With the playoffs looming, Bostwick’s has clinched the top seed in East Hampton Town’s women’s slow-pitch softball league, and, in the men’s league, Schenck Fuels was poised to follow suit if it defeated The Independent Monday.
Bostwick’s, whose core players — Jeannie Bunce, Jeanie Berkoski, Sue Warner, and Barbara and Lori Schultz — are aiming for an unprecedented sixth straight championship under the Bostwick’s banner, and their 16th over all under Bostwick’s and other sponsors, was at 7-0 as of Monday, having crushed the P.B.A. 18-3 in a game played at Amagansett’s Terry King ball field last Thursday, scoring three runs in the bottom of the first inning, two in the bottom of the second, and 13 on 13 hits in the bottom of the third.
Schenck Fuels, which, in a well-played, homerless extra-inning game, defeated The Independent 9-7 on July 13, was at 12-1 as of Monday, followed by The Independent, at 11-5, Uihlein’s, at 7-7, Stephen Hand’s Equipment, at 6-6, Round Swamp Farm, at 6-9, and Bono Plumbing and Heating, at 0-14.
All the men’s teams will make the playoffs, which could begin as early as Wednesday, assuming numerous rainouts will have been made up by then.
Four of the five women’s teams will play in the postseason — Bostwick’s, Groundworks, which was 4-3 as of Monday, Men At Work (3-3), and the P.B.A. (2-4). Grazina Orthodontics, a first-year squad, was O-6, and thus out of the running.
Rich Schneider, the leagues’ spokesman, thought as of Monday morning that Schenck’s had clinched the top seed in the men’s loop, but soon after demurred, saying that Schenck’s and Indy would wind up tied, with each at 12-5, if the Fuelmen lost Monday to The Independent in the fourth meeting of those teams and went on to lose their three remaining regular season games. However, that was unlikely, given the fact that they are to finish with Bono Plumbing tomorrow. “Then,” said Schneider, “we’d have to go to tiebreakers.”
Going into Monday’s game, Schenck’s, a number of whose players won regional amateur baseball championships as the East End Tigers, had taken two of three from The Independent, which has been the playoff champion in four of the past five years.
The first two games the teams played were home run derbies, but in the July 13 meeting, during which swirling winds turned the infield into a dust bowl at times, no one found the fences.
The Independent jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning, on a two-run double by John Amicucci, who hits second in the lineup, and on a single to center field by Bill Collins, the number-three hitter, that scored Amicucci.
Schenck’s got two back in the top of the fifth. Brendan Fennell led off with an infield single, after which Zach Brenneman, Indy’s shortfielder, failed to hang onto a sinking fly ball hit his way by Jerry Uribe.
Mike Rodriguez then forced Uribe at second as Fennell took third, but Will Collins followed with a run-scoring single to get Schenck’s on the board. Chris O’Conner, who was batting 10th in the lineup, beat out a dribbler to load the bases with one out for the pitcher, Doug Dickson, whose sacrifice fly to left field plated Fennell with the Fuelmen’s second run. Another 6-4 force, on a ground ball hit by the leadoff hitter, Ethan King, ended the inning.
Dickson kept the lid on in the bottom of the fifth, with Charlie Collins, Tyler Brenneman, and Peyton Kelley making outs. Then Schenck’s took a 6-3 lead in the top of the sixth, the key hits being an opposite-field r.b.i. by the left-handed Andy Tuthill, run-scoring singles by Uribe and Rodriguez, and a sac fly by Will Collins.
The Independent had the bases loaded with two out in the bottom half, but Dickson knocked down a hard line drive hit toward him by his opposite number, Rob Nicoletti, and under-handed a toss to Fennell at first for the final out.
Nice base-running by Ethan King, who avoided a tag on the base paths and beat a throw to third, enabled the Fuelmen to load the bases with one out in the top of the seventh. King then came home on Vinnie Alversa’s fielder’s choice grounder to second.
Trailing 7-3, The Independent’s seventh, eighth, and ninth hitters, Herlihy, Pierce Kelley, and Charlie Collins, were due up in the bottom of the seventh. Tuthill made a diving catch of Herlihy’s liner to center field to start the inning off. But then Kelley, Collins, and Tyler Brenneman followed with successive singles, loading the bases.
Nick Tuths, a pinch-hitter, hit a high curling foul ball off the right field line, which O’Connor dove for but couldn’t grab. Tuths’ subsequent hard-hit ground ball to short hit Collins as he was running for third. Declaring the ball dead once it had hit Collins, the umpire ordered Kelley back to third, and the bases remained loaded, this time with two outs.
Alex Tekulsky, Indy’s hard-hitting leadoff hitter, smacked a two-run base hit for 7-5, and, after Amicucci singled to load the bases again, Bill Collins drove in two more runs with a base hit, tying the score at 7-7 with Zach Brenneman, the cleanup hitter, due up.
With first base open, Dickson intentionally walked Brenneman, after which Barry Mackin made the last out, sending the game into extras.
Dickson came to bat with the bases loaded and two out in the top of the eighth, but, with two strikes, drove a grounder foul of third, resulting in an inning-ending strikeout.
Tuthill saved Schenck’s in the bottom of the eighth as, with one out and a runner on first, he made an over-the-shoulder catch of a deep fly ball hit toward the center field fence by Pierce Kelley and then rifled a throw to Fennell to double up Herlihy, who had been heading for second when the catch was made.
The Fuelmen went up 9-7 in the top of the ninth on a run-scoring single by Tuthill with the bases loaded and one out, and on a subsequent force play that forced Tuthill at second but scored Adam Gledhill from third.
With runners at first and second and two out in the bottom of the ninth, Dickson induced Amicucci to hit into a game-ending 6-5 force that sent the Fuelmen home winners.