By Rob Potter
MIDDLETOWN August 20, 2002 There was no repeat for the Roches Garage softball team at this years Neal B. Turfler Softball Tournament.
Roches, the defending tourney champion, fell to Giordano Flooring, 3-2, Sunday afternoon at Fancher-Davidge Park in Middletown. Roches, which has won the tournament 11 times in its 23-year existance, finished fourth in the 16-team tournament.
Roches Manager Tony Mancuso noted that an umpires ruling on a fly ball to the outfield was integral to the games outcome. With two runners on base, Roches center fielder George Sanchez tracked down a fly ball near the fence. Sanchez crashed into the fence as he caught the ball. Sanchez went down and the ball momentarily fell out of his glove.
While Mancuso thought that Sanchez held onto the ball long enough for the out, the umpire ruled that the ball fell out of Sanchez glove and then rolled back into the mitt. Both runners scored on the play, giving Giordano Flooring its winning margin.
That was the difference in the game, Mancuso said. I thought it was a horrible call. But sometimes you get the breaks and sometimes you dont.
The defeat, coupled with a 12-1 loss to Copperfields on Saturday evening, ended Roches run in the double-elimination tournament.
Although Mancuso noted that his teams goal is to win every tournament it enters, he was satisfied with the fourth place finish.
Going into the tournament, we had a different type of team, Mancuso said. We had won two of the past three tournaments, but this was the first Turfler tournament for a lot of players on the team. We played head to head with the legitimate softball teams.
Mancuso added that some of the other teams in the tournament had enhanced their rosters with imported talent.
The tournament started out very well for Roches, however, as the team won its first two games. On
Friday night, Roches defeated D & D Landscaping, 14-6. Paul Exner and Mike Mancuso paced the Roches offense. Exner smacked a home run and added a pair of doubles to finish the contest with two RBIs, while Mancuso had a pair of hits and 3 RBIs. Scott Mosher picked up the win for Roches.
On Saturday afternoon, Roches beat Paupack Fuel, 14-0. Shortstop John Wilhelm had a pair of hits and 2 RBIs, while Mike Mancuso added 3 RBIs. Pitcher Merrill Connor allowed six hits to earn the victory.
Roches fell behind early against Copperfields as Frank DeGrote and Joe Sottolano each hit a three-run home run in the first two innings. Glenn Garafano added a two-run homer in the fifth as Copperfields took a 9-0 lead.
Exner led off the bottom of the fifth with a home run over the center field fence to score the only Roches run of the contest.
Roches rebounded from that loss to defeat J. Carroll Bus, 9-1, on Sunday afternoon. Roches took a 4-0 lead in the first two innings and added some insurance runs in the fourth and sixth innings. In the bottom of the fourth, Sanchez and Bill Tolli ripped RBI singles and Mike Mancuso added a sacrifice fly as Roches extended its lead to 7-1. Then in the sixth, Exner had a two-run single to provide the final margin of victory.