You’ve probably heard some version of what happened Tuesday. News of that nature travels quickly because we sometimes relish hearing about the bad more than we do the good. I won’t rehash the incident except to say the player has been suspended indefinitely. Let's move on, hopefully with good sportmanship.
(Of less importance, the game was tied at the time. That will remain the result.)
Here are the results from our first full five-day schedule of the season.
Monday began with Thirst jumping to a four-run lead, on the strength of first inning home runs by Nick Nardacci and Ross Fino, but Village Pizza soon tied the game and then (after Fino’s second home run had given Thirst a one-run lead) they took over and went on to a 9 – 5 victory. Cam Fulton struck a two-run homer, and Archembault allowed only four hits over the final six frames. Southside Tavern took advantage of Elevated Realty’s lack of a regular pitcher with a 15 – 2 five-inning win. Six home runs did the trick offensively (O’Hara, Dupree, Dolbeare, Gerdino, and two for Sammy “Ballgame” MacDonald.) Rocky Pisa allowed only one earned run. When the final game of the night began, it became Mike Hughes’s world and the rest of us were only living in it. Hughes had a perfect night – and I do mean perfectly entertaining. He went 4-for-4, added two walks, scored three times, drove in four, dove headfirst into bases and after grounders about seven or eight times, and otherwise was worth the price of admission in Harp & Bard’s first win of the year, a 26 – 12 beatdown of the Silkworms. This is not to say he won the game alone – there were home runs by Kevin Greene, Tim Santilli and Jake O’Brien (O’Brien, a 6’ 9” former college basketball player with Boston University, had a grand slam and six RBI.) Leadoff man Tim Jean reached base all six times he batted, and pitcher Joey Kalil was tagged with only six earned of the 12 runs he gave up. But nobody on the field was more thrilled than Hughes. Having played for an 0 – 16 Dorset Club squad in 2016, and with Harp entering this contest winless in seven tries, Mike saw a personal 23-game losing streak come to an end. You could have lit up a small town with his smile.
Tuesday began normally enough. Two top teams in the “B” division met for bragging rights and a possible first-place tiebreaker. Roza Lyons continued their winning ways (six in a row now, since a loss on opening day) with a relatively easy 9 – 1 win over Banshee. Joe Zanca allowed only six hits – 19 of Banshee’s 21 outs came in the air - while Rob Caggiano and Derek Richards contributed home runs. The second game was a close contest until the top of the sixth. Only 1 – 0 through four complete, VK’s Club scored five in the fifth, and a big double-digit 11 in the sixth, to take down Pat Simpson Club by the score of 17 - 4. Jimmy Botting and Brad Morrill had three hits (including a home run each) and they both batted in four. Pat McDonough was solid on the mound. Jeff Kasper had a home run for Simpson. The final game was the one marred by the on-field incident discussed at the top of this column. Another shame is that the game itself was a good one to that point, tied 5 – 5 in the sixth. For Lincoln, Mike Kent went 3-for-3, scoring twice, and Andy Hillier had a three-run homer. Marc Montesano and Josh McKelligan drove in two each for the Pirates.
STATS took down Junction Yard Goats, 9 – 4, in Wednesday’s opener. Kevin Miller and Eric Thomas had home runs and drove in three each, while pitcher Dan McGill scattered 8 hits. Kekambas had little trouble with VMT, thrashing them 14 – 1. Will Kiriazidis led the way with four runs batted in, while Andrew Moynihan and Pete Kelich stroked round-trippers. Kelich continued showing superb control, allowing no walks in his seven innings, which gives him a league-leading 67 innings pitched while allowing only six free passes. The late game was a slugfest resulting in a 20 – 17 decision for Playwright over Handdukies. After starting the season 0 – 6, Playwright has battled back with three straight victories to once again be on the cusp of the final playoff spot. Scott Tarentino and Rob Lerro homered, while perfect nights at the plate were recorded by Glenn Peterson, Mark Lopez, and Fast Freddie Goodman. Peter Drummey came on in relief of Tommy Connolly, with Handdukies leading 14 – 12 after four innings, and allowed only four hits and one earned run the rest of the way, picking up the victory. For the Dukies, Pat O’Sullivan homered and Billy Kiley had five runs driven in.
Thursday’s 6:00 game was an entertaining contest between Colt Recycling and Pitches Get Hit. Colt led, 6 – 4, going into the bottom of the seventh, but the first three PGH batters reached on two singles and a walk. After a Pat “Doc” Donovan sac fly made it a 6 – 5 game, Colt pitcher Chris Nugent struck out the next batter and then induced a can of corn to right field. It appeared that Colt had won the game, but the right fielder dropped the easy one, two PGH runners scored, and it was stunningly over with PGH winning, 7 – 6. Nugent threw a nice game and deserved better, especially as he also contributed three hits and a couple of RBI. Until the final play, right fielder Loughrane might have been the hero, as his double in the top of the sixth had delivered three runs and the lead. For PGH, Kevin Johnston had a home run and coach Kevin Briggs had three hits, two RBI, and scored the final game-winning run. City Tap House beat Team Cookout, 16 – 9, on home runs from Billy Bereszniewicz and Tim Loehr, and two dingers from Chris Boyd (giving him seven on the year – most impressive when you consider Tap has only played five games.) Pitcher Boyd didn’t have the best defensive effort behind him. Of the nine runs Cookout scored, only ONE was earned. David Coffman of Cookout continues to impress even though his team has won only one game this year (by forfeit.) He went 4-for-5, raising his average to a sweet .619. Finally, in the 9:00 contest, VK’s Club took their second straight with a 20 – 8 pasting of Thirst. Pat McDonough continues to get better on the mound. Of the eight runs scored by Thirst, only three were earned. McDonough also drove in four, as did Stephen Couturier, and Brad Morrill homered for the second time this week. Mike Boudreau had a perfect evening, going 3-for-3 with two walks. Gil Ward was bright spot at the plate for Thirst, driving in four.
With all the rainouts, the league is now scheduling Friday games the rest of the way to make up. In the first this Friday, Handdukies got back on the winning track via a 17 – 5 victory against Silkworms. It was a very balanced attack for the boys from Dorchester, with 10 of the 11 players driving in runs. Brian Walsh keeps improving as a pitcher. He has shown some added velocity of late and is beginning to cut down on the walks. He threw nicely for the win. The last game of the week was back to losing ways for Harp & Bard. Only nine players showed up, three of them new last-minute additions, which I found odd after scoring their first win earlier in the week (usually that brings guys back.) Southside Tavern took advantage and coasted to an easy 13 – 1 mercy killing. Bright note for Harp was the season debut of long-time MSSL veteran Jimmy McNiff on the mound. He didn’t have his best stuff, but it was nice seeing him out there again and Jimmy seemed to be truly enjoying himself despite the score. Eric Merces threw a dandy game for Southside, allowing only five hits with the one run against him unearned. Home runs by Miguel “Lenky” Dupree, newcomer Jean Baptista, and Kevin “K.O.” O’Hara were more than enough to deliver the win.
That wraps it up for this week. See you down the ballpark.
[Jim Sullivan writes for the Boston Herald on a semi-regular basis, and has been published in many other places. Go to the Boston Herald website at bostonherald.com/opinion/op_ed to see his writing there, usually on Wednesday and Sunday.]
A few reminders from your commissioner:
Parking - guys please leave your cars at home as the available parking spaces around the field is 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. Some relief (Thomas Butler Park on First Street will have 1200 parking spaces) is on the way but is still a year away. If possible, car pool, take the T, or bike/walk to the park and save yourself the headache.
Umpire/Scorekeeper fee - please pay the umpire $25 and pay $5 to "Sully" the official scorekeeper BEFORE the game begins.
Forfeits - we don't like forfeits in the M Street Softball League as they cost the league money and waste people'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, rescheduling the game, and/or cancelling it 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 hanging. 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.
Equipment - the league will provide bases and also has a catcher's mask that your catcher can borrow (ask Sully) 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.
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