Game summaries are written by Mark Senna and Jim Sullivan
Game 1: Monday, Aug. 31st @ 7:00 PM
Pirates 25 - Shennanigans 10
Game one of the finals went to the Pirates in a 5-inning mercy-ruled blowout.
It wasn't pretty. Both pitchers - Brian Pacheco for the Pirates, Mark Dion for Shenannigans - displayed control problems, with Pacheco walking six and Dion walking eleven. And neither squad fielded particularly well (Shanny's, in particular, committed an uncharacteristic five errors.) But, in the end, it was the Pirates hitting that carried the day - 21 hits, including 4 doubles, 2 triples and a Josh Neeley home run. Neeley and Greg Bosse - both perfect at the plate this game - drove in four, while Charlie Conners, Kevin O'Hara and Chris Armstrong drove in three each. Everybody in the Pirates lineup scored, Neeley and Jim Innocent crossing the plate four times apiece. For Shenannigans, Julian Alvarez continued his torrid streak with two homers (but both were solo shots, which limited the damage.)
It was not an artistic success, by any means, but the Pirates take a 1-0 lead in the best of five.
Game 2: Monday, Aug. 31st @ 8:30 PM
Shennanigans 15 - Pirates 12
In the second game of the evening, Shanny's tied the series at 1-1 behind a gutsy performance by pitcher Mark Dion.
With the finals being bunched into a three-day period, a doubleheader was thrust upon the starting pitchers. Dion was clearly hurt, battered in the first game and wild. Coming back for another game immediately did not portend well. He toughed it out, however, and provided his teammates with enough outs for them to outscore the Pirates.
Shanny's led start-to-finish, although the Pirates made it close late. In the bottom of the first, Julian Alvarez stroked his third home run of the evening, a prodigious shot to right center that almost reached the basketball court on the roll. After that, singles from Sam MacDonald, Bryan Erwin and Marty O'Malley were followed by a Greg Trudell three-run homer that made it 5-0.
After the Pirates failed to score in the second, the defending champions added another to make it 6-0. The Black and Yellow came alive in the top of the third, scoring five times, but that was as close as they would get in this one.
Shanny's put up eight in the bottom of the frame and drove pitcher Brian Pacheco from the game. Charlie Conners came on in relief and threw well - one run in three innings work - while his teammates tried to claw their way back in, scoring one in the fifth (on a Kevin O'Hara homer), three in the sixth, and another four in the seventh as Dion was gassed and desperately hanging on. But hang on he did, stranding three Pirates and earning the victory.
Game three - just one game and the pitchers probably say "Thank God!" - will begin at 7:00 on Tuesday.
Game 3: Tuesday, Sep. 1st @ 7:00 PM
Pirates 13 - Shennanigans 12 (8 inn.)
Patrick "Patsy" Dolbeare's walk-off homer in extra innings puts the Pirates one win away from their first MSSL championship. How Patsy got in position to do so makes for a decent story since this game was closer, and better played by both teams, than either of the first two in the series.
In what some might have considered a surprising move, Pirates manager Brian Pacheco benched himself and gave the starting nod to all-star center fielder, Charlie Conners. And Conners didn't let him down, starting the game with two shutout innings. Then, in the bottom of the second, his mates scored four.
The inning opened with two errors, then the next four batters, including Conners himself, delivered runs. Danny Ekasala singled one in, Brad Cole doubled in another, Greg Bosse hit a sac fly to bring in the third and then Conners singled to drive in Cole. 4-0, Pirates (and it should be noted the sac fly would have been the legit third out, had the men not reached on errors, so no earned runs were charged in the inning to Shenannigans starter Mark Dion.)
Dion's guys made it up to him in the top of the third. Dave Conti led off with a single, then the next three men (Steve Stalcup, Julian Alvarez and Sam MacDonald) walked, with MacDonald's walk driving in Conti. Dan Brown hit a sac fly to right center to make it a 4-2 and then Bryan Erwin blasted one across First Street and over the brown wall to give Shanny's a thundering, 5-4 lead. The Pirates scratched back in the bottom of the frame on a single by Joel Kershner, a Josh Neeley base on balls, and another RBI single by Danny Ekasala that tied the game, 5-5, after three complete.
In the top of the fourth, Shanny's again used power to take the lead. An error put Edwin Colon on. After two outs, Steve Stalcup got into one and poked it over the left field fence to give the defending champs a 7-5 lead. But this see-saw game saw the Pirates answer and were back in front by two runs. The runs batted in were provided by Dolbeare (two, on a double), Pat "Dub" Wilson and Josh Neeley. After four innings, 9-7, Pirates.
Shanny's got one back in the fifth, making it 9-8, and the Pirates failed to score in their half. Then Shenannigans took the lead in the sixth. With one out, Greg Trudell reached on catcher's interference. Steve Stalcup singled and, after Julian Alvarez flied out, Sam MacDonald singled to tie the game, 9-9. Next up was power hitting righty, Dan Brown, who smoked a liner to left that Dolbeare looked ready to snag for the third out. However, he didn't corral it and Stalcup scored to give Shanny's a 10-9 advantage. Dolbeare was kicking himself realizing he just may have given away the pivotal game but was hoping for redemption when his turn to bat came around again.
The deficit didn't last long though as the Black & Yellow Pirates took the lead right back in the bottom of the sixth, as Dolbeare walked and then scored on Wilson's two-run home run to deep right center. 11-10, Pirates!
In the top of the seventh, Shenannigans found themselves down on the scoreboard but confident in their abilities to score under the immense pressure of the situation. Luis "Danello" Colon doubled to start the inning and so did Nate Meyl. Just like that we had another tie game. Edwin "Snacky" Colon singled Meyl to third. After a fly out, Conti hit one to short that was booted and Meyl scored the go-ahead run, 12-11. Now it was Shanny's turn to get three outs and win the game.
Not so fast, Champs. Ekasala doubled. Then pinch hitter Pat Pickup singled, driving Ekasala to third base. Brad Cole, for whom Pickup had hit, re-entered as the runner at first. Then Greg Bosse hit a dart, but right at Steve Stalcup at short, who caught it and relayed quickly to first to catch Cole off the bag. Double play! The Pirates were down to their final out. But that out was Conners, who had told his teammates, "Just get me in the box…" at the start of the inning. Here he was, in the box, and he delivered immediately, singling to drive in Ekasala, 12-12. But Dion got the third out, stranding Conners, and on we went to extra innings.
Julian Alvarez led off with a single. Sam MacDonald drove one to right center, but Kevin "K.O." O'Hara got a fantastic jump on the ball and tracked down the liner nicely. Dan Brown walked to put runners on first and second with one out. Conners got the dangerous Bryan Erwin to fly out to O'Hara, then Danello smoked a grounder to the right side but it was gobbled up by Kershner - the normal 2B or SS who was playing first all night - and now the Pirates had the hammer in a tie game.
And that hammer came in the form of Pat Dolbeare. As he ran in from his position in left field, he said to me, "Sully, give me a good one!" - meaning he expected to end it and he was as good as his word. On the second delivery from Dion, Dolbeare hit a high arcing fly into the trees in left center. Game over! Dolbeare, who nearly cost his team the game, redeemed himself with one big swing of the bat. The Pirates now have the series lead and are just a win away from taking the M Street Softball League championship.
With the score tied 12-12 in the bottom of the eighth inning, Pirate's Pat Dolbeare comes through in the clutch with one mighty swing. Click on image above to watch the video.
Game 4: Wednesday, Sep. 2nd @ 7:00 PM
Pirates 11 - Shennanigans 6
After a six year run by a great Shenannigans team, the M Street Softball League has a new Champion - The Pirates. They took game four, 11-6, and the series, three games to one.
The Pirates jumped to an early lead on the strength of a two-run homer by Chris Armstrong. The defending champions took one back in the bottom of the first when Julian Alvarez doubled and, with two out, Dan Brown's blooper found a home on the outfield grass between three fielders. 2 - 1, Pirates.
In the top of the second, Steve Stalcup and Luis Colon combined for a 6 to 4 double play that killed a promising beginning for the Pirates (Stalcup, it should be noted, was his usual strong defensive self throughout this series. Many a Pirate came back to the bench grumbling after hitting one to him that might have found a hole had it been hit near a shortstop with lesser range.) Shenannigans tied it on an Alex Karsos single, a two-out infield error that allowed Dave Conti to reach, and an RBI single by Stalcup. 2 - 2, after two complete.
Greg Bosse led off the third with a walk. Charlie Conners singled, as did Kevin O'Hara, with Bosse scoring, and a sacrifice fly by Armstrong brought in a second run, making it 4 - 2. Shanny's quickly equalized in their half of the inning on a two-run home run by Luis Colon. 4 - 4 after three.
Neither team was able to score in the fourth and the fifth. Both starting pitchers - Brian Pacheco for the Pirates and Mark Dion for Shenannigans - worked out of small jams with help from their fielders. The Pirates put the leadoff man on via walk in the fourth, but Luis Colon snagged Joel Kershner's liner and doubled up Marc Montesano at first base. After a single by Josh Neeley, Stalcup made a fine play on Danny Ekasala's grounder, flipping to Colon for the third out.
In the bottom of the fourth, Alvarez singled with one out but Brad Cole took a hit away from Sammy MacDonald and forced Alvarez at second. Neeley corralled Brown's grounder and tagged second base to end the inning.
In the fifth, it was again Stalcup to the rescue for Shenannigans. Bosse singled and Conners hit a sharp grounder destined for left field, but Stalcup somehow reached it and flipped to Colon to force Bosse. O'Hara walked and, after an infield fly, Armstrong singled to load the bases. However, Pat Wilson, first pitch swinging, lofted one to right center for the easy third out. For Shanny's, Luis Colon singled, but Wilson made a fine play when he grabbed a liner by Nate Meyl and fired over to first to double up Danello. Marty O'Malley flied to Conners and it was still tied, 4 - 4, after five.
The game and series was decided in the sixth when Montesano led the sixth off with a triple to center. Brad Cole followed with a double down the left field line, scoring Montesano. Neeley flied to left, with Cole taking third on the play. Danny Ekasala then hit one to - who else? - Stalcup, who fired home to Edwin Colon and "Snacky" put the tag onto Brad Cole. There were now two outs, Shanny's only trailed by one run, and if they could get out of this inning without further damage, it might have been a different outcome.
Bosse drew a base on balls to extend the inning and then the floodgates opened. Charlie Conners stepped to the plate and drove a triple into right center, scoring Ekasala and Bosse. Kevin O'Hara followed with a speedy triple of his own, scoring Conners. Pat Dolbeare walked (his seventh base on balls of the series, and worth mentioning because some power hitters wouldn't have been so patient and might have cost their teams as a result - Dolbeare scored more runs than anyone else in the finals, proving the worth of those walks.) Armstrong delivered again, singling in O'Hara. Then Wilson singled in Dolbeare. Finally, Montesano came up for his second at-bat of the inning and he doubled, scoring Armstrong. Wilson tried to score on the play, also, but he was cut down at the plate for the third out. The Pirates had put across seven runs, to lead 11-4, and one could now see that the six year championship run was about to come to an end for Shenannigans.
In the home half of the sixth, Shenannigans scored two unearned runs but Pacheco brushed that aside as he recorded two punchouts, both of which came against very dangerous batters. With one on and one out, pinch hitting power hitter Bryan Erwin went down swinging. Then, with a runner on third and two outs, Sam MacDonald looked at strike three and that effectively put an end to things. The Pirates took a 5-run lead into the bottom of the seventh and, with the exception of a two-out walk to Nate Meyl, Shanny's could produce nothing more and the celebration began for the new champions.
Chosen as co-MVPs of the series were Charlie Conners and Kevin O'Hara. In all truth, it could have been a team award. Everybody contributed something important to the Pirates victory. A quick scan of the composite box score for the series might suggest a number of notable candidates, but it was decided that both Conners and O'Hara had not only provided valuable hitting and valiant defensive prowess in the outfield, but they also were the main sparkplugs of this team, always rallying the troops and NEVER shutting up (which isn't always a good thing, but in this instance, yes) and neither one ever let their team's enthusiasm or will sag for any appreciable length of time.
Conners was the winning pitcher in the pivotal game three (and credit to his manager, Pacheco, for starting him that game - and for a fine job coaching, all around, during this series. He made all the right moves.)
Although Shenannigans pitcher Mark Dion was not on the winning end of this one, it was the first time in nine years that he didn't end up a champion. Not only was he a member of all six Shanny's squads to previously capture the crown, but he was also a member of the two champs previous to that - 2007 Lynx and 2008 Dawgs. Quite a run, Marky!
Congratulations to The Pirates, M Street Softball League champions for 2015!
Front row, left to right - Greg Bosse, Brad Cole, Brian Pacheco, Charlie Conners Jr, Josh Neeley, Danny Ekasala.
Back row - Marc Montesano, Chris Armstrong, Pat Dolbeare, Charlie Conners, Joel Kershner, Pat Pickup, Pat Wilson, and Kevin O'Hara.
Pirates win series 3-1
Lincoln Tavern (1st)
Game 1: Thursday, Aug. 20th @ 8:30 PM
Lincoln Tavern 12 - Shennanigans 6
Home runs by Leo Evriviades, Al Porcaro, and Ryan Caswell powered Lincoln Tavern to a 12-6 victory over defending champs Shenannigans.
Shanny's starting pitcher Mark Dion didn't have his best stuff, being rocked for 8 runs in his three innings of work. It could have been worse; Jesse Carlton's very long shot to right center, in the second inning with two on and two out, was nicely tracked down by Alex Karsos, saving three runs, and Lincoln left the bases loaded in both the first and third innings. Lincoln stranded sixteen runners overall.
For Shenannigans part, they stranded twelve themselves. A few timely hits, by one side or the other, would have made this either a close game or a total laugher. As it was, though, Shanny's played a bit flat, Lincoln took advantage of some wildness by reliever Julian Alvarez (10 walks in three innings, although he only gave up one hit - unfortunately, for him, Caswell's home run, which caromed off the light pole in left) and Lincoln took a well-deserved lead in the series.
Game 2: Monday, Aug. 24th @ 6:30 PM
Lincoln Tavern 14 - Shenannigans 4
Scott Hackett went 4 for 4, driving in four runs, and Lincoln Tavern moved a step closer to the finals via a 14-4 decision over Shenannigans.
Hackett's four hits were all for extra bases - three doubles and a triple - and he also subsequently scored three times. Other leading batters for Lincoln included Ryan Kent (3 RBI) and Adam Feinstein (3 for 4, with singles in his first three at-bats.) Shenannigans pitched around powerful first baseman Max Vigliotti (4 walks in his first four plate appearances) and, aside from one walk each, the men following him in the line-up - Ryan Caswell and Jesse Carlton - were held hitless. That left the bulk of the run delivery to #6 hitter Hackett, who came through with flying colors.
Caswell pitched a fine game, holding Shanny's scoreless through the first three while his teammates built an 8-0 lead. They cruised from there and are now on the verge of eliminating the six-time defending champions.
Game 3: Tuesday, Aug. 25th @ 8:15 PM
Shenannigans 16 - Lincoln Tavern 10
Champions are not vanquished easily. Lincoln Tavern found out that truth last night as they fell to Shenannigans, 16-10, and had their series extended to at least one more game. Lincoln leads the series, 2-1, with game four coming on Wednesday at 7:00 pm.
Lincoln took an early 3-0 lead on singles by Leo Evriviades and Sean Gorman, a walk to Max Vigliotti, and a two-run single by Ryan Caswell. A sacrifice fly by Jesse Carlton accounted for the third run, but Scott Hackett grounded into a nicely turned 3-4 double play to end the inning.
In the top of the second, Shanny's evened things up via three singles and three walks, with the big blow by Edwin Colon, a two-run two-out single, Lincoln retook the lead in the bottom of the inning when Jack Pizzotti drove in catcher G.J. Vicente, but Shanny's again flashed the leather to end the inning. Lincoln had runners on first and second, with one out, but Evriviades lined to Steve Stalcup at shortstop, who fired to first to double off Adam Feinstein.
The champs asserted themselves via a seven-run third, wherein the first seven hitters reached safely (4 singles, a double, and 2 errors). From there it was Lincoln scoring and Shanny's matching them. Lincoln scored three to make it 10-7, but Shenannigans scored three right back at them to up it to 13-7. Lincoln scored two, then Shanny's scored two. Lincoln scored one and Shanny's scored one, 16-10. They trade scoreless frames, then winning pitcher Mark Dion toughed out a nagging hip injury and stoned Lincoln in their final frame to send this series to game four.
Game 4: Wednesday, Aug. 26th @ 7:00 PM
Shenannigans 9 - Lincoln Tavern 6 (9 inn.)
Games like this are why I love coming to the ballpark.
In a tension-filled atmosphere, with their championship streak on the line, Shenannigans came from behind in extra innings to knot their series with Lincoln Tavern at two games apiece. The fifth and deciding game will be played at 7:00 Thursday.
The game opened with Leo Evriviades lining out to Steve Stalcup at short. This was a portent of things to come, as some good leather was thrown by both teams all night. After another two outs saw Lincoln having been set down 1 - 2 - 3 in the top of the first, Shenannigans got on the board in the bottom of the inning via a two-out double by Luis "Danello" Colon (one of a handful of players, from both sides, playing through injuries tonight) and a follow-up RBI single by Dan Brown.
Lincoln had two-out fireworks of their own in the top of the second. After Scott Hackett and Ryan Caswell were retired, Jesse "Big Tuna" Carlton drew the first of his three bases on balls. The hot Adam Feinstein delivered a single, Carlton to second, and G. J. Vicente (with a badly swollen hand from the previous game) drove in Carlton with a single of his own. After a walk by Al Porcaro loaded the bases, Jack Pizzotti unloaded them with a triple, making the score 4 - 1 Lincoln. In the bottom of the second, Shanny's got two of those runs back. Marty O'Malley led off with a double. With one out, Edwin Colon doubled to drive in O'Malley, then John Hoadley singled in Colon.
In the top of the third, Lincoln loaded the bases with two out, but left them that way when pitcher Mark Dion induced a fly out to right center by Feinstein. Bottom of the third saw some good fielding by Lincoln, and a poor baserunning decision by Shanny's (not the last of the night), result in a scoreless frame. Julian Alvarez singled to left, and the throw in to second eluded the Sean Gorman. Alvarez decided to try for second, but was gunned down by Max Vigliotti, who had ably backed up the throw at first. Following that, Gorman made a sweet play on a grounder, going to the ground himself to snag it and then relaying to Vigliotti for the second out. A subsequent error and a single put two on, but the good fielding had prevented there being any runners on the be driven in and O'Malley's line drive was caught in center to end any threat.
In the top of the fourth, Lincoln committed it's own baserunning blunder. With runners on first and second, one out, Evriviades flied to right center. The runner on second had taken off on the crack of the bat, mistakenly believing there were two out. He was easily doubled up. In the bottom of the inning, Shenannigans left runners on second and third. The score stood at 4 - 3, Lincoln, after four complete.
In the bottom of the fifth, Shanny's pulled ahead for the second time in the game, but not without incident. Julian Alvarez, who stung the ball all night, stroked one to right center.In what had to be considered a baserunning blunder - his second of the game - he tried to stretch his triple into a home run with nobody out. A good relay saw catcher Al Porcaro just nip him at the plate (from my vantage point, a good call by umpire Chuck Feltch. However, some saw Alvarez as being safe, and the decision was vociferously argued by the Shanny's bench. The fact remains that taking a chance at sending a runner in that situation, if there is any decent chance at him being gunned, is almost always the wrong call, as a man on third with nobody out is generally going to score eventually anyway.) On the play, center fielder Evriviades popped a hamstring and had to come out, with his spot being taken by Ryan Kent. The man who argued the call the loudest, Luis Colon, followed at the plate and used his anger to good effect, singling hard. He took second on a ground out, then scored via Brian Erwin's double. O'Malley then drove in Erwin, giving the defending champs a 5 - 4 lead.
On to the top of the sixth, where Lincoln didn't threaten but Shanny's did have a nice play made by Erwin who caught a foul pop by the Lincoln bench even though he and catcher Edwin Colon got tangled up when both went for the ball. Erwin held on to it as he went to the ground, sending Lincoln back onto defense. And that meant more web gems. Edwin Colon led off by singling, but was gunned down at second. Then Sean Gorman made another nice play, corralling John Hoadley's tough grounder and firing him out from his knees. Another more routine grounder off the bat of Dave Conti was handled easily by Gorman for the final out.
With Shenannigans leading, 5 - 4, and the game on the line, Lincoln began the top of the seventh with two grounders to the always reliable Steve Stalcup at short. He handled both cleanly and Lincoln was down to a final chance in the person of Ryan Kent, now batting in Leo Evriviades leadoff position and up for his first at-bat of the evening. Kent didn't let the pressure faze him, as he singled cleanly and sharply. Sean Gorman followed with a single, bringing the tremendously dangerous power-hitting Max Vigliotti to the plate. Max didn't disappoint, singling in Kent with the tying run, but he himself was out at second on another nice bit of fielding and a good throw. On to the bottom of the seventh, tie game, Shanny's with the hammer. Stalcup lined out to left. Alvarez followed by smoking a liner right back at Caswell, but Caswell caught it as nonchalantly as if he was reaching for a can of beans in his kitchen (it pays to be a shortstop before becoming a pitcher)and then Caswell caught an easier one, an infield pop-up by Luis Colon. On to extra innings!
Lincoln got another walk from Jesse Carlton, with two out, but that was all. In Shenannigans' ups, G. J. Vicente made a nice catch in left of a fly by Dan Brown, battling the hill and the fence. Erwin reached on an error and O'Malley singled, but the attempt at a game winner was foiled via a Hackett to Gorman to Vigliotti double play. On to the ninth!
Vicente drew a walk to start things off. After a fly out, Jack Pizzotti singled Vicente to second. Ryan Kent came up for the second time in a clutch situation and came through again, singling to load the bases. Sean Gorman grounded to Stalcup. He probably had the force at home if he wanted it, but instead elected to tag Pizzotti going to third and made an attempt to throw to Luis Colon at second for a force out of Kent that would have ended the inning with no score (not a horrible decision considering Vigliotti was due next and having him up with bases loaded is never fun), but Kent was safe at second and Vicente scored to put Lincoln up 6 - 5. Vigliotti was unable to deliver any insurance, flying out to right center.
Now into the bottom of the ninth, trailing by a run and a chance at a seventh consecutive championship hanging in the balance. Edwin Colon worked a base on balls. He was forced at second by John Hoadley. On a 1 - 2 count -, and just as someone in the stands yelled "Take the bat off your shoulder!" - Dave Conti did just that and singled, Hoadley going to second. Stalcup then lofted what appeared to be a very catchable fly to left, but it was dropped and the runners advanced. Bases loaded, one out - tying run at third, winning run at second - and Julian Alvarez - who had put a charge in the ball all evening, even though he had also been out twice via questionable base running - to the plate. And Alvarez more than made up for anything else he did this evening, sending a shot into the trees for a grand slam that gave Shenannigans an extra-inning thrill-packed victory, kept alive their championship hopes, and gave us - the fans - a deciding game five tilt. And if that game is anything like this one, you won't find a better sporting event anywhere on the planet tomorrow evening.
Game 5: Thursday, Aug. 27th @ 7:00 PM
Shenannigans 15 - Lincoln Tavern 10
You've already seen the score, so you know who won. But, if you weren't there to see it, it seems a shame you already know the winner because this one had twists and turns - and a surprise ending - like an episode of The Twilight Zone.
First, Steve Stalcup hit a leadoff home run. OK, Cup has been known to put one over the fence every so often, but he's usually the table setter. And the first inning saw two power hitters - one from each squad - NOT hit home runs, each for a different reason.
Here's the story: after two were retired following Stalcup's solo shot, Dan Brown stepped to the plate and hit one that looked to have enough to leave the park - but it hit the top of the railing on the outfield fence in left and bounced back into play for a long single. And Brownie ended up stranded at first. 1 - 0, Shenannigans.
Now on to the bottom of the first. But, a side plot. Leo Evriviades grounded out and then left the game because of his badly-pulled hamstring (make note of that - it will come back into the plot later - but now back to our main story…) Sean Gorman walked, bringing Max Vigliotti to the plate with a man on. And Max put a charge into one, down the left field line. It left the park, but was ruled foul. To a man, everyone in the stands - including me - thought it was a fair ball. It was hooking, but it went out fair, and this game was being played in Rod Serling's neighborhood, so Max had to get back in the batter's box. He flied out to right center. Lincoln was able to score Gorman, as Scott Hackett singled, Jesse Carlton walked, Ryan Caswell singled home Gorman, and Adam Feinstein drew a bases-loaded walk to give Lincoln the 2 - 1 lead, but that still left them short a run from what it might have been.
(You can't count on things following the same pattern, but still…)
On to the second inning, where Shenannigans re-took the lead on a Marty O'Malley two-run homer. Then Lincoln grabbed the lead back on a two-run homer by Andy Hillier (cue the theme song… Doo doodoodoo - doo doodoo doo…) who had been granted a one-game waiver to play. And that brought it back to Evriviades' spot in the line-up, but he wasn't batting any longer, which brought up the question, posed by Shenannigans, of whether or not his spot should be an automatic out. It was ruled - and, technically, it could be the right call - that he was NOT automatically out (because of his injury, the logic behind the call - just my guess - is that he could have been considered the DH for Hilly, who was playing first base, and injury would allow Hilly to also hit with no penalty if Evriviades left the game before Hilly's first plate appearance. That would come under league rule 3.00. He was listed as EH, though.) After that brouhaha, Gorman walked again, Vigliotti walked, Hackett singled, and Carlton hit into a fielder's choice that produced another run, making it 5 - 3 Lincoln after two complete. It should also be noted, for more dramatic effect, that Lincoln left the bases loaded in the first and also stranded two in the second (in all, they stranded sixteen runners.)
Third inning (which, just to lull everyone into a sense of false security, had nothing unusual.) Shanny's scores one, on doubles by Julian Alvarez and Dan Brown, to bring the score to 5 - 4, Lincoln, but Lincoln gets the run back in the bottom of the third to keep it a two-run lead, 6 - 4.
Nothing unusual in the top of the fourth. In the bottom? Yeah, it got weird again. Vigliotti drew a walk. After an out, Carlton singled and Caswell walked, loading the bases. This brought Adam Feinstein to the plate. He grounded one to the right side, where Caswell hesitated and backed up, away from the ball being held by the fielder, and then Feinstein was put out at first base, Caswell continued to second but a throw to second did not get Caswell, and it appeared that TWO runners scored during all this. Not so fast, though. The ruling, as I understand it, was that a runner forced from first cannot back up toward first to avoid a tag, thus Caswell was out, then Feinstein at first, and no runs can score on an inning-ending force. That certainly sounded like a reasonable explanation last night, but I can't find that rule anywhere (a runner between home and first can't back up in that situation, but I see no citation for any other runner being out via backing up. Maybe someone else can point out the rule; I only made a cursory search while writing this account.) In any case, no runs and it remained a 6 - 4 Lincoln lead after four innings.
Shanny's tied things up in the top of the fifth. Stalcup tripled with one out and Julian Alvarez (5 RBI on the night) drove him in with a single. He later scored on a sac fly by Luis Colon, to make it 6 - 6.
Lincoln again left the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth. Then, in the top of the sixth, Shanny's took the lead. One-out singles by Edwin Colon and John Hoadley were followed by a pinch-hit blooper double by Alex Karsos, scoring Colon. Then, with two out, Alvarez again produced, with a single that plated Hoadley and Karsos. The champs had a 9 - 6 lead and things were looking bleak for Lincoln. Lincoln left two more runners on base in their half of the inning. Then Shanny's scored another insurance run in the top of the seventh when Edwin Colon hit a bases-loaded fielder's choice that resulted in an out at second but a run scoring. The tally was now 10 - 6, Shenannigans, and Lincoln was down to their final three outs.
Cue the theme song again…
G. J. Vicente walked to lead off. Jack Pizzotti singled. Then Hilly lofted a fly to left that destined to be the first out, but it was mishandled, dropped, and the bases were now loaded with no outs. Gorman singled to drive in two, 10-8. Vigliotti stepped to the plate, singled, and the bases were loaded again, nobody out, Lincoln now down only two runs. Hackett singled to score one, dropping Shanny's margin to one run, making it the first six Lincoln batters having reached base, bases still loaded with nobody out and Jesse Carlton batting. If Shanny's ever looked dead in the water, it was now. Carlton hit a fly to fairly deep right field, Gorman tagged up and scored - tie game, 10-10. After a lengthy discussion between the Shanny's players, they elected to intentionally walk Caswell, loading the bases and putting on the force, one out, the winning run on third, Feinstein coming up to bat. He worked the count to 3 and 2. Ball four would win the series for Lincoln. And Mark Dion threw what was more than likely ball four and a win for Lincoln - it was very low - but Feinstein swung and Shanny's prayers to the softball gods were answered when they turned a dramatic and clutch 4 - 6 - 3 double play, with Feinstein barely being out at first. And on to extra innings we went for the second night in a row. Those in the stands watching the game unfold thought the game had ended on the play as the Shennanigans players celebrated wildly around the infield. There was reason to, they had just pulled off the great Houdini escape act.
With the score tied 10-10, bases are loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning with Lincoln looking to win the series. Only a softball miracle can change the outcome. Click on the image above to watch the play unfold. That's Shenannigan's Luis Colon to Steve Stalcup to Brian Erwin...4-6-3 CLUTCH double play...mercy!
With momentum clearly back on Shenannigans side, Dave Conti, who had re-entered after Karsos' stint as a pinch hitter, drew a walk. Cup followed with another walk and Lincoln had their backs against the wall again. Julian Alvarez hit a shot to left that was almost corralled on a great diving attempt up the hill by Jack Pizzotti, but it went for a double, plating both runners, 12-10. Sam MacDonald flied out, Alvarez taking third on the play. Dan Brown hit a sac fly to score Alvarez, 13-10. Luis Colon singled. And Brian Erwin stroked a home run to give his team a five run cushion, 15-10. The air was totally out of Lincoln now and there were no more plot twists left in this dramatic semi-final series. They went quietly in the bottom of the eighth, 5 to 3, 5 to 3, and 6 to 3.
These last two games were two of the most entertaining games I've ever seen at M Street. Some of it was weird, some of it was heroic, but it was always fun to watch. Lincoln gave Shenannigans the scare of their softball lives, but Shanny's did what champions do - they came through in the clutch and won and now move on to play the Pirates in an attempt to win a seventh straight title.
As my partner in these write-ups, Mark Senna, is prone to say… Mercy!
Note: the M Street Softball League finals start Monday with a double-header...first pitch 7pm. You don't want to miss this series folks.
Shenannigans wins best of five series 3-2
Game 1: Thursday, Aug. 20th @ 7:00 PM
Pirates 14 - Warehouse 11
The Pirates jumped out early, on Pat Dolbeare's first-inning three-run homer, and then never looked back, taking a 14 - 11 victory in game one of their semi-final series against The Warehouse.
Although the Pirates hit well all evening, it was a sloppy defensive effort on their part. They committed eight errors behind Brian Pacheco, who tossed a fine game. Cheeks allowed only one hit to Warehouse through the first five innings and only three of the eleven Warehouse runs entered the books as earned. Aside from Dolbeare, the Pirates got four-baggers from Chris Armstrong and Josh Neeley.
Warehouse starter Chris Bartlett left after five innings, trailing 13-4, and Ryan Martin came on to pitch in relief, allowing one run and three hits while his team closed the gap via Pirate errors and some timely late hitting as Cheeks tired from having to throw to so many extra batters. But, in the end, it was the Pirates power that carried the day. Warehouse will have to regroup and come at them again Monday.
Game 2: Monday, Aug. 24th @ 8:15 PM
Pirates 13 - Warehouse 9
Brad Cole didn't start the game, but he sure finished it. Cole's glove and bat were instrumental in a come-from-behind Pirates victory, 13 - 9, over The Warehouse.
The Pirates took the early lead on Pat Dolbeare's first-inning home run and another run aided by a Warehouse error. They upped the lead to 4-0 on Greg Bosse's 2-run home run in the second inning. But then Warehouse came alive, plating five runs in the top of the third via five singles, a walk and a couple of costly Pirate errors. In the bottom of the third, the Pirates brought it back to a tie game when Chris Armstrong launched a solo shot way over the brown wall.
In the top of the fourth, Warehouse again took the lead. Four singles, the last by Ryan Martin to drive in two, which gave them a 7-5 lead. The Pirates failed to answer in their half of the fourth, with the inning ending via a double play that sparked Warehouse up, it looked like it might be the team in grey's night. And then when Warehouse put their first man on, via a rare Pat Wilson error at 3B, things looked bleaker for the boys in black and yellow. But pitcher Brian Pacheco got league batting champ Bret Belcastro to ground to Charlie Conners at shortstop, who flipped to Cole - who had just entered the game - for a force out. Dangerous Brendan "Freedom" McGinn was neutralized via a foul pop handled by Dolbeare at first. And the final out came via a pop up to Cole ranging back into the short outfield.
In the bottom of the fifth, Conners brought the Pirates to within one by legging out a homer to right center. Then it was time for the Brad Cole show.
With one out in the top of the sixth, Warehouse pitcher Chris Bartlett singled. Then Sean Sylvester lined one destined to at least put runners on first and third, except Brad Cole did a fully-extended layout dive at second, catching the liner with his backhand a couple of feet off the ground. Not satisfied that Cole was destined to gobble up whatever came his way, Cody Carlson hit a sharp grounder to Cole, who handled it cleanly and tossed to Dolbeare to end the inning.
Fired up, the Pirates- and, of course, Cole - came up big in the bottom of the sixth. Armstrong singled, Marc Montesano doubled, and Wilson drove in Armstrong via a sac fly, tying the game at seven. Cole then stepped to the plate for his first at-bat of the evening and proceeded to deliver a triple that put the Pirates ahead by one. He then scored on Jim "I-Man" Innocent's sac fly. Then the flood gates opened with two gone as Danny Ekasala stroked a double; Bosse doubled, scoring Pat Pickup (who had come in as pinch runner for Ekasala), with Bosse scoring on an error; Conners doubled, then scored on a triple by Kevin "K.O." O'Hara, who scored immediately after Conners on another Warehouse bad throw. That brought the tally to 13-7, Pirates, and it was just a matter of how many Warehouse batters were going to hit to Cole for outs.
As it turned out, the final three outs - sandwiched around four singles - were all recorded by Cole hoovering up grounders at second and feeding Dolbeare at first for the put outs. In all, after being inserted in the fifth, Cole was involved in 7 of the final 9 outs - 4 assists and 3 put outs, with one being the truly spectacular snag of the liner - and he tripled in the go-ahead run, in his only at-bat, giving the Pirates a lead they never relinquished. That's what you call having a night - and he did it in three innings. Give that man a coca-cola...mercy!
Game 3: Tuesday, Aug. 25th @ 6:30 PM
Pirates 23 - Warehouse 5
The Pirates slugged their way to the finals with a 23-5 demolishing of The Warehouse in game three of their semi-final series.
The first seven Pirates reached base and the first seven Pirates scored. Charlie Conners led off with a double. Joel Kershner singled to drive him in. Pat Dolbeare singled, then Chris Armstrong singled, scoring Kershner. Marc Montesano singled to score Dolbeare. Pat Wilson doubled, driving in both Armstrong and Montesano. The seventh hit, a home run by The I-Man, Jim Innocent, scored the sixth and seventh runs, and also chased starter Chris Bartlett. Ryan Martin came in to relieve and was greeted by the eighth consecutive hit to start the game, a single by catcher Danny Ekasala. Martin then got the next three batters, but the Pirates had batted around and the rout was on.
Warehouse loaded the bases with two out in their half of the first, but Brian Pacheco struck out the dangerous Mike McGrath to put an end to any catching up. Then the Pirates went back to work again. The first seven batters all reached via hit or walk and, after an Ekasala sac fly, so did the next two, with Pat Pickup capping things via a three-run home run that cleared the fence in left field. The Pirates had bettered their first inning total by a run, scoring eight in the second inning and taking a commanding 15-0 lead. Warehouse failed to score. Then the Pirates had 6 of the first seven reach safely, another Ekasala sac fly drove in the fifth run of the inning and the score stood at a football like 20-0 after just two-and-a-half innings.
Warehouse showed a little life in the bottom of the third, cracking two home runs and plating five, but that was it for them. The Pirates scored two in the fourth, another one in the fifth, and closed out the series with a five-inning mercy killing.
They now await the winner of the Lincoln Tavern - Shenannigans series for a shot at capturing their first M Street title.
Pirates win series 3-0
|Village Pizza (9th) vs
Lincoln Tavern (1st)
Game 1: Thursday, Aug. 13th @ 6:30 PM
Lincoln Tavern 12 - Village Pizza 5
Game 2: Monday, Aug. 17th @ 8:30 PM
Village Pizza 11 - Lincoln Tavern 9
Game 3: Wednesday, Aug. 18th @ 6:00 PM
Lincoln Tavern 16 - Village Pizza 11
Lincoln advances to the semi-finals to face six-time defending champion Shenannigans. They did so by building a large lead early and holding on against a strong rush from "The Team That Didn't Quit All Year". Village Pizza trailed 16 - 2 after four innings.
For Lincoln, Jesse "Big Tuna" Carlton had two home runs and a double, knocking in five, and winning pitcher Ryan Caswell (just returned from Florida, after missing the first two in the series) had a home run and drove in four.
Down by fourteen runs - just one short of being mercied - a lot of teams would have gone on cruise control and had everyone swing for the fences for their own glory. But, as they did many times before, Pizza mounted a comeback. They scored four in the fifth, two in the sixth, and another three in the seventh, before succumbing with two on base. Lincoln had too much for them to handle in the series, but they took them to the limit and they can be proud of that.
Lincoln wins series 2-1
|Cranberry Cafe (7th) vs
The Warehouse (2nd)
Game 1: Monday, Aug. 10th @ 6:30 PM
The Warehouse 12 - Cranberry Cafe 11
Game 2: Thursday, Aug. 13th @ 8:30 PM
Cranberry Cafe 11 - Warehouse 4
A fired up Cranberry Café squad tied their series with Warehouse at one game apiece with an 11 - 4 victory. Scott Simpson allowed only seven hits to Warehouse. Cranberry outfielder Brian Hurld had two home runs. He also made a fine catch in center field to strand two baserunners and squelch a Warehouse rally in the sixth. The Goodman brothers, Mark and Brian, each had a two-run shot, while John Young delivered a clutch two-out two-run single that opened things up early.
Game 3: Wednesday, Aug. 18th @ 7:30 PM
Warehouse 17 - Cranberry Cafe 2
Warehouse scored at least two runs in every inning, leaving no doubt about the outcome. The end came via 15-run rule in the bottom of the sixth. The lone bright spot for Cranberry came via a prodigious shot to right field by Jay Allen that knotted the game at two in the second, but it was all Warehouse from then on. Home runs came from Ryan Martin, Jeff White, Bret Belcastro and Mike McGrath. Chris Bartlett gave up only five hits as he cruised to the series clinching victory.
Warehouse wins series 2-1
|Shenannigans (6th) vs
Jerry Remy's (3rd)
Game 1: Monday, Aug. 10th @ 8:30 PM
Shenannigans 21 - Jerry Remy's 5
Game 2: Wednesday, Aug. 12th @ 6:30 PM
Shenannigans 8 - Jerry Remy's 6
Shenannigans wins series 2-0
|Pirates (5th) vs
Harp & Bard (4th)
Game 1: Wednesday, Aug. 12th @ 8:30 PM
Pirates 16 - Harp & Bard 6
Game 2: Monday, Aug. 17th @ 6:30 PM
Harp & Bard 6 - Pirates 4
Game 3: Wednesday, Aug. 18th @ 9:00 PM
Pirates 19 - Harp & Bard 7
The Pirates stamped their ticket to the semis via a decisive 19 - 7 rout of Harp & Bard. They led this one start to finish (and I do mean "start", as Charlie Connors led off the game with a home run.) Other big blasts came off the bats of league home run leader Pat Dolbeare, Chris Armstrong (two, including a very long shot to right center), Pat "Dub" Wilson and Danny Ekasala. Two guys who didn't hit home runs - Jim "I-Man" Innocent and Marc Montesano - both had four hits apiece. It was an impressive offensive showing against the league ERA leader, Harp's Jimmy McNiff. The closest Harp came was 6-5 after three complete, but the Pirates piled it on after that. Harp's 3B Marshall Chick was impressive, flashing good leather all night, hustling like hell, and going 3 for 3 with a home run, but it wasn't nearly enough. The Pirates now move on to face Warehouse in the semi's.
Pirates win series 2-1
|Local 149 (11th)
Boston Beer Garden (10th)
Monday, Aug. 3rd @ 8:30 PM
Boston Beer Garden 12 - Local 149 11
The Boston Beer Garden survived with a come-from-behind win over Local 149 tonight. Trailing 11-8 entering the bottom of the sixth, the Beer Garden scored four runs and then held off their opposition in the top of the seventh to hang on with a 12-11 win.
|Dragon Ass (13th)
The Playwright (8th)
Tuesday, Aug. 4th @ 6:00 PM
Dragon Ass 17 - The Playwright 12
The Dragon Ass squad pulled off the first upset of the 2015 playoffs when they defeated a shorthanded Playwright team, 17-12. Terry Woods went 4 for 5, with a home run and 5 RBI.
|Boston Bombers (14th)
Cranberry Cafe (7th)
Tuesday, Aug. 4th @ 7:30 PM
Cranberyy Cafe 17 - Bombers 0
The Cranberry Café had no problems in a 17-0 pasting of Boston Bombers. Scott Simpson got the shutout via a 5-hit effort. Brian Hurld and Jeff Kasper hit first-inning home runs and Cranberry never looked back.
|Dorset Club (12th)
Village Pizza (9th)
Tuesday, Aug. 4th @ 9:00 PM
Village Pizza 22 - Dorset Club 7
The always-game Dorset Club took an early 5-4 lead, but then surrendered 10 runs in the third, more than enough for Village Pizza to secure the momentum for a 22-7 victory. For the victors, Tommy Cassell went 5 for 5 and Eric Phillips blasted a three-run homer.
|Boston Beer Garden (10th)
Village Pizza (9th)
Thursday, Aug. 6th @ 6:30 PM
Village Pizza 12 - Boston Beer Garden 7
In the round to determine those who would join the six "bye" teams, the Cardiac Kids (a.k.a. Village Pizza) came from behind again and took a 12-7 victory over Boston Beer Garden. They will now move on to play Lincoln Tavern in the best-of-three quarter finals. Michael Bokoff had 3 RBI for the winners and it was his double, plating two, that put Pizza ahead to stay in the bottom of the fifth.
|Dragon Ass (13th)
Cranberry Cafe (7th)
Thursday, Aug. 6th @ 8:30 PM
Cranberry Cafe 21 - Dragon Ass 6
Cranberry Café steamrolled Dragon Ass, 21-6, to gain a quarter finals matchup with The Warehouse (a team they split with this season). All twelve Cranberry batters scored runs and eleven of them had RBI. Four players (Chris Flaherty, Brian Hurld, Jay Allen and Bobby Gomes) were perfect at the plate. Allen had 5 RBI to lead all hitters. Scott Simpson again threw well, yielding only two earned runs in his 5 innings of work.
|Players who are inelgible for the 2015 Playoffs
Note: using one of these named players or a non-rostered player in a game, will result in a forfeit loss if the game is protested.
Lincoln Tavern - Mike Briggs, Joe Burke, Bob Carlson, * Andy Hillier (one game waiver 8/20), Chris Holmes, Dan Lawless, and Todd Marsh.
Warehouse - Daniel Sylvia, * Chris Sylvia (one game waiver 8/20), Wyatt Stanley, Andrew Peabody, Joey Magee, Tom Destafano, * Bill Corcoran (one game waiver 8/13), Phil Byrne, and Dave Blandino.
Pirates - Drew Brock, Tony Deramo, Chris Erlher, Jeff Gally, Tony Hutchins, Michael Kelleher, Rob Lerro, Chris Pope, Rob Rogers, Ryan Salter, Seth Smith,
Shenanigans - Sammy Acevedo, Tyler Brown, Joe Cavaleri, Zack Edwin, Jay Eeka, Dennis Hajjar, Mike Hoadley, Al Martin, Brendan O'Heir, Dorian Rojas, and John Smith.
|Past Playoff Recaps (1999-2014):