By Rob Potter
COCHECTON CENTER September 21, 2007 American Electric defeated Ronny’s Ringers, 5-2, on Sunday afternoon in the championship game of the annual Ronny’s Ringers Benefit Softball Tournament.
American Electric went undefeated to earn first place in the two-day, double-elimination event, which was held at Heinle’s Field in Cochecton Center.
Davis Excavating, which fell to Ronny’s Ringers, 13-1, in the loser’s bracket final, took third place.
Other teams that participated in the eight-team tourney included: Lake Huntington Service Center, Todd Canfield Carpentry, Sutphen East Corporation, Wendy’s Cafe and White Lake Fire Company.
In the title game, American Electric grabbed a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Evan Kraack led off with a single to center field and J.C. Henry followed with a ground rule double.
Mike Popolillo then ripped a single to right field to score both Kraack and Henry to give American Electric a 2-0 advantage.
The next batter, Gavin Salzberg, hit a bloop single to left field to put two runners on base for Rob Taylor. Popolillo and Salzberg both crossed home plate when Taylor singled to left field.
Ronny’s Ringers got on the scoreboard in top of the second. With two outs and the bases empty, Tommy Davis smacked a triple to the right field corner. Davis did not stay at third base for too long, however. The next batter, Billy Lather, singled to right center field to bring Davis home.
American Electric added to its lead in the bottom of the fourth. Edwin Rodriguez began the frame by smashing the ball to deep center field. He then quickly circled the bases for an inside-the-park home run, which gave American Electric a 5-1 advantage.
Justin Collins scored the second run of the game for Ronny’s Ringers in the top of the fifth. With one out, he doubled to right field. After the second out of the inning was recorded, John Meyer doubled to right field and Collins crossed home plate as Meyer made his way to second base.
Unfortunately for Collins, Meyer and their Ronny’s Ringers teammates, they could not reduce their three-run deficit before the game ended.
But the team certainly tried to score at least four runs to take the lead.
In the top of the sixth, Ronny’s Ringers put two runners on base with no outs. But American Electric second baseman Taylor and first baseman Logan Cole teamed up to turn a double play to get their team out of trouble.
In the top of the seventh, Ronny’s Ringers loaded the bases with two outs. But American Electric pitcher Tim “Chopper” Ackermann induced a ground ball right back up the middle. Ackermann fielded the ball and threw it to Cole to record the final out.
In addition to the presentation of the first, second and third place trophies to the respective teams, Pat Collins was awarded the MVP trophy. He was the winning pitcher in Ronny’s Ringers 13-1 victory over Davis Excavating.
Ronny’s Ringers player/coach Ron Canfield noted that the tournament raised about $3,000. A portion of that money will be used to maintain Heinle’s Field. Part of the money will be donated to Jared Carlew, a Callicoon resident who is battling lymphoma.
The remaining money will be donated to Benny Chesnick, who is retiring after 45 years as a local softball umpire.
Ron Canfield presented Chesnick with a nice plaque and a framed photo of the two men with Bobby Diehl. All three men are members of the Wayne County Sports Hall of Fame.
The inscription on the plaque thanks Chesnick “for his outstanding dedication and love of the game of softball.”
The tournament also marked the end of Ron Canfield’s 41-year softball career. During those years, Canfield was one of the area’s best pitchers and led his teams to numerous tournament championships.