead was to hold up throughout Pierson's remaining two at-bats, though with Scott and Kris Vinski having traded positions, things got to be a little hairy in the bottom of the seventh.
Dee, the second hitter in Pierson's lineup, reached first base safely as the result of an error by the second baseman, Dylan Fitzgerald, and after a popout to Morikawa and a strikeout, Ike Fagin, the Whalers' number-five hitter, grounded hard to short. Morikawa came up with it and fired a low throw to first, where Kris Vinski dropped the ball, allowing the runners to move up to second and third. A hit-batsman loaded the bases, but Scott Vinski closed out the win with three straight strikes.
The Bees' 18-3 rout of the Whalers Saturday morning improved the team's record to 3-1. The Bees split wins with Hampton Bays in their first outings.
Bridgehampton -- all of whose games are on the road this season because the new field behind the school isn't quite ready yet -- and Pierson are to play a twin bill at Mashashimuet Park again, on June 1 and 2.