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'We Are the Champions'

Democrat Photo by Rob Potter

THE LEWIS AUTO Parts softball team captured the regular season first place and playoff first place trophies. Kneeling from left to right are Jed Carrier, Craig Smith, Fritz Kirchner, Glenn Rosenberger, Kurt Buddenhagen and Chris Reichmann. Standing from left to right are Mike Weir, Brian Kitson, Brian Buday, Stu Parsons, E. T. Toledo, Tim Ackermann, Bobby Glassel and Chris Hubert. Missing from photo are team members Cody Bojo, Keith Buck, Ryan Edwards and Troy Kirchner.

Softball Team
Savors Victory

By Rob Potter
MONTICELLO — August 29, 2003 – The Lewis Auto Parts softball team made it a clean sweep Tuesday night.
After winning the regular season championship of the Monticello Men’s Modified Pitch Softball League, Lewis won the first place playoff trophy as well.
On Monday night at Kenneth H. Somerville Memorial Field, Lewis defeated Brave Hearts, 14-8, in the first game of the league’s best-of-three championship series. Then on Tuesday night, Lewis withstood a late inning rally to beat Brave Hearts by a final score of 22-16.
Lewis grabbed a quick 3-0 lead in the top of the first Tuesday night. With leadoff batter Chris Hubert on base and no outs, Brian Kitson tripled to left field to give Lewis its first run of the game. Mike Weir then hit a two-run home run to left field.
However, Brave Hearts responded in the bottom of the first. With two runners on base, Edwin Rodriguez hit a home run to center field to tie the game at 3-3. Brave Hearts added two runs later in the inning thanks to a sacrifice fly by Dennis Rivera and Wences Acevedo’s RBI single.
Two-run singles by E. T. Toledo and Kitson in the top of the second allowed Lewis to regain the lead, 7-5.
But Brave Hearts answered in the bottom half of the inning. Keyed by a Dan Gallo’s two-run homer, the team took an 8-7 lead heading into the third inning.
After Brave Hearts extended its lead to 10-7 in the bottom of the third, Lewis took the lead for good in the top of the fourth.
Lewis scored six runs in the frame to take a 13-10 lead. Spurring the big inning were Kitson, who hit a two-run home run, and Craig Smith, who knocked in a pair of runs with a double.
Smith blasted a three-run home run in the fifth as Lewis pushed its lead to 18-10.
Brave Hearts rallied for five runs in the bottom of the fifth. With two outs and two runners on base, Alex Salazar ripped a single down the left field line to close the gap to 18-12. Rodriguez and Gallo each added an RBI single later in the inning as Brave Hearts made it an 18-15 contest.
Lewis added four runs in the sixth inning to extend its lead to 22-15.
In its last at-bat in the bottom of the seventh, Brave Hearts attempted to rally once again. Salazar led of the inning with a double and Keith Shaddock followed with an infield single that allowed Salazar to cross home plate, bringing Brave Hearts to within six runs.
Later in the inning Gallo singled to put two runners on base with two outs. But Lewis pitcher Tim Ackermann induced the next batter to ground out and end the game.
“The guys worked hard tonight and all season,” Lewis Auto Parts Manager Fritz Kirchner said. “Besides the hitting and pitching, you have to play some good defense in this league and these guys did that.”
Kirchner added that his team “kept getting better” as the season rolled along. Ironically, Lewis lost its first two regular season games to Brave Hearts. But the team then won the rest of its regular season games to finish with a 13-2 record.
Once in the playoffs, Lewis defeated Dunleavy Title two games to none in a best-of-three semifinal series and then beat Brave Hearts twice to win the title.
“I’m proud of my guys,” said Brave Hearts Player/Coach Edwin Rodriguez. “We had a good year. When we brought our ‘A’ game, we were pretty competitive no matter who we were playing.”
In addition to taking home the second place playoff trophy, Brave Hearts also earned the third place regular season trophy. Brave Hearts defeated Ma & Pa’s two games to one in their semifinal series to reach the finals. (Ma & Pa’s finished in second place in the regular season.)
Rodriguez also praised the efforts of league president Mike Greco in keeping the league organized in a summer that saw several regular season games cancelled and/or postponed due to rain.
Greco thanked the Monticello Central School District, which owns Somerville Field, for its cooperation.
“The school district did a great job for us this year,” he said.

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