Rob Potter | Democrat
THE MEMBERS OF the Beaverkill Valley Fire Department softball team gathered for a team photo on Wednesday night moments after edging Center For Discovery, 15-14, in the fifth and deciding game of the Liberty Slo-Pitch Softball League “B” Division championship. Kneeling, from left to right, are Adam Carlson, Howard Ackerley, Aaron Carlson, Jesse Carlson and Patrick Severing. Standing, from left to right, are Kevin Hendrickson, Jeff Meola, Scott DePew, Jimmy Kautz, Paul Hahn, John Henry Schleiermacher and Robert Buck. Missing from photo are players Keith Buck, Tim Rider, Mike Sorge, Nick Tacti and Coach/Scorekeeper Brenda Ackerley.
Beaverkill Valley FD Wins 'B' Div. Title
By Rob Potter
LIBERTY August 31, 2007 As one might have expected, the outcome of the fifth and deciding game of the Liberty Slo-Pitch Softball League “B” Division finals series was in doubt until the final inning.
The Beaverkill Valley Fire Department team scored five runs in the bottom of the seventh to win the “B” Division title with a dramatic, come-from-behind 15-14 win against the Center For Discovery Dodgers on Wednesday night at the Liberty Elementary School softball field.
Center For Discovery (11-14) took seemingly safe 14-10 advantage in the top of the seventh inning.
With one out and teammate Luuk Van Loon on base, Chris Constant tripled to center field.
Constant scored when the next batter, Paul Antizzo, hit a sacrifice fly to left field.
Two batters later, Josh Mendez singled home Tom Mead to give Center For Discovery its 14-10 lead.
The first batter of the bottom of the seventh, Robert Buck, began the championship-clinching rally for Beaverkill Valley FD (17-9) by patiently drawing a walk.
Three consecutive singles by Jesse Carlson, Aaron Carlson and Paul Hahn brought Beaverkill Valley FD to within two runs at 14-12.
Kevin Hendrickson then stepped into the batter’s box for Beaverkill Valley FD. He promptly hit the ball to left center field. The Center For Discovery outfielder tried to make a sliding catch, but the ball bounced off his leg and rolled into center field.
As two outfielders tracked down the ball, Aaron Carlson and Hahn sprinted around the bases to tie the score at 14-14.
Hendrickson hustled around the bases and crossed home plate with the winning run. A split second after touching the plate, Hendrickson was met by his excited teammates and they began to celebrate their championship.
Beaverkill Valley FD had to rally twice in the contest.
In the top of the fourth, the Center For Discovery scored seven runs to break a 2-2 tie and take a 9-2 advantage. Key hits in the frame included a two-run double by Mead and Jeff Bordman’s three-run, inside-the-park home run to right center field.
After getting one of those runs back in the bottom of the fourth, Beaverkill Valley FD drew even closer in the bottom of the fifth. Jimmy Kautz had an RBI single and Patrick Severing ripped an RBI double to right field to make it a 9-5 game.
Moments later, Kautz scored when Scott DePew hit into a fielder’s choice.
An RBI double by Josh Mendez and RBI single by Warren Rogers in the top of the sixth allowed Center For Discovery to extend its lead to 11-6.
Beaverkill Valley FD closed its deficit in the bottom of the sixth, however.
Aaron Carlson and Hahn led off the frame with consecutive singles. Both men crossed home plate when Hendrickson belted a triple to center field.
Jeff Meola then brought Hendrickson home with a single.
Beaverkill Valley FD pulled to within a run when Adam Carlson scored on a double by Severing.
“This is a heck of a ball team,” Beaverkill Valley FD Player/Coach Howard Ackerley said. “We have always been the underdog, but we really came through tonight. I just can’t say enough about these guys.”
Ackerley noted that winning the “B” Division title “feels great” after making the playoffs and finishing fourth overall during the 2006 Liberty Slo-Pitch Softball League season.
Ackerley and his teammates have a lot of respect and admiration for the Center For Discovery players.
“They are a very good team and great guys,” Ackerley said of the Center For Discovery squad. “They are great ballplayers and they played hard this whole series.”
The Center For Discovery players also have a great deal of respect and admiration for the Beaverkill Valley FD team.
“They are a great team,” Center For Discovery Player/Coach Donny Santiago said. “Even if we had scored 20 runs tonight, that lead might not have been safe. Scoring 10, 12, 14 runs against these guys is not good enough, they always seem to come back.”
Santiago was pleased with the way his team competed in its final game of the season.
“It was fun,” he said. “Two great teams gave it their all out here tonight.”
If he was a bit disappointed with the loss, Santiago certainly didn’t show it. He smiled brightly as he proudly held the “B” Division second place trophy.
“We’ll take it,” he said, motioning to the trophy. “These guys gave it their best all season and we are happy with our accomplishments.”