Scott Vinski fired his final pitch and danced off the mound. The lefthanded junior froze the batter with another sharp breaking ball for his 16th strikeout to cap a masterful pitching performance in Bridgehampton’s 6-0 win over Shelter Island on a brisk Tuesday afternoon in a Suffolk County League VIII game. He allowed two hits and walked none.
The significance of the game was not lost on Vinski.
“I’m so proud to come out here and pitch well to represent my school,” Vinski said. “We had an excellent all-around team effort. We had clutch hitting and solid defense. It’s a great day to be a Bridgehampton baseball player.”
It’s the first time in 43 years that Bridgehampton has fielded a varsity baseball team. The school celebrated its return to the field and christened its brand-new baseball facility by paying tribute to legendary Hall of Fame leftfielder and first baseman Carl Yastrzemski of the Boston Red Sox. Yastrzemski, who starred in three sports for Bridgehampton, graduated in 1957.
The Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame unveiled the historic red, white and blue marker just behind the first-base home dugout. “I wanted to honor the past and inspire the future with historic markers,” said Chris Vaccaro, the executive director of the Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame. “This was perfect timing for the dedication. It is an opportunity to inspire future generations of baseball players.”
The historic marker notes Yastrzemski is “one of the greatest baseball players of all time.” It indicates he was a 1957 graduate of Bridgehampton, a 1989 inductee to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown and a 2022 inductee into the Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame.
From his humble beginnings in the potato fields of Bridgehampton, Yastrzemski went on to an incredible Hall of Fame career.. A first-ballot National Hall of Fame selection in 1989, “Yaz” spent all 23 seasons with the Red Sox, where he was an MVP, an 18-time All-Star, a seven-time Gold Glove winner and a three-time batting champion. He finished with 3,419 hits, 452 home runs, 1,816 runs scored and 1,844 RBIs before he retired in 1983 at the age of 43.
“We played in our Little League right here behind the high school,” said Yaz’s longtime friend Dan Shedrick of Sag Harbor, who read from a statement written by the local icon. It read in part, “I truly regret that I am unable to join you today for this special honor. My thanks to my coaches and teammates and members of the Bridgehampton community for their support. Most importantly my congrats to the ‘Bridgies’ new varsity team — learn from your coaches, play hard and have fun.’ ”
Shedrick went on: “I remember he couldn’t play in the field until he was done with his chores. He was shucking peas and working the farm before he could go out and play stickball. But he hit line drives better than anyone.”
Yastrzemski pitched a no-hitter and struck out 18 to lead Bridgehampton to the Suffolk Class B title in a 1-0 win over Center Moriches in 1957.
Vinski looked a lot like Yaz on the mound Tuesday. He started the game by striking out the side. The Killer Bees took the lead in the bottom of the first against sophomore lefty Ben Waife, a College of Charleston commit. Sophomore Milo Tompkins ripped a one-out single, moved to second on a passed ball and stole third. Tompkins scored on a wild pitch.
“It felt great to get that first hit against a top lefty,” said Tompkins, who went 3-for-4 with a double. “We needed to score that first run.”
Bridgehampton designated hitter Evan Buccigross lined a one-out, two-run single in the fourth for a 3-0 lead. “We created an initiative to bring baseball back to Bridgehampton,” said coach Lou Liberatore, who earned his first varsity win. “There are so many people to thank for making this possible.”
Bridgehampton carries a roster of 16 players, including seven from the private Ross School in East Hampton. The Bridgehampton players had played for Pierson High School located in Sag Harbor over the past two decades. “There’s something about playing for your own school,” Vinski said. “It felt different. It felt great to play for the same school that Carl Yastrzemski Jr. played for.”