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It's Deja Vu All Over Again


Democrat Photo by Ted Waddell

FORCE: Monticello’s Josh Meddaugh slides in an attempt to avoid getting forced at second base by Fallsburg’s Corey Buckner in Thursday’s championship game of the Sullivan West Spring Break Tournament. Shortstop Darren Kenney (15) watches the play.

Monties Top Comets Once More

By Ted Waddell
CALLICOON — May 2, 2000 -- If Yogi Berra had been hanging around Sullivan County last week, it’s a good bet he would have taken in the second annual Sullivan West Spring Break Baseball Tournament.
And those fans with active imaginations and a sense of baseball history probably would have heard his immortal words “It’s deja vu all over again” echo in the bleachers during Thursday afternoon’s championship game between the Monticello Panthers and the Comets of Fallsburg.
On April 10, 1999 the two teams met on the same playing field at the Delaware Valley Youth Center to determine who would walk off with the championship trophy. Fallsburg was ahead 9-7 in the sixth, but the Panthers clawed their way back to win 15-9 after scoring eight runs in the seventh.
In Thursday’s championship game, it was down to the wire again, as it was tied 2-2 going into the top of the final frame. In the bottom of the fateful seventh, Monticello’s winning pitcher Rich Fello helped out his own cause by opening the inning with a single, stealing second and crossing the plate on a 3-2 victory hit by Terrance Hulse to end the game.
For Monticello (3–6), copping the tourney trophy was a sweet victory, as it came into the tournament winless. To get to the finals, the Panthers defeated Tri-Valley 10-8 on Monday and won 5-2 over Liberty the following afternoon despite a late game rally by the Indians.
The Comets (5–2) took the tourney’s first two games in impressive fashion. On Monday, they defeated Delaware Valley 11-2 and on Tuesday crushed Narrowsburg 16-3.
In the bottom of the first, George Brandes led off with a single that was erased on a fielder’s choice by Scott Coddington. Fallsburg starter Tim Gilmore served up a walk to Josh Meddaugh. Coddington scored the first run of the game from his perch on second when a pickoff attempt by Gilmore went astray.
After a scoreless second frame, Fallsburg lashed back with a couple of quick runs to take a 2-1 lead. With one out, lead off batter Darren Kenney doubled and came around on a Gilmore single. Gilmore purloined second, and then scored on an error by Panther’s first baseman Meddaugh.
The next two innings were thanks in part to a three-run saving catch over the fence out in the fifth frame by Monticello right fielder Hulse. Fallsburg’s Mike Roycroft was the victim of Hulse’s catch.
In the bottom of the sixth, Meddaugh and Hulse flied out, followed by back-to-back singles by Doug Brown and Mark Stofko. Brown tied it up 2-2 on a throwing error.
In the Fallsburg seventh, Fello sent the first two batters back to their seats. Rafi Fine singled and then wound up on third on a two-base error after the ball got by the center fielder. Monticello coach John Spear called for an intentional walk to Gilmore. A ground out to second by Joe Calvello ended the inning.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Panthers pulled a cat out of the hat. Fello singled and stole second. Brandes stuck out, followed by a base hit by Coddington that anchored the corners with runners. Meddaugh drew an intentional walk to load the bases to set up a force, but a neat little hit by Hulse sent Fello across the plate with the tourney winning run.
Monticello racked up six hits during the championship game, Fallsburg tallied up three.
Brian Heavey started for Monticello, but according to Spear’s game strategy was relieved by Fello in the fourth after twice facing the Comets rotation. Fello struck out four, Gilmore whiffed five.
“I thought we came out and hit the ball well today,” said Fallsburg co-coach Brett Cancredi. “We hit the ball real well, but a lot of times, it was right at people. They (the Panthers) played great defense.
“It was a solid game, but we made some errors that came back to haunt us,” he added. “Today, we just broke down defensively when we needed it the most, and that’s when they scored their runs.”
According to Cancredi, Gilmore “Threw a great game, had them off balance, and got the outs when we needed them.”
“Our strategy paid off and we had great pitching,” said Spear. “Our confidence is back.
“It was a very well played game by both teams,” he added. “It had great pitching and great defense. We made some plays when we needed to make them.”



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