Game 7: Playwright 8 vs. Hawks 7
WP: Jerry Thomes LP: Sammy Acevedo GW RBI: Jimmy Fitzpatrick
Friday, Sept. 9, 2005 - Arriving at the field, one immediately gets the impression that this game has a lot of meaning for both teams. Players on each side of the diamond are standing, stretching, talking, and appear ready to battle for the title. The Hawks, who have struggled at times to get a full team here this season, have ample players on hand tonight. Their catcher, Pito Ruiz, soon gathers the team and leads their chant. "Hustle on three...one..two...three...Hustle!" If I were a gambler, then I would be placing my money on the Hawks tonight as they have the star players here and look ready to win.
At 7:44, Mo Wiggins delivers the first pitch (a ball to Charlie Connors) and Game 7 is underway. Connors then works a walk but is erased on the next play when Joe Broderick bounces into a fielders choice. The Playwright coach, Jimmy Fitzpatrick follows by working a four-pitch walk. Juan Sanchez then loads the bases when he singles to left. The Playwright bench has come to life and are now standing and cheering for lefty hitting Mike Smith to deliver the games first run. Smith takes a cut at the second pitch and bounces one to the sure handed shortstop, Toco Soto. But Soto misplays the ball, everyone is safe and two runs score. Suddenly, the Hawks find themselves in a big hole to work out of. Jerry Thomes Jr. follows Smith with a RBI single to center making it 3-0 Playwright. Veteran player, Mario Perella, then drives home another run on a single through the infield to give Playwright a 4-0 lead.
Wow! This was not the start that anyone imagined. Frustration can now be seen on the Hawks faces as they know they can't let Playwright get too far ahead. Jack Rogers is then hit by a pitch to load the bases again. A lot of pressure is now put on pitcher Wiggins and the Hawks defense. Al Martin follows by bouncing a one hopper to second that eludes Ramon Mateo to score Thomes from third, 5-0 Playwright. At this point, I can't help but to think back to M Street softball's last game seven final between the Moran Club and the Sidewalk Cafe (1997). Sidewalk had rallied from being three games down to tie the series and force a game seven. But in the first inning of game seven, the Moran club plated seven runs to pretty much put the game out of reach. Right now, the Hawks need to make some plays and get out of the inning before this one gets away.
The Hawks then get a great play from third baseman, Jose Cruz, who cuts a base runner down at the plate keeping the score 5-0. Wiggins then gets Sanchez for the innings final out but the damage was done.
In the home half of the first inning the Hawks were looking for some life and got it when Toco Soto smashed a line drive homerun to right that brought up chalk when it landed. The Hawks were on the scoreboard and feeling good again. Juan Polanco followed Soto and smacked a line drive to the right side of the infield that looked destined for extra bases. But the scrappy Jack Rogers got a glove on it and held on for the inning ending out.
In the second, the Playwright gets a couple of runners on with two outs and begin to make a lot of noise on their bench. They realize that they will need every run tonight to pull off the win as the Hawks have fielded a devastating lineup and are
expected to score a bunch of runs. The Hawks left fielder, Jamie Morales (hey, I
finally got his name right), then ends the inning when he snares Mario Perella's line
drive. The score remains 5-1 in favor of the Playwright.
Morales then gets to work at the plate and leads the bottom of the inning off with
a walk and is followed by Ivan Pillott's single. Garry Licabe moves the runners up
when he launches a deep drive to center that is tracked down by Connors. Cruz then
bounces out to shortstop but a run scores on the play making it 5-2. It's looking like
the Playwright will get out of the inning with minimal damage but they walk Pito Ruiz on
four pitches. Jeff Neves follows with a single to center that plates two runs and gets
the Hawks back in the game, 5-4 Playwright.
Sensing that the momentum is swaying to the other side the Playwright puts a couple
of runners on with one out in the third and are looking for more. Just then, a Hawk fan yells from
behind the backstop "enough is enough...get that pitcher out!" Apparently she feels
that the Hawk starting pitcher doesn't have his best stuff tonight and should be
replaced. Wiggins responds by striking out Connors for the innings second out.
Fitzpatrick follows a batter later with a double to right that scores Al Martin and
the Playwright increases it's lead to 6-4. Wiggins walks the next batter but then retires
Smith on a grounder to short.
Playwright's pitcher Domenic Lemarra has a great third inning and retires the
heart of the Hawks offense, 1-2-3.
Lemarra's efforts give life to the Playwright attack as they get right to work on
Wiggins and the Hawks. Thomes leads off with a bloop single and is brought home by
Perella's double to left field, 7-4. Jack Rogers then singles which ends Wiggins'
night on the mound. Sammy Acevedo is brought into the game but makes matter worse when
he hits his first batter, Al Martin, to load the bases. However, Acevedo is a gamer
and bears down to strike out Connors for a huge first out. Joe Broderick follows and
rips a grounder to first but Pillot handles it cleanly and fires home to get the
lead runner. Playwright is really squandering an opportunity here. Fitzpatrick then
steps into the box and works the count to 3-1. The next offering appears high and away
so he lays off thinking he has a bases loaded walk but the pitch is justifiably called
a strike by plate umpire, Larry Heafey. Acevedo completes the "tight-rope walk" by
getting Fitzpatrick to pop up on the next pitch. The Hawks really dodged a bullet
here and are still in the game thanks to Acevedo's efforts.
We heard before that great defensive plays usually carry over to the offense and
tonight was no different. Feeding off of Acevedo, Ivan Pillot and Garry Licabe both
smack one-out single's to center to start the rally. Pillot scores when Jose Cruz
doubles to center cutting the lead to 7-5. Pito Ruiz then grounds out to first
baseman, Jimmy Fitzpatrick, who alertly holds the runner at third while recording the
out at first. With the last batter due up it looks like the Playwright will escape the
inning with no further damage. But Hawk batter, Jeff Neves, collects his second hit of
the night when he rips a double to left field that scores two and ties the game at
7-7. As the inning proceeds, Playwright's Jerry Thomes begins to warm up on the
sidelines. Lemarra and the Playwright get out of the inning when third baseman Mike
Smith makes a great play to end the inning.
Neither team gets anything going in the fifth inning and the quiet that first appeared
in game six has returned to the field.
Like Neves did before him, Playwright's ninth batter in the order, Al Martin came through when his
team needed him most with a one out single in the top of the sixth inning. Martin
reached third when the usually very stingy Hawk defense committed their fifth error of
the game. The error would prove costly when Fitzpatrick followed with a sacrifice fly
to left field that plated Martin with the go ahead run, 8-7. Players high fived Martin
as he returned to the bench but realized they still had a long way to go before this
one was in the books.
With Lemarra tiring on this hot night Jerry Thomes is brought into the game in the
bottom of the sixth inning to try and preserve the one run lead. The move quickly pays
off when the first batter he faces chases his first pitch and pops it up for the first
out. Thomes gets Ruiz to follow suit but then gives up a single to Neves (3 hits, 3
RBI). With speed and the tying run on first Thomes stays tough and forces Ramon Mateo
into grounding out to shortstop, Juan Sanchez for the inning's final out. The Hawks
were now down to their final three outs of the season and needing to keep the
Playwright from scoring to give themselves a chance in the seventh.
Pitcher, Sammy Acevedo made quick work of the Playwright hitters in the seventh
sitting them down in order. With the heart of their lineup due up the Hawks hurried
off the field to get ready to take their cuts at Thomes and the Playwright's narrow
one run lead.
Ramon Mello led the seventh off with a blistering drive to center field. For a moment
it looked as if the Hawks were about to tie the game but outfielder Charlie Connors
quickly tracked the ball down for the key first out. It didn't get any easier for the
Playwright as the league's most feared hitter, Toco Soto, was up next. Thomes worked
the count in his favor then got Soto to hit a ground ball to Sanchez who fielded it
cleanly and threw to Fitzpatrick for the second out.
Suddenly, the Playwright could taste the champagne and the Hawks began to question themselves wondering what went
wrong. Next up was Juan Polanco who was nursing an injured hamstring but gamely played
through it tonight. On a 1-1 count Polonco hit a high drive to left field where the
versatile Mario Perella stood waiting. As the ball began its decline Mario camped
under it as if he were fielding a punt for the Patriots. The ball came hurtling down
from the night and hit Mario in the chest and arms but the veteran was not about to
let this one fall to the ground and amazingly held on for the final out. The
Playwright were champions again!
In the aftermath, the two very tired (7 games in 4 nights) teams congratulated one
another for a well played series. The Hawks Ivan Pillot and Jamie Morales stuck around
long enough to chat with each and every member of the Playwright. A gentlemen's move
on their part which proved that the two teams have mutual respect and played the series with class.
The Playwright's Jerry Thomes (pitcher), Domenic Lemarra (pitcher), and Jack Rogers (second base) were voted co-MVP's for their all-star play during the playoffs. The Hawks pitcher, Sammy Acevedo also received recognition from the league for the great effort he made throughout the playoffs.
It wasn't long after the on field celebration that members of the tired Playwright began to throw the "retirement" term around. Who could blame them? They're older, wiser, and just won back-to-back
2005 Playwright - front row (left to right): Al Martin, Juan Sanchez, Charlie Connors (with son - Charlie), Domenic Lemarra (MVP),
Mario Perella, and Joe Broderick. Standing back row (left to right): Michael Smith,
Daryle Alexander, Tommy Russell, Jerry Thomes Jr., Jerry Thomes (MVP),
Jimmy Fitzpatrick (Coach), and Jack Rogers (MVP).
MVP's: Domenic Lemarra, Jerry Thomes, and Jack Rogers.
|Playwright wins best of seven series 4-3|
| Sidewalk Cafe vs Hawks|
|Game 1: 8/24/2005 - Sidewalk 6 vs. Hawks 7|
|Game 2: 8/25/2005 - Hawks 15 vs. Sidewalk 0|
|Game 3: 8/31/2005 - Sidewalk 7 vs. Hawks 0|
|Game 4: 8/31/2005 - Hawks 7 vs. Sidewalk 5|
|Hawks win series 3-1|
| Shannon's Tavern vs Playwright|
|Game 1: 8/24/2005 - Shannon's Tavern 4 vs. Playwright 2|
|Game 2: 8/25/2005 - Playwright 18 vs. Shannon's 0|
|Game 3: 8/31/2005 - Shannon's Tavern 3 vs. Playwright 6|
|Game 4: 9/1/2005 - Playwright 7 vs. Shannon's 2|
|Playwright wins series 3-1|
| Brewers vs Hawks|
|Game 1: 8/19/2005 - Brewers 5 vs. Hawks 25|
|Game 2: 8/23/2005 - Hawks 25 vs. Brewers 2|
|Hawks win series 2-0|
| Beer Garden vs Playwright|
|Game 1: 8/19/2005 - Beer Garden 4 vs. Playwright 21|
|Game 2: 8/22/2005 - Playwright 19 vs. Beer Garden 5|
|Playwright wins series 2-0|
| Murphy's Law vs Shannon's Tavern|
|Game 1: 8/19/2005 - Murphy's Law 5 vs. Shannon's 16|
|Game 2: 8/22/2005 - Shannon's 11 vs. Murphy's Law 1|
|Shannon's wins series 2-0|
| Spartans vs Sidewalk Cafe|
|Game 1: 8/18/2005 - Spartans 1 vs. Sidewalk 23|
WP: George Pratt (1-0) LP: Jimmy McNiff (1-1) GW RBI: Charles Zaniboni
August 18, 2005 - under a clear sky and a full moon the bats of the Sidewalk Cafe erupted and took their mighty cuts against the Spartans embattled pitcher, Jimmy McNiff. In a game that was expected to be an evenly matched affair, was over in the first inning when Sidewalk sent fifteen batters to the plate and scored thirteen runs.
Sidewalk's Chuck Zaniboni had a night that many of us dream about. Five at bats, 4 homeruns, and 7 RBI's. For those of you who are not familiar with the configuration at M Street Park - we do not have a fence in right field for our lefty hitters. Zaniboni, who is a big lefty hit three homeruns the opposite way to left field that all cleared the fence - 300 feet away. Unbelievable! Adding insult to injury was Peter John who followed two of Zaniboni's smashes with two homeruns of his own. Again, Peter is also a lefty who went the other way ringing one high of the light pole in left field. Not bad for a kid who has battled back from serious health problems to get himself in tremendous physical condition. Folks it was all Sidewalk tonight.
|Game 2: 8/19/2005 - Sidewalk vs. Spartans|
|Sidewalk wins series 2-0|
|MORAN ELIMINATION ROUND|
|Dorset Club 9 vs. Spartans 12|
WP: Jimmy McNiff (1-0) LP: John Maceachern (0-1) GW RBI: Chris Aprile
August 17, 2005 - Matt Rogers of the Spartans tied the game at 9-9 when he lined a 2-run homerun to left in the bottom of the sixth inning. A few batters later teammate Chris Aprile put the Spartans in front to stay when he connected for his second homerun of the game. Jim McNiff picked up the win in relief.
Playing in their first playoff game ever the Dorset Club played a very gutsy game battling right to the very end and nearly pulled off the upset. Earlier in the game, John Gore of the Dorset Club made a great catch in right field robbing Billy Adams of a sure homerun. Gore had to avoid a N Street league player and another batted ball while staying focused on the ball in flight.
|Brewers 9 vs. Green Team 8|
WP: Tommy McGrath (1-0) LP: Nicholas French (0-1) GW RBI: Tom Lind
August 17, 2005 - the Brewers were trailing by a run with a runner on first and two outs in the top of the sixth inning and were in need of a clutch hit. The count ran to 2-0 before Tom Lind roped the next offering to deep right that skipped past the Green Team's outfielder. Lind raced around the bags giving the Brewers their first lead of the game at a most crucial time. After a lead off single the Green Team went down in order in the bottom of the sixth allowing the Brewers to cling to the one run lead. The game then turned to the seventh and the Brewers were looking to add an insurance run or two but pitcher Nicholas French quickly retired the side.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, the leadoff batter (#6) reached with a single to right. Brewers pitcher Tom McGrath dug in knowing he had to get the next batter. McGrath produced a ground ball to second that fielder Kevin Smith flipped to second for the force - one out. In stepped the lefty French who homered to deep center earlier in the game. On a 1-1 count McGrath again got the same result; a ground ball to Smith who got another force at second - two outs. The next batter stepped in trying to keep the Green Team's hopes alive. On a 1-1 count Brewers catcher Greg D'Antona fired a pickoff throw to first that had the base runner leaning the wrong way. On the play the umpire ruled that the fielder didn't have control of the ball - a questionable call on a force play. The Green Team dodged a bullet and their hopes were still alive. The next McGrath pitch was lined to right for a base hit. The following batter walked to load the bases and suddenly it was looking like that call at first was going to cost the Brewers the game. With the game on the line, in stepped batter Rich Engalvdsen - a .500 hitter with 22 RBI's. McGrath quickly got ahead in the count and got Engalvdsen to pop out to Smith who recorded all three outs in the seventh. The well played game was finally over and the relieved smiles were wide on the victorious Brewers bench.
|Beer Garden 26 vs. Sharks 15|
WP: Mark Landolfi (1-0) LP: Jim Sullivan (0-1) GW RBI: John Curtin
August 18, 2005 - the Beer Garden's offense was in full swing tonight as they scored in every inning while cruising to victory. It was the third meeting in two days for these two teams so there was little surprise and lots of offense expected. The Sharks came to life and bit back in the fourth inning when they plated six runs to take a slim 14-13 lead. That lead didn't last long as the Beer Garden quickly answered with six runs of their own and cruised the rest of the way.
Beer Garden's Peter Drummey (6 hits) and John Curtin (5 hits) were the offensive stars for the winners while Brian Schofield led the Sharks. Schofield, who had a great year, hit another mammoth homerun to left giving him 11 on the season.
After the game coach Peter Hourihan gave the commissioner a hard time saying that his guys couldn't make their next playoff game - scheduled for Friday. However, after a quick investigation it was found that it was Hourihan himself who couldn't make the game and wanted to postpone. The good guy coach loves playing the game and didn't want to miss out. Instead, Pete will be raising money for charity while competing in a New Hampshire triatholon over the weekend. Good luck Pete!
|Il Giardino Cafe 2 vs. Murphy's Law 7|
WP: Eric Malerba (1-0) LP: Nick Kleimola (0-1) GW RBI: Nick Herz
August 18, 2005 - sometimes things have a funny way of working themselves out. After the season schedule was released a few of the Il Giardino players contacted the commissioner and asked if a game could be added against their friends, Murphy's Law. Because of logistics the league could not accommodate them until now - the playoffs.
In the second inning, Giardino's Nick Kleimola tied (2-2) the game when he singled to right scoring Kevin Bradley from second. Little did they know the run would be their last of the game and their season as Murphy's Eric Malerba pitched very effectively the rest of the way.
Nick Herz broke the tie with a 2-run single to right in the bottom of the third inning giving Murphy's a 3-2 lead. They would add some insurance runs in the third inning when Brian Doherty, Brendan Burke, and Mike McGuirk all hit RBI doubles. Giardino threatened to score in the fourth and fifth innings but Malerba extinguished their hopes by getting several key infield fly outs. Murphy's Law had silenced their critics and won their first playoff game on their very first try.