Game 7: Thursday, Oct 1 @ 7:30pm
Beer Garden 1 - Shennanigans 3
Luis Colon hit a three run homerun in the bottom of the first inning and that would be all the runs pitcher Sammy Acevedo and Shennanigans would need to capture their first championship at M Street Park last night.
Before the big righty homered, the Beer Garden had taken the lead when they plated a run (Billy MacDougall) in the top of the first inning on a mishandled grounder. Little did we know those runs would stand for the remainder of the game?
After the shaky first inning, both pitchers settled down with each pitching out of a couple of jams. In the bottom of the third, Shennanigans was looking to pad their lead when they had runners on first and second with one out. But the "Big Z", Keith Zeiwey got a grounder and a fly out to keep his team in the game.
While Zeiwey (6 IP, 7 hits, 3 ER, 2 K's) was silencing the Shennanigan attack, Acevedo (7 IP, 7 hits, 4 K's) was doing the same to the Beer Garden bats through the first five innings. However, Acevedo faced a desperate Beer Garden team in the top of the sixth and ran into a little trouble.
The table setters, Joe Broderick (2 hits) and Danny McElaney, led the inning off with a pair of singles and the Beer Garden had visions of tying the game. Acevedo then got MacDougall to fly out but McElaney took third on the play and was just 65 feet away. With runners on the corners, Mario Perella hit a grounder to the right of the mound that some might argue was deep enough to score Broderick. Acevedo looked home but then fired to first to record the second out. In spite of this, Broderick had held on the play knowing their big righty (Zeiwey) was on deck. The move appeared to work brilliantly when Zeiwey hammered the first offering to deep right but right fielder, Brian Pacheco was positioned perfectly and the ball and perhaps the Beer Garden's hopes had settled into his glove. After the catch, Acevedo was there to greet his outfielder with a big smile and a relieved handshake.
After Zeiwey retired the side in the sixth, the Beer Garden headed to the bench knowing they would need production from their latter half of the batting order to extend their season. But Acevedo wasn't accommodating as he quickly retired the first two batters on routine fly outs. They say the last out of a championship is always the toughest and Shennanigans had only Brian Sheehan standing in their way. The righty worked the count to full before drawing a walk. Paul Connaughton then followed and also worked the count to full before ripping a single to right center. Suddenly, the Beer Garden had the tying runners on base. After a couple of mound conferences, Acevedo got back to work against catcher Scott Brady. Brady fell behind 1-2 before reaching another full count. On a ball thrown outside, Brady drew another walk to load the bases. With Acevedo now laboring and trying to get that last out, the Beer Garden was just a hit away from tying the game. Again, Acevedo fell behind in the count to lefty batting Peter Drummey. On a 2-1 count, Drummey hit a hard grounder up the middle but infielder Luis Colon snagged the ball and tossed it to Steve Stalcup who recorded the final out of the season.
It's fitting that Colon and Stalcup (left to right in photo below) would be involved in the last out as they were named series MVP's by the league commissioner. Both were tremendous for Shennanigans, Stalcup with his run saving plays and Colon with his bat (2 game winning homeruns). It should be noted that Keith Zeiwey's performance in this series was MVP like as well and certainly drew careful consideration. This is former MVP's Jerry Thomes' fifth (three straight) M Street Softball championship...Playwright 2004 & 2005, Dawgs 2007, Lynx 2008, and Shennanigans in 2009.
In closing, the team with the most talent prevailed as expected but not before they were given a good run for their money. They had pitching depth, great defense, and a powerful attack that was just too much for the Beer Garden to handle in a seven game series. Shennanigans are the 2009 M Street Softball Champions! They are: front row - left to right: Brian Pacheco, Al Martin, Sammy Acevedo, Josh Horton, Dennis Hajjar, and Steve Stalcup. Back row - left to right: Jerry Thomes, Luis Colon, Greg Trudell, Joe Cavaleri, Mark Dion, Dan Brown, Eric Malerba, John Smith, and Dave Conti. Missing from photo is Novar Whitworth. Congratulations boys!
Game notes: it was great to see Beer Garden's Mark Landolfi supporting his team...much like Zeiwey, Landolfi carried the team for many years with his pitching and hitting...hopefully he will be back on the field next season...Jim "pizza man" McNiff delivered again for the guys in the stands...Ralph Sullivan and Michael Caputo were very gracious...best play of the night happened in the 2nd inning with Greg Trudell batting...Trudell hit a foul into the stands that was heading straight for McNiff...with one had on his steak and cheese sub, McNiff used his other to snag the ball without dropping the sandwich...what a play!...three umpires worked the game - Earl Garrett, Chuck Feltch, and Bobby with each doing a great job all season long...music was played during the pre game warm-ups followed by the national anthem...a neighbor complained about the music even though city ordinance says that music can be played at 70 dBa or lower at all hours...well, maybe it was a little higher than that...however, this was game seven and we were playing the National Anthem and God Bless America...
Game 6: Thursday, Sep 24 @ 7:30pm
Shennanigans 15 - Beer Garden 5
Facing elimination, Shennanigan's offense took matters into their own hands on Thursday night as they banged out eighteen hits while scoring fifteen runs in a 15-5 romp over the Beer Garden in game six of the finals.
Shennanigans wasted little time getting to work as Luis Colon came through with his promise of not be done in this series when he blasted a towering two run homerun to left center, 2-0. That was only the start of an inning that would see half of the ten Shennanigans batters score. John Smith, Josh Horton, and Greg Trudell all added RBI doubles in the inning, 5-0.
On this night it was veteran Jerry Thomes' turn in the rotation and he proved his worth as he scattered ten hits while allowing only three earned runs. However, Thomes would run into trouble in the bottom of the second when the Beer Garden loaded the bases with just one out in the inning. Scott Brady then put his team right back in the game with a bases clearing triple to deep center field. Brady then scored on Joe Broderick's double to right and the Beer Garden was in business again trailing by a run, 5-4.
However, that would be as close as they would get as Shennanigans answered the bell in the third and sent another ten men to the plate. This time all of the damage was done with two outs. Al Martin stroked an RBI single to right that scored Brian Pacheco, 6-4. Steve Stalcup then followed with a single and scored with Martin when Dennis Hajjar ripped a double to right, 8-4. Colon then added another hit and picked up his third RBI of the game with a single to center, 9-4. Shennanigan's Dan Brown followed but didn't see a pitch he could hit as he walked for the second straight time and would finish the game with 4 walks.
The Beer Garden tried to rally in the fourth when Mark Hindman's triple starting things off but were held to just a single run in the inning, 9-5. Thomes continued to stay away from the big inning as he mixed speeds and got great defense from his teammates highlited by a great running catch by Josh Horton in center field.
After a scoreless fifth inning, Shennanigans made sure there wouldn't be a Beer Garden comeback in this one. Greg Trudell's 2-run homerun to deep right pretty much put the game out of reach but more insurance runs would score. Colon picked up his fourth RBI with a single to right making it, 12-5.
Thomes set the order down in the sixth and the Shennanigan's offense went right back to work in the seventh. This time a pinch hit parade would do the honors in getting things started; Dave Conti and Joe Cavaleri each singled and scored on Dennis Hajjar's single to left center, 14-5. Shennanigans would complete the scoring on the Beer Garden's sixth error of the game, 15-5.
With game seven now moved to Monday (due to flag football league), players on both teams will have plenty of time to rest and recharge their batteries for what should be the best game of the year. Shennanigans will look to keep the momentum going as their offense is firing on all cylinders while the Beer Garden will hope they can get back to playing great defense and staying out of the big innings.
Game Notes: nice to hear from long time M Street softball friend Billy O'Neil Jr, who is following the playoffs through the web site. Get well Billy! ...many of the original Beer Garden players were in attendance tonight hoping to see history...Dennis Toner, John & Steve Curtin, Matt Brooks, and Mick Flynn....Steve Stalcup...well, made a couple of great plays in the field but that's to be expected now...the game was delayed for thirty minutes as the lights did not come on as scheduled...grrrrr!!!...M Street pitcher and good guy, Jim McNiff generously supplied pizza for the hundreds who packed the stands...
Game 5: Wednesday, Sep 23 @ 7:30pm
Beer Garden 10 - Shennanigans 9
After four games in this series, the teams have combined for a total of just 24 runs with the Beer Garden holding a 13-11 edge. What's surprising even more is how much the Shennanigan's offense is struggling at the worst possible time of year. They averaged 10.0 runs per game during the season but are being held to a paltry 2.75 in this series. For them to prevail, their offense will have to come to life or face a long off season of what if's. It's likely that a rested Sammy Acevedo will face Keith Zeiwey, who will be throwing on his third straight night. With two aces in their pocket Shennanigan's knew they had the upper hand but it's about time they take advantage.
The expected game time temperature will be a balmy 75 degrees which is perfect for the many fans that have already began to tailgate along First Street. Former Red Sox, Carlos Quintana is expected to fly in from the Dominican Republic to throw out the first pitch.
For the second night in a row, the Beer Garden's right fielder Mark Hindman is forced to make a game saving catch that ended a desperate last inning rally by Shennanigans. With runners on first and second and two outs, Shennanigan's left batter Josh Horton blooped a sure game tying hit down the right field line. Three Beer Garden's fielders gave chase but it was Hindman who slid feet first (video of the catch) and snagged the ball inches from the ground to preserve the 10-9 game five victory.
Long before Hindman's game ending catch there was plenty of action on both sides of the diamond. The game began with the Beer Garden batting first and they quickly showed that they were ready to swing the bats tonight as the first two batters reach with singles. Billy McDougall then draws a four pitch walk and the bases are loaded with nobody out. However, Sammy Acevedo benefits from a close call and picks up a big strikeout. Before the inning ends Anthony Abdelehad makes sure the Beer Garden scores at least a run when he reaches on a fielder's choice, 1-0. Shennanigan's puts together a small threat in the home half of the inning but Keith Zeiwey escapes without giving up the lead.
The Beer Garden offense gets back to work in the top of the second when Acevedo struggles with his control and walks two batters. He is later helped in the inning by another web gem from Steve Stalcup. With two outs, Joe Broderick hits a hard grounder to short but the ball is misplayed and ends up in the outfield with both runners scoring on the play, 3-0. Acevedo gives up another hit and it's apparent that he doesn't have his best stuff tonight.
In the home half of the inning, the Shennanigan's offense comes to life and ties the game with three runs. With two outs and runners on the corners, Steve Stalcup punches a single to right making it 3-1. Al Martin then rips a single to center scoring Stalcup and Josh Horton, 3-3. Unlike the first four contests, both offenses are firing on all cylinders tonight.
The Beer Garden goes ahead again in the third when Hindman blasts a triple off the left field fence that scores Zeiwey from first, 4-3. Shennanigan's is kept off the scoreboard in the third by some great defensive plays - Brian Sheehan's play on a hot grounder is the highlight of the inning.
The game moves onto the fourth inning where both teams put two runs on the scoreboard. Danny McElaney and Billy McDougal pick up the RBI's for the Beer Garden while Luis Colon (4 hits) and Dan Brown (3 hits, 4 RBI) strike the big blows in the inning for Shennanigan's, 6-5.
The fifth inning is scoreless thanks to some great Shennanigan's defense. Dan Brown turns a nice double play on a line drive then Greg Trudell robs Scott Brady of extra bases when he makes a great running, over the shoulder catch in deep left-center field.
In the sixth, Paul Connoughton and Joe Broderick reach with infield singles and the Beer Garden is threatening to score. Danny McElaney picks up his second RBI when he hits a line drive to right scoring Connoughton, 7-5. With one out and runners on the corners, left Billy McDougal enters the batters box. McDougal demolishes the first pitch he sees and send the ball high and deep to right field. The Shennanigan's fielder gives chase but to no avail as this one doesn't stop rolling until it reaches the N Street infield, mercy! The Beer Garden has pulled ahead 10-5 in the pivotal game five.
But like a good prize fighter, Shennanigan's answers the bell in the sixth and comes back swinging. Dan Brown singles, John Smith draws a walk, and Brian Pacheco singles to load the bases with one out. It appears that the Beer Garden's pitcher, Keith Zeiwey, is finally showing some signs of wear and tear and is looking to find a way to hang on in this one. Greg Trudell keeps the rally alive when he singles home Brown making it 10-6. But then Zeiwey retires the next two batters on lazy fly balls and many are thinking that Shennanigan's just watched there last chance at tying the game go by the boards.
The Beer Garden goes down quietly in the seventh and the game moves to the final frame. Steve Stalcup (4 hits) leads off with a single and reaches third on Luis Colon's base hit. With runners on the corners and one out, Dan Brown works the count to a full count. Shennanigan's needs the big hit and the powerful righty comes through with a mammoth homerun to deep left, 10-9. Shennanigan's bench erupts and they are now just a run away and have Zeiwey and the Beer Garden on the ropes. John Smith draws another walk but is forced out on a grounder by Pacheco. However, Greg Trudell forces another walk out of Zeiwey and the tying runner is in scoring position. Shennanigan's Josh Horton then steps in and the rest is history - Hindman makes the game saving catch down the right field line giving the Beer Garden the victory and the 3-2 series lead.
Game Notes: the Beer Garden were without Mario Perella and Peter Drummey...Dennis Hajjar and Jerry Thomes were missing for Shennanigan's.
Game 4: Tuesday, Sep 22 @ 7:30pm
Shennanigans 4 - Beer Garden 6
Before the first pitch is thrown this game already has a different feel to it as both teams are on the field stretching and seem focused and ready to play. The weather is perfect tonight - 70 degrees without any wind. With Sammy Acevedo and Jerry Thomes unavailable, Shennanigans goes with their own version of Paul Byrd in Mark Dion. Dion states before the game that his role had changed from pinch hitter to starting pitcher - now that's a promotion!
Beer Garden's Keith Zeiwey immediately establishes the strike zone as strikes out the first two batters. However, Dennis Hajjar draws a walk and later scores on an outfield error, 1-0. Many of the runs scored against Zeiwey in this series have involved an error and tonight it cost him again.
In the bottom of the first the Beer Garden wastes little time in answering back when they load the bases for their pitcher, Zeiwey. The big righty helps his own cause with a towering blast to deep center field for a bases clearing triple and a 3-1 lead. Wow, this guy is doing it all folks. Whispers of MVP are heard throughout the packed stands.
The Beer Garden adds another run in the second on Scott Brady's sacrifice fly to left that scores Brian Sheehan who had walked. But Shennanigans answers the bell and plates two runs of their own in the top of the third, 4-3. Joe Cavaleri and John Smith pick up the RBI's.
In the fourth, Brian Sheehan gives the Beer Garden a little breathing room when he clears the bases with a triple to deep center - identical to the one Zeiwey hit in the first inning, 6-3. But again, Shennanigans would not go away. Greg Trudell and Dennis Hajjar both single to start the inning and Trudell scores when Dan Brown reaches on a fielder's choice. Zeiwey then quiets the rally and preserves the lead with a fly out and strikeout, 6-4.
Mark Dion pitches a scoreless fifth inning and as he walks off the field the Shenanigan's lineup is bolstered by the arrival of Al Martin, Luis Colon, and Josh Horton. Coach Dave Conti quickly makes some substitutions hoping to spark a late inning come back win. Luis Colon pinch hits to lead off the inning but hits a hard grounder to Danny McElaney who fields it cleanly and tosses it over to Mario Perella for the first out. Conti then belts a single to right and Shenanigan's is back in business with speed on the bases and the top of the order due. Steve Stalcup then steps into the batter's box and battles Zeiwey with everything he's got. Stalcup falls behind then fouls off two straight pitches before eventually drawing the count even at 2-2. Stalcup prevails when he smokes a single through the infield and the rally continues. However, the Beer Garden's defense came through in the clutch with an inning ending double play, (3B) Brian Sheehan to Mario Perella (1B).
Al Martin replaces Mark Dion and pitches a scoreless sixth inning and the game heads to the seventh. In the seventh, Zeiwey gets the first out on a grounder to first but then big Dan Brown rips a double to left field. With the tying run at the plate, Joe Cavaleri works the count full before hitting a low line drive to right center that seemed destined to fall in for a single. However, the man they call the "Cheetah" (Mark Hindman) used his blazing speed and long stride to cover the ground and make the diving catch. Mercy! Al Martin the steps in and on a 1-2 count, Martin hits a hard liner down the third base line but Sheehan is there again and snags it for the final out of the game.
Game Notes: Steve Stalcup's personal highlight reel continues to grow when he races down a ball in short left and makes another great catch...Dennis Hajjar made a great play in the fifth when he didn't have time to pick up a grounder but instead swatted the ball with his glove to the secondbaseman who was covering for the out...Shennanigans started the game without several key players in Luis Colon, Brian Pacheco, Jerry Thomes, Sammy Acevedo, Al Martin, Josh Horton...the Beer Garden was missing their top run producer in Billy McDougal...a much bigger crowd in attendance tonight including most of the Brewers softball team.
Game 3: Monday, Sep. 21 @ 7:30pm
Beer Garden 1 - Shennanigans 2
Shennanigans moved a step closer to winning their first championship when they clipped the Beer Garden 2-1 in game three of the series. This was a classic pitcher's duel folks between Sammy Acevedo (7 IP, 3 H) and Keith Zeiwey (6 IP, 8 H, 1 ER)
The scoring got started in the first inning when Dennis Hajjar tripled home Horton and later scored on Dan Brown's (3 hits) RBI single, 2-0. Little did we know that would be the last run Shennanigan's would score as Zeiwey settled in and silenced the bats for the remainder of the evening.
Zeiwey's counterpart, Acevedo, was nearly perfect tonight as he carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning. But in the sixth, Scott Brady smashed the first pitch he saw into left field giving the Beer Garden some hope. Sean Morgan then reached with a walk and was followed by Peter Drummey's pinch hit single that loaded the bases. With the game's outcome hanging in the balance, Acevedo reached down and struck the next batter out. He then had to face the top of the order in Joe Broderick who grounded out but in doing so plated the Beer Garden's first run, 2-1. Acevedo then got the next batter to fly out and the game moved onto the bottom of the inning.
After Zeiwey set the side in order, Jon Batchedler ripped a one out single then reached second on a throwing error. With the tying run in scoring position, Acevedo retired the next two batters on infield pop outs ending another well played game.
Game Notes: - longtime softball lifer Harry Sears was in attendance tonight sharing many of his softball stories/experiences...Steve Stalcup made another amazing play in the field in the fifth when he went back to snag a pop fly in no man's land...Beer Garden's Jon Batchelder countered in the sixth with his own great defensive play when he snagged a fly that would have fell for a leadoff double...the game was completed in 1:09...the Beer Garden were missing some of their best players in Danny McElaney, Brian Sheehan, and Mark "Strongest Arm in the League" Hindman
Game 2: Thursday, Sep. 17 @ 7:30pm
Shennanigans 5 - Beer Garden 2
The Shennanigans softball team evened their best of seven series tonight when they clipped the Beer Garden, 5-2.
Shennanigans took the lead in the second when they scored two runs without recording a hit in the inning. However, Zeiwey and the Beer Garden answered in the fourth when their ace pitcher helpe dhimself with a two-RBI double down the left field line, 2-2.
The tie wouldn't last long though as Zeiwey missed his spots (3 walks in the frame) and Shennanigans made him pay with a two-run inning. Dave Conti and Brian Pacheco picked up the RBI's, 4-2. Shennanigans completed the scoring with another run in the sixth when Horton and Dennis Hajjar both singled, Dan Brown drew his second walked, and Joe Cavaleri hit a sacrifice fly to right. Picking up the win for Shennanigans was Jerry Thomes, who scattered four hits while picking up two strikeouts.
Game Notes: - the game saw a few more routine dropped balls by both clubs...
Game 1: Wednesday, Sep. 16 @ 7:30pm
Beer Garden 4 - Shennanigans 0
On a very cool fall evening, pitcher Keith Zeiwey tossed a three hit shutout leading the Boston Beer Garden to a 4-0 victory over Shennanigans in game one of the best of seven final. Zeiwey's only nemesis was Steve Stalcup, who banged out two singles and drew a walk.
Opposing Zeiwey was Sammy Acevedo who had his own shutout going through four innings of play. But in the fifth, John Batchelder led off with a walk and moved to third on a dropped ball in the outfield. Mark Hindman then followed with a sacrifice fly to center field putting the Beer Garden ahead, 1-0.
The score would remain 1-0 through the sixth and into the top of the seventh. Again, it would be a walk that starting the scoring for the Beer Garden. Billy McDougal reached on a four pitch walk and took second on another dropped ball in the outfield. Folks, it was a windy cold night that I'm sure had a lot to do with the outfield miscues.
In any case, Danny McElaney then followed and belted a single to right which scored McDougal making it 2-0. Acevedo then kept the game within reach by retiring the next two batters but couldn't get the third out in Paul Connaughton. Connaughton's hustle down the line may have caused a hurried throw that got away from the first baseman and led to two more Beer Garden runs, 4-0. On the play, McElaney took the honors of the first slide ever committed by a Beer Garden player...and it was a great slide folks. Clad in shorts I'm quite sure McElaney will be reminded of this slide for several weeks.
BAT GATE - the coaches and umpires met before the game and agreed on the eight bats that would be used in the game. After each inning, umpire Chuck Feltch took the bats from one side and delivered them to the other. It was kind of a strange sight but worked and seemed fair to everyone involved. However, a few bat owners asked what would happen if the opposing team broke one of their bats. A very valid point. These players were given the option of removing the bat from the game and use one of the others. At that point, a few bats went back into the bag. Once the game began, several Beer Garden batters decided to use the white Stealth that belonged to Shennanigans...not sure if any Shennanigan players used a Beer Garden bat during the course of the game. The drama continues....
Game notes - only a handful (6) of die hard softball fans were in attendance. It was great to see a couple of Brewer players (Chris King and Kevin Coyle) watching the game. Hopefully, more players and fans will come out and support the league for the remainder of the series....Shennanigans were missing some of their key players in Dan Brown, Dennis Hajjar, Brian Pacheco, and Jerry Thomes....a couple of Shennanigan players batted with helmets on - a rare site in the M Street League.
Shennanigan's wins series 4-3