As we move closer and closer to the start of the playoffs, it appears that first place in the Lucas division will not be decided until the last pitch of the regular season is thrown on Thursday night. That's how tight the race is folks. Meanwhile, the race for first place in the Feeney division is also up for grabs as The Playwright (10-4), Cranberry Café (8-5), and STATS (8-5) are all battling it out at the top with each having a couple of games to play.
On Monday, the Southside kept pace with the division leaders as they slapped around the Warehouse, 9-3. Southside used a nine run uprising in the first inning and then cruised the rest of the way. Jim McNiff pitched effectively to earn the win.
The second game of the evening was a much closer contest as the Islanders were looking to derail the division leading Lincoln Tavern crew. However, pitcher Todd Marsh did not make things easy for the Islanders as they couldn't adjust to the off speed pitches. Marsh carried a 3-2 lead into the sixth inning before his team supplied him with a few insurance runs. Jesse Carlton struck the big blow in the inning when he connected on a three-run homerun making it 6-2. The Islanders scratched a run across the board in the seventh but it wasn't enough, 6-3.
Tuesday's action saw the Warehouse play the role of the spoiler as they pounded the division leading Lincoln Tavern squad 10-4 in a spirited contest. Joey Magee scattered six hits to pick up the win while infielder Jeff White collected two hits and five RBI to lead the Warehouse.
A share of the Feeney division was up for grabs on Wednesday night when STATS took on the Cranberry Café. The STATS offense went to work in the first inning and never took their foot off the gas pedal as they cruised to a 13-6 victory. Mark Prezios (triple, homerun, 4 RBI) and Eric MacDonald (4 hits, 3 RBI) paced the attack for STATS. The win moved STATS to within striking distance of division leading The Playwright. Cranberry will have to settle for second place if they take care of business this week.
Thursday's action may have been the best of the week as two underdogs pulled off semi-upset victories. First up were the Islanders who were taking on the Southside Tavern. At the time, Lincoln had more wins but Southside had the fewest losses and therefore, had an inside lane to the top of the division. However, the Islanders played inspired softball and handed the Southside a 3-1 setback. Ben Larkins (homerun, single and 2 RBI) was hitting star while yours truly earned the win on the mound.
The second upset of the night came as quite a shocker because it was the defending champion Shennanigan's who were on the receiving end of a tough, tough loss. Nate Meyl (2 hits with 4 RBI) and his teammates had built a 6-1 lead through six innings of play. With one out and a runner on first base things began to unravel for the champs. Mike McGrath hit a sharp grounder to first that the fielder handled properly but his throw to second to get the force struck the base runner in the head. A walk was then issued which loaded the bases for Andrew Christopher. A single and an error led to two runs making it 6-3. Paul Doherty then followed with a game tying double down the left field line. The Warehouse could feel it now as they were very vocal in support of batter Ryan Martin who promptly singled to put them ahead to stay, 7-6. Playing second base, Martin also made a tremendous defensive play to end the game as he gathered a "tweener" in the hole and raced to first to record the out.
Having watched the two teams chasing them in the standings lose on this night, the Lincoln Tavern squad were licking their chops as they took the field for the nightcap. After jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the first, Lincoln had to hold on the rest of the way as the Harp & Bard played great defense and got a solid start from Rob Costello. Todd March picked up his league leading eighth win of the season for Lincoln.
With a full team on hand, Harp's catcher Jim Sullivan took the night off to rest his ailing feet. Jim, who is 57 years young, has found some new foot wear that provides comfort but not too much traction on the softball diamond. His shoe of choice? Sperry Topsiders. That's right folks; Sully ties his dream yacht to the Summer Street pier and then hauls it up to M Street for some softball in his beautiful boat shoes.
Speaking of dreaming, most amateur athletes who play a team sport hope to some day, "get the call." Well, for Shennanigan's lefty pitcher, Nick French, his moment of glory came two weeks ago when the Bridgeport Bluefish of the Atlantic League (professional baseball) came calling. The Bluefish needed a male softball pitcher to take on the Stratford Brakettes in a "Battle of the Sexes" exhibition game played under fast-pitch rules on at The Ballpark at Harbor Yard. French finished the game with ten strikeouts in five innings of work. The Bluefish won the game when Ramon Castro (Mets, Marlins, and White Sox) tripled home the winning run in the seventh. Congratulations Nick!
Nick French (Shennanigan's) fires a pitch for the Bridgeport Bluefish
in the Atlantic League of professional baseball.
By the time this article hits the newsstands there will only be a week left in the regular season. With that said there are a couple of can't miss games coming up on the schedule. On Monday, July 28th @ 8:15 Southside and the Lincoln Tavern will lock horns with first place in the Lucas division on the line. The following night, (7/29) the Cranberry Café and STATS will play for a share of the Feeney division title. The last can't miss game happens to be the final game of the season and it might be a classic as Lincoln Tavern tries to block Shennanigan's from stealing a playoff bye (top two in each division receive first round playoff byes).
M Street Softball games are played weeknights, Monday through Thursday at M Street Park. The Lucas (A) division plays on Monday's (6:30 & 8:15) and Thursday's (6, 730, & 9pm) while the Feeney (B) teams battle it out on Tuesday's (6:30 & 8:15) and Wednesday's (6, 730, & 9pm). As of this writing, the playoffs are scheduled to start on Monday, August 4th with games starting at 6:30 and 8:15.
As always, supporting fans can follow the league through our website (www.sbsports.com), right here in the South Boston Today, or experience the league up front and personal by taking in a game or two. Have a great week everyone!