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Lori Brown | Democrat

The members of the Smallwood-Mongaup Valley Fire Department posed for a photo after winning the Eastern Sullivan Firefighters Softball League on Thursday night in Neversink. Kneeling in the front row, from left to right, are Pete Rossiter, Shannon Dietrich, Paul Turi, George Roosevelt, Jerry Donohue and Jeremy Ernst. Standing in the back row, from left to right, are Robbie Bonnaci, Tim Martin Jr., Tim Martin, Frankie Donohue, Des Gonzales, Patrick Bonnaci, Joe Bonnaci and Coach Lanny Ernst.

SMVFD defeats Neversink FD to win
Firefighters Softball League title

By Lori Brown
NEVERSINK — August 31, 2010 — Over the span of eight days, the Neversink and Smallwood-Mongaup Valley Fire Departments battled it out for the championship of the Eastern Sullivan Firefighters Softball League.
Neversink FD won Game 1 of the finals series, 16-8, on Aug. 19 at the Neversink FD field. But SMVFD evened the series at a game apiece with an 18-15 victory in Game 2 on Aug. 24 at Edward M. Collins Memorial Park in Mongaup Valley.
On Thursday night, SMVFD traveled to Neversink FD’s turf for the deciding Game 3. Each team entered the contest with a 14-4 season record to be proud of, but one team would have to feel the heat of a fiery loss to end the season.
SMVFD jumped out to a 7-1 lead in the first inning and went on to record a 21-2 victory.
Des Gonzales started the SMVFD offense in the top of the first as he slammed a double to score Jerry Donohue. Joe Bonnaci had a sacrifice fly to bring home Gonzales. SMVFD extended its lead to 4-0 with back-to-back home runs from Pete Rossiter and Jeremy Ernst.
Later in the frame, George Roosevelt scored on an error and Robbie Bonnaci and Shannon Dietrich both scored on a single by Frankie Donohue.
Jesse Noren singled to lead off the bottom of the first for Neversink FD. He scored when John Shamro hit a sacrifice fly.
But SMVFD pitcher Rossiter threw the heat to earn a strikeout to end the inning with his team holding a 7-1 lead.
SMVFD continued dominating the game with its bats in the top of the second. Gonzales started the inning off with a triple to right-center field. He scored on a single by Tim Martin. Rossiter slammed a double, scoring Tim Martin Sr. and Joe Bonnaci. Rossiter crossed the plate when Ernst blasted his second home run of the game.
George Roosevelt recorded an inside-the-park home run to end the six-run inning, which pushed SMVFD’s advantage to 13-1.
In the bottom of the second, Neversink FD’s Russ Turner singled. But he was unable to advance to the other bases and score as SMVFD played great defense.
With two outs in the top of the third, Martin singled and advanced to second base due to an error. Joe Bonnaci earned an RBI as he hit Martin home to make it a 14-1 game. But Bonnaci was tagged out at second to end the inning when he tried to stretch his single into a double.
SMVFD retired the Neversink FD batters in order in the bottom of the third.
In the top of the fourth, Neversink FD pitcher Mike Garigliano recorded a strikeout to as the team prevented SMVFD from scoring.
Neversink FD tried to add a run in the bottom of the fourth. Kevin Murphy started off the frame with a single. Shamro doubled to send Noren, who was pinch-running for Murphy, to third base. But Noren was stranded at third as SMVFD defense recorded two outs to end the inning.
Neversink FD played tight defense in the top of the fifth.  SMVFD’s Paul Turi led off with a single, but he couldn’t advance home as the Neversink FD fielders made three nice catches. 
Rossiter retired the Neversink FD batters in order in the bottom of the fifth by recording two strikeouts and catching a pop fly.           
SMVFD extended its lead to 17-1 in the top of the sixth as Ernst slammed his third home run of the game. Gonzales and Joe Bonnaci were on base when Ernst hit his homer.
SMVFD added four runs in the top of the seventh to take a 21-1 advantage. Patrick Bonnaci hit a two-run homer and brothers Frankie Donohue and Jerry Donohue both tagged up and scored on a sacrifice fly by Gonzales.
Neversink FD, which never gave up throughout the game, scored the final run of the evening in the bottom of the seventh. Shamro hit a triple and scored when Andy Garigliano singled.
“This was an awesome game,” SMVFD Player/Coach Joe Bonnaci said. “Everybody hit well tonight.
“This was our best game all season,” he continued. “Everybody stayed up on themselves.
“Next year, hopefully we come back and win again with the same strong team,” Bonnaci concluded.
Neversink FD Player/Coach Russ Turner said, “This is the first time in a long time Neversink got this far. We wanted to be overall champions.
“Everybody played good,” he added. “If I could pick MVP, I would say Mike Garigliano. He pitched like a mad man and is in his 50s. Bo Murphy played shortstop and had solid defense.
“We beat them [SMVFD] three times, but they won the two times that counted the most,” Turner continued. “We were missing four players tonight, three of which were starters. We threw the ball around a lot and had some mental errors.”
Turner ended by saying, “We had a great season and are looking forward to 2011.”

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