Rob Potter | Democrat
THE MEMBERS OF the Smallwood-Mongaup Valley Fire Department team pose with the first place trophy after winning the first annual Sullivan County Sheriff’s Association Double-Elimination Softball Tournament at Edward M. Collins Memorial Park in Mongaup Valley. Kneeling in the front row, from left to right, are Shannon Dietrich, Tim Morey, Robby Bonnaci, Tim Martin, Joe Bonnaci and Jerry Donohue. Standing in the back row, from left to right, are Greg Merton, Dennis Dietrich, Pete Rossiter, Tim Yager, Rob Bonnaci, Patrick Bonnaci, Tim Martin Jr., Andrew Yager and Frank Donohue.
Smallwood-Mongaup wins Sheriff Dept. softball tourney
By Rob Potter
MONGAUP VALLEY The inaugural Sullivan County Sheriff’s Association Double-Elimination Softball Tournament was held this past weekend at Edward M. Collins Memorial Park in Mongaup Valley.
The seven teams that competed in the tourney were Livingston Manor Fire Department, Monticello Fire Department, Monticello Police Department, Smallwood-Mongaup Valley Fire Department, Sullivan County Jail, Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office Patrol and White Lake Fire Department.
The tournament began at 9 a.m. on Saturday and concluded with the title game at 3 p.m. on Sunday.
The Smallwood-Mongaup Valley FD team earned the first place trophy by edging White Lake FD, 5-4, in the championship game.
SMVFD scored the winning run in the bottom of the fourth inning. With two outs and two runners on base, Tim Martin singled to score Patrick Bonnaci and give SMVFD a 5-4 advantage.
SMVFD pitcher Rob Bonnaci and the defense behind him then made that one-run lead stand up for the final three innings.
WLFD’s best chance to tie the score came in the top of the sixth. With one out, Josh Cunningham singled to right field. After the second out of the inning was recorded, Brian Popolillo singled to left field to put runners on first and second.
But the next batter hit a ground ball to SMVFD first baseman Patrick Bonnaci, who fielded the ball cleanly and stepped on the bag to end the frame.
WLFD took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Leadoff batter Evan Kraack reached base on an error and scored on Rob Taylor’s base hit.
SMVFD evened the score at 1-1 in the bottom of the first. With one out, Martin doubled. He scored when Joe Bonnaci singled to center field. Martin was able to slide under the tag of WLFD catcher Richie Krauss and touch home plate.
WLFD took a 4-1 advantage in the top of the second. With one out, Brian Popolillo tripled to left field. He scored when the next batter, his twin brother Mike Popolillo, reached base on an error.
Mike Popolillo and George Miesner both scored when Kraack singled.
SMVFD answered with a run in the bottom of the second as Pete Rossiter hit an inside-the-park home run to left-center field.
SMVFD tied the game at 4-4 in the bottom of the third. Rossiter and Tim Morey each hit an RBI single in the frame.
WLFD, which played four games in a row on Sunday, reached the title game by emerging from the loser’s bracket.
After dropping its first game on Saturday to Livingston Manor FD, WLFD defeated Sullivan County Jail and Monticello FD to reach the loser’s bracket final. In that game, WLFD had a rematch with Livingston Manor FD and prevailed by a final score of 6-5.
SMVFD went undefeated in the tournament. The team topped the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office Patrol and Monticello FD on Saturday and then beat Livingston Manor FD on Sunday morning.
Tournament Co-Director Janet Calangelo, who organized the event with her husband and Co-Director Peter Calangelo and Sullivan County Sheriff’s Association President Joe Manning, was very pleased with how the weekend went.
“It was a very good tournament,” she said. “Everything went very well for our first tournament. Next year, we want to have two tournaments, one in the spring and one in the fall.
“We have to thank Dennis [Dietrich] and Rob [Bonnaci] and all of the Smallwood-Mongaup Valley Fire Department members for all of their help,” Janet Calangelo added.
Before presenting the first and second place trophies to SMVFD and WLFD, respectively, Peter Calangelo expressed his thanks.
“Thank you to everyone who helped with our Sheriff’s Association Tournament,” he said. “Special thanks to Rob [Bonnaci] and Dennis [Dietrich] and the Smallwood-Mongaup Valley Fire Department for hosting the tournament here at Collins Park. Congratulations to the Smallwood Mongaup Valley Fire Department and White Lake Fire Department. And we thank the members of the Sullivan County Umpires Association for umpiring all of this weekend’s games.”
Janet Calangelo said that the Sheriff’s Association will use the proceeds from the tourney to make donations to a number of local organizations and individuals. Specifically, the association will donate to Toys for Tots, The United Way, Muscular Dystrophy Association, WVOS Heart-a-Thon, SMVFD and the families of two sheriff’s deputies who are out of work because of illness.
The weekend also featured a 50/50 raffle and prize raffles. In addition, kids were able to enjoy pony rides within a fenced-in area beyond the outfield fence. Liz Stubits and Barb Merton of L&B Tack provided two ponies for the rides. The ponies were “Mouse” a 13-year-old miniature horse and “Splash” a 30-year-old who is a member of the international organization Pony of the Americas.
Nearly all of the money L&B Tack earned from the rides was donated to the SMVFD.
L&B Tack will offer the pony rides again during the the 28th annual Edward M. Collins Memorial Invitational Softball Tournament, which is scheduled to be held from Friday, Aug. 7 through Sunday, Aug. 9 at Collins Park.