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Aug 12, 2019 2:34 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Southampton Breaker Tony Zambito Named This Year's Bob Furlong Award Recipient

Southampton Breaker Tony Zambito (Southern Connecticut) was named the HCBL's Bob Furlong Award winner. DREW BUDD
Aug 12, 2019 2:53 PM

A few weeks ago, Tony Zambito looked at his phone and saw he had a missed call from Sandi Kruel, the president of the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League. It’s not every day that a player would get a call from the league president, so he was curious, and maybe a little cautious, too, so he sent a text to Southampton Breaker manager Rob Cafiero asking what it was all about. Cafiero told him to call Kruel back — and he’s glad he did.

The Bob Furlong Award is named after the late Riverhead Tomcats GM who died in February 2017 after a battle with leukemia, and it is awarded to the HCBL player who best exemplifies the highest level of integrity, teamwork and leadership on and off the field. Kruel called Zambito to inform him he was this year’s recipient of the award.

“She explained how [Furlong] influenced a lot of people in the league, how his characteristics and qualities are what she wants to see from the players in the league, which are just having fun, supporting each other, raising themselves in the community, as opposed to playing baseball as a everyday job,” he explained. “Honestly, I was surprised. I hadn’t heard of it before, but I’m completely honored and shocked. I texted everybody and said thank you. I haven’t won any type of an award since being named [Northeast 10] All-Rookie my freshman year — this blows that out of the water.”

Zambito, a native of Ridgewood, New Jersey, entering his senior year at Southern Connecticut State this fall, was an infielder for the Breakers in the final two weeks of last summer and he returned to Southampton for his first full season this year. By multiple accounts, Zambito was a prime candidate for the Furlong Award. According to Breakers General Manager Sara Mannino Kent and Cafiero, who both nominated him for the award, despite holding down two jobs this summer, Zambito still found time to make it to every camp and clinic held for local youth, and helped out whenever and wherever he could.

“Tony is the type of kid who is the first to the field every day, and the first to help carry equipment to and from the field and bus,” Cafiero said. “He is a kid that volunteers for every community service event we have throughout the summer. From working camps/clinics, to working golf outings and passing the hat every game he isn’t playing. And he does all of that with a great attitude and a smile on his face.

“On the field, he is an old school, hard-nosed player that does all the little things to help the team win,” he continued. “From stealing a base, to hitting behind a runner, to bunting a guy over, which you don’t see too often nowadays. He will always have the dirtiest uniform after every game as well. He is a kid that every coach loves to have on their team.”

Zambito said the best part of his time in Southampton was hanging out with the local kids.

“Even on off days, we’d be hanging out in the bullpen and the kids would come down and hang out with us for the day. They like to hang out with us because, to them, we’re like big kids. We like it because they just like to have fun, it’s a win-win,” he explained.

As long as his college coaches sign off on it, Zambito said he’d like to spend his final year of summer ball eligibility back in Southampton next year.

“A lot of people talk about moving up to a different league with different competition. The way I see it — and I was just talking to my Dad about this the other day— the Hamptons is the best place to be, because it’s fun baseball, it doesn’t feel like a job. I definitely want to come back.”

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A amazing young man on and off the field!
By Skruel123 (2), Sag Harbor on Aug 12, 19 4:22 PM
A amazing young man on and off the field!
By Skruel123 (2), Sag Harbor on Aug 12, 19 4:23 PM
Tony is carrying on a tradition started by his Dad, Tom Zambito. We are incredibly proud of all his accomplishments. The world is a better (and more fun) with Tony Zambito In it!
By AuntJaynie (1), Breezy Point on Aug 14, 19 11:33 AM
The Hampton Classic, Horse Show, Bridgehampton