The old order changeth: Well, not entirely, for while Provisions, which in this and in numerous former incarnations has been a perennial participant in East Hampton Town women’s slow-pitch softball league finals over the years, has stumbled, Connie Mabry, who has played in the league since her graduation from East Hampton High School in 1973, and who pitches for Groundworks Landscaping, has not.
Mabry’s well-placed high-arc deliveries limited Provisions to eight hits during the course of the upstarts’ 7-3 win in the deciding game of a semifinal series played at the Terry King ball field in Amagansett on the night of July 22.
Mabry, who by and large leaves the fielding to others, had one bad inning, the top of the fourth, during which Provisions briefly took the lead, at 3-2. She shut out the opposition in the fifth, sixth, and seventh — striking out the side in the sixth, virtually unheard of in slow-pitch softball.
Groundworks, which was to have faced the Police Benevolent Association in game one of the final on Tuesday (the P.B.A. having bested Bono Plumbing in the other semi), scored two runs in the bottom of the first, the result of run-scoring hits by Kathryn Hess and Robyn Mott, the three and four hitters in the lineup.
Hess, who plays softball at the University of Dayton, said, when asked, that her average this past season had been around .200. She batted .750 that night, however, going 3-for-4 with a double, two singles, and, as aforesaid, a run batted in. Moreover, her hits were of the screaming line-drive variety.
Provisions got one back in the top of the second as Virginia McGovern led off with a single and was doubled home by Kathy Amicucci.
Then, in the top of the fourth, Provisions added two more. With two outs, McGovern ripped a double to center field, Amicucci followed with one of her own, plating McGovern with the tying run, after which Provisions loaded the bases, on a walk and a soft single just over the shortstop Hess’s outreached glove.
That brought up the team’s 10th batter, Charlotte Wiltshire, whose subsequent dribbler to the mound was bobbled by Mabry as she attempted to get the force at home.
Lori Schultz, the last remaining player from among a half-dozen Provisions- Bostwick’s-Cangiolosi’s-Hren’s-Buzz Chew-Et Cetera stalwarts — a group, including Lori’s sister, Barbara, Sue Warner, Jeannie Bunce, and Jeanie Berkoski, that won 16 playoff championships in 26 years — grounded into a force at second to end the threat.
Groundworks wrested the lead back in the bottom half. After Wiltshire dropped Katrina Foster’s soft fly to right, Foster continued on to second, and after Michelle Grant popped out to Katie Lombardo in left, Foster advanced to third on a bloop single over third by Meredith Janis, the catcher, to put runners at the corners with one out for Mabry. Erin McGintee, Provisions’ pitcher, walked Mabry on a 3-1 pitch. Dana Dragone came in to run for her, after which Emma Shilowich, who hits 10th in the lineup, lined an r.b.i. single into the outfield and Janis came home on a force play at second, putting Groundworks up 4-3. With runners at first and third and two outs, Erin Abran scorched a low line drive up the middle that McGintee somehow speared for the final out.
Mabry took over from there, allowing no hits in Provisions’ fifth, striking out the side in the sixth, and stranding Lombardo at second after she’d doubled over Dana Dragone’s head in right-center to lead off the top of the seventh.
Meanwhile, Groundworks put the game away with a three-run fifth that Hess and Mott led off with wicked line-drive singles. Dragone followed with a pop single to load the bases for Foster, who drove Hess in with a hard-hit grounder up the middle. Mott, ill-advisedly, tried to score as well on the play and was dead on arrival at the plate.
With runners at second and third, an infield throwing error on a ball hit by Grant enabled Groundworks’ sixth run to score, after which Janis drove in the team’s seventh with a base hit. Mabry’s subsequent soft liner to Jen Spellman at first was turned into an inning-ending double play as Janis couldn’t get back to the bag in time.
Riding a 7-3 lead, Mabry made it rain, as it were, in the sixth, getting a strike-three call from Matt Bennett on a 3-2 offering and two more Ks on 1-2 fouls, by McGovern and Amicucci.
Lombardo led off Provisions’ last at-bat with a double that carried to the fence, but got no farther as Mabry retired the next three batters — on a soft lineout to second, a 4-3 groundout, and a 2-3 groundout — to clinch Groundworks’ win.
Provisions won the championship last year, after having lost the first game of the best-of-three series to Groundworks, a number of whose players had to return to college in mid-August, causing a forfeit.
Groundworks won the 2012 championship, sweeping Bostwick’s (now Provisions), which was eyeing an unprecedented seventh straight championship trophy.