The final series in the East Hampton Town men’s and women’s slow-pitch softball leagues were to have begun this week, with Men at Work challenging undefeated Bostwick’s in a best-of-three showdown, and with Stephen Hand’s Equipment going up against the men’s pennant-winner, Schenck Fuels, in a best-of-five set.
Men at Work edged Groundworks Landscaping 4-3 last Thursday as Robin Helgerson came up with some big hits and Marta Johann, whose father, Ed, coaches the team, pretty much shut Groundworks down with well-placed high-arc pitches. Bostwick’s, though, which includes a core group who have won 15 championships over the years, has not really been challenged this season.
The Travis Field memorial (double elimination) softball tournament, which has attracted 14 teams, is to be played tonight through Sunday, which means that game two of the women’s series will be played Tuesday, with a third game, if necessary, set for Wednesday.
The men’s final series, which is best-of-five, could end Wednesday too if a fifth game is needed. Schenck’s and Stephen Hand’s were to have played their first two games on Tuesday and yesterday. The third, because of the intervening tournament, is scheduled for Monday, the fourth for Tuesday, and the fifth for next Wednesday if necessary.
In decisive semifinal round games at the Terry King ball field Monday night, Stephen Hand’s Equipment, a frequent finalist under the Bistrian Gravel and Indian Wells Tavern banners in the past half-dozen years, defeated the defending champions, The Independent, 15-10, and Schenck Fuels plowed under Round Swamp Farm 9-3.
Going into Monday, Indy and Stephen Hand’s had split the first two games of their best-of-three series; Schenck’s win in that night’s first game completed a sweep.
Stephen Hand’s Equipment banged out seven home runs in its win over The Independent — two each by Andrew Foglia and Brian Pfund, and one each by Vaughn Cutillo, Tommy Thorsen, and Gabe Klein.
Six of The Independent’s runs came as the result of homers — a two-run shot by Barry Mackin with two out in the bottom of the first inning, and a grand slam by Pierce Kelley in the bottom of the sixth that pulled Indy to within 9-7 with none out.
Paul Thorsen, the winner’s pitcher, however, who had shut down Indy’s big guns in the third, fourth, and fifth, came back to get Rob Nicoletti, his opposite number, on a flyout to center, Bret Herlihy on a flyout to left, and, after Tyler Brenneman had beaten out an infield hit, Peyton Kelley on a force play at second.
Stephen Hand’s put the game away with six runs in the top of the seventh, the big blows being a run-scoring double by Nick Jarboe, a two-run homer by Tommy Thorsen, a two-run homer by Klein, and a solo shot by Brian Pfund.
Alex Tekulsky doubled to lead off the bottom of the seventh, John Amicucci drew a walk, Bill Collins singled through the left side, and Thorsen walked the number-four hitter, Tim Brenneman, forcing in a run. Mackin then hit a long fly to left, but it was caught. That sacrifice fly plated The Independent’s ninth run.
With runners at the corners, Thorsen pitched cautiously to Pierce Kelley, who, with the count 2-2, grounded out third-to-first. Rob Nicoletti, again with runners at first and third, singled to drive in The Independent’s 10th run, but Herlihy grounded to Cutillo, the shortstop, who stepped on second base for the game-ending, series-ending, and, for The Independent, season-ending out.
As for the Travis Field tournament, which is to begin tonight, Brian Anderson, its organizer, said Joe Sullivan (Stephen Hand’s) and Andy Tuthill (Schenck’s) will vie in the finals of the home-run derby, which attracted 16 contestants at $50 apiece, on Saturday at 7:45 p.m.
Each batter will get 10 swings, he said. “Anything they swing at which is not a homer will be an out.”
Anderson’s own team, the Pink Panthers, are the defending champs, “but I don’t think we can be considered the favorite this year — the competition is a lot tougher.”