By Rob Potter
MONGAUP VALLEY August 6, 2004 The 2004 Sullivan County Womens Softball League All-Star Game was an exciting, action-filled contest.
The game, which was played on Friday, July 30 at Edward M. Collins Memorial Park in Mongaup Valley, featured plenty of hits and runs.
In the first three innings, the contest was one-sided as the B team took a commanding 16-2 lead. But the A team refused to give up, closing the gap to a single run by the seventh inning.
However, the B squad added an insurance run in the bottom of the seventh and held on to that two-run lead to record an 18-16 victory. (During the leagues regular season and playoffs, each game lasts seven innings, but for the all-star game the two squads agreed to play nine innings.)
In years past, members of each team in the league picked members of another team to play in the all-star contest. But the league officers and all-star committee decided to change the format this year in an effort to make the game more fun and competitive.
Every player from the leagues 10 teams was invited to Collins Park on Friday night. All of those who wanted to play in the all-star game selected a card from a standard deck of cards. Players who chose a red card joined the B team, which wore red shirts. Those ladies who drew a black card played for the A team, which wore blue shirts.
The plan for a more competitive game seemed to be in trouble in the first three innings, however.
After the A team took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first on an RBI single by Barb Stubits, the B team quickly grabbed the lead. Lori Browns RBI single and a two-run homer by Diane Gonzalez helped the B team take a 4-2 lead.
The squad increased its advantage to 15-2 with an 11-run second inning. Key hits in the frame included an RBI single by Charish Priest, a two-run single by Lori Brown and a two-run triple by Erin Brown.
Liz Stubits stroked an RBI single in the bottom of the third to give the B team a 16-2 lead.
The A team began its comeback by scoring seven runs in the top of the fourth. Cris Lopez and Lisa Benjamin led off the frame with consecutive singles and Barb Stubits followed with a single of her own, which allowed Lopez to score.
Two batters later, Theresa Sumfleth reached base on an infield single. Benjamin scored on the play to make it a 16-4 game.
Two batters later, with two outs and the bases loaded, Edie DeGroot hit the ball to deep left field. As the outfielders scrambled to come up with the ball, DeGroot sprinted around the bases and safely crossed home plate for an inside-the-park grand slam. DeGroots round-tripper narrowed the B teams lead to 16-9.
After the B team added a run on a double by Lori Brown in the bottom of the fifth, the A squad rallied again in the top of the seventh.
With one out and the bases loaded, Tammi Chaboty stroked an RBI single to left field. The next batter, Connie Beach, earned an RBI when she hit a ground ball to shortstop and the B team infielders were a second late in their attempt to turn an inning-ending double play.
After Jen Cole singled to load the bases, Lopez smashed a single to right field. Benjamin then ripped a single to center field that allowed both Beach and Cole to score to make it a 17-14 ballgame.
The A team scored two more runs on an error to cut its deficit to just one run at 17-16.
But Erin Brown scored what proved to be the final run of the game on a single by Priest in the bottom of the seventh.
After going down in order in the eighth, the A team put two runners on base with just one out in the top of the ninth. But B team pitcher Laura White got the next two batters out to preserve her teams victory.
It was a very hard-fought game, B Team Coach Val Fersch said. They came back from a very big deficit. The A team really made us work hard for the win.
Fersch noted that the process of randomly selecting the all-star teams by using a deck of cards was a good idea.
It made it a much more competitive game, she said.
A Team Coach Theresa Nietzel also enjoyed the contest.
It was an awesome game and a lot of fun, she said. It was nice that we came back after being down so many runs.
Like Fersch, Nietzel approved of randomly selecting the two teams.
This way gives all of the players who want to play a chance to play, she explained. Players who might not know each other become teammates for one night. They have a chance to learn more about each other and have some fun playing the game. I think it brings everyone in the league a little closer.
The members of the A team were Connie Beach, Lisa Benjamin, Tammi Chaboty, Jen Cole, Edie DeGroot, Tini Kaiser, Lisa Lawrence, Cris Lopez, Julie Potosek, Ana Puleo, Karen Smith, Tammy Sondermeyer, Barb Stubits and Theresa Sumfleth.
The B team roster included Jen Barnier, Erin Brown, Lori Brown, Lori Froelich, Marie Frunzi, Diane Gonzalez, Roxanne Kehrley, Amanda Irwin, Deb Noecker, Lori Perry, Charish Priest, Liz Stubits, Allison Whipple and Laura White.
In addition to the all-star game, the evening also included raffles and drawings that raised money for the league. The top raffle prize, which players sold tickets for throughout the season, was a Caribbean cruise for two.
The evenings festivities ended with a home run hitting contest. A total of 21 of the leagues players competed in the event. None of the players hit a softball out of the park, but Amanda Irwin hit a ball that landed about 15 from the fence. Because no other player hit a ball that close to the fence, Irwin won the contest.