Brewery Stumbles in Slow-Pitch Finals

The Gig Shack came on to win by scores of 4-2, 17-2, and, in the pivotal game on Sept. 1, 9-8
It was the first playoff trophy for the Gig Shack in the Montauk slow-pitch softball league’s 11-year history.

The Montauk Brewing Company, whose core group has won four slow-pitch softball championships in the past five years, first in Amagansett in 2012, and then in more recent years at the Hank Zebrowski field in Montauk, came up short this time, losing the recent final series in five to the Gig Shack, Leo Daunt’s team, which had sustained only one loss in the regular season.

The Brewery, whose player-manager is Ray Wojtusiak, started off well, taking the first two games, but then stumbled as the Gig Shack came on to win by scores of 4-2, 17-2, and, in the pivotal game on Sept. 1, 9-8.

Daunt said afterward that “this one’s for her,” referring to the Shack’s most faithful fan, Tracey Gardell-Gross, the bar and restaurant’s owner, with her husband, Louis. “She’s been coming to our games ever since this league began 11 years ago. It’s the first time the Gig Shack’s ever won it.”

Wojtusiak said that the Gig Shack’s success, especially in the playoffs, had much to do with Daunt’s impressive play as the team’s shortstop. “He made a leaping catch on a line drive by Tommy Thorsen in that last game that we just couldn’t believe. He’s 6-4 and has great range, to the left, to the right. . . .”

His team’s loss in game one had something to do, Daunt said, with the fact that he and his teammates were tired, given their 11-inning win the night before over Mickey’s Carting, Jerry Uribe’s team, many of whose players have Dominican roots. Mickey’s Carting was the only team to beat the Gig Shack in the regular season.

That 7-6 win in game three of the Gig Shack-Mickey’s Carting semifinal was owing, said Daunt, to a walk-off single by Joe Ferraro in the bottom of the 11th.

Ferraro, who plays center field, led off for the playoff champions. Daunt batted second; Brian Pfund, the right fielder, third; Dustin Lightcap, the third baseman, cleanup; Gray Gardell-Gross, the left fielder, fifth; Tom Loncar, the pitcher, sixth; James Bogetti, the second baseman, seventh; Skylar Gardell-Gross, the first baseman, eighth; Dan Wallace, the catcher, ninth, and Ben McCarron, the left-center fielder, 10th. 

On the bench were John Dimelio, a catcher, Joe McDonald, a right fielder, Fonzy Maldonado, a designated hitter, and Terrance Fehan, a catcher.

The Gig Shack won game three by a score of 4-2. “Defense was the difference in that game,” Daunt said. “Skylar made a big double play for us in the seventh, catching a line drive at first and doubling up the runner.”

“We came out hot the next night, in game four, with a 10-run second inning. . . . Everybody contributed.”

As for the Sept. 1 clincher, “It was a really good game. We went up 5-0 early, but they gradually came back. It was 8-4 us going into the top of the seventh, when they tied it. . . .”

“There was a very big play in the top of the seventh,” Rich Schneider, who was calling the balls and strikes that night, said. “Ray, who leads off for the Brewery, got on, and then there was a bang-bang play at second. The umpire at second called Ray out, but the umpire at third — it’s unusual for us to have three umpires at a game — said he was safe.” 

“In the majors, as you know, they confer before that kind of thing happens,” Schneider continued. “So, I had to decide it. The umpire at third had been on the foul side of third. He said Leo’s foot was off the bag. The umpire who was closest to the play said he was out. I went with the guy who was closest to the play. It’s unfortunate that those things happen in games, but that’s the way it is. I think it fired the Brewery up. They had a couple of hits after that and then there was a misplay in center field. All of a sudden, it was 8-7 with the tying run on third. A sac fly tied it up.”

“In the bottom of the seventh,” said Daunt, picking up the thread, “Gray Gardell-Gross led off and doubled to right. Tom Loncar singled, putting runners at first and third. James Bogetti walked to load the bases with no outs. Skylar grounded to third, and the throw went home for the force there. One out, bases still loaded. Then Dan Wallace singled up the middle to win the game and the championship. . . . We won it for Tracey.”