By Rob Potter
LIBERTY August 24, 2004 The members of the Amazin Bombers softball team knew that last Thursday nights game could be their final contest of 2004. Down two games to one to Stingers in a best-of-five game Liberty Slow Pitch Softball League semifinal series, the Bombers needed a victory to prolong the season.
Using a now-or-never philosophy to build an early lead, the Bombers were able to extend their season. The Bombers scored five runs in the first inning and added seven in the third on their way to a 19-0 win.
The Bombers certainly took advantage of batting first. The first batter of the game, Shane Conner, drew a walk and Keith Shaddock followed with a double. John Rusin then singled to center field, allowing both Conner and Shaddock to score.
The next batter, Steve Vlaovich, doubled to right center to put two runners on base. Dan Gallo smacked a single to right center to bring Rusin and Vlaovich across home plate and give the Amazin Bombers a 4-0 lead.
Gallo scored the fifth run of the inning moments later on a double by Jay Lagnos.
In the top of the third, a total of 11 Bombers stepped up to the plate and seven of them came around to score. Rusin singled to lead off the frame and Vlaovich then blasted a towering home run to left field.
Gallo, Mark Logan, Lagnos and Edwin Rodriguez hit back-to-back-to-back-to-back singles to extend the Bombers advantage to 9-0. Later in the inning, Frank Exner and Shaddock hit sacrifice flies and Sam Millheiser added an RBI single as the Bombers took a 12-0 lead.
The team added two more runs in the top of the fourth. With one out and two teammates on base, Lagnos hit an RBI double to score Vlaovich. Rodriguez followed with a sacrifice fly, which allowed Gallo to cross home plate.
Rusin smacked a two-run double in the top of the fifth to give the Amazin Bombers a 16-0 lead.
The Bombers closed out the scoring with three runs in the top of the seventh. Vlaovich recorded an RBI single and Gallo knocked in a run with a ground-rule double to right field to give the team an 18-0 advantage. Vlaovich scored the final run of the contest on a groundout.
While the Bombers offense was clicking on all cylinders, its defense was very good as well. In addition to catching a couple of hard line drives that were destined to end up in the outfield, the teams fielders snagged the routine fly balls and handled ground balls with no trouble.
Stingers had its best chance to score in the bottom of the fourth. With two outs and one runner on base, Aaron Bertholf and Steve Rogg hit back-to-back singles to load the bases. But Gallo, the Amazin Bombers pitcher, got the next batter to ground out to third base to end the inning.
In the bottom of the seventh, Stingers put two runners on base with only one out. Gallo got the second out on a ground ball and induced a fly ball from the next batter. Conner caught the ball in foul territory to end the game.
T&M Tree Service
Rallies For Win
In the second game of the evening, T&M Tree Service came back from an early 9-0 deficit to earn a 25-15 win over Mongaup Technologies in the third playoff game between the teams. (Mongaup Technologies, also known as TEK, won the first contest in the best-of-five game series, but T&M prevailed in the second game.)
Early on, however, it looked as though TEK would record a lopsided victory. The team scored four runs in the first and added five runs in the second. The key hit in the first inning was a two-run triple by Joe Nicosia.
In the second inning, Josh Schwartz had an RBI single and Bill Danchak followed with a two-run single to give TEK a 7-0 lead. Glenn Bubba LaPolt ripped an RBI double to center field and then scored on a groundout as TEK extended its advantage to 9-0.
T&M began its comeback in the bottom of the second. The first batter of the frame, George Helms, smashed a home run to left field. Two batters later, Tim Mills blasted a homer to left field to cut the TEK lead to 9-2. T&M added another run in the inning on RBI single by Evan Irwin.
TEK stretched its lead in the top of the fourth. Lou DiCostanzo ripped an RBI double to left field and LaPolt and Pat Clifford each added an RBI single as TEK took a 12-3 lead.
But T&M took control of the contest in the bottom of the fourth. The team scored 16 runs in the frame. Key hits included a two-run triple by Pete Pagen, a two-run double by Scott Edwards, a two-run single by Joe Staudt, a two-run triple by John Gorr and two-run inside-the-park home run by Evan Irwin. Staudts RBI single gave T&M its first lead of the game at 13-12.
TEK responded with two runs in the top of the fifth as Schwartz scored on a groundout and Danchak crossed home plate on a single by LaPolt. Those runs cut TEKs deficit to just five runs at 19-14.
T&M answered in the bottom of the inning. Mitchell Peck blasted a two-run home run to left field to give T&M a 21-14 lead.
T&M added four runs in the sixth inning on its way to the victory.
Note: On Friday night, the Amazin Bombers defeated Stingers, 10-3, in the fifth and deciding game of their playoff series.
Our defense was fine, we just didnt hit the ball, said Dan Ricco, player/coach of Stingers.
Also on Friday night, T&M advanced to the finals with a win over TEK in game four of their semifinal series.
The Amazin Bombers and T&M were scheduled to begin the best-of-five game league championship series on Sunday night. Game two was slated for last night and the third game is planned for tonight. The fourth and fifth games, if necessary, are scheduled to be held tomorrow night and Thursday night, respectively.