by Andrew Rudansky
Amidst a downpour of rain and thunderstorms this week, four teams have emerged to compete in the Sag Harbor Men’s Modified Fastpitch Softball League playoffs. T&S Mott, Sag Harbor Liquors, The Immaculates and Decker’s Scrubs all clinched their spots in the playoffs, leaving The Bridge and The Hysterical Society out in the cold.
Last Thursday, July 21, The Immaculates took on first seed T&S Mott. Mott quickly overwhelmed The Immaculates, and the game was called at 23-8 after five innings on the 15-run mercy rule.
The final two Mott runs came from two separate single shot home runs. The first came from slugger Mike Labrozzi, and the second, game-winning shot was from team manager Fred Marienfeld. Marienfeld, who just celebrated his 50th birthday last week, commented, “It was my first post-50 home run.”
Mott has been the 800-pound gorilla in the room all season long thanks to a stacked lineup and a solid defensive unit. So far, Mott’s only loss of the season comes at the hands of The Immaculates. But Mott isn’t the only team building momentum for next weeks playoffs.
Decker’s Scrubs made a case that they were the team to beat in the playoffs by taking both games in the team’s Monday, July 25, doubleheader. The Scrubs first took on a Bridge team, who were struggling to keep up in the post season race.
Despite a steady rain that soaked the players in the field, the game was not called for weather. Decker’s center fielder Andrew Mayer started the game off with a two run homer in the top of the first inning. It was one of two of his home runs in the game. The Scrubs did not lose the lead once in the game, and came away with a 17-6 win.
The loss was The Bridge’s last scheduled game of the season, and with only three wins they were knocked out of the playoff picture. Despite not making the post season, the team remained competitive the last half of the season. Shortstop Alex Lowenthal was a particular bright spot for The Bridge, tallying 19 straight hits before the streak was broken in Monday’s game.
“We are good competition for any of these teams out here,” said Bridge manager Danny Pintauro. He cited last week’s close 15-14 loss against first-seeded Mott and a 14-11 loss to second-seeded Liquor as evidence that they can hang in with the league’s best. “We are coming back and we are looking to turn some heads next year,” Pintauro said.
The Scrubs went on to defeat The Immaculates in the second game of their doubleheader. The wet field was the cause of several fielding errors for both teams, but it was The Scrubs that were able to best keep their composure.
The 20-3 win gives The Scrubs the same record as The Immaculates, 7-5; however, the Scrubs currently own the tiebreaker, giving them the third seed.
Scrubs manager Woody Kneeland said, “We came out tonight hitting line drives, and line drives and defense wins games.” Kneeland was confident that his team, led by Mayer, second baseman CJ Shank and catcher Kenny Lewis could make a run at the title.
“None of the teams want to play us,” a defiant Kneeland said.
Tuesday, July 26, Mott and Liquor were scheduled to compete in the early game. The teams got through one inning; however, the umpire called the game because of a flash thunderstorm. At the end of the one inning, the score was 3-2 Liquors.
Mott and Liquors are seeded one and two respectively, and the truncated game could very well have of been a preview of the championship game. With their winning histories and dominating performances this season, they are surely the odds-on favorites to reach the finals.
Of course, Decker’s Scrubs and The Immaculates won’t be pushovers; both teams have shown strong offensive outputs against every other team in the league.
Since The Bridge and The Hysterical Society are too far behind to challenge the other teams for a playoff spot, the league is now deciding whether or not to play several make-up games that were called due to weather.
If not then the playoffs will be held next week.