The Mighty Midgetts powered their way to a repeat win this past weekend in the Travis Field memorial slow-pitch softball tournament, which was contested by 15 entries over the course of four days.
A team put together by Brian Midgett of East Hampton, the Midgetts, boasted some impressive power hitters, one of whom, Neil Hagland, a lefty from Lake Grove, launched what Eddie Bahns said was the longest home run he’d ever seen at the Terry King ball field.
“It landed [about 400 feet away] near the hoop at the left side of the basketball court,” said Bahns, who served as a tourney umpire along with Kelly McKee, Steven Tekulsky, Henry Gant, and others.
“These guys are my friends from the track [the Riverhead Raceway],” said Brian Midgett as he and his players rested in the shade of the parking lot before a clash with Team Travis (formerly the Pink Panthers) Saturday afternoon. “Riverhead and Southampton are local. We’re here for Travis, and for some fun, just as all these other teams are.”
This year’s runner-up was Hampton Glass, a team that included Alex Tekulsky, Robbie Peters, Joe Sullivan, Jim Abran, and Tom Bock. Hampton Glass ousted Team Travis by a score of 7-6. That and an earlier loss to the powerful Midgetts served to knock the former champions (in 2008, ’09, and 2010) out of the double-elimination tourney.
The late Travis Field, the son of Chris and Annmarie Field, died as the result of an automobile accident on May 15, 2008. Soon after, some of his friends and former teammates, namely Brian Anderson, Andy Tuthill, Mikey Graham, Austin Bahns, and David Samot Jr., began the tournament as a fund-raiser for a fund from which has flowed college scholarship awards in each of the past six years.
This year’s winners were Gabby Green, Riley McMahon, J.C. Barrientos, and Peter Vaziri, all East Hampton High School 2013 graduates.
“We gave out two $1,000 scholarships and two $500 ones,” said Annmarie Field. “We’d like to give away more. Anything helps with the price of college these days, and, believe me,” she said, with a smile, “I know, having two in college now.”
The tournament was interesting also for the fact that it was the first time this summer that men were seen playing slow-pitch softball at Terry King. The men’s league that had played there since the mid-1960s was scrapped this year, given the fact that only four teams entered.
As a result, a number of former Amagansett league players are now on teams in the Montauk wood bat league whose games are played on Montauk’s Little League field.
“I grew up here — my dad and my uncle played for Schenck Fuels,” said Andy Tuthill, a former Fuelman himself, as he watched the action from the outfield fence Saturday. “Going by on a Friday night at 8 and seeing nothing going on has been kind of depressing. I spent all my summers here — to see there’s no league anymore is really sad.”
“I still don’t know why it is. . . . We get 15 teams out for this. . . . We all have jobs. I understand that some can’t commit, but still. . . . You talk to the guys at this tournament and they’ll tell you they’re interested in getting the league up and going again next year. It’s ridiculous.”
Meanwhile, Montauk’s playoffs are set to begin Monday. Tuthill’s team, the Montauk Fire Department, which was undefeated as of this weekend, is the odds-on favorite, “though the Raptors, Shagwong, Sloppy Tuna, and the Vineyard, John Glennon’s team, are all good,” Tuthill said.
Asked about Travis Field, Bahns, the veteran coach of East Hampton High School’s varsity baseball team, said, “Travis played for me — pitched and played first base. He was a great kid. This tournament has been a nice way for his friends, Austin and Brian and the others, to give back. They’ve put in a lot of work for a special cause.”
“I remember once when we were playing Sayville,” Bahns continued, “and Travis was pitching. It was the sixth inning and a guy hit a hard line drive right back at him, hitting him in the ribs. It blew up in the dugout — a huge bruise. I wanted to take him out, but he said, ‘No, Coach, I’m not coming out.’ He stayed in and we beat ’em. I remember that when I think of Travis. That was the kind of kid he was. . . . I remember that and obviously a lot other stuff.”
“Brian, Austin, Andy, David, and Mikey should be thanked for the way they’ve given back. It’s incredible how they’ve carried on Travis’s spirit.”