By Nathan Mayberg
MONTICELLO August 31, 2004 ABC Title grabbed the Monticello Softball League Championship by defeating Lewis Auto Parts, 18-11, Thursday night at Sommerville Field in Monticello.
ABC Title took the lead in the first inning and never lost that advantage. The team earned the victory thanks to an unrelenting offense, as well as an eye-popping defense. In particular, the left side of the infield, with Jeff ONeil at third base and Antonio Simmons at shortstop, seldom allowed a ball to get past them.
ABC Titles Mike Greco out-pitched the Lewis Auto Parts combination of Tim Chopper Ackermann and Bob Head to get the win
Simmons, Greco and ONeil were also the leaders on offense for their team, as each recorded multiple RBIs in the game. ONeil and Simmons both homered. Corey Huber, Kyle Brasington and Matt Foreman all scored twice for ABC Title.
Leading the offense for Lewis Auto Parts were Chris Hubert and Craig Smith.
ABC Title took the lead 4-0 in the first inning. But Lewis evened the score, although they may have scored more if not for two catches by Brasington in right field.
ABC Title picked up three runs in the second, but Lewis responded in its half of the second. Smith hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game at 7-7.
A home run by Simmons and a triple by Huber allowed ABC Title to break the game open in the third.
Lewis Auto Parts failed to respond in the bottom of the third inning. Two defensive gems in the field may have defeated them. ONeil showed off a spectacular arm at third base, throwing out a runner at first base, and George Brandes made a tough catch at second base to end the inning.
ABC scored three more runs in the fourth, when Ackermann left the game. He was replaced by Head, who allowed only three more runs the rest of the way.
With his team holding a 15-10 lead, ABC Title catcher Brian Vandermark made a great throw to third base to nail Bobby Glassel and prevent Lewis from threatening the ABC lead.
Lewis Auto Parts would only score one more run in the game, while ABC tacked on three more.
Afterwards, the ABC Title team was jubilant.
We came out and played hard, Simmons said. We knew we had a tough challenge. You lay it on the line. If your hurt, you ice it up tomorrow.
Simmons was modest when commenting on his dazzling plays at shortstop.
Im not used to playing short, he said. But when Im called to play, I go out and do my best.
Lewis Tops Sauschucks
Earlier in the evening, Lewis Auto Parts defeated Sauschucks, 18-17, to win a best-of-three game semifinal playoff series.
Lewis scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to win the deciding game of the series, which was marked by fighting and ejections in the first two games.
Billy Schutz of Sauschucks called the series a battle all the way through.
Brian Kowal, who had a great series, agreed.
We battled everyday, he said. We came up one run short.
Lewis Auto Parts players refused to comment on the game.
Head was the winning pitcher for Lewis Auto Parts. Jerry Cheshire took the loss, after pitching an impressive doubleheader one week earlier, took the loss for Sauschucks.
The game sea-sawed back and forth during the evening. Sauschucks took a 9-3 lead into the fourth inning, but Lewis Auto Parts exploded for a seven runs in that frame. Lewis took the lead after a never-ending tide of ground ball singles past the infield.
In the fifth inning, Sauschucks took the lead 11-10 as Cheshire scored on a double by Kowal.
But Lewis Auto Parts responded by scoring three runs in the bottom of the inning.
In the sixth inning, Chuck Worthington hit a deep triple to center field, knocking in a run. Worthington would later score to tie the game at 13.
Lewis Auto Parts responded with two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning.
But the Sauschucks players were unwavering. Wayne Kozloski hit a triple, driving in John Corrie and Schutz. Kozloski scored the go-ahead run off a single by Worthington.
Sauschucks looked like it was on a roll, but after a double by Billy Furler, Worthington was thrown out at home plate thanks to a spectacular throw by Glassel from right field.
Furler still managed to score off a bloop single by Matt Klemm. Klemm hustled to reach first base on the play and then stole second moments later. But the inning ended when Klemm was thrown out at home place.
Lewis won the game in the bottom of the seventh inning with a three-run rally that began with an RBI single by Hubert.
We battled everyday and we came up one run short, Kowal said.