Rob Potter | Democrat
ZUBI'S LAWN CARE gladly posed for a team photo after winning the second annual Fitness Men’s Modified Softball Tournament on Sunday night at Edward M. Collins Memorial Park in Mongaup Valley. Kneeling, from left to right, are Jack Black, Jeff Jackson, Billy Lewis, Shawn Meyer, Dane Ducette and Danny Welch. Standing, from left to right, are Dave Zubikowski, Justin Comie, Ollie Cutler, Pat McClinton, Steve Ewanciw and Nick Sansalone.
Zubi's Lawn Care wins annual tourney
By Rob Potter
MONGAUP VALLEY The second annual Fitness Factory Men’s Modified Softball Tournament featured 24 teams, four fields and three days of exciting games.
When the tournament ended late Sunday night at Edward M. Collins Memorial Park in Mongaup Valley, Zubi’s Lawn Care of Middletown had earned the championship trophy.
“We had many great games and a lot of good battles,” said Assistant Tournament Director Des Gonzales.
Gonzales, Tournament Director Edwin “Flaco” Rodriguez and their Fitness Factory teammates organized and ran the tournament. The players took turns umpiring the games at the four fields used in the weekend tournament Collins Park, Gary A. Bradley Field at the White Sulphur Springs Fire Department Park, Max Eronimous Firefighters Field in Swan Lake and Kenneth H. Somerville Memorial Field in Monticello.
The Fitness Factory team held the tourney to raise money so it can travel to the New York State Men’s Modified Softball Tournament and other tournaments later this year.
Zubi’s Lawn Care earned the first place trophy the hard way by coming out of the loser’s bracket. Late Sunday afternoon, Zubi’s defeated Prime Time Softball, 13-6, in the loser’s bracket final.
Zubi’s then faced the undefeated winner’s bracket champion, Your Sport Custom Apparel of Monroe, in the title game. Zubi’s edged Your Sport, 11-10, in eight innings to force the teams to play the “if” game for the championship.
With the score knotted at 10-10 after the seven regulation innings, the eighth inning was played under the international tiebreaker rule. As per that stipulation, each team began its half of the eighth with a runner on second base specifically the runner who made the team’s final out in the seventh.
After preventing Your Sports from scoring in the top of the eighth, Zubi’s won the contest in the bottom of the eighth. Nick Sansalone started the frame on second base. With one out, he moved to third base when Danny Welch singled to center field.
Sansalone scored the game-winning run moments later when Jack Black singled.
In the “if” game, Zubi’s grabbed an 8-1 lead in the third inning and went on to record an 18-6 victory.
Zubi’s took control of the contest with an eight-run outburst in the top of the third. Black put Zubi’s on the scoreboard by ripping a three-run double to center field.
Two batters later, Justin Comie hit a two-run double to give Zubi’s a 5-0 advantage.
Sansalone capped the inning with a bases-clearing double.
Your Sports scored its first run in the bottom of the third when Bo Batorfalvy crossed home plate on a double by Chris Popkave.
Zubi’s tacked on a run in each of the fourth, fifth and sixth innings to take a double-digit lead at 11-1.
Your Sports rallied for three runs in the bottom of the sixth, however. George Sanchez hit a sacrifice fly and Rad Gonzalez hit a two-run double to help Your Sports narrow the Zubi’s lead to 11-4.
But a determined Zubi’s squad responded with seven runs in the top of the seventh. Key hits in the frame included RBI doubles by Dane Ducette and Billy Lewis.
In its final at-bat, Your Sports registered two runs as Popkave and Steve Spears hit consecutive RBI singles.
“I am very proud of all of these guys,” said Zubi’s Lawn Care Player/Coach Dave Zubikowski. “We had to play six games today, five of them in a row, to win this tournament.
“We didn’t hit very well in the first three games today,” he continued. “But in the last three games, we started to hit the ball. Everybody in the lineup was getting hits.”
Zubikowski and teammate Pat McClinton, who was the winning pitcher in both games against Your Sport, were named the tournament’s Co-Most Valuable Players.
The 24 teams participating in the tournament were: Andy’s Lawn Care, Black Indians, Bulldogs, Fairways of Halfmoon, Hollywood Towing, Huffcut Concrete, Kestler Well Drilling, La Tribu, Link’s Lawn Care, Los Cerveceros, Pops & Pops, Prime Time Softball, Radio Shack, Raven House, Rockland Rivercats, S&S Management, Sparky’s, Sullivan Fire, Sutphen East, TapOut, Tri-State, Viking Athletic, Your Sport Custom Apparel and Zubi’s Lawn Care.