“We’re super excited,” Hunter Eberhart said at Hub 44 recently when asked how he thought the East Hampton High School baseball team would do this spring.
Eberhart is one of three strong senior pitchers the Bonackers will have this season. Along with another of them, Jack Dickinson, he helps East Hampton’s coach, Vinny Alversa, give clinics to younger players at Hub 44, a six-tunnel indoor baseball and softball practice building here that its owner, Shelly Schaffer, trusts will bolster the high school’s baseball, softball, and lacrosse programs.
Dickinson, a thick-chested right-hander who throws hard, and whose earned run average was below 1.00 last year, will be the ace. He thus follows in the footsteps of Colin Ruddy, whose televised mound debut with the George Washington Colonials not long ago was intently watched at Hub 44 by a number of young clinic-takers. They saw Ruddy pitch a scoreless inning versus Eastern Maryland.
Eberhart, a slim, bespectacled righty who throws a lot of curves, and Will Darrell, a hard-throwing left-hander, will round out the staff, along with Dickinson’s younger brother, Carter, a versatile sophomore, who’s also a very good hitter.
Speaking of college baseball, Jack Dickinson is to play at Niagara University in Lewiston, N.Y., Eberhart at Crown College in Bonifacius, Minn., and Darrell at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
Alversa and his assistants, Henry Meyer and Andrew Rodriguez, have been rebuilding East Hampton’s program for a number of years now, and their efforts are paying off. Last year was the first since 2011 that a Bonac baseball team made the playoffs. “You couldn’t ask for a better crew,” Alversa said of Meyer and Rodriguez.
Last year, the team got off to a heady start, winning nine straight games in league play before being swept in series against Sayville and Mount Sinai. Finishing at 10-8, the Bonackers lost 5-0 to Mount Sinai and 3-1 to Miller Place in the county Class A double-elimination tournament.
Most everyone, said Alversa, is back from the 2022 team, others being Nico Horan-Puglia, Mike Locascio, Alex Lombardo, Calum Anderson, Egan Barzilay, Nick Schaffer, Ned Rowan, Danny Lester, Aryan Chugh, Tyler Hansen, and Hudson Meyer. Zach Dodge and Chase Siska, juniors, are expected to come up from the junior varsity. The three freshmen last year, Hansen, Meyer, and Carter Dickinson, were the most on a varsity baseball team here since the early 1990s, when Ross Gload, who went on to a Major League Baseball career, played.
“There probably won’t be any freshmen on the varsity this year, but you never know,” said Alversa, who is aware that Victoreddy Aguero, Livs Kuplins, Trevor Meehan, and Mason Miles are promising ones. They, along with Justin Prince and Hudson Beckmann, sophomores, ought to provide Rodriguez with a strong jayvee core.
East Hampton’s season is to begin with a scrimmage here with Pierson on March 24 and with one at Southampton the next day. Single games are to be played thereafter with Hampton Bays, Miller Place, Sayville, Bayport-Blue Point, Mount Sinai, and Westhampton Beach, before East Hampton takes on Rocky Point, Comsewogue, and Eastport-South Manor in successive best-of-three series.
“Eastport, Miller Place, Mount Sinai, Rocky Point, and Sayville were all playoff teams last year. We’re excited. We’re old in pitching and young with the bats,” Bonac’s coach said with a smile.