By Mike Pintauro
A couple of insane hitting performances took place in the fastpitch softball league on Tuesday night, June 26, under the lights at Mashashimuet Park, when Team Decker (3-4) beat Team Bridge (1-8) by a score of 22-20, just before Team Mott prevailed over Team Immaculate in the second game, with a score of 20-15, to claim the league’s lead.
It was windy and chilly down at Mashashimuet, and as the sun went down and the days become shorter, the Sag Harbor Fastpitch Softball League rounded its mid-season point, in its final stretch towards the playoffs. The two games that night promised to be good ones, but no one could foresee the slaphappy hitting performances of each team, which continually laid waste to their supply of softballs.
The first of the two games was scheduled to begin at 7 p.m., Tuesday night, between teams Decker and Bridge, but because of a late umpire and a late ball player, the first pitch was thrown a half hour late, and that was when things got wacky.
Both Decker and Bridge are underdogs in the league; both have records under .500, but nevertheless they exhibited their power and their durability on the night, and played like playoff contenders. There was never any certainty throughout the game about who would walk away victorious. When the game was tied 20-all in the top of the seventh, it looked like no one would ever leave the softball field.
Yet in that moment, Decker found the will to come out big over Bridge, as Charlie Canavan lined a two RBI double down the right field line to put his team up two in the final inning of play. Bridge made a valiant effort with their last at-bats in the bottom of the seventh inning, but it was too little too late.
Most of Decker’s scoring came in the top of the third inning, and after that it was difficult for Bridge to keep up. Lead off hitter Teague, as his team calls him, smacked a line drive to the wall, and scored himself on an in-the-park homerun that drove in two others. Two batters later, Bridge would suffer more hardship, when Ben Zuhusky cranked a two-run home run to put Decker up 9-3.
In reality it was amazing that Bridge even had the opportunity to win, after being down 18-13 in the bottom of the sixth with only one inning left. But that was before they scored six runs, which included a two RBI triple by Adam Earle and a two RBI double off the fence by Dan Pintauro. With that the score was 19-18, Bridge, but they were unable to stop a late game scoring run by Decker, who took the victory to improve their record with four wins and four losses.
The second of the two games commenced with the stars out and the lights on, almost 45 minutes behind schedule, and the anticipation between the two teams could be measured by the speed and intensity of the game play. It was a battle of the fast pitch powerhouses; the 6-1 Immaculate against the 6-1 Mott, in a showdown that would determine the league leader.
From the onset, Mott appeared to have the game under control, scoring 12 runs in the first two innings alone. Seven of Mott’s 20 runs came in the second, when remarkable hitting gave way to five RBI doubles in six at-bats. All those runs weren’t necessarily the result of hitting, but more from playing errors by Immaculate, who through the first two innings, simply could not control the ball around the infield.
All that would change, however, as Immaculate began collecting some hits together to fight back against Mott, scoring seven runs in three innings. One of those runs came in the first at-bat, when lead-off hitter Tim Pilinko knocked an opposite field solo home run over the right field fence.
Immaculate’s strength not only showed up behind the plate, but through the middle innings of the game, their pitching and fielding improved, holding Mott to only one run through the fourth inning.
As the game progressed it became a hitting marathon, with each team seeing who could out-hit, out run and out play the other. Immaculate had a big inning in the bottom of the fifth, where they scored six runs, including an in-the-park homer by Evan Harse.
That big inning and big hit was answered, however, by the bats of Mott, who scored four more runs, including a bomb home run by Mike Labrozzi, to bring their run total to 20.