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Bellport baseball coach Bill Batewell earns 500th victory
Bellport baseball coach Bill Batewell has been a winner wherever he’s gone.
Between the 30 years he spent at Sachem and the last six at the helm at Bellport, Batewell has now won 500 career games after the Clippers beat West Babylon, 6-1, Thursday, making Batewell the sixth baseball coach in Suffolk history to reach the 500-win mark.
But Batewell feels he still has more winning to do.
“At Sachem we had six league titles and two Suffolk championships,” he said. “But that’s my desire before I walk down the road, I want to pin one on the wall here at Bellport.”
Batewell started as the J.V. coach at Sachem in 1970 and moved on to manage the Sachem varsity squad from 1975 until 2004, accumulating 452 varsity wins. He has been at Bellport since 2008, and has a career record of 500-338-5.
“It’s a testament to longevity,” he said. “It’s a result of having good players and good assistant coaches.”
One of the best players he managed was Neal Heaton, a pitcher who went on to have a 12-year carrer in Major League Baseball after playing for Batewell at Sachem in the late 1970s. Batewell said one of Heaton’s gems still stands out as one of the best games he's been a part of.
“We were playing Ward Melville, I think it was 1978, and [Heaton] struck out 20 guys,” Batewell said. “There were a bunch of scouts there and they all went racing to get to the phones when it was over since that was before cell phones.”
On Thursday, it was senior Evan Honce who led Bellport, and provided Batewell with another memorable moment.
Honce pitched a complete game, allowing one run on six hits with seven strikeouts, and went 3-for-4 at the plate with a go-ahead two-run homer in the first inning that gave Bellport a 2-0 lead it would never relinquish.
“We’ve had a ton of special kids along the way in both schools, but this is something I won’t forget,” Batewell said. “I haven’t told Evan or the rest of the team yet, but this is one I’ll put in the memory banks for quite a while.”