Every year since its inception in 2008, Hamptons Collegiate Baseball has expanded in some way, shape or form and that trend will continue in 2013.
In early June, the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League will debut with seven teams for the summer season. HCB had been part of the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League the past five seasons and had expanded to a seven-team Hamptons Division in the ACBL last year, hosting teams from Sag Harbor, Southampton, Westhampton, Riverhead, Center Moriches, Shelter Island and the North Fork. All seven teams will now make up an entire league.
More than 175 players from more than 100 universities from across the nation played on the East End in the summer months and HCBL President Brett Mauser, who also freelances for The Press, said the league will continue its mission to provide free family entertainment for area baseball fans and inspire community youth while also aiding in the development of collegiate athletes.
“We are looking forward to taking this next step and working toward becoming one of the elite summer baseball leagues in the country,” Mauser said in a press release. “Through the efforts and support of many, we have reached this point, and we are excited about what the future holds.”
Bringing a collegiate baseball league to the East End was the brainchild of former Montauk resident and HCB President Rusty Leaver. He started the Hampton Whalers in 2008 out of Sag Harbor, which played in the ACBL. Then in 2009, Leaver was able to comprise five of the six teams to make up ACBL’s Kaiser/Hampton Division. The Hampton Whalers became the Sag Harbor Whalers and were joined by the Southampton Breakers, Westhampton Aviators, North Fork Ospreys and Riverhead Tomcats.
In 2011, the ACBL created a stand-alone Hamptons Division for the East End teams and just this past summer, two new teams, the Shelter Island Bucks and Center Moriches Battlecats, were added to the fold. The Southampton Breakers lost, 4-3, to the North Jersey Eagles in the ACBL semifinals this past summer after winning the Hamptons Division title.
The HCBL, a 501(c)(3) organization, has applied to join the National Alliance of Collegiate Summer Baseball, which features a number of the top summer ball leagues in the country, including the prestigious Cape Cod League, for which Leaver envisioned mirroring. In addition, the HCBL has filed an application to become sanctioned by Major League Baseball.
“Major League Baseball and the Alliance are two organizations that you want to have in your corner,” Mauser said. “Their support and direction would help assure that we continue to provide a great platform for student-athletes to develop their skills as they strive toward their goal of playing professionally.”
Major sponsors of the HCBL include the Hampton Jitney, Bridgehampton National Bank, Emil Norsic and Son, New York Life and Lettieri Construction. The league is also grateful for the support of area businesses and host families.
The continued goal of the HCBL will be to give East End and Long Island residents an affordable evening out with their families and friends. HCBL teams also aim to inspire young athletes through free baseball clinics held throughout the summer. HCBL players, coaches and administrators also participate in various charity events, including fundraisers for the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team, the Miracle League of Long Island, and the Fresh Air Fund.
For more information on the HCBL, go to HamptonsBaseball.org.