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Sag Harbor Little Leaguers Stand In Whalers’ Cleats For Shining Moment

By Brett Mauser, 07/28/08, 9:48PM EDT

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Photos by Christine Bellini

Sag Harbor - The Sag Harbor Little League All-Stars couldn’t hide their smiles as they were introduced by the public address announcer before the Hampton Whalers’ regular season finale. After all, many of the Little Leaguers will be Whalers in the blink of an eye, first for the Pierson Middle-High School squad and possibly for the summer collegiate baseball team.

Sag Harbor Manager Sandi Kruel, who guided the club to an improbable run to third place in Suffolk County, was thrilled to be extended the invitation.

“To be able to be called out with that level of players was a once-in-a-lifetime event for these kids,” Kruel said. “They were so excited to be a part of it. Those guys are who they’re aspiring to become. The kids know that these guys’ next step is the major leagues, so to be a part of that is an emotional, amazing experience.”

Each player trotted out to their ordinary positions on the diamond, accompanied by Whalers who were in that afternoon’s starting lineup. They stood side by side with their counterparts for the playing of the National Anthem before returning to the sidelines, where they cheered on a pair of Whaler victories.

With Kruel at the helm, Sag Harbor, pulling from a player pool of just 34 kids and challenging much larger districts, surged to a village record four victories in the Williamsport tournament. After splitting their first two games, the All-Stars toppled Mattituck, Eastport-South Manor and Shoreham-Wading River in succession to reach the semifinals, where they were finally halted by Patchogue-Medford. The District 36 finalists, by contrast, picked from a group of 325 kids, or nearly 10 times that of Sag Harbor.

The All-Star team included the following players: Caleb Atkinson-Barnes, Ian Barrett, Jack Bori, Jack Brinkley-Cook, Johnny Chisholm, Jack Fitzpatrick, Theo Gray, Jimmy Haynal, Nick Kruel, Forrest Loesch, Cooper Marienfeld, Timmy Markowski, Gavin O’Brien and Aaron Schiavoni. They were led by coaches Sandi Kruel, Liz Granitz and Rich Schiavoni. 

Reader Comments

Bruce Schiavoni, Sag Harbor, NY 63 days ago
You boys should be very proud of yourselves, you had an excellent run and always held your heads high, never giving up. This is going to be a memory each one of you will be talking about in years to come. Coach Kruel, congratulations, it was a pleasure helping you out and I look forward to next year!

Joan Frisicano, Sag Harbor 74 days ago
What a great accomplishment!!! It will be a season to remember. Congratulations to Sandi and the boys.

Peter Cook, Sag Harbor 74 days ago
Congratulations boy's !! You played a great season, you will always look back with pride on your accomplishment!
Throughout the regular season, and the All-Star season, coach Kruel taught these boys the most important aspect of baseball.... to work as a team, that made each (all) of them - - - STARS!
Thank you to Rich, and the irreplaceable Liz!

Christie Brinkley, Sag Harbor, NY 75 days ago
You gotta have heart... and we do with Coach Sandi!!! Way to go All Stars!!!! Stellar season Sandi! ! GOOD GAME one and all!

Beach Bum, Sag Harbor 75 days ago
I am so proud of Coach Kruel, the first female All Star coach. She must be commended for being a trailblazer. She did an excellent job coaching and she lead her team to some impressive victories. She treats her players with respect and dignity. She is a master motivator who knows how to inspire each and every one of her players. Congratulations to Coach Kruel!

Jean Zahra, Mattituck, NY 75 days ago
Sandy Kruel is my niece and I couldn't be prouder of her. What a great job she did. We're sure that next year she'll go even farther. GO SANDY!!!