Democrat Photo by Rob Potter
COOPER PAINT CELEBRATED with a team photo after winning the Sullivan County Womens Softball League A Division Wednesday night at Edward M. Collins Memorial Park. Lying in front are Rachelle Irwin, left, and Denise VanKeuren. Kneeling from left to right are Erin Shuart, Jen Wright, Susette Goldsmith, Amanda Cox, Charish Priest and Megan Drobysh. Standing from left to right are Pat Shuart, Nat Cillis, Jessica Gould, Lori Brown, Leyna Madison, Ally McCarthy, Amanda Irwin, Jackie Litwak, Val Fersch and team sponsor Allan Cooper.
Cooper Paint Takes A
By Rob Potter
MONGAUP VALLEY Following Wednesday nights Sullivan County Womens Softball League (SCWSL) game at Edward M. Collins Memorial Park, Cooper Paint Co-Player/Coach Pat Shuart spoke of redemption.
Tonights win was a little bit of redemption for last season, Shuart said moments after Cooper Paint defeated Charlies Angels, 6-5, in the third and deciding game of the SCWSL A Division finals.
Last August, Cooper Paint went undefeated in the regular season and semifinal round of playoffs and then beat Charlies Angels in the opening game of the best-of-three final series. But Charlies Angels topped Cooper Paint the next two games to win the playoff championship.
On Wednesday night, however, a determined Cooper Paint team made sure that history did not repeat itself. Although Charlies Angels put the only blemish on Cooper Paints 23-1 overall record by winning the second game of the series which began on Tuesday night but had to be completed on Wednesday night after the lights at Collins Park went out in the seventh inning by a final score of 14-9, Cooper Paint added the A Division playoff championship to its A Division regular season title with its one-run victory and a 5-3 win in Monday nights series opener.
However, Cooper Paint had to hold off a last inning rally by Charlies Angels on Wednesday night.
Heading into the top of the seventh, Cooper Paint enjoyed a 6-3 lead. But Lisa Krom of Charlies Angels led off the frame with a double to right field. After an out was recorded, pinch hitter Sue Zieres singled to left field and Terri Hess walked to load the bases.
Pinch hitter Deb Ackerley then hit a fielders choice grounder to Cooper Paint second baseman Jackie Litwak, who then fired the ball to shortstop Erin Shuart to record the out at second base. Analey Dietrich, who entered the game as a pinch runner for Krom, scored from third base as the out was made at second to make it a 6-4 game.
Robyn Gannon then smacked a single to left field, which allowed Zieres to score and cut the Cooper Paint advantage to 6-5.
But Cooper Paint pitcher Nat Cillis got a ground out to end the game and clinch the title.
Charlies Angels took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Leadoff batter Jo Walls doubled down the left field line and subsequently scored on a fielders choice by Tonya Martin.
But Cooper Paint answered with four runs in the bottom of the frame. An RBI single by Amanda Cox tied the game at 1-1. Cooper Paint took a 4-1 advantage thanks to a fielders choice by Ally McCarthy and Leyna Madisons two-run single.
Cooper Paint extended its lead to five runs in the third inning on an error and RBI triple by Madison.
Charlies Angels got two of those runs back in the top of the fourth. Nicki Krom led off with a double and the next batter, Leanne Mangabang, blasted the ball deep into center field. Mangabang then sprinted around the bases for an inside-the-park home run.
As she and fellow Cooper Paint Co-Player/Coach Val Fersch congratulated the players in the dugout moments after the game, Shuart reminded them that it took all of us to get here.
Throughout the season, everybody stepped up, Shuart said. We could be having a bad game, but someone would go 4-for-4 or 5-for-5 at the plate or make a great catch to get us going. It took all 15 of us to win this championship.
Shuart also praised Charlies Angels.
Thats a great team in the other dugout, she commented. They played great tonight.
Walls, the Player/Coach for Charlies Angels, noted that with completion of the suspended second game both teams won tonight.
They played a great game and we played a great game, she said.
Walls said that, with the the two teams being very successful year after year, Charlies Angels and Cooper Paint are the womens league version of Boston and the Yankees.
Though understandably disappointed with the loss, Walls said she was proud of these girls.
Were more than a softball team, were like a family, she commented.
Lights Go Out in Game 2
Charlies Angels forced a third and deciding game by winning the second game of the series.
Cooper Paint took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on a sacrifice fly by Amanda Irwin and an infield single by Lori Brown.
But Charlies Angels tied in the bottom of the first when Shannon Dietrich hit a two-run single. The team took a 4-2 advantage when the next batter, Lisa Krom, singled to left field.
Tonya Martin keyed a four-run second inning for Charlies Angels with a two-run, inside-the-park homer to left center field.
Cooper Paint took advantage of a pair of errors to score two runs in the top of the third and narrow the Charlies Angels lead to 8-4.
Charlies Angels held the lead for the rest of the game.
In the top of the seventh, however, Cooper Paint tried to rally from a 14-7 deficit. Cox and Amanda Irwin hit back-to-back singles to begin the frame. Cox scored when a fly ball by McCarthy was misplayed in the outfield.
After Charlies Angels pitcher Lisa Krom got the next two hitters to fly out and ground out, respectively, Cooper Paint was down to its final out.
With Amanda Irwin on third base and McCarthy on first, Rachelle Irwin stepped into the batters box. All of a sudden, all of the lights surrounding the field went out.
As some members of the Smallwood/Mongaup Valley Fire Department, which maintains and operates Collins Park, tried to find the source of the power outage, some fans and players made comments like Its the night the lights went out at Collins, making reference to the classic song The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia.
After a few minutes, the umpires suspended the game.
When the contest began at that exact point on Wednesday night, Cooper Paint scored once before Krom got a fly ball to complete the 14-9 victory for Charlies Angels.
Cooper Takes Game 1
In Monday nights series opener, Cooper Paint used some timely hitting and took advantage of a couple of errors to post a 5-3 win.
Charlies Angeles grabbed a 2-0 lead in the top of the first, but Cooper Paint responded with three runs in the bottom of the frame.
Leadoff batter Jen Wright singled to the outfield and then sprinted around the bases and crossed the plate when the ball was not fielded cleanly and rolled towards the center field wall. Charish Priest scored on a groundout by McCarthy to even the score at 2-2.
Cooper went ahead on another error.
But an error by Cooper Paint in the top of the third allowed Nicki Krom to score the tying run for Charlies Angels.
The score remained knotted at 3-3 until the bottom of the fifth. Denise VanKeuren, who entered the game as a pinch-runner for Nat Cillis, scored on a single by Wright to give Cooper Paint a 4-3 lead.
In the bottom of the sixth, Cooper Paint added an insurance run when Lori Brown, who belted a triple into deep left center field, crossed the plate on a single by Madison.