Democrat Photo by Rob Potter
THE COBBLERS BOMBERS won their second consecutive Liberty Arc Pitch Softball League championship on Thursday night. Kneeling from left to right are Dan Gallo, Kristen Gallo, Madison Levine, Keith Shaddock, Matt Stoddard, Mark Logan, Jay Legenos, Derwin Rivera, Julian Merchant, Nowel Merchant and Shane Conner. Standing from left to right are team sponsor Mike Stoddard, John Brewer, John Frunzi, Josh Schwartz, John Rusin, William Merchant and Sam Millheiser. Missing from photo are team members Mike Gallo, Brian ONeill and Steve Vlaovich.
By Rob Potter
LIBERTY August 23, 2005 The Cobblers Bombers team won its second straight Liberty Arc Pitch Softball League championship on Thursday night with a 25-11 victory over the Ratner and Son Paving team.
After prevailing 10-8 on Tuesday night and 15-11 on Wednesday evening in the first two contests in the best-of-three game championship series, Cobblers Bombers entered Thursday nights third game with a chance to end the series.
But the Ratner and Son Paving team was determined to earn a victory and extend the series. In the top of the first, Ratner and Son grabbed a 5-0 lead. Mike Juron and Andy Porter each hit a two-run single in the frame to help the team grab an early advantage.
However, Cobblers Bombers reduced that lead in the bottom of the first. With one out and two teammates on base, Mark Logan hit a sacrifice fly to center field to put the Bombers on the scoreboard. After Jay Legenos walked to load the bases, William Merchant and Matt Stoddard hit consecutive RBI singles to bring Cobblers Bombers to within two runs at 5-3.
But Ratner and Son Paving got those three runs back in the top of the second. With runners on the corners, Danny Ratner singled to center field to give his team a 6-3 lead. The next batter, Mike Juron, singled to center field, which allowed Adam Lake to cross home plate and give Ratner and Son Paving a 7-3 advantage.
Two batters later, Porter hit an infield ground ball that seemed like it would be the final out of the inning. But the throw to first base was errant, allowing Porter to go to second base and Danny Ratner to score a run.
Cobblers Bombers tied the score at 8-8 in the bottom of the second. After an RBI single by Dan Gallo and a sacrifice fly by John Rusin pulled the Bombers to within two runs at 8-6, clean-up batter Logan blasted a solo home run over the center field fence to make it a one-run game. The next batter, Legenos, crushed a homer over the center field fence to knot the score at 8-8.
The score did not remain even for long, however. Shawn Dibble led off the top of the third with a single to left field. After the next two batters flew out and grounded out, respectively, Dibble scored on a base hit by Mitch Juron to give Ratner and Son Paving a 9-8 lead.
Unfortunately for Dibble and his teammates, it would be the last lead they would enjoy in the contest.
Cobblers Bombers scored five runs during a two-out rally in the bottom of the third. Josh Schwartz scored the game-tying run on an infield single by Keith Shaddock. Two batters later, Rusin doubled to left field and Shaddock scored on the hit to give Cobblers Bombers a 10-9 lead.
With Gallo on third base and Rusin on second, Logan ripped his second home run of the game. This time Logan sent the softball flying over the right field fence.
Logans round-tripper gave Cobblers Bombers a13-9 lead.
Ratner and Son Paving narrowed the gap to 13-10 in the top of the fourth when Dave Dibble Jr. scored on a fielders choice ground ball hit by Porter.
The Cobblers Bombers offense remained hot in the bottom of the fourth. Stoddard began the frame by blasting a home run over the left field fence. Schwartz followed with a single and Sam Millheiser ripped a base hit to center field. But when the ball got by the outfielders, Schwartz and Millheiser were both able to cross home plate. Moments later, Rusin ripped a double to the steep hill which is just in front of the fence in left field and Gallo scored on the play to extend the Bombers lead to 17-10.
After Cobblers pitcher Gallo set down the Ratner and Sons Paving hitters in order in the top of the fifth, the Bombers added to their lead in the bottom of the frame.
Legenos began the inning by crushing a solo home run over the center field fence. After Stoddard reached base with a one-out double, Schwartz hit the ball to deep center field. Stoddard scored easily on the hit and Schwartz sprinted around the bases for a two-run, inside-the-park home run.
An RBI double by Shaddock moments later gave Cobblers Bombers a 21-10 advantage.
Ratner and Son Paving scored a run in the top of the sixth. With one out, Danny Ratner tripled to the hill in left field. He then scored when the next batter, Mike Juron, grounded out to second base.
Cobblers Bombers scored the final runs of the contest in the bottom of the sixth. Legenos hit a sacrifice fly, Merchant had an RBI double and John Frunzi smacked a two-run single to left field.
Gallo set down the Ratner and Son Paving batters in order in the top of the seventh to complete the Cobblers Bombers victory.
The Bombers finished the 2005 season with a 22-2 record. The team defeated the McCabes Hitmen two games to none in the National Division finals to reach the league championship series.
We have a good group of guys and we have good team chemistry, said Gallo, who is the player/coach for the Cobblers Bombers. We dont get down on each other if we fall behind on the scoreboard. We just keep playing and keep scrapping to come back and win.
In addition to his teammates, Gallo praised Cobblers owner Mike Stoddard for a great season.
I want to thank Mike Stoddard for sponsoring the team, Gallo said. I thank him for supporting us this season and for all of the good food at Cobblers.
Ratner and Son Paving finished the 2005 season with a 17-7 record. The team defeated C. Edwards Realty two games to one in the American Division finals to reach the league championship series.
Its only our second year in the league and we reached the championship series, so Im happy, said Ratner and Son Paving player/coach James Ratner, who also sponsors the squad. Next year, well be even better.