Sullivan County Democrat
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Democrat Photo by Frank Rizzo

BOB YAKIN OF Roche’s Garage (9) greets Bill Tolli after he scored on Tolli’s two-run blast in the first inning of Tuesday’s championship series opener. At left, waiting his turn at bat, is Mike Finn.

'Chopping' the 'Chopper'

By Frank Rizzo
MONTICELLO — August 24, 2001 – You could say that Roche’s Garage of Callicoon “chopped” the “Chopper” in the opening game of the championship series of the Monticello Men’s Softball League “A” Division.
As in Tim “Chopper” Ackermann of Lewis Auto Parts, who was the losing pitcher as Roche’s took Tuesday’s game by a 15-5 score.
The finale is being held at Collins Park in Mongaup Valley, and the second game was slated for last night, too late for inclusion here.
On Tuesday, Lewis threatened in the top of the first against Roche’s starter Merle Connors.
With one out Brian Brustman and Mike Larsen stroked consecutive singles, and when Stu Parsons followed with another single Brustman tried to score, but was cut down at home.
It did not take long for Roche’s to light up its side of the scoreboard. Bob Yakin led off with a bunt single and Bill Tolli roped an Ackermann pitch over the left center field wall for a 2-0 lead.
Lewis tied the game in the top of the second. John Meyer singled and moved to second on a sacrifice by Kurt Buddenhagen. Glen Rosenberger then found the gap in left center to reach second and score Meyer. Rosenberger came around to score when Brian Kitson bounced a ball up the middle and past Yakin.
A two-out, two-run triple by Mike Finn in the bottom of the third put Roche’s ahead for good. Finn was fresh off his MVP performance at the Neal Turfler Memorial Softball Tournament in Middleton, won by Roche’s for the 11th time on Sunday.
Roche’s threatened to blow the game open in the fourth, as Mike Yager led off with a double off the center field wall and John Mancuso immediately plated him with another single. Mancuso advanced on Jim Brush’s single and later scored when Jeremy Ernst smashed the ball off Craig Smith’s glove at second.
The Liberty-based Lewis made it close in the fifth. Chris Hubert reached on an error and advanced to third when Brustman doubled. Larsen smashed the ball past Mancuso at short to score Hubert and then alertly motored to second. Parsons followed with another smash, which Paul Exner at third could not handle, and Brustman scampered home. Smith came up to bat with Larsen at third, and drove a Connors pitch to deep right for a sac fly to make it 6-5.
Roche’s then showed why it could be perhaps the best modified-pitch softball team in the tri-county area. After Yakin reached on a error and Tolli singled, Finn muscled an Ackermann offering over the right center field wall to open up a 9-5 lead.
Exner followed with his first hit of the game and Yager then crushed a pitch over the center field wall. Larsen took a couple of steps and then, like everybody else in the park, could only admire the mighty wallop.
In quick succession, Mancuso reached on an error, Brush singled, and Paul Brohn doubled over Larsen’s leap in center to score Mancuso. Brush scored when Ernst’s bouncer was mishandled by Meyer at short.
Brian Connor’s sac fly scored Brohn, and Yakin, up for the second time in the inning, singled to score Ernst and bring the 10-run rule into force.
Notes: Roche’s received a bye in the first round of the “A” playoffs… Ackermann won both games as Lewis swept a good Simply Irresistible team and former Roche’s standout hurler Tim Martin. The opening round series scores were 5-1 and 7-1.

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