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Democrat Photo by Rob Potter

KEITH BUCK OF Lewis Auto Parts follows through with his swing as Dutch’s catcher Mike Greco holds the ball in his glove in Monday night’s Monticello Men’s Softball League game at Collins Park.

A Close,
Breathless Game

By Rob Potter
MONGAUP VALLEY — August 2, 2002 – As can be expected when two undefeated teams meet, there was a certain tension Monday evening at Collins Park in Mongaup Valley.
With fans and fellow softball players offering steady vocal support for their respective teams, Roche’s Garage and Lakewood Homes squared off in a Monticello Men’s Softball League game.
And at the end of seven innings of intense action, Lakewood recorded a 6-5 victory.
Lakewood, sponsored by Lakewood Homes of Port Jervis, improved its record to 9-0 on the season. Roche’s, sponsored by Roche’s Garage of Callicoon, dropped to 4-1 in league play.
Lakewood grabbed a quick lead in the bottom of the first. With the bases loaded, John Malzahn hit a grounder to third base. Roche’s third baseman Paul Exner threw home to force out Steve Spears, who had advanced to third base after leading off the inning with a single.
But catcher Paul Braun’s subsequent throw to first for an attempted double play was off the mark, which allowed two runs to score.
Lakewood extended its lead to 3-0 in the bottom of the third when Spears hit a one out double and came around to score when the next batter, Timmy Leonard, tripled to left center field.
However, Roche’s rallied in the top of the fourth. An RBI single by Mike Mancuso cut the Lakewood advantage to 3-1. With one out and Mancuso on third base, Braun was hit by a pitch to put two runners on base.
Keith Baudendistel then hit a towering home run over the center field fence to give Roche’s a 4-3 lead.
But Lakewood responded in the bottom of the frame, Malzahn scored the tying run when Hector Figurria beat out a grounder to first, which also prevented a inning-ending double play.
Two Roche’s errors then allowed Scott Spears and Figurria to cross the plate and give Lakewood a 6-4 lead.
Roche’s made it a one-run game in the fifth when Mancuso hit a sacrifice fly to score Bill Barreto.
In the top of the seventh, Roche’s put two runners on base with two outs. But Lakewood pitcher Tim Martin got Mancuso to fly out to end the game.
“It was a very good game,” Lakewood Manager Gary Spears said. “We like playing against them because they have a very good ball club.
“We had a good game tonight,” Spears added. “And we’ve been playing well this year.”
Roche’s manager Tony Mancuso noted that the errors were just too costly.
“You can’t make those mistakes and expect to win the ballgame,” he said. “We gave up three or four unearned runs tonight.”

Lewis 4 – Dutch’s 0
In other Monticello Men’s League action Monday night, Lewis Auto Parts shut out Dutch’s, 4-0.
After three scoreless innings, Lewis scored three runs in the top of the fourth. After singling and moving to third base on a double by Keith Buck, Craig Smith scored on a passed ball to give Lewis a 1-0 lead.
Buck then scored on an infield single by Brian Caruso.
Two batters later, Caruso crossed the plate when Bob Head doubled.
Lewis added a run in the sixth on a Dutch’s error.
Head struck out six batters to pick up the victory.

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