Groundworks Landscaping, in a two-game sweep, and the Clubhouse, in four, recently won East Hampton Town women’s and men’s slow-pitch softball playoff trophies, thanks largely, in the women’s case, to Emma Beudert’s high-arc backspun lobs, and, in the Clubhouse’s case, to some solid slugging in what proved to be the decisive men’s game last Thursday night.
The first three games in the men’s playoffs had been close, with Uihlein’s winning the first 6-4, and with the Clubhouse (formerly Marcello’s) taking the second 12-9 and the third 8-7, overcoming a 7-3 deficit in the bottom of the last inning.
But last Thursday it was pretty much all Clubhouse, an 8-0 victor despite the creditable pitching of Jim Hansen, whose son, David, also plays for the runners-up.
Tom Thorsen set the tone, sending a Hansen offering deep over the fence in left-center field in the first, scoring Joe Sullivan, who had singled, ahead of him. A two-run homer by Diego Palomo (recently returned to the lineup after having moved back here) and a two-run double by Chris Pfund made it 6-0 Clubhouse in the top of the second.
Meanwhile, Ray Wojtusiak, the Clubhouse’s pitcher, continued to hold Uihlein’s batters in check.
Uihlein’s best chance came in the bottom of the fourth when, after Pat Silich, the leadoff hitter, had grounded out third-to-first, Pedro Garcia and Andy Tuthill singled back to back, with Tuthill sliding into second safely, belly-first, as Garcia was motoring to third. With one out, however, David Hansen popped out to Hayden Ward, the second baseman, and Austin Bahns flied out to right.
Double plays took Uihlein’s out of their fifth and sixth at-bats, and, in the top of the seventh, the winners tacked on two more, with Pfund, who had tripled off the fence in left-center, scoring on a sacrifice fly by Thorsen, and with Dustin Lightcap scoring on a two-out base hit by Keith Steckowski.
Wojtusiak set Uihlein’s down quietly in the bottom of the seventh, on a flyout, and, following an infield hit by Silich, two infield popouts.
“This is basically the same team we had last year with Marcello’s sponsoring us,” Wojtusiak, the Clubhouse’s player-manager, said, “except Hayden and Tyler [Aposhian] are new, and Diego, who’d been away, came back.”
A best-of-three series with the Montauk champion, Gig Shack, apparently looms, one game to be played at the Hank Zebrowski field in Montauk, under Montauk’s wood bat rules, and one at the Terry King ball field in Amagansett, with metal bats, and a third, if necessary, to be played on the field of the team with the better run differential.
There may be a fall slow-pitch season too, at Terry King.
As for the women, Beudert, as aforesaid, was in control the entire way, giving up one run to East End Land Planning on seven scattered hits, all singles, walking four, and striking out one as Connie Mabry, Groundworks’ former veteran pitcher, looked on approvingly from the dugout. Beudert also drove in two runs and scored one. The final score was 7-1.
Rachel Sherman, Groundworks’ seventh hitter, doubled over the left fielder’s head with two outs in the bottom of the second inning, but was stranded there as the result of an inning-ending groundout.
The Landscapers scored three runs in the bottom of the third, however. Beudert drove in one, and, with two outs, Kim Hren, who’s played on numerous championship teams in her career, drove in two with a base hit.
The winners made it 4-0 in the fifth thanks to a two-out infield hit by Casey Brooks, the third hitter in the lineup, that drove in Beudert, who had singled, advanced to second on an error, and had taken third on a third-to-first groundout.
East End Land Planning got on the scoreboard in the top of the sixth, as the result of an infield hit, a walk, and a base hit by Shelly Bobek, who, using a tomahawk swing effectively, went 3-for-3 that night.
Groundworks put the championship away with three more runs in the bottom half of the inning as Meredith Janis, the catcher and number-nine hitter, who came to bat with one out and the bases loaded, drove in Erin Abran from third and Brooks from second for 6-1, after which, with two outs, a cue shot by Beudert drove in Janis, who’d been on second base.
Following a walk and a forceout at second, Beudert speared a hard line drive hit her way by Kathy Amicucci with one out in the bottom of the seventh, and, after Katie Osiecki, East End Land Planning’s pitcher, reached first base safely on an infield error, speared another up-the-middle line drive, thus clinching the championship, which last year had been won by the P.B.A., the team Groundworks swept 2-0 in this year’s semifinal round.
It was a repeat for the Clubhouse-Marcello’s, which, as it did this time, downed Uihlein’s in four in the final series of the 2018 season.