By Rob Potter
LIBERTY Dutch’s Bombers made it six in a row on Tuesday night at the Liberty Elementary School softball field.
Dutch’s won its sixth consecutive Liberty Slo-Pitch Softball League “A” Division title by defeating Manor House of Furniture & Appliances, Inc. two games to none in the best-of-three “A” Division championship series.
Dutch’s prevailed 12-4 in Game 1 and then took Game 2 by the final score of 11-6.
In addition to capturing another championship, the Bombers, who are sponsored by Dutch’s Tavern in Rock Hill, finished the season with an perfect record of 19-0. This was the third consecutive undefeated season for the team, which is on a 62-game winning streak.
In Game 1, Dutch’s held a slim 5-3 lead until the bottom of the fifth inning. The team broke the game open by scoring seven runs in the frame.
Dan Gallo hit an RBI single and Steve Vlaovich and Mark Logan followed with consecutive RBI doubles. Moments later, Aaron Dinkel gave Dutch’s a 12-3 lead by blasting a three-run homer to left field.
Manor House, which finished the season with an 8-11 record and reached the championship series by defeating McCabe’s Hitmen two games to one in a semifinal series, answered with a run in the top of the sixth. Derek Blume led off with a double and scored when the next batter, Greg Lewis, singled to center field.
Gallo, the Dutch’s pitcher, then set down the Manor House batters in order in the top of the seventh.
Dinkel and Adam Lake paced the Dutch’s offense as they each went 3-for-3.
“Dan Gallo pitched very well and only gave up four runs,” Dutch’s Manager Keith Shaddock said. “When you hold the other team to four runs in an arc ball game, you are probably going to win the game.”
Game 2 featured another solid pitching performance by Gallo. In addition, the team lived up to its Bombers nickname by blasting four home runs.
Will Smith gave Dutch’s the lead by belting a three-run home run to right field in the top of the first.
After Smith’s round-tripper, Vlaovich stepped into the batter’s box and hit a solo homer to left field to give Dutch’s a 4-0 advantage.
Manor House got on the board in the bottom of the first as Blume scored on a single by Tim Mills.
With one out and two runners on base, Manor House tried to reduce the Dutch’s lead even more. But Dutch’s second baseman John Brewer fielded a groundball, stepped on the bag and threw to first base for an inning-ending double play.
Dutch’s, which reached the championship series by sweeping Hot Shotz in a best-of-three-game semifinal series, pushed its advantage to 7-1 in the top of the second. Rich Shaddock and Derwin Rivera had RBI singles and John Rusin added an RBI double.
Matt Stoddard’s solo homer in the top of the third made it an 8-1 game.
Manor House drew a bit closer in the bottom of the fourth. Mills led off with a single and scored when Mitch Peck reached base on a fielder’s choice.
Stoddard gave Dutch’s a 9-2 lead in the top of the sixth by blasting another solo home run.
However, Manor House made it a four-run game in the bottom of the sixth. Shane Lewis, who began the frame with a single, scored when his father, Greg Lewis, hit a ground-rule double to left center field.
Greg Lewis and Blume both scored on a single by George Helms to make the score 9-5.
Vlaovich gave Dutch’s a more comfortable lead by smacking a two-run homer in the top of the seventh.
John Gorr of Manor House scored the final run of the night in the bottom of the seventh when Evan Irwin ripped a triple to right field.
“Defense wins championships,” Keith Shaddock said. “Dan Gallo pitched two excellent games tonight and we played great defense behind him.”
When asked about Dutch’s string of championships and undefeated seasons, Shaddock was quick to answer.
“Chemistry is the key,” he said.