An Engaging Softball Tournament

The 10th Travis Field memorial softball tournament in Amagansett
She said yes. Jack Graves

The Pink Panthers won the 10th Travis Field memorial softball tournament in Amagansett this past weekend, a double-elimination one contested by 17 teams — the most ever — over the course of three days, one of them rainy, at the Terry King ball field.

“But the neatest thing,” Brian Anderson, one of the tournament’s organizers (and the Panthers’ pitcher), said, “was Erica Silich and Anthony Daunt getting engaged at the opening ceremonies on Friday.”

As he knelt at the pitcher’s mound, Daunt presented his fiancée with a ring enfolded in the stuffing of a hollowed-out baseball. Soon after, Silich and Zoe Daunt, Anthony’s cousin, and a teammate of Silich’s on the Groundworks women’s slow-pitch softball team, sang the national anthem.

The tournament, which has become a popular fund-raiser here, helps underwrite scholarships in Travis Field’s memory. He died at the age of 20 in an auto accident on May 15, 2008. Those who win his scholarships “must display great leadership in sports, love the school and community, and must show kindness to others.” 

The Pink Panthers, a team made up of Travis’s friends (Anderson, Andy Tuthill, Brenden Mott, Matt Brierley, Mikey Graham, Jimmy Miller, and Austin and Steven Bahns among them), now have back-to-back championships to their credit, though before last year’s win over the Raptors they had been out of the money since 2010.

Nicko’s Pools, a strong team assembled by the 61-year-old veteran pitcher, Rob Nicoletti, came out of the losers bracket to challenge the Panthers in Sunday evening’s final, having come back earlier that day (thanks to Ray Wojtusiak’s, two-out, two-run triple in the bottom of the sixth) to defeat the Greene Machine 10-8. 

Nicko’s had already lost once to the Panthers and would have had to defeat the winners twice to capture the 2017 crown. In what was to be the finale, Nicko’s went up 8-3, but Andy Tuthill and Derrick Field unleashed big hits in the sixth inning that wrested the lead back for the Panthers, at 10-8. Anderson set Nicko’s down in order in the top of the seventh.

Asked if they’d set a date, Anthony Daunt demurred. “We’re buying a house first.” The couple readily agreed that it was “getting to be expensive out here.” Silich works the year round at Sportime, for Claude Okin, the owner (and owner as well of numerous other tennis clubs in the metropolitan area), and for Mark Crandall and Eric Scoppetta, who run a popular summer sports camp for boys and girls there.

Speaking of Groundworks, it was to have played the P.B.A. in the pivotal game of their first-round women’s slow-pitch softball league playoff series Tuesday. Bono Plumbing, the top seed, and Schenck Fuels, the fourth, were to have squared off in their game three that night as well. The best-of-three final is to begin tonight at the Terry King ball field.

As for the men’s league in Montauk, Wojtusiak said following Nicko’s win over the Greene Machine that the Gig Shack, the defending champion, and the Montauk Brewery, for which he plays, had already advanced to the semifinal round, awaiting the winners of the Surf Sharks-Liars Saloon and Montauk Rugby Club-Uihlein’s first-round series. As of Monday, the Surf Sharks and Montauk R.C. were each up 1-0.

The subject of baseball also arose at the tournament when Vinny Alversa, who coaches East Hampton High’s varsity, and Andrew Rodriguez, who coaches the junior varsity, were spotted nursing their wounds inasmuch as it was the first time their Bubs team, they said, hadn’t made it to the second day. 

Turning to baseball, Alversa said his 18-and-under team that plays in the Town of Brookhaven’s summer league had finished the regular season at 11-7-1, earning it the fourth seed in the playoffs, which were to have begun Tuesday in Center Moriches. “Our pitching’s been good — Hunter Fromm went 4-1 with an e.r.a. of 0.70, Curt Matthews had an e.r.a. of 2.46, and Elian Abreu’s e.r.a. was 0.77.”

Fromm, who will be a senior this fall, gave up four earned runs in 40 innings, a span during which he gave up 15 hits and struck out 74; Matthews, who will be a junior, pitched 25 innings during which he recorded 41 strikeouts, and Abreu, who will be a sophomore, pitched 18 innings, during which he gave up two earned runs and struck out 21.

Rodriguez’s 14-and-under team didn’t fare as well in the regular season but is in the playoffs nevertheless. Both these teams will play in Brookhaven’s fall league, as will Kenny Dodge’s 11-and-unders, a division winner at 13-3 that reportedly received two playoff byes as a result. Henry Meyer’s 10-and-under team is also expected to play in the fall, as is a 9-and-under team, which would give East Hampton five entries in all. 

The Greene Machine’s James Rigby slid in safely, beating a force play at second base in the fifth inning of the Nicko Pools-Greene Machine semifinal.Jack Graves