By Rob Potter
LIBERTY At the beginning of Tuesday night’s Liberty Slo-Pitch Softball League “B” Division Finals series, the Beaverkill Valley Fire Department and Prestige Towing teams were even.
After two action-packed games at the Liberty Elementary School softball field, the two teams were still even.
Beaverkill Valley FD won Game 1 of the series, 22-16. But Prestige Towing prevailed in Game 2 by the final score of 25-13.
The third and deciding game of the series will be played at 7 p.m. tonight at the Liberty Elementary School field.
Things started out well for Prestige in Game 1 as the team took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Billy Dertinger led off with a single and later scored the game’s first run on a groundout by C.C. Hinkley Jr.
Mike Beach and Phil Norris followed with an RBI double and RBI single, respectively, to give Prestige its three-run advantage.
Beaverkill Valley FD answered with two runs in the top of the second. John Henry Schleiermacher scored on a double by Jeff Meola. Seconds later, Meola crossed home plate on a single by Adam Carlson.
In the bottom of the third, Prestige stretched its lead to 5-2 as Beach and Josh Mendez both hit sacrifice flies.
That lead didn’t last long, however, as Beaverkill Valley FD knotted the score at 5-5 in the top of the fourth. Schleiermacher ripped a two-run double to left field and scored the tying run when the next batter, Meola, hit a sacrifice fly.
Beaverkill Valley FD took the lead for good in the top of the fifth. Josh Meddaugh and Kevin Hendrickson had RBI doubles to help the team grab a 9-5 advantage.
Prestige made it a 9-8 game by scoring three times in the bottom of the fifth thanks to RBI singles by Norris and Mendez and Keith Smith’s sacrifice fly.
But Beaverkill Valley FD answered with 12 runs in the top of the sixth to post a commanding 21-8 lead. Mike Sorge keyed the Beaverkill Valley FD offensive outburst with a two-run homer to center field and a two-run triple to left center field.
Prestige scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth and four more in the bottom of the seventh, but could not overcome its large deficit.
Early lead holds up in the second game
As the team did in the opening contest, Prestige grabbed a lead in the first inning of Game 2. And aside from a brief 3-3 tie, the team maintained that advantage throughout the contest.
Beach, Bill Curry and Norris hit back-to-back-to-back RBI singles in the top of the first to give Prestige a quick 3-0 lead.
Beaverkill Valley FD evened the score in the bottom of the first as Tim Rider belted a two-run triple to right field and then scored on a sacrifice fly by Schleiermacher.
Prestige took a 6-3 lead in the top of the second. Robert Curry singled and scored on a base hit by Steve Avery to give Prestige a 4-3 advantage. Jonathan Hinkley and C.C. Hinkley Jr. hit consecutive RBI singles later in the frame.
After Beaverkill Valley FD pulled to within two runs in the bottom of the second, Prestige scored six runs in the top of the third to stretch its lead to 12-4.
Prestige added three runs in the top of the fourth on Beach’s sacrifice fly, Norris’ RBI triple and an RBI single by Mendez.
Meola led off the bottom of the fourth for Beaverkill Valley FD and blasted a home run to center field to cut the Prestige advantage to 15-5.
C.C. Hinkley Jr. smacked a two-run homer in the top of the fifth to extend the Prestige lead to 17-5.
Jim Kautz, Meola and Carlson all had RBI singles in the bottom of the fifth as Beaverkill Valley FD closed to within eight runs at 17-9.
But the team could not get any closer in the final two innings.
Prestige registered three runs in the top of the sixth and five runs in the top of the seventh on its way to a 12-run victory.