3rd Title in 4 Years for Groundworks Landscaping

A defeat of Schenck Fuels by a 6-1 score
A trio of Groundworks’ young players, Casey Brooks, Thea Grenci, and Erica Silich, celebrated last week following the team’s sweep of Schenck Fuels in the final. Jack Graves

Groundworks Landscaping resumed its place at the top of the East Hampton Town women’s slow-pitch softball league at the Terry King ball field in Amagansett on Aug. 15 by defeating Schenck Fuels 6-1 to win the playoff trophy.

Emma Beudert’s backspun high-arc pitches were largely the reason that Groundworks swept Schenck’s, which had in the semifinal round upset the defending champion, Bono Plumbing. 

As for that semifinal, Kathy Amicucci, Schenck’s player-manager (and coach of East Hampton High School’s varsity), said, “Our defense, anchored by Kathryn Mirras at short, was solid, we hit very well, and Shelley [Bobek, the pitcher] did a great job, as she has all season long.”

Groundworks, which has some good young players, Thea Grenci, Erica Silich, Casey Brooks, Meredith Janis, and Zoe Daunt among them, got off on the right foot in what was to prove the finale (had Schenck’s won the first game on the 15th, a decisive third game would have followed), scoring three runs in the top of the first inning, all with two outs. 

Kim Hren, the team’s player-manager and its senior member, drove in one with an opposite-field single to right field, Brooks followed with an r.b.i. pop over third, just beyond the third baseman Nicole Yeager’s grasp, and Daunt scored Erin Abran, who had come in to run for Hren, and who was on second, with a single of her own.

Beudert, who was to allow only three hits that night, all singles, set Schenck’s down one-two-three in the bottom half of the inning — Tara North on a popout to second, Robin Helgerson on a foulout to Janis, who was catching, and Amicucci on a pop to Brooks in shallow left field.

Groundworks turned a double play in the second, erasing Mirras, who had led off with a seeing-eye single, and the batter, Yeager, who had grounded to Grenci at short.

Schenck’s had runners at first and second with two outs in the bottom of the third, but Beudert got Helgerson to pop out to short.

Groundworks made it 4-1 in the top of the fourth. With two outs and runners at first and second, Abran drew a walk from Bobek to load the bases, and Hren too drew a walk, plating Beudert from third.

Schenck’s third, fourth, and fifth hitters — Amicucci, Mirras, and Yeager — faced Beudert in the bottom half, though they were retired in order, Amicucci on a groundout to first, Mirras on a fly to left, and Yeager on a nice catch by Grenci.

It was Schenck’s turn to turn a double play in the top of the sixth. After Helgerson dropped a throw from Mirras, allowing Grenci to reach first base safely, Abran hit into a force play at second, and Hren, the next batter, grounded to Mirras, who, after stepping on the bag, threw to Helgerson for the inning-ending out there.

Groundworks clinched the game — and the championship — with two more runs in the top of the seventh. Brooks’s hard single to the left side began it, Daunt followed with a walk, and Janis drove Brooks in from second with a drive up the middle. Michelle Grant, one of Groundworks’ veterans, then singled over third to score Daunt, upping the lead to 6-1. 

Beudert flied out to right-center for the first out, and Silich, with runners at first and second, grounded into a double play that Mirras began by tagging Janis, who was heading for third.

Amicucci singled to lead off Schenck’s last at-bat, but was forced at second by Yeager after Mirras had flied out. Beudert then retired her opposite number, Bobek, to put it in the book. 

It was the third playoff title for Groundworks, which, with Connie Mabry pitching, won championships in 2014 and 2015. Mabry retired last year, at the age of 60, but Beudert, who had been one of the outfielders, proved herself well up to the challenge.