By Rob Potter
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS The Eastern Sullivan Firefighters Softball League best-of-three game finals series got off to an exciting start on Tuesday night at Gary A. Bradley Memorial Field at the White Sulphur Springs Firemen’s Park.
After three innings, White Sulphur Springs FD held a seemingly commanding 10-0 lead over visiting White Lake FD. But White Lake FD rallied to pull within one run in the top of the sixth inning.
WSSFD responded with two runs in the bottom of the sixth to record a 13-10 victory.
With the Game 1 win, WSSFD had the opportunity to capture the league championship with a victory in Game 2, which was scheduled to be played last night at Max Eronimous Firefighters Field in Swan Lake. (The Swan Lake FD graciously allows the White Lake FD team to use the field for its “home” games.)
However, if White Lake FD defeated WSSFD last night to even the series, the deciding Game 3 will be played at 6 p.m. next Tuesday night at Gary A. Bradley Memorial Field.
WSSFD wasted little time in taking the lead in Game 1.
Matt DeWitt and Josh Schwartz began the bottom of the first inning by hitting consecutive singles. Chad Roth then grounded out to shortstop, but DeWitt scored on the play. Schwartz also scored when the throw to home plate to get DeWitt was errant.
Mike Black tripled and then scored on a double by Joe Decker to give WSSFD a 3-0 lead.
WSSFD extended its advantage to 9-0 in the bottom of the second. Devin Day, who was a courtesy runner for Tim Pellam, scored on an error, Schwartz and Black both belted two-run triples and Decker had an RBI single.
In the bottom of the third, Tim Fink hit a leadoff single. He later scored on DeWitt’s sacrifice fly to give WSSFD a 10-0 advantage.
White Lake FD made it a 10-2 game in the top of the fourth. With one out, Jason Kraack walked. He then scored on an error.
Bob Yakin, who reached base on that error, scored when Rob Keesler singled to center field.
WSSFD got one of those runs back in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI single by Day.
The score remained 11-2 in favor of WSSFD until the top of the sixth. In that frame, a spirited rally allowed White Lake FD to score eight runs and cut the WSSFD lead to 11-10.
Frank DiCostanzo and Evan Kraack began the inning with back-to-back singles. They both scored when Jason Kraack ripped a double down the left field line.
Moments later, Keesler singled home Jason Kraack to make it an 11-5 game.
Consecutive RBI singles by Rich Krause and Juan Morales brought White Lake FD to within four runs at 11-7.
Later in the inning, Shane Cunningham crossed home plate on DiCostanzo’s infield hit and Krause and Morales both scored when Evan Kraack doubled to center field.
DiCostanzo also thought about scoring on the two-base hit as he took a few steps toward home plate after rounding third base. He was caught in a rundown for several seconds before safely diving back into third.
With its lead cut to a single run, WSSFD responded by scoring two runs in the bottom of the sixth. With one out, Day singled to left field and Pellam reached base on an error. Black then became a courtesy runner for Pellam.
The next batter, Fink, smacked a double to center field to bring home both Day and Black.
With a three-run lead, WSSFD pitcher Ryan Calkin sealed his team’s victory in the top of the seventh. He allowed a one-out double to Keesler, but retired the next two batters on flyouts to end the contest.