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SUFFOLK SPORTS HALL OF FAME

Sal Ciampi may have handed over the East Islip baseball

dynasty to his son, but that hasn't stopped the 63-year-old from keeping close

tabs on the program he built - and on its promising future.

It was baseball all day for Ciampi yesterday as he watched East Islip fall

to host Smithtown West, 4-0, in a non-league game. Then he went to Great River

in the afternoon to see his two grandsons, Al Sedita, 10, and Jake Piacenti, 9,

play Little League. So this is retirement. "Hopefully, I'm around to see them

play for East Islip," Ciampi said.

Ciampi coached the Redmen for 31 seasons and put together a sterling

601-183-1 record before retiring in 2004. In stepped son Sal J. Ciampi, who

guided East Islip to the Suffolk Class AA title a year ago.

"Growing up, I was around the program all the time," said Sal J. Ciampi,

who played on the team from 1991-94. "My father made everybody believe that

those two hours we play is the most important thing you do."

Both father and son were on hand Monday night at the Suffolk Sports Hall of

Fame induction dinner as the East Islip High School baseball program received

the Hall's Special Recognition Award. East Islip baseball has won 1,200 games -

more than any team in any sport in Suffolk - since 1928, along with 42 league,

10 Suffolk, three Long Island and two state titles.

"We're very happy and proud to get something like this," said the elder

Ciampi, who was inducted into the Suffolk Sports Hall of Fame for his work as a

baseball and football coach in 1994. "The thing about baseball, the field was

always level. Everyone has a Little League. No one town had an advantage. So

this is a great accomplishment. The kids bought into the team concept. That set

us apart. We were never concerned about who got the hit or who made the big

plays."

The latest class of inductees features four high school coaches who created

dynasties of their own. Amityville boys basketball coach Jack Agostino,

Wyandanch girls basketball coach Warren Fuller and Shoreham-Wading River

baseball coach Sal Mignano and former Half Hollow Hills East girls tennis coach

Cathy Vayianos. The other inductees were: race-car driver Joe Buzzetta, former

West Babylon and Long Island Ducks baseball player Justin Davies, former

Babylon track star Christine Gentile, martial arts expert Ed McGrath and former

Seton Hall (Patchogue) three-sport athlete Jim Plate.

Agostino, 44, has piled up 378 wins, 10 Suffolk, eight Long Island and four

state titles in 20 seasons at Amityville. He brought two Amityville team

captains with him to the podium at the West Lake Inn in Patchogue: Minnesota

Timberwolves guard Mike James, a six-year NBA veteran and former Amityville

standout, and junior Mike Dukes, a hit-and-run victim in April, 2006 that

robbed him of his Division I potential.

"It really made me appreciate the position I'm in at Amityville," Agostino

said of the honor. "I've been blessed to have good kids and great players."

Fuller, 59, has worked his magic in a district where his presence goes way

beyond wins. But Fuller has won plenty, too. He has won 515 games (.774 winning

percentage) and 16 Suffolk titles in 29 seasons.

Mignano has won 461 games and made the playoffs the last 22 seasons at

Shoreham-Wading River. In his 30 years at the helm, the Wildcats have won six

Suffolk, one Long Island and one state title.

Vayianos racked up a 417-66 mark from 1974-2003, winning 21 league and 12

Suffolk crowns. Her tennis program also won 175 consecutive matches at one

point.

"It's a great honor," said Fuller, a member of the Long Island Softball

Hall of Fame. "You look at the list since they've been doing it and to be in

the same company with everyone else is nice. All the wins are because of the

kids."

New York Sports