By Gavin Menu
Happy hour eluded the Madison & Main softball team Monday night.
Top-seeded Immaculate Pools, led by a host of young sluggers and the steady hand of coach Bruce Schiavoni, drubbed Madison & Main to win the first two games of the Sag Harbor fastpitch softball championship series.
Game 1 lasted only six innings and was called with Immaculate up 25-9. The league run rule calls for a game to be stopped once a team is leading by 15 or more runs after five innings.
Immaculate’s momentum carried right into Game 2, where the team jumped out to a 9-0 lead after two innings and 18-4 after three. The team cruised to a 26-11 win in the top of the fifth inning.
“Our bats were alive and we were taking the extra bases,” Schiavoni said afterward. “Normally we’ve been close with them all year. We took the season series, 3-2, but all five were close games. I wasn’t expecting to run away with it like that.”
Madison & Main coach Carl Shank said his team was missing shortstop Teague Florio for the games, but that his absence was not much of a factor considering the lopsided scores.
“Being run-ruled twice in the finals, it would not have made a difference if Babe Ruth himself showed up,” Shank said afterwards. “If you don’t catch the ball, throw it around and don’t hustle, not only do you deserve to lose, you deserve to be embarrassed.”
Both Immaculate and Madison & Main swept their way into this week’s final series with wins over T.S. Mott, the two-time defending champion, and The Bridge. They were clearly the best teams during the regular season and had tightly-contested games all season long.
But it was Immaculate that came to play on Monday, taking advantage of defensive miscues and a rare lackluster performance from Madison & Main pitcher Robbie “The Rock” Brewer.
Immaculate scored eight runs in the third inning of Game 1 to open a 15-5 lead, but Madison & Main third baseman Danny Bakke smashed a two-run homerun in the top of the fifth to cut the lead to eight runs. Tyler Gilbride and Jake Federico drove in runs in the bottom of the fifth for Immaculate and Madison & Main’s C.J. Shank drove in two in the top of the six to again pull within striking distance.
But in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Immaculate bats erupted once again with another eight runs that led to the game’s premature conclusion.
Shank shuffled his lineup and his defensive positioning for Game 2, but the result was the same, with a host of errors and miscues that Immaculate and its potent offensive attack jumped all over.
Gilbride and Federico picked up RBI’s in the first inning and Tim Pilinko and Brian Anderson hit back-to-back homeruns in the third as Immaculate built a quick 9-0 lead. Madison & Main first baseman Danny Weslar knocked in two runs in the bottom of the second inning, followed by another RBI from C. J. Shank, who cut the lead to 9-4 and brought some life to the Madison & Main dugout.
But the momentum was quickly defused by another monster inning from Immaculate in the third. Evan Harse led off the inning with a triple. Ryan Miller hit what should have been a single to right field, but came all the way home while Madison & Main booted the ball around the infield. Anderson hit his second homerun of the game and Gilbride nearly knocked the casing off the ball with a rocket line-drive double to the fence in left field.
“I’ve never hit a ball that hard,” Gilbride said as he came off the field, having scored moments later on a two-run single by Nick Dombkowski.
The team’s were back on the field last night, August 7, for what would have been a doubleheader if Madison & Main managed to win Game 3. If Madison & Main were able to win both games, a decisive Game 5 would be held tonight, August 8, at Mashashimuet Park.
Schiavoni said he wasn’t expecting the series to get that far.
“We got hot at the right time,” Schiavoni said. “If we bring the same momentum, we should close it out on Wednesday.”