Deny Likkers title bid
Earlier in the season, Gas Holes player/manager Chris Spagnoletti discussed the possible ramifications of a rec league team that wins two titles in a row.
He believed once a team wins the rec league, it should have one more season to defend its title in the recreational league. If successfully defended, then maybe it would be time to move on to competitive league play.
Well, it looks like it’s time for the Gas Holes to jump into the big sandbox.
The Gas Holes won back-to-back games over the Mountain Spirits Likkers at Gothic Field Thursday, August 21 to repeat as the recreational league softball champions.
Earlier in the playoffs, the Likkers beat the Gas Holes, sending them into the loser’ bracket. While the Gas Holes battled through the loser’s bracket playing three games before reaching the finals, the Likkers edged out an 8-7 win over the Bushwackers in nine innings to reach the championship game.
Due to the double elimination format of the playoffs, when the two teams met in the finals, the Likkers needed just one win while the Gas Holes needed two.
The feat seemed nearly impossible for the Gas Holes and almost didn’t happen, as the Likkers played the Gas Holes near perfectly in the first game, at least defensively.
Cognizant of the Gas Holes penchant for stretching singles into extra base hits whenever possible, the Likkers defense adjusted accordingly.
Yet the Gas Holes are no slouch defensively either and their work in the field is a large part of why they were in the finals this season.
After trading runs in the first inning, the Gas Holes took a two-run lead in the top of the second on a two-RBI single by Adam Westlake.
Before the Gas Holes train got running, Likkers pitcher Jason Fries pulled in a ground ball up the middle and flipped to first for the third out.
The Holes threatened again in the top of the third inning but the Likkers defense was diligent in their position play. Likkers shortstop Vann Taylor pulled down a line drive and Jakob Hassig reeled in a deep fly ball to the gap in right centerfield, a hit that typically works for the Gas Holes.
Brooke Moor drove in a Likkers runs in the bottom of the third with a single, but the Gas Holes responded with a run of their own. Base hits by Tyler Williams and Meghan Dougherty put runners on and John Hopper scored Williams with a sacrifice fly RBI.
With runners on base and one out, Taylor scooped up a ground ball and fired to first base for the routine out. The Gas Holes runner on third base teased first baseman Scott Tyree with a motion to head home on the play, but Tyree didn’t even flinch.
Instead, he immediately fired to Moor at third base to catch the runner off guard for the tag and the 6-3-5 double play.
Likkers player Katie Angel cut the Gas Holes lead down to one with a sacrifice hit RBI but the Gas Holes responded, scoring one run in the top of the sixth inning on a single by Kate Schmidt, putting two runners on with no outs.
Again, the Likkers defense held as Taylor pulled in a pop fly and fired to second for another double play. Taylor then encored his effort with a diving grab to rob Hopper of a base hit up the middle.
Yet, the Likkers bats couldn’t produce to back up their defense.
Down 6-4 in the bottom of the seventh, the Likkers scored one run and loaded the bases with one out, setting the stage for some last-inning heroics. Yet, Hopper had something else in mind on the mound. Hopper fanned the next batter and gave up a pop fly for the third out, preserving the Gas Holes 6-5 win forcing a second game.
After a 20-minute break, the two teams retook the field to battle, once again, for the 2008 title.
It was another knock down, drag out fight for the first three innings as the two teams traded runs in every at-bat.
Fries led off for the Likkers with a triple and scored on a sacrifice hit RBI by Lissy Anderson and a 1-0 lead.
Alex Mattes-Ritz led off for the Gas Holes with a double and scored on a sacrifice hit RBI by Judd Mesaris for the 1-1 tie.
Hassig led off the second inning with a single and scored on a fly ball from Aaron Tomcak for a 2-1 Likkers lead.