By Rob Potter
LIBERTY August 15, 2003 Going into Tuesday nights Liberty Slow Pitch Softball League playoff game, the members of the McCabes team knew that a loss would mean the end of their season.
And they were determined not to let that happen.
The fired-up McCabes squad grabbed a 3-0 lead in the first inning of the game versus Stingers and didnt look back. Led by second baseman Bill Danchak, who hit three towering home runs over the center field fence, McCabes recorded a 14-3 victory to knot the best-of-three-game National League playoff series at one game apiece. (Stingers won the first game of the series on Monday night by a final score of 19-15.)
In the bottom of the first, Mitch Juron had an RBI double and Chet Stungis followed with an RBI single to give McCabes the aforementioned 3-0 lead. Danchak then added a two-run home run in the third inning, a three-run homer in the fourth and a two-run shot in the sixth.
Following Danchaks first round-tripper, John Harting and Kyle Walter each stroked an RBI single as McCabes took an 8-0 lead.
Stingers scored its first run in the top of the fourth. With two runners on and two outs, Kort Wheeler hit a single to center field that brought Manny Batista across home plate.
But McCabes responded in the bottom of the fourth as Bryan Bury ripped an RBI single to left and Danchak followed with his three-run homer to make it a 12-1 game.
Stingers posted its final runs of the game in the top of the sixth when Mike Weiner hit a bases-loaded, two-out single that brought David Bonilla and Rob Sze in to score.
Unfortunately for McCabes, Stingers rebounded in Wednesday nights deciding game of the best-of-three series. Stingers defeated McCabes 28-14 to move on to the second round of the playoffs. Several Stingers players had great games at the plate to lead the team to victory. Nick Miaori went 5-for-5 with a home run and six RBI, Bill Merchant was 4-for-5 with a home run and six RBI and Weiner went 4-for-5 with a triple and four RBI. Bonilla added two doubles and three RBI and Sze recorded a triple and four RBI.
Like Major League Baseball, the Liberty Slow Pitch Softball League divides its teams into American League and National League. The top four teams in each league based on the regular season standings advance to the playoffs.
The McCabes vs. Stingers series was one of the American League match-ups that took place this week, while the other pitted Yauns Plumbing and Heating of Liberty against Champion Awards of Monticello. With the series tied at one game apiece, Champion beat Yaun by a final score of 28-17 Wednesday night to advance to the second round. The Champion Awards vs. Stingers best-of-three series was scheduled to begin last night.
In the National League, Fiddles Dari King of Parksville swept Cobblers of Liberty in their best-of-three series, and T and M Landscaping of Livingston Manor defeated Sullivan Fire of Fallsburg two games to none in the other best-of-three series. T and M won Monday nights opening game 12-10 and prevailed again on Tuesday night, 31-21.
The Fiddles vs. T and M best-of- three series was slated to begin last night.
The winning teams in the Champion/Stingers and Fiddles/T and M series will meet next week in the best-of-five game league championship series.
Note: In an effort to raise funds for the league, a slow pitch tournament has been planned for Saturday, August 30 and Sunday, August 31 at the Liberty Elementary School softball field.
The double-elimination tournament will feature a 6-12 ft. arc pitching format.
The entry fee is $100 per team.
For more information, please call Andy at 985-0181 or Danny at 436-1254.