by Michael Pintauro
The Sag Harbor Fastpitch Softball playoffs began Monday with a bang, and an upset. The first game Monday saw first place Immaculate squaring off against fourth place Decker, who finished their season with a strong run against Mott. That game, however, was decided by mercy rule, as Decker relentlessly hammered in runs against the flustered Immaculate, winning 34-8. In the second game although Mott had the better regular season record than third place Liquor, they to invoked the mercy rule, winning 24-7 by the fifth inning.
As the game got underway, the tension between Immaculate and Decker was apparent, and that was before Pete Barnaby of Decker smacked a grand slam in the first inning.
“Has he been on the team the whole time?” Immaculate players asked.
But that was just the beginning of the complaints, from both teams. Following Pete Barnaby’s grand slam shot and a solo homer from Dan Bakke, Decker was a-rollin’ all night long.
Tim Pilinko, the regular pitcher on Immaculate, has been solid all year, forcing easy plays and pop-ups to ensure his team’s big bats can secure a lead and run with it. But after being down 9-2 by the top of the second, it was apparent Pilinko was a bit shaky.
At the bottom of the inning, however, Immaculate’s runs did not come, at least not to the team’s standards. Runs came in patches; two in the first inning, two in the second, four in the fourth, but Decker could not be stopped, and by the third, Pilinko had taken himself out of the game.
After an eight run inning by Decker in the third, criticisms began flying from dugout to dugout, made even worse by alleged bad calls from the umpires. After another eight run inning by Decker in the fourth, Immaculate was beyond frustrated. Threats and yells were issued, and Immaculate shortstop Jake Federico was tossed from the game for cursing at the umpire. All the arguments were ultimately for naught, however, and Decker won through five innings.
The second game of the night was more balanced on paper, between the second place Mott and the third place Liquor, but ultimately the game played out in similar fashion as the first, sans all the arguments.
In the first inning, Mott launched four homeruns, hit by Eric Bramhoff, Keith Schuman, Mike Labrozzi and team captain Fred Marienfeld. Liquor answered back with one in the first, before Mott returned in the second inning to hammer in six more.
Garrett Lowe hit for the cycle, batting four times in only five innings. In his first at-bat he legged out a triple, followed by a double in the second, a slow single and a homerun in the fourth.
The second game of the three game series was to take place on Tuesday, but was rained out. Each series, however, is scheduled to finish off by Thursday, saving the finals for the start of next week.