August 18, 2019 - with the playoffs finally arriving there is so much to cover that I'm not going to detail all of the games that were played last week as that would make for one very long news story. Instead, we will highlight the games played last week that had playoff implications. Before looking back at last week's games and moving forward to the coming week of playoffs, we must take a moment to acknowledge our individual players awards. The league will distribute $250 in award money as each title is worth $25. Winning players - please have your coach send me your address. Ok, on to the awards.
In the Lucas division, Dave Corcoran of City Tap is our winner for having the top batting average; .583 (minimum required at bats of 30+). Congratulations Dave! For the B league we combine both the Feeney and Moran divisions for award and championship purposes. With that said, the player with the highest batting average is Brian Dupree of the Smoke Shop BBQ team, .750 average. Congratulations Brian!
The next award is for our homerun king(s). In the Lucas division, Miguel Dupree of Southside Tavern smashed seven (7) homeruns to barely edge out Brian Hurld of the Simpson Club who had (6) in limited action due to injury. In the B league, Matt Consiglio of the Smoke Shop BBQ team who had the most in both leagues, 9! Congratulations guys!
Runs Scored is our next award and in the Lucas division it goes to Miguel Dupree still of the Southside Tavern. Miguel tallied eighteen (18) runs for Danny Ekasala and Southside. In the B league, Telegraph Hill's Scott Howard scored twenty-six (26) runs...that's two runs a game! Congratulations to both of you!
Moving on from scoring runs on offense to the science of pitching. Our first award goes to the pitcher with the lowest earned run average who also pitched more than forty (40) innings. In the Lucas division, Chris Boyd of City Tap sported a 3.87 ERA while rookie Mike Araujo of Telegraph Hill and the Moran division of the B league was nearly identical with a 3.84 ERA. In a hitter's league, anything under seven is pretty good. Congratulations Chris and Mike!
Lastly, our strikeout award which used to be about as popular as the homerun award for hitters but is now reduced as the pitching rules have drastically changed. Mike Garland of the Simpson Club in the Lucas division still managed to strikeout twenty-six (26) batters which is more than two a game as Mike didn't pitch every game his team played. Very impressive! In the B league, the rookie, Mike Araujo nabs his second award as he struck out twelve (12) hitters this season. Congratulations goes out to the Mikes!
Did somebody say playoffs? Playoffs! The playoff links for both A & B leagues are now up on the site (sbsports.com) and will contain the latest schedule as well as a brief report on each game that was played. Please check back often. Also, there is a new "Playoff Eligibility" link too. Please check this list to see if a player of yours has failed to meet the minimum requirement to participate in the playoffs. Be prepared and check the list before your first playoff game.
More playoff news - for the first time in quite awhile (if ever), two playoff seedings were decided by the flip of a coin. On Wednesday night, it was Roza Lyons (7-6) and the Pat Simpson Club (7-6) who were tied for third in the Lucas division and had split the season series. League rules call for a coin flip when seeding ONLY is at stake. If it was a tie between a team making or not making the playoffs then a game would be played. Anyway, the flip was conducted by Shawn Feeley and Roza came out the winner. Two nights later, the Banshee and Backyard Betty's found themselves tied for second (9-4) in the Moran division and they had split the season series. This was key because the second place finisher would receive a first round bye while the third place finisher would have to do battle in a best of three series against the Playwright Shamrocks. Do to scheduling purposes, the teams decided to conduct the flip over "Facebook Live" (another first) and yours truly did the honors. The flip sailed high into the Florida sky and when it finally landed on the stone below, the Banshee squad was your second place finisher. Moving on to the games that were played last week.
Betty's found themselves involved in the flip as they fell to the Smoke Shop, 12-8 on Tuesday. In that game, the score was tied 5-5 heading in the bottom of the fifth when Dan Noonan broke the tie with a 3-run homerun. An inning later, Jamil Moquette added another late homerun and the Smoke Shop completed their undefeated regular season run, 13-0!! Pitcher Kyle Szatrowski picked up his thirteenth win on the mound for coach David Franco. Smoke Shop can now sit back and wait to see who they draw in the playoffs. I can't recall another team going undefeated so this is a rare happening here at M Street Softball. The very talented L Street Tavern team of the 1980's or the loaded Lynx squad in the early 2000's come to mind but either way, it's been awhile. Congratulations Smoke Shop BBQ!
On Wednesday, the Handdukies and the Silkworms found themselves both needing a win to keep pace in the playoff push. The Dukies were trying to hold onto third place in the Feeney division while the Worms were trying create a three team tie for second place in the Moran division. The game didn't disappoint either as both teams poured everything they had into the game. The Silkworms fell behind early but then responded handily as they built an 8-2 lead heading into the sixth inning. But in the sixth, the Dukies had already plated one run when Colin McNeil gave them more life as he smashed a 3-run homerun making it 8-6. The Worms didn't have a response in the home half of the inning and the Dukies could feel momentum swinging their way. Kevin Moran (3 hits) proved them right when he lined a 2-run single and later scored in the inning to bring the Dukies all the way back, 9-8. Again, the Worms didn't have an answer in the last half of the seventh and that was the ball game. Brian Walsh earned the win on the mound while Corey Livingston (3 hits) and Ryan Wall (3 hits, HR, 4 RBI) led the way for the Silkworms.
Wednesday's late tilt also had playoff implications as Fat Baby, who had just watched the Dukies win, needed a win to keep hold of their grip on fourth place in the Feeney division. Their opponent, was Southside B who were on a steady rise in the Moran division. A win by Southside would put them in a three way tie for second place. Unfortunately for Southside, this one was decided pretty quickly as they just didn't have their hitting shoes on tonight, 14-3 Fat Baby. Baby's offense was led by Tim Gazard (3 hits) and Gil Ward (3 hits, 2 doubles) , who was also the winning pitcher.
Thursday brought another forfeit, hopefully the last. Citing several injuries to key players, Big Ballers took a forfeit loss against the Banshee which eliminated them from contention and vaulted DRC into the playoffs. The middle game was the talk of the week as Conquest Funds and the Pirates were playing for the last playoff position in the Lucas division. The winner was in and the loser was done for the season. The veteran Pirate squad was ready and pumped up for this one as they had been in this position many times in the past. From the outset, they established themselves as the better team and took command of the game. In the first, Rory Foley and Brad Cole (2 hits) both connected for RBI singles which led to a quick 3-0 lead. A couple of fielding miscues in the fourth opened the door even wider for the Pirates and they pounced, 9-1 after four innings. In the end it was the Pirates moving on as they prevail, 10-3. Brian Pacheco was the winning pitcher as he yielded only one earned run while Tom Kazinowski (4 earned runs) took the tough loss for Conquest.
The week and the regular season finally wrapped up on Friday with a DRC doubleheader. Although they knew they qualified due to the Ballers loss, DRC was hoping two wins would move them right up the ladder into second place. First up was the suddenly hot Fat Baby team who are playing their best ball and just lost two one run games to the undefeated Smoke Shop squad. Baby was not to be denied as they rolled to a 11-2 victory behind another great pitching performance by Gil Ward. Ward tossed six innings, gave up only four hits while not yielding an earned run. Ward was backed by Keith Savage's big night at the plate - two hits and five RBI! The win clinched fourth place for Fat Baby in the Feeney division.
DRC then rested for five minutes before taking the field for the second game of their split doubleheader; their opponent for this game was the Handdukies. There was still a lot at stake as a win for DRC would move them into fifth place and a win for Dukies would keep them ahead of Fat Baby. This one was sealed after two innings as Handdukies jumped all over DRC and won 16-3 in five innings. As luck would have it, the outcome has now set the two teams up as first round playoff opponents starting with game one on Monday.
So we now move to the playoffs and will have two champions crowned at some point in late September. In the Lucas division, the quarter final best of three series pairings are the following: (8) Bodega Canal vs (1) Southside Tavern, (7) Pirates vs (2) City Tap, (6) Lincoln Tavern vs (3) Roza Lyons, and (5) STATS vs Simpson Club.
In the Feeney division, Smoke Shop BBQ (13-0) and VMT (10-3) receive first round bye's while the preliminary round best of three series pairings are the following: (6) DRC vs (3) Handdukies and (5) Broadway Bombers vs (4) Fat Baby.
In the Moran division, Telegraph Hill (10-3) and The Banshee (9-4) receive first round bye's while the preliminary round best of three series pairings are the following: (6) Playwright Shamrocks vs (3) Backyard Betty's and (5) Southside B vs (4) Silkworms.
With the playoff structure set up the way it is, to win a championship in the M Street Softball League is quite an accomplishment and you will have definitely earned it. There will be highs and lows that can swing one way at a moments notice. Enjoy them all, celebrate the competition, compete fairly, and may the best team(s) win. Good luck!
M Street Softball playoff games will be played Monday through Friday starting at 6pm, 7:30, and 9pm. The league does not charge a fee for entrance and encourages neighbors, former players, and families to attend the games. Have a great week everyone and we hope to see you in the stands in the coming weeks.
Important reminders from your commissioner:
Parking - guys please leave your cars at home as the available parking spaces around the field is VERY, VERY limited. Most spaces are Resident only so unless you are a South Boston resident then you will most likely get a $40 ticket that the league cannot cover. We are told that some parking relief (Thomas Butler Park on First Street will have some residential spaces available) is on the way but isn't complete. If possible, car pool, take the MBTA/City Point bus, or bike/walk to the park and save yourself the headache.
Umpire/Scorekeeper fee - please pay the umpire $25 and pay $5 to the official scorekeeper BEFORE the game begins.
Forfeits - forfeits are not acceptable in the M Street Softball League as they cost the league money and waste everyone's time. With that said, if you know there is a scheduled game that is going to be a problem then let me know ASAP and I will work with you in finding additional players and/or cancelling the game all together.
Inclement weather/rain outs - the league will usually make a decision by 5pm on whether or not the game is on or off. Once the decision is made then the league will reach out to the coaches - we will not leave you without word. The league website (sbsports.com) will also be updated within minutes of a cancellation.
Bats - just a reminder that composite bats are illegal...however, bats that have a composite handle and metal barrel are OK. DeMarini Steel is a very popular bat in our league as is the Anderson RocketTech. There was talk about banning doublewall bats and going with single wall bats moving forward. Since we told teams that double walled bats were legal last season and plenty were purchased we feel that we cannot change the rule at this time.
Equipment - the league will provide bases and also has a catcher's mask that your catcher can borrow (ask the scorekeeper or umpire) on a nightly basis.
Pitching rules - we are using the same rules as we implemented last year...that's strict modified pitching - no sling, no windmill, and no arc. It's pretty much straight back with the arm, a forward step to the plate, and deliver the ball. A great source on the "Classic Style" with videos can be found here 10manmodified.com/pitching-rules/videos-of-modified-styles/
Starting lineups - reminder, we use four outfielders, P, C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS and if you want (optional) you can use a DH and an EH for a total of 12 players. The EH can take the field and substitute for any defensive player while the DH cannot take the field (unless injury).
Playoffs - 16 teams will be eligible for the playoffs (8 from the "A" and 8 from the "B"). We will have two (A & B) champions in 2019.
Playoff eligibility - although the rosters are open there is minimum number of plate appearances or innings pitched (25) a player must meet to qualify for the playoffs.
Stats, news, etc... - please check the league website for all the latest news, standings, stats, and more.
Schedule - we tried to evenly spread out the amount of start times for each team...it's not an easy or exact science. The regular season will run from May to mid August followed by the start of the playoffs.
Wishing you and your players a great season of softball at M Street.
M Street Softball League