Slow-Pitch Trophies Go to Liars’, Marcello’s

A fall league at Terry King is likely
Marcello’s Masonry sits atop the 10-team East Hampton Town men’s slow-pitch softball league, having defeated Uihlein’s last week in a best-of-five final in Amagansett. Jack Graves

Men’s slow-pitch came back to the Terry King ball field in Amagansett this spring following a five-year absence during which many of Amagansett’s former players swelled the numbers in Montauk’s bar league.

“We lost three [teams] and gained two,” Mike Ritsi of the Montauk league said the other day, so instead of eight teams, Montauk had seven this summer. Amagansett had 10, and there were some — most notably Andrew Foglia, a member of two championship teams, Liars’ Saloon in Montauk and Marcello Masonry in Amagansett — who played in both.

Liars’, Ritsi’s team, won the championship series in Montauk last week, taking the fifth game from the Gig Shack, the two-time defending champion, 8-1. Marcello had an easier time of it, defeating Uihlein’s 3-1 in their best-of-five final.

“It’s a different game in Montauk,” Ray Wojtusiak, Marcello’s player-manager, said during a conversation at The Star Friday. “You have to string a lot of singles together out there — there aren’t that many home runs.”

“Maybe there were a dozen homers out here this summer,” said Ritsi.

There weren’t all that many at Terry King, probably given the restrictive-flight bats that are used, said Wojtusiak, whose team, nevertheless, used the long ball to rout Uihlein’s 17-6 in game four, and thus capture the East Hampton Town men’s slow-pitch softball league trophy.

What proved to be the decisive game, on Aug. 22, began with Uihlein’s scoring four runs in the top of the first inning, but Marcello came right back with five in the bottom half, three as the result of a home run by Chris Pfund after Joe Sullivan and Tom Thorsen had singled, and two owing to a homer by Foglia after Andy Tuthill singled. And all of that occurred before anyone had made an out. 

Afterward, Tuthill said it had been his idea to sprinkle the lineup with heavy hitters and not to bunch the lefties — Tuthill, Sullivan, and Thorsen — to keep Jim Hansen, Uihlein’s much-respected pitcher, on his toes, as it were. Thus Dustin Lightcap (who, like Foglia, played in the Montauk league as well) batted 10th for Marcello’s that night. 

He hit into a 6-4 force to end the first inning and grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the fourth, but in his first at-bat in that inning he hit a two-run home run, and would have had another in the sixth were it not for a rule, adopted when the season began, limiting teams to five taters, “the idea being,” said Wojtusiak, “to prevent blowouts.” His home run in the sixth, therefore, was treated as a single. 

Others who found the fences for Marcello’s that night were Tuthill and Thorsen.

When, following Thorsen’s two-run homer in the fifth, which treated Marcello’s to a 15-4 lead, Tuthill was asked if there were anyone on the team who hadn’t hit a home run that night “other than Ray,” Tuthill replied, with a smile, “And he won’t either.”

Wojtusiak took the ribbing with his characteristic good nature. “I’ve known Joe, Keith [Steckowski], Tommy, and Andy since they were 12, since I was their baseball coach at the middle school.”

“When Andy pitched,” he added, “I didn’t have to do anything.”

Wojtusiak and Rick White are the championship team’s elders, having played the game together for 20 or so years, “since our days with Bistrian Gravel, when Scott Loper, the best home run hitter I’ve ever played with, was on it. Joe and Keith played on Bistrian Gravel too, but later. Rick and I are the only two left from that old Bistrian Gravel team.”

When this writer made mention of Fred’s Big Guns, who made a lot of noise at Terry King 25 years ago, White said, as he walked off the field, “They would have had five home runs in the first inning.”

Back to the Montauk league, Ritsi said, concerning the final series there, at the Hank Zebrowski field on Edgemere Road, that Liars’ had won games one, three, and five, while the Gig Shack, “Leo Daunt’s team,” had won games two and four.

The fifth game had been his team’s best of the season, Ritsi said. “We scored three in the first — usually in our league it’s the team that gets off to a good start that winds up winning — and added more as we went along. They [Gig Shack] scored their run in the bottom of the seventh.”

Chris Carillo pitched for the winners in the finale, though Wyatt Gibbons was the Saloon’s pitcher in the first four.

Besides Ritsi, Foglia, Carillo, and Gibbons, the Liars’ roster comprised Tyler Davis, Brent Davis, Chris Conroy, Mike Forbes, Brian Powell, Jesse Joeckel, Matt Brierley, Kevin Farrell, Matt Burns, Ryan Burns, and Charlie Collins.

There has been talk of a best-of-three series between Liars’ and Marcello’s, but Ritsi and Wojtusiak were doubtful it would come off. “I wouldn’t want to play if it weren’t my A team, and only six or seven guys responded when I asked how many of my guys wanted to do it,” Wojtusiak said.

However, there would be, he added, a fall league at Terry King, as he said was the case last year, “from mid-September through the first week of November. It would be the same as in the summer, except the playoffs would be single-elimination. You never know . . . but it should come to pass.”

And in Montauk, Liars’ Saloon topped the seven-team league, winning the fifth game of a best-of-five series with the two-time defending champion Gig Shack.