Wading River

Shoreham-Wading River midfielder Liam Gregorek battles at “X” in the Suffolk Class C championship final. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bi

ll Landon

It was a collision course anticipated from midseason between top-seeded Bayport-Blue Point and the Wildcats of Shoreham-Wading River (No. 2) for the Suffolk Class C championship final Thursday night at the Martha Avenue sports complex in North Bellport May 23.

Having lost to the Phantoms 10-5 back on May 9, the Wildcats gave away three unanswered goals before midfielder Alex Kershis broke the ice for the Wildcats to trail 3-1 with two minutes left in the opening quarter. Kershis struck again with two minutes left in the half with his hat trick to tie the game thanks to an assist by Andrew Cimino, making the score 5-5.

Bayport scored twice more in the third quarter for which the Wildcats had no answer until the opening minute of the fourth when Liam Gregorek buried his shot followed by his younger brother Noah to make it a new game at 7-7. Kershis dished the ball off to Noah who split the pipes to retake the lead at 8-7 but Bayport scored with 10 minutes left in regulation. Bayport showed their patience with a four-minute-plus possession in the waning minutes when the Phantoms split the pipes at the 1:18 mark for the go-ahead goal at 9-8 that would make the final buzzer, and with it punched their ticket to the Long Island championship round. 

The other Wildcat scorers were Cimino and Liam Kershis. Shoreham-Wading River concluded their 2024 season with a 10-4 Division II record, 11-7 overall.

With the victory, Bayport-Blue Point took on Nassau County Class C title holder, Wantagh, at Longwood High School Wednesday, May 29, but the result was unavailable by press time.

Paul Rogers from ESRG speaks to the civic association while Sid Bail stands before the podium and Key Capture Energy’s Phil Denara listens. Photo courtesy Stephanie Bail

By Samantha Rutt

Wading River Civic Association convened on May 23 to discuss a significant new development — a proposed battery energy storage system facility, known as BESS, on LIPA-owned property in Shoreham. The meeting, held at Wading River Congregational Church, drew a considerable crowd interested in learning about the project’s specifics and its implications for the community.

After concluding the business portion of the meeting, addressing new membership, voting rules and general notices, the civic’s focus shifted to the proposal from the Albany-based company, Key Capture Energy. 

Key Capture Energy is an independent power producer of utility-scale battery storage system projects. “Currently, in New York State, KCE operates three battery energy storage facilities — including the largest operational facility,” said Phil Denara, director of development at KCE. 

The company’s proposal is not the first Long Island has seen, as other companies with similar objectives have visited neighboring civic organizations and presented their systems. Indeed, KCE has plans for facilities at Babylon and Cutchogue. 

The increase in proposed battery energy storage facilities coincides with the Climate Leadership Protection Act, signed into law in 2019, essentially mandating greenhouse gas emissions to 40% by 2030 and no less than 85% by 2050 from 1990 levels. It also mandates 100% of electricity used in New York state must come from clean energy sources by 2040 with 70% renewable energy by 2030.

Project genesis and site selection

The discussion began with an explanation of the project’s origins and site selection process. The project was initiated to meet statewide goals for energy storage as Long Island transitions from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. With a local demand for approximately 5,000 megawatts of electricity, integrating storage systems with renewable energy such as offshore wind and solar is crucial.

“Here on Long Island we currently have a demand for electricity to the tune of 5,000 megawatts and so as we transition away from fossil fuels and toward renewables, we have to keep that number in mind,” Denara said.

As explained by Denara at the meeting, in 2021 Long Island Power Authority issued a competitive solicitation for bulk energy storage projects, seeking at least 175 MW of capacity. Developers bid on various sites, including those offered by LIPA, which were strategically located next to existing infrastructure to reduce the need for new development. This site was awarded in August 2022 and is now moving from preliminary design to execution.

Project scope and capacity

The BESS project at Shoreham is slated to have a capacity of 50 MW, enough to power tens of thousands of homes. 

While this represents only 1% of Long Island’s total power demand, it plays a critical role in the broader transition to renewable energy. Currently, there are only two full-scale BESS facilities on Long Island, both with a capacity of 5 MW each, located in East Hampton and Montauk. The East Hampton facility has been out of commission since a fire on May 31, 2023.

Site details and development stages

The Shoreham site is situated on approximately 2.3 acres of land near the former Long Island Lighting Company property. Development has involved boundary surveys, geotechnical studies and comprehensive environmental reviews.

For completion, the project must navigate three main development components: land-use acquisition and permitting, grid interconnection and commercial power delivery contracts. The site benefits from exemptions from the Town of Brookhaven’s zoning requirements, although the developers are adhering to these standards voluntarily. Local officials, including the Town Board and emergency services, have been engaged throughout the process to ensure transparency and community safety.

Technology and safety considerations

BESS will employ advanced lithium-ion battery technology. A significant point of discussion was the safety of these systems. Lithium-ion batteries are chosen for their high efficiency, with a round-trip efficiency of about 90%, essential for storing and dispatching renewable energy.

Paul Rogers of the Energy Safety Response Group — comprising retired firefighters, service people, engineers and first responders responsible for handling codes, standards and safety protocols — detailed the safety measures in place. These include multilayered safety listings and comprehensive monitoring systems to prevent overcharging and overheating. The system’s design ensures that in the unlikely event of a failure, the issue remains contained within an individual unit, preventing any propagation.

Community concerns and future technologies

Civic members raised questions about the long-term viability and environmental impact of lithium-ion batteries. Some suggested exploring alternative technologies such as sodium-ion batteries. While the current focus is on lithium-ion due to its proven efficiency and safety, the developers remained open to integrating future advancements.

The project is designed for a 20-year operational life, with plans for recycling and repurposing battery components at the end of their lifecycle. This contributes to a circular supply chain, reducing reliance on international resources and enhancing energy independence.

The Shoreham BESS facility is set to become a critical component of the local energy infrastructure, promising enhanced reliability and sustainability for the community.

The civic association plans to continue these discussions in future meetings, ensuring ongoing community engagement and transparency as the project progresses. The next civic meeting will be held on June 27 at 7:30 p.m. at the Wading River Congregational Church. 

Wildcats WIN! Bill Landon photo

By Bill Landon

Shoreham-Wading River Wildcats (No. 2) struck first and never trailed in the Suffolk Class C boys lacrosse semifinals against Kings Park (No. 3) at Thomas Cutinella Memorial Field, Friday, May 17. 

The Gregorek brothers set the tone with senior Liam Gregorek notching his hat trick midway through the 3rd quarter as did his younger brother Noah, an eighth grader, to put the Wildcats ahead by six goals at 9-3. The senior quartet of Brendan Meskill along with twin brothers Liam and Alex Kershis answered the call with two goals apiece, and Andrew Cimino found the back of the net in the Wildcat 13-5 victory.

Senior goalie Jaden Galfano stopped 13 between the pipes.

Jack Salva had two goals for Kings Park and teammates Luke Griffin, John Flynn and Billy Berhalter each scored.

Kings Park concludes the 2024 campaign with a 10-6 record.

The Wildcats advance to the championship round where they’ll face top-seeded Bayport-Blue Point at Longwood High School Thursday, May 23. Game time is slated for 8 p.m. and tickets can be purchased at: gofan.co/app/school/NYSPHSAAXI.

By Bill Landon

Having survived a must-win game the day before, Shoreham-Wading River (No. 3) lived to face Sayville (No. 6) at home Sunday, May 19, in a Suffolk Class A playoff match.

Sayville banked two runs in the opening inning, but the Wildcats answered when Kyle Stella drove in Christian Cox to get on the scoreboard. Shoreham-Wading River sophomore Daniel Laieta homered in the bottom of the second driving in to put his team ahead 3-2, a lead that would be short-lived. 

Sayville leveled the game in the top of the 3rd but the Wildcats fell behind in the top of the 5th when Sayville drove in two more runs to make it 5-3. Sayville extended the lead to five in the top of the 6th at 8-3.

Shoreham-Wading River with three outs left, with their season on the brink, rallied in the bottom of the seventh inning plating three runners but Sayville ended the Wildcats season winning the game 8-6.

The Wildcats concluded their 2024 campaign with an impressive 17-5 record.

Wildcats score. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

What began with the inaugural battle for the Cat Cup back in February — a fundraising event to help three local families battling cancer — culminated with the annual Lax Out Cancer games at the Thomas Cutinella Memorial Field in Shoreham Saturday, May 4. 

The event was met with brilliant sunshine in a day-long event that featured lacrosse games, food, 50/50 raffles, auctions along with activities sponsored by the Police Athletic League, with special event gear for sale where the smell of barbecue filled the air. 

The event has been held annually since 2009 which is run entirely by volunteers along with generous donations by local businesses. 

The girls kicked off the competition with the varsity lacrosse team, which beat Long Beach, 10-7, in a non-league game which was followed by the boys varsity lacrosse team squaring off against Hauppauge. The Wildcats edged Hauppauge 8-6 in the Division II matchup. 

These victories made the day an even bigger success.

By Bill Landon

The Wildcats of Shoreham-Wading River paid a visit to Westhampton Beach for a Division II lacrosse matchup Thursday, April 25. On paper it looked as if it should have been a close game. The Hurricanes scored first in the first 45 seconds to take the early lead, but the Wildcats rattled off six unanswered goals before Westhampton could arrest the Wildcats scoring frenzy to trail 7-2 at the halftime break. 

Alex Kershis dished the ball to his brother Liam Kershis who split the pipes to put the Wildcats out front 8-2 in the opening minute of the third quarter. Sophomore attack Andrew Cimino stretched the net for his hat trick to put the Wildcats ahead 9-3 at the seven-minute mark of the third quarter. Liam Kershis struck again for his fourth goal of the game, then made it five to give the Wildcats an 11-4 lead.

First-year varsity player Noah Gregorek, an eighth grader, rattled off back-to-back goals as the Wildcats throttled the game clock for the 16-6 victory.

Liam Kershis led the way for the Wildcats with five goals and five assists, Gregorek notched three goals and two assists, and Cimino netted three with one assist.

Senior goalie and Fairfield commit, Jaden Galfano, had 11 saves in net.

By Bill Landon

Having opened their season with a three-game sweep over Babylon, followed by three wins against Southampton, Shoreham-Wading River hit a brick wall in a three-game series against Bayport-Blue Point by dropping all three. 

The Wildcats looked to get back in the win column with a home game against Mattituck Monday afternoon, April 15, where the Tuckers struck first with two runs in the opening inning but it was the bat of SWR’s Joseph Leo that spoke next when the senior smacked a base-clearing triple that put the Wildcats out front by three runs in the bottom of the second at 5-2. Shoreham extended the lead in the bottom of the fifth when Cameron Sheedy drove in Leo.

Mattituck mustered a pair a runs in the top of the sixth inning to draw within two runs at 6-4 when Gordon Votruba, the Wildcats pitcher, answered the call in the bottom of the inning with another base-clearing triple, driving in three more for a five-run lead at 9-4. Mattituck, with its back against the wall in the top of the seventh, plated one runner but the Wildcats prevailed to win the League VII matchup 9-5. 

Votruba notched the win, with nine strikeouts and went 2-4 from the plate. 

Ava Zicchinelli slides safely home for the Panthers in a road game against Shoreham-Wading River. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Miller Place Panthers opened their 2024 softball season with a victory over Islip, a win against Sayville and then blanked Kings Park, before traveling to Shoreham-Wading River looking to make it four in a row.

Freshman Delaney Schleider’s bat spoke first, driving in two runs for the Panthers in the opening inning to take the early lead in the nonconference matchup April 8.

With one out, Miller Place loaded the bases in the top of the 4th when the Wildcats defense made a statement, turning a double play to strand three runners to end the inning.

It didn’t matter, the Panthers went on a scoring fest in the top of the 5th to break the game wide open by plating 11 runners before it was all over. Shoreham Wading River with their backs against the wall trailing 13-0 in the bottom of the 5th needed to answer back but the Wildcats bats fell silent, triggering the mercy rule — trailing by 10 runs or more — to end the game two innings early.

Miller Place junior Ava Zicchinelli put on an impressive pitching performance for the Panthers striking out eight batters while giving up just two hits, and teammate Brooke Borkowski had three hits, two runs with two RBIs in the win.

Miller Place retook the field the next day, April 9, with a home game against unbeaten Bayport-Blue Point, but lost for the first time, 2-0. Shoreham, on the other hand, cantered to an 18-5 victory at Harborfields. — Photos by Bill Landon 

Shea Baron. Photo courtesy Friends of St. Patrick

The Friends of St. Patrick announced this year’s winner of the  $1,000 scholarship to be Shea Baron from Shoreham-Wading River High School.  

Shea is a third generation Shoreham-Wading River resident and will be attending Stony Brook University this coming fall.  

Shea wrote an essay describing her love for St. Patrick’s Day and her lifelong experiences going to the Miller Place- Rocky Point annual parade.

Friends of St. Patrick was founded in 1949 by businessmen John M. Sullivan and George Faulkner, the Friends of St. Patrick launched their first Miller Place – Rocky Point St. Patrick’s Day parade on March 11, 1950.  

Because of Shea’s dedication to her community and her faith The Friends of St. Patrick felt as though Shea certainly deserves this recognition Congratulations Shea Baron!

By Bill Landon

It was the inaugural battle for the Cat Cup at Shoreham-Wading River High School Feb. 29, a fundraiser to kick off the traditional LAX Out Cancer campaign, a charity that helps local families fighting this insidious disease. 

The event pitted the faculty of Albert G. Prodell Middle School, Wading River School and Miller Avenue School along with the high school in a fun-filled Olympic-style competition. Included were a tug-of-war, beach ball relay, rope skipping relay and hockey shot competition among other events in the high school gym in front of a capacity crowd. There were food sales, raffle tickets, silent auctions and apparel sales in the hallways just outside the “stadium.” 

After the dust settled, it was the Miller Avenue faculty that stood above all others capturing the coveted Cat Cup.

At the last tally, the event raised $8,500 according to Lax Out Cancer committee member Melissa Brandt, adding that this year there are three recipients in the community that will benefit from this year’s effort.

The event bookends the LAX Out Cancer lacrosse event featuring local teams in a carnival-like atmosphere at Thomas Cutinella Memorial Field Saturday, May 4.