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Kochevars wins bar room brawl over the Talk

Battle of the Barmuda Triangle

[  by Than Acuff  ]

It was the greatest game of all time, except for those five other games I said were the greatest games of all time, but except for those, this was the greatest game of all time, as Kochevar’s Brew Crew edged out a win over the Talk of the Town Thursday, June 23 at Gothic Field.

Let’s take a moment to appreciate Kochevars and the Talk of the Town and all they have done for our community. A staple since 1896, Kochevars has been everything from a gaming hall to a brothel to a bar to another bar to a different bar, and now it is… a bar. It’s famous for having Butch Cassidy’s gun; supposedly he left it there when he and his Hole in the Wall Gang had to leave in a hurry for their hideout in the caves up the Cement Creek drainage. It has a Facebook page and comes in with a rating of 4.6 stars out of five. Reviews include a woman who “spent many mornings and nights at this rustic historical saloon. I saw The String Cheese Incident play here in 1994 and met my husband there that night.”

Hmmm… she spent many mornings and nights there and met her husband at String Cheese Incident?

The Talk of the Town was established sometime between when Kochevars opened and right now. It also has a Facebook page, touting a rating of 4.7 stars out of five, edging out Kochevars by .1 stars. Must be the karaoke. According to one review from 1:45 a.m., the Talk is “the darkest, dirtiest, dankest bar in town. Leave your fur coat with the valet, no coat check. Hot models and celebraties everywhere.”

“Celebraties”?

In addition, another reviewer wrote that they “Love the place and will defiantly go back!!”

“Defiantly”?

I “defiantly” know that is not the way you spell “celebraties.”

For me, personally, both spots were essential to my development as a young adult. Kochevar’s was the first place I walked into and the first place I stumbled out of in Crested Butte thanks to Flash and the Snakebite. The Talk, well, two words sum up my experience up at the Talk… Bourbon Night.

Kochevar’s softball team has a long history as well. Known as the Trouser Snakes, back in the mid- to late ‘80s, they had their moments and their not so great moments. Fast forward to the mid to late ‘10s (?) and they’re back, under new management and a new name, and Thursday night they had a moment.

The game had all the makings of a classic showdown between the two local watering holes, Kochevar’s and the Talk of the Town, two watering holes that anchor two corners of what is affectionately known as the Barmuda Triangle, which goes from the Eldo to Kochevar’s and then to the Talk.

Many have lost their wallets, or their car keys and/or their equilibrium in the Barmuda Triangle.

Thursday night, my own equilibrium was completely shattered as the two teams battled it out each and every inning for the entire game.

The Talk players were slow to show up and forced to start the game two players short, but being first up to bat, it was obvious they opted to open up with guns blazing in an attempt to build an early lead. Led by the McGuire family of Dave, Ali and Kelly, who accounted for four base hits and three runs, the Talk opened up a 5-0 lead.

Kochevars responded in the bottom of the first as Rob Houston cracked a two-RBI triple and Gerry Heal dropped a RBI single off the handle, but the Talk continued to push back, scoring two runs when Tom Consentino jacked a solo home run to straightway center and Robbie Vandervoort joined the team from work and stepped in to push another run home.

But Kochevars had plenty left to give back as Andrea Rybarz led off with a single in the bottom of the second inning and scored when Paul Moscatelli drove a two-run inside the park home run (ITPHR) to deep right field.

Kochevars defense came up big in the top of the third to hold the Talk scoreless and then tied the game up when Ian Baird doubled and scored on a hit by Nick Velasco and Houston drove in another run with a RBI double and was halfway toward hitting for the cycle.

Tied up 7-7 in the top of the fourth inning, it was obviously Turbo Time. Erik “Turbo” Ervin has been a mainstay on the softball circuit and is always good for at least one blast a game. His sister, Kelly McGuire, led off the inning with a single and Turbo brought the family home with a two-run shot over the left field netting.

Things quieted down at the plate for the next inning as defense led the way for both teams, highlighted by a double play by Velasco when he leapt up to snag a line drive and then tapped second base.

And while all of the usual stars were doing what they do, it took a seemingly innocuous base hit and some crafty base running to put Kochevars back on top. Annie Walker tapped a single to kick things off. Baird and Velasco followed with base hits to load the bases and when Dalynn Trujillo dropped a base hit in shallow left, chaos ensued. Walker scored easily, Baird tried to sneak home, got caught in a run down but survived to score, and as the Talk disputed the call, Velasco snuck home as well as Trujillo slipped all the way to third for a three-RBI triple. Houston followed with a RBI double, erasing his shot at the cycle, and Heal singled to score another run, capping the five-run rally and putting Kochevar’s back on top 12-9.

But that was merely a harbinger of what was to come in the seventh inning. After both teams struggled at the plate in the sixth, the game was set up for a climactic finish and it “defiantly” did not disappoint. Even the “celebraties” in attendance were going nuts.

Bruce Winchenbach and Ansley Potoker got the Talk bats back on track leading off the top of the seventh with back-to-back base hits. Dave McGuire connected for a RBI single to pull the Talk back to within two with one on base and Consentino stepping to the plate. Consentino did what he so often does, crushing a two-run home run high over the fence in centerfield to tie the game. Abby Wright roped a two-RBI single to left and Winchenbach returned to the plate for the second time in the inning to smack a two-RBI double off of the netting in left field to put the Talk on top 16-12 going into the bottom of the seventh inning.

But it doesn’t end there as Kochevars ultimately had the final say. Baird led by example for the team with his never-say-die attitude leading off the bottom of the seventh by stretching a routine single and getting dirty for a double. Margie Black scored Baird flaring a double to right and then Velasco one-upped Consentino’s effort from the inning before. While Consentino’s dinger was a crusher for sure, Velasco took it to 11 when he blasted a two-run shot off of the yellow building behind the left center fence. A little more left and he wins a free 12-pack from the Wine House. A little more right and he knocks KBUT off the air.

And while Velasco’s hit was impressive to say the least, Kochevar’s was still down 16-15 with one out when Houston came up to hit. Houston had been pushing runs home all game long with base hits, but the bases were empty this time so Houston had to go Broadway the hard way as he drove a hit to the gap in right center and just kept on running, turning a base hit into a game-tying solo ITPHR.

The win ultimately came down to Rybarz. While Heal and Mikey Strauch both reached base with hits, Rybarz sealed the deal with an RBI hit for the 17-16 Kochevars win.

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