Democrat Photo by Lori Brown
The Hornbeck's Plumbing and Heating team members display their individual trophies after winning the Liberty Slo-Pitch Softball League B Division title. Kneeling from left to right are Julio Estela, Merrill Steinhilber, Bob Dupont, Dan Cavanagh and Jon Stalter. Standing from left to right are Jim Hornbeck, Joe Stoeckeler, Brent Karow, Mike Stewart, Paul Westbrook and Ed Scott.
B Division Title
By Lori Brown
LIBERTY August 25, 2006 Hornbecks Plumbing & Heating took on the Royal Associates Horsemen Wednesday night in the fourth game of their Liberty Slo-Pitch Softball League B Division best-of-five-game championship series at Liberty Elementary School.
Hornbecks prevailed by a final score 25-14 to earn the B title. Hornbecks completed its first year in the league with an overall record of 22-9 and the division title. In addition, capturing the B Division crown, ensured the team a spot in the leagues A Division for the 2007 season.
In last Friday nights series opener, Hornbecks won, 25-14.
In game 2 on Monday night, Royal Associates prevailed, 15-14.
Royal Associates scored the winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning to knot the series at a game apiece.
However, in Tuesday nights third game, Hornbecks recorded a lopsided 19-0 victory.
Going into Wednesday nights contest, the Royal Associates players knew they had to win to continue the series and their season.
Hornbecks leadoff batter Merril Steinhilber started the game off with a solo home run.
Royal Associates leadoff batter Greg Merton answered Steinhilbers home run by blasting a round-tripper of his own in the bottom of the first to tie the game at 1-1.
Unlike Hornbecks, however, Royal Associates was able to put more than one run on the scoreboard in the opening frame. John Kurtz hit a single to bring John Hamilton in to score. Then Tommy Merton slammed a double, which allowed Andy Arias to cross home plate.
Kurtz and Merton scored on a single to center field by Jimmy Snowden to give Royal Associates a 5-1 advantage.
Hornbecks put together a two-out rally in the top of the second. Ed Scott started it off with a single. The next batter, Joe Stoeckler, belted a home run to close the Royal Associates lead to 5-3.
Royal Associates extended its lead in the bottom of the second. With one out, Frankie McFadden hit a double to score Bill Helms and Greg Merton. Hamilton scored on a base hit by Kurtz moments later to give Royal Associates an 8-3 lead after two innings.
Hornbecks edged closer in the top of the third as Mike Stewart and Paul Westbrook hit back-to-back solo homers.
Royal Associates Jimmy Snowden started off the bottom of the third with a double. He later scored on a single by Chris McCarthy to give Royal Associates a 9-5 advantage.
However, Hornbecks tied the game in the top of the fourth. Bob Dupont began the frame with a single and Ed Scott followed with a home run.
Steinhilber hit a single and Stewart walked to put two runners on base. Paul Westbrook then hit a single to bring home Steinhilber. Julio Estela ripped a double, which allowed Stewart to score and knot the score at 9-9.
However, Hornbecks shut down Royal Associates the rest of the inning to keep the game tied.
Hornbecks broke the game open in the fifth inning with a six-run, two-out rally. Joe Stoeckler hit a two-run homer and Stewart smacked a two-triple to give Hornbecks a 13-9 advantage.
Stewart crossed home plate moments later thanks to a double by Paul Westbrook. Estela hit a single scoring Westbrook as Hornbecks took a 15-9 lead.
Despite falling behind for the first time in the contest, Royal Associates took it in stride and responded with three runs in the bottom of the fifth.
Andy Arias hit a single and Frankie McFadden followed with a double to put two runners into scoring position. The next batter, Kurtz, grounded out, but McFadden and Arias got themselves caught in run downs and they both scored on an errant throw to third base.
Tommy Merton reached base on a walk and later scored on a double by Cliff Manning to pull to within three runs at 15-12.
Hornbecks responded by scoring six runs in the top of the sixth. Westbrook hit a two-run homer, Dan Cavanagh had a two-run double and Steinhilber and Stoeckler each added an RBI single.
Royal Associates scored once in the bottom of the sixth. Greg Merton scored on a single by Hamilton to make it a 21-13 contest heading into the final frame.
In the top of the seventh, Hornbecks extended its lead by scoring four runs. Preventing defense from making a catch due to the up hill terrain in left field, Ed Scott hit a triple to the hill in the left field corner and Stoeckler then hit his third homer of the game.
Steinhilber reached base with a hit and then took advantage of an error, using his speed to race around the bases and crossed the plate. Cavanagh slammed a triple and scored on a sacrifice fly.
Down to its final three outs, the Royal Associates team did not give up.
Tommy Merton hit a single, bringing home Frankie McFadden.
But that was the only run Royal Associates could record in the frame as Hornbecks wrapped up its 11-run victory.
In addition to the team trophies that were presented immediately following the contest, each of the Hornbecks players received an individual trophy.
Cavanagh, who serves as Hornbecks Player/Coach, said that as a new team in the league, they did not know what to expect this summer.
Midway through the season, one of the Hornbecks players, Manny Oquendo, had to report for military service in Iraq. But Cavanagh said that Mike Stewart stepped in and helped to fill in for Oquendo.
Winning pitcher Bobby Dupont came through and did a great job even though he was not the original pitcher for the team, Cavanagh commented.
Cavanagh added that he and his teammates were excited about moving into the A Division next season.