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Top 10: Greatest Home Runs in Stony Brook History

July 13, 2015
The Shrikes | Philipps (Kneeling, left), Sandbo (Kneeling, right), Phillips (2nd row, 2nd from left), Haas (2nd row, 3rd from left), Alioth (2nd row, 3rd from right) & Dambra (Back, 3rd from right)

One of the great power teams in school history, the ’85 Shrikes: Philipps (Kneeling, left), Sandbo (Kneeling, right) & Dambra (Back, 3rd from right)

Tonight, at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, the 30th Home Run Derby will pit the greatest power hitters in Major League Baseball against each other for long ball supremacy. In honor of that occasion, here are the ten greatest home runs in Stony Brook history.

Note: Our records from the late 1990s, one of the greatest eras of Stony Brook baseball, are incomplete. Paul Ciofrone ’96, who went on to be drafted by the New York Mets in 1996 before becoming one of the great power hitters in Hofstra University history, was an All-Long Island player for the Bears. Ciofrone was known for his incredible power and stories still circulate about the time he crushed a ball to right field, eventually coming back to earth in the Bear Cage. Unfortunately, we don’t have any records of his games. Nor do we have any records for Pete Grimm ’99, an All-State slugger for the Brook. Each helped lead the Bears to a County Championship. Both would undoubtedly have several key home runs on this list.


Honorable Mention

#2 | Mike Masterson vs. Eastern Military Academy | 5/14/62

After trailing 0-3 early in the game, the Brook clung to a 6-5 lead in the 6th inning when Mike Masterson crushed a two-run home run that scored Dave Kleinschmidt. The long ball powered the blue and white to a 9-6 over the cadets.

#1 | Rob Dambra vs. Southold | 5/5/86

In an 11-5 victory over Southold, Rob Dambra launched two home runs. His first, a solo blast, gave the Shrikes a 4-1 edge in the 3rd inning. After the Settlers came back with four runs in their half of the 3rd and the Brook tied the game in the fourth, Dambra gave his team the lead for good with a solo shot to open the 5th.


The Top 10 Home Runs in Stony Brook History

#10 | Don Liotine vs. Southold | 4/29/11

The baseball team had not earned a varsity victory in two years and the prospect of a win didn’t look good against an opponent that had defeated them by a combined score of 22-5 over the previous two days. Don Liotine provided a huge spark for the Brook, notching 4 RBIs including a three-run home run in the 4th inning. The Settlers staged a late rally, loading the bases with one out in the 7th inning, but Liotine struck out the last two batters of the game to nail down the 11-9 victory.

#9 | Greg Philipps vs. East Hampton | 5/28/86

In a playoff victory over East Hampton, Greg Philipps cracked a two-run homer in the top of the 3rd inning to give the Brook an early 6-1 lead en route to a 7-4 win.

#8 | Erick Witteman vs. Pierson | 5/23/80

In the bottom of the 7th inning, Erick Witteman hit a walk-off, pinch hit home run to give the Brook a 3-2 victory over Pierson and complete a double-header sweep.

#7 | Stephen Clemens vs. John F. Kennedy High | 4/1/68

With the Brook trailing JFK 2-3 in the top of the 7th inning, Stephen Clemens clocked a three-run homer to vault the blue and white into the lead on the way to a 5-3 win.

#6 | Phil Leek vs. Eastport | 4/17/90

Cameron Thiessen was three outs away from a no-hitter, but a victory was still in doubt as Stony Brook and Eastport moved into the 7th inning knotted at 2-2. After the Bears pushed across a run to open the 7th, Phil Leek made sure Thiessen’s victory was assured, launching a three-run home run to give the blue and white a 6-2 lead. Thiessen would complete his no-hitter by striking out the side in the bottom of the 7th, three of his incredible fifteen strikeouts on the day.

#5 | Peter Hensley vs. Southold | 4/29/81

Southold took a 3-2 lead after scoring two runs in the bottom of the 6th. Just 3 outs from defeat, Peter Hensley opened the 7th inning with a game-tying homer on a 3-2 pitch to knot the score. Dan Kercsmar and Paul Froitzheim would later score as the Brook clipped the Settlers, 5-3.

#4 | Rob Dambra vs. Eastport | 5/25/87

In the 1st inning of the Class C-D County Championship, Rob Dambra followed Jordan Nixon’s leadoff triple by crushing a two-run home run. Eastport would later tie the game at 2-2 in the fourth before the game moved to extra innings. Doug Alioth singled in the go-ahead run in the top of the 9th and then Dambra nailed down the first C-D Championship in program history with a 1-2-3 ninth inning.

#3 | Dean Sandbo vs. Shelter Island | 3/29/85

In the one of the great individual performances in Stony Brook baseball history, Dean Sandbo clobbered two 2-run home runs and held the Indians hitless for 6 2/3 innings in a 10-1 drubbing of Shelter Island. Sandbo clocked two-run homers in the 2nd and 4th innings and dominated on the mound, fanning 9 islanders and allowing just one hit. His long balls were two of the team’s four on the day as Rob Dambra led off the bottom of the first inning with a dinger on a 3-1 pitch and Greg Philipps followed two batters later with a bomb to give the Brook an early 2-0 lead.

#2 | Charlie Medd vs. Patchogue | 4/17/45

After the Brook tied the game at 3-3 in their half of the 6th inning, the game moved to extra innings when both squads failed to score in the 7th. In the bottom of the 8th inning, Charlie Medd blasted a walk-off, solo home run into the left field woods to give the blue and white a thrilling 4-3 win.

#1 | Richard Shimko vs. Poly Prep | 4/20/68

After Poly rallied from an early 3-0 deficit, the Brook found themselves trailing their arch rivals 6-3 in the bottom of the 7th. Hopes of a comeback dimmed when the blue and white led off the inning with a groundout, but Jon Hanchett and Bruce Todd reached base and came around to score to cut the deficit to 6-5. Jim Furguiele and a teammate each reached base to bring up Richard Shimko, who was batting just .172 on the year. With two outs and the game on the line, Shimko crushed a three-run, walk-off home run to give the home team an exhilarating win and send Poly back to Brooklyn with a crushing defeat.


2 Comments leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    July 13, 2015 10:18 PM

    No Ciafrone????


    • July 13, 2015 10:21 PM

      If you look at the note I wrote in the intro, we don’t have any game records from the late 1990s, otherwise Ciofrone would be on this list 5 times!


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