Winehouse Monkeys notch first upset of softball playoffs

“This is the best two weeks of summer”

by Than Acuff

It was a good softball season but none of that matters now that it’s the playoffs. You can go undefeated like Pita’s OGs or win just one game like the Steep Peeps, but the records are now wiped clean and the 2016 town league softball title is completely up for grabs—especially with the double elimination format.

Sure, Pita’s OGs are the odds on favorite to take the title, but so was the Russian hockey team in the 1980 Olympics, the New England Patriots back in 2007 when they went 18-0 before losing in the Super Bowl, as well as the Golden State Warriors just this past NBA season.

Fact is, you just never know.

Although Pita’s OG player/manager/owner Drew Stichter pointed out, “we’re all 0-0 now.”

He added, “This is the best two weeks of summer, we got the Ball Bash and the playoffs.”

Winehouse Monkey stand out player Kate Schmidt’s parents were in attendance Tuesday night, testament to the enormity of local softball playoffs, and got to witness their daughter bat four-for-four driving in a couple of runs and making a leaping grab at the fence in deep left center. Following the grab her proud father claimed credit for her skills.

The Monkeys came out swinging to open the game surprising even themselves. Pitsker is a tough field to generate runs but the Monkeys found the gaps through the first four innings to score 11 runs.

They opened with five runs in the top of the first led by a RBI single from Barb Peters and a two RBI triple by Ryan Kay.

The Brew Crew whispered back with a couple runs in the bottom of the first as Ian Baird led off with a double and scored on a base hit from Nick Velasco. Velasco then scored when Rob Houston dropped a base hit off the handle in shallow right, but that was it for the next couple of innings.

The Monkeys kept on swinging and playing quality defense to build on their lead in the third inning. Terann “T-Rex, T-Cakes, Ice T” Wight pulled in a line drive to right to rob Paul Moscatelli of a base hit in the second inning, and Peters sparked a four-run surge in the top of the third when she caught the Brew Crew outfield playing shallow and punched a RBI double over their heads. A grounder by Tony Wildman went from being an automatic 6-3 double play into an error-assisted RBI single. Wight cracked a RBI single to center to follow, Pete Basile pushed another Monkey home and Evan Sandstrom capped the five-run rally with a RBI single for a 10-2 Winehouse lead.

Then, something very strange happened: Gerry Heal actually hit a double. Not only that, but he hit a double to the gap in center field. As we all know, he’s typically good for a single or a home run. Let’s just say he’s not a runner by trade. And his hits are almost exclusively down the right field line, so much so that every team over-shifts in the outfield to compensate. But Tuesday night, he hit a RBI double to the gap in centerfield. Heal eventually scored on a hit from Moscatelli, and the Brew Crew was back to within four runs of the Monkeys.

The Monkeys managed one more run in the top of the fourth, but the Brew Crew continued creeping back into the game. Velasco and Heal connected for RBI base hits again in the bottom of the fifth, and then Heal found the gap in center again in the bottom of the sixth inning to score two more runs for the Brew Crew and tie the game 11-11 heading into the seventh inning.

The Winehouse offensive dry spell that started in the fourth continued in the top of the seventh and it looked like their shot at an opening playoff round upset would slip away. But, while offense scores runs, defense can win games, and the Winehouse defense came up big in the bottom of the seventh inning. Kay chased down a line drive in right center to deny Moscatelli another base hit and Joe Knight charged on a short hopper to scoop it up, tap second base and fire to first for a 6-3 double play sending the game into extra innings.

Remarkably, the Winehouse Monkeys woke back up when it mattered most scoring seven runs in the top of the eighth inning. Sandstrom kicked it off with a RBI single, Montana Wiggins showed uncharacteristic patience to walk and drive in another run. Knight stepped up to crush a two RBI triple, Peters followed in Knight’s footsteps, perhaps packing some black powder from the recent Mountain Man Rendezvous, to send a RBI triple to deep right field. Kay doubled off of the netting in left field for another run and Schmidt finished off her highlight night with a RBI single for an 18-11 Winehouse lead.

At that point the damage was done and while the Brew Crew did manage two more runs, the Monkeys clamped down before panicking to win 18-13 sending the Brew Crew down to the loser’s bracket. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, because the loser’s bracket is really just an HOV lane to the finals for teams upset in the early rounds.

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