Sullivan County Democrat
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Diggin' It

Democrat Photo by Rob Potter

THE MEMBERS OF the Davis Excavating team gather for a photo with their first place trophy. Kneeling from left to right are Joe Williams, Rich Gross, Mike Cole, John Zeoli and Bob Bunting. Standing from left to right are Jake Hopkins, Jim Davis, Micah Wilcox, Chris Teeple, Wally Kulick, Joel Turner, Kyle Rizzi and Ken Rizzi. Missing from photo are team members Jeff Meyer and Josh Smith.

Davis Excavating
Takes the Trophy

By Rob Potter
COCHECTON CENTER — September 2, 2005 – The softball players and fans who gathered on Sunday at Heinle’s Field in Cochecton Center were not about to let some raindrops prevent them from raising money for a worthy cause.
Despite a couple of rain showers in the morning and again in the afternoon, the Chad Powell Benefit Softball Tournament was held as scheduled on Sunday.
The tournament began on Saturday morning with seven teams. Those teams were American Electric, LLC of Lake Huntington, Davis Excavating of Tyler Hill, Pa., Gasko and Meyer of Lake Huntington, Heinle’s General Store of Cochecton Center, Pattie’s Pub of Fremont, Ronny’s Ringers and the White Lake Fire Department.
Games continued Saturday morning, afternoon and into the evening. The double-elimination tournament resumed on Sunday morning. By early Sunday afternoon, only three teams – American Electric, LLC, Davis Excavating and Ronny’s Ringers – were left. Davis Excavating was the only team remaining in the winners’ bracket after defeating Ronny’s Ringers 12-5 in the winners’ bracket final. The Davis Excavating team members got a chance to relax while watching American Electric, LLC battle Ronny’s Ringers in the losers’ bracket final.
In that contest, Ronny’s Ringers scored in every inning on its way to a 16-2 victory. The game ended after American Electric, LLC batted in the bottom of the fifth due to the tourney’s 10-run mercy rule.
Davis Excavating and Ronny’s Ringers then took the field for what turned out to be a very competitive and exciting championship game.
The score was tied four times in the contest and the winner was not determined until the final inning.
With the score knotted at 7-7, Davis Excavating came to bat in the top of the seventh. The first batter, John Zeoli, quickly broke the tie. With a powerful swing, he sent a pitch from Ronny’s Ringers hurler Ron Canfield flying into deep center field between a pair of outfielders. The ball landed and rolled for a few feet before those outfielders could grab it and throw it back to the infield. Zeoli sprinted around the bases for a home run, which gave Davis Excavating an 8-7 lead.
The team held that lead in the bottom of the seventh. Pitcher Jim Davis, who is the proprietor of Davis Excavating and the team’s sponsor, set down the Ronny’s Ringers batters in order with a flyout to center field, a groundout to shortstop and a flyout to left field.
Davis Excavating also scored the first run of the game. With one out and teammates on first base and third base in the top of the first, Joel Turner hit a sacrifice fly to right field to give Davis Excavating a 1-0 lead.
Ronny’s Ringers answered by scoring two runs in the bottom of the first. Shawn Canfield hit a ground-rule double to center field that allowed John Meyer and Tommy Davis to cross home plate.
After a scoreless second inning, Davis Excavating took a 4-2 lead in the top of the third. Jake Hopkins led off the frame by ripping a ground-rule double to center field. Moments later, Hopkins scored on a ground-rule double by Chris Teeple.
The next batter, Bob Bunting, singled to left field. Teeple scored on the base hit to give Davis Excavating a 3-2 lead. Turner then hit a sacrifice fly to right field, which allowed Rich Gross to cross the plate.
Ronny’s Ringers tied the game at 4-4 by scoring twice in the bottom of the third. With runners on the corners, John Yatsonsky reached base on an error and Meyer, who was on third base, scored on the play. Mike Modrovsky then scored the game-tying run on a single by Paul Schwatz.
The score remained knotted at 4-4 until the fifth inning. Davis Excavating took a 5-4 lead in the top of the frame when Micah Wilcox, who blasted a ground-rule double to left center field to lead off the inning, crossed home plate on a sacrifice fly by Mike Cole.
However, the one-run advantage for Davis Excavating lasted just a few moments.
With one out in the bottom of the fifth, Shawn Canfield ripped a ground-rule double to right field. He then scored when the next batter, Modrovsky, singled to center field.
The Davis Excavating offense went to work in the top of the sixth. The first three batters – Teeple, Bunting and Turner – reached base on a walk, an error and a single, respectively. Ron Canfield got the next batter to fly out to third base, which kept the three Davis Excavating players on base.
But the next batter, Joe Williams, singled to right field. Teeple and Bunting scored on the hit to give Davis Excavating a 7-5 lead.
Ron Canfield prevented Davis Excavating from taking an even bigger lead by inducing a groundout and flyout, respectively, from the next two batters.
In the bottom of the sixth, Ronny’s Ringers scored a pair of runs to even the score. With one out and two runners on base, George Mueller singled to center field. Kory Keesler scored on the play to make it a one-run game. Tommy Davis then beat out a grounder to shortstop to load the bases. Meyer then singled to right field and Paul Wilson scored the game-tying run on the base hit.
But Davis Excavating catcher Wally Kulick tagged out Anthony Marciano at the plate, which prevented Ronny’s Ringers from taking the lead.
Jim Davis then got a groundout for the third out of the inning.
The stage was then set for Zeoli’s game-winning homer.
“Ronny’s Ringers is a tough team,” said Wilcox, who is the player/manager for Davis Excavating. “Both teams played well and it came down to the last inning. It was a nice game and a good tournament.”
Wilcox added that he and his teammates were eager to enter the tournament when they heard about it.
“It was a good tournament, I’m glad we got in,” he said. “It’s nice to come and play in a tournament that is raising money for a good cause.”
The tournament was sponsored by American Electric, LLC and Heinle’s General Store to benefit Chad Powell. A member of the Heinle’s softball team and a Cochecton resident, Powell, 22, was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident on July 22 on Daub Road in Cochecton Center.
Following the game, Chad Powell’s brother Brian Powell presented the first, second and third place trophies to Davis Excavating, Ronny’s Ringers and American Electric, LLC, respectively.
“I want to say thank you to American Electric and Heinle’s General Store and every involved with this tournament,” Brian Powell said. “It means a lot to my brother and our whole family. We just want to say thank you to all of you.”
One of the organizers of the tournament was Amanda Popolillo.
“We want to thank everybody who helped out,” she said. “Most of the refreshments were donated by a lot of local businesses.”
“We’re happy,” she added. “It was a successful tournament.”
Popolillo noted that Chad Powell is doing well.
“He’s home and he keeps improving day by day,” she said.

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