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Democrat Photo by Rob Potter

THE CHAMPION CONSTRUCTION Gremlins joined four of their youngest fans for a team photo after winning the 25th Annual Edward M. Collins Memorial Softball Tournament on Sunday evening. Kneeling, from left to right, are players Steve Price, Gregg Leather, Frank Tiburko, Chad McConnell, Reggie Barrau and John Heinsch. Standing, from left to right, are players Jordan Taveras, John Rozich, George McConnell, Steve Mikos, Rodney DeGroat, Nicoli Vasquez, Mo Kandous and Dustin McConnell. Missing from photo are players Dave Simon and Gary Thomas.

Gremlins Take Collins

By Rob Potter
MONGAUP VALLEY — August 15, 2006 — The 25th annual Edward M. Collins Memorial Softball Tournament featured fireworks, special awards and plenty of great softball action.
Twelve men’s major modified softball teams from as close as Monticello and as far away as Clifton Park competed in the double-elimination tourney, which was played Friday night through Sunday night at the park along Route 17B in Mongaup Valley that bears Collins’ name.
Those 12 teams included: ADCO Electric/Toolshed of Staten Island, All-Pro of Montgomery, Champion Construction/Gremlins of Clifton Park, Deerpark Oil of Port Jervis, D-Tech Computer Service/Fitness Factory of Monticello, Fort Apache Dodgers of the Bronx, Globe of Northern New Jersey, Kestler Well Drilling of Hawley, Pa., L.P. Tree Service/Armory Inn of Staten Island, Ma & Pa’s of Port Jervis, M. DeVries Concrete of Middletown and Zubi’s Lawn Care of Port Jervis.
The tournament has been held each summer since 1982 to honor Collins, a 1970 Eldred Central School graduate. Known throughout the area as an outstanding softball player and all-around athlete, Collins passed away from viral pneumonia in April 1981 when he was just 29 years old.
By Sunday evening, the tournament field had been narrowed to two teams: Globe and Champion Construction Gremlins. In a title game that featured three home runs, Gremlins defeated Globe, 11-5.
ADCO Electric/Tool Shed of Staten Island, which lost to Globe by a final score of 9-6 in the losers’ bracket final on Sunday evening, finished third.
This is the third straight year that the Gremlins squad has won the event. In 2004, the team was known as LP Tree Service Gremlins and it topped Netrition, a team from Albany in the title game. Last year, the squad, which had become the Champion Construction Gremlins, defeated Globe to win the championship.
The Gremlins made it three Collins Tournament championships in a row by grabbing the momentum early in Sunday night’s final contest. After pitcher Steve Mikos set down the Globe batters in order in the top of the first inning, Gremlins scored six runs in the bottom of the frame.
Leadoff batter Reggie Barrau dropped down a successful bunt to safely reach first base. He scored moments later when Globe committed an error on a bunt by Mo Kandous.
Steve Price ripped a double down the right field line to bring Kandous in to score and give the Gremlins a 2-0 lead.
Moments later, John Heinsch stepped into the batter’s box with two outs and the bases loaded. Heinsch promptly cleared the bases by smashing a double into deep right center field.
Heinsch then scored on a single by Frank Tiburko to give Gremlins a 6-0 advantage.
Globe got on the scoreboard in the top of the second. With two outs, Juan Goris reached base on a bunt single. The next batter, Marc Lindsay, singled to left field. But the ball was bobbled in the outfield, which allowed Goris to score all the way from first.
Gremlins responded with four runs in the bottom of the third, however. Jordan Taveras and Dustin McConnell each blasted a two-run homer deep into the night sky and over the outfield fence to give the Gremlins a 10-1 lead.
In the top of the fourth, Vinnie Roberto belted a home run to help Globe close the gap to 10-4.
Gremlins added a run in the bottom of the fourth to make it an 11-4 game.
The score stayed that way until the top of the seventh. Goris led off the frame with a bunt single. He then advanced to second base when the throw to first base was errant.
Following a strikeout, Goris moved to third base on a passed ball. He crossed home plate on a groundout to cut the Gremlins’ lead to 11-5.
But Globe could not get any closer as Gremlins pitcher Nicoli Vasquez induced another groundout to end the game.
Gremlins stayed in the winners’ bracket the whole tournament and posted a 4-0 record. Globe, which had to come out of the losers’ bracket to reach the title game went 1-1 on Saturday and 3-1 on Sunday.
“Winning this tournament was a little tougher than it was last year,” Gremlins Manager Gregg Leather said. “Steve Mikos and all of our pitchers did a great job. We didn’t hit as well as we usually do, but we managed to pull it out.”
Leather added that his team’s 1-0 victory over ADCO/Toolshed in the winners’ bracket final “might have been the game of the tournament.”
“We love coming up to this tournament,” he commented. “We thank [Tournament Director] Dennis [Dietrich] and everyone involved for doing such a great job every year.”
In addition to presenting the team trophies, Dietrich also handed out individual awards. Globe pitcher Damien Stewart, who posted a 3-0 record, was named the Most Valuable Pitcher. John Rozich of Gremlins was chosen as the Most Valuable Player for blasting four home runs over the weekend.
Fireworks and Awards
On Saturday night, Dietrich handed out some special awards. He noted that there are many dedicated people who help prepare the field, run the concession stand and clean up at the tournament each August.
In addition, those volunteers, many of whom are members of the Smallwood/Mongaup Valley Fire Department, keep the park running throughout the spring, summer and autumn for the Monticello High School softball team, Monticello Fire Department and SMVFD softball teams, the Sullivan County Women’s Softball League and a fall league.
“Thanks to the Sullivan County Women’s Softball League and Monticello Fire Department which use the field, we have never had to ask the [Smallwood/Mongaup Valley] fire department for a penny,” Dietrich said.
He then noted that two people deserved special recognition. Dietrich explained that each individual would receive the Robert “Big Bob” Bonnaci Memorial Award, which honors the longtime member of the SMVFD who passed away in June 2005.
The award recipients were Joe Bonnaci – who is one of Robert Bonnaci’s grandsons – and Jerry Donohue. Joe Bonnaci and Donohue each received a personalized plaque which read “Robert ‘Big Bob’ Bonnaci Memorial Award – presented to an individual who exemplifies Bob’s spirit and work ethic.”
Dietrich also recognized Eddie Collins’ parents, Woody and Eileen Collins, who attend the tournament each year.
Following the awards presentation, Robert Bonnaci and Eddie Collins were honored with a spectacular fireworks show. The fireworks show, which lit up the night sky with dozens of colorful displays, was presented by Mike Crossaint from July 4 Ever.
Tournament Results
The complete tournament results were as follows:
Zubi’s Lawn Care 8 • D-Tech/Fitness Factory 0
Keslter Well Drilling 7 • Deerpark Oil 4
ADCO/Toolshed 15 • M. DeVries Concrete 4
All-Pro 8 • LP Tree/Armory Inn 7
Zubi’s 10 • Fort Apache 6
Gremlins 11 • Kestler 3
ADCO 12 • Ma and Pa’s 0
Globe 12 • All-Pro 0
DeVries 4 • Fort Apache 1
LP Tree 11 • Kestler 3
D-Tech 3 • Ma and Pa’s 2
Deerpark 14 • All-Pro 11
Gremlins 9 • Zubi’s 1
ADCO 5 • Globe 2
LP Tree 23 • DeVries 14
Deerpark 8 • D-Tech 4
Globe 9 • LP Tree 7
Zubi’s 8 • Deerpark 7
Gremlins 1 • ADCO 0
Globe 9 • ADCO 6
Gremlins 11 • Globe 5 (title game)

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