Rob Potter | Democrat
The DeGroodt Bros. Paving team poses for a photo after winning the 30th annual Edward M. Collins Memorial Softball Tournament on Sunday morning at Collins Park in Mongaup Valley. Kneeling in the front row, from left to right, are Matt Costello, Billy Lewis and John DeGroodt. Standing in the back row, from left to right, are Steve Platt, Nicky DeGroodt, Darren Rea, Jim Gould, Brad Vandermark, Ronny DeGroodt II, Jim Frisbie, Jay Rickard, Ronny DeGroodt, Dave DeGroodt, Dustin Brundage and Rodney DeGroodt.
DeGroodt Bros. Paving wins 30th Collins Softball Tourney
By Rob Potter
MONGAUP VALLEY At the beginning of the third inning of Sunday morning’s championship game of the 30th annual Edward M. Collins Memorial Softball Tournament at Edward M. Collins Memorial Park in Mongaup Valley, Dennis Dietrich, who is the Tournament Director, looked up at the gray clouds in the sky.
“It’s a normal Collins Tournament it rained,” Dietrich said.
Yes, it rained, which effected the tournament schedule. But a hiatus from the rain on Sunday morning allowed DeGroodt Bros. Paving of Walden to play Team Thunder of New York City in the championship game. DeGroodt Bros. grabbed a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning and went on to record a 7-2 victory.
If the weather had cooperated, DeGroodt Bros. and Team Thunder would have squared off for the first place trophy on Saturday evening. Originally, the six-team, men’s major modified tournament was supposed to begin on Saturday morning and continue until approximately 9 p.m. Saturday evening. The tournament would resume on Sunday morning, with the championship game scheduled for 10:30 a.m. and the “if” game slated for noon.
But with rain in the forecast for Sunday, Dietrich and other tournament officials from the Smallwood-Mongaup Valley Fire Department (SMVFD), which owns and operates Collins Park, contacted all six teams on Friday. The tournament officials asked the teams if they would be willing to play the entire tournament on Saturday even if that meant the championship game ended very early on Sunday morning. The teams agreed to the new schedule.
They were able to follow that schedule until Saturday evening. A steady rain fell as Greenville Inn of Matamoras, Pa. battled Team Thunder. At about 9:30 p.m., the umpires called the game due to the rain, which gave Team Thunder an 8-0 victory.
At that point, only three teams DeGroodt Bros., Hufcut Concrete of Staten Island and Team Thunder were left in the tournament. The Marlins of Lancaster, Pa., who were the defending tournament champions, Hollywood Towing of Middletown and Greenville Inn had all been eliminated.
But Hufcut Concrete was unable to return to Collins Park on Sunday morning, so the team was awarded the third place trophy.
Representatives from DeGroodt Bros. and Team Thunder and tournament officials agreed to hold the championship game at 9 a.m. on Sunday, with the “if” game to follow.
As it turns out, the “if” game was not needed as DeGroodt Bros. stayed undefeated in the tournament by topping Team Thunder, 7-2.
A key factor in the DeGroodt Bros. victory was the team taking the aforementioned 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Leadoff batter Billy Lewis singled, stole second base and scored on a double by Brad Vandermark.
John DeGroodt then blasted a two-run home run over the center field fence to make it a 3-0 game.
Team Thunder answered in the bottom of the first, however. With one out, Peter Tirado belted a solo home run over the right field fence to put his team on the scoreboard.
Team Thunder cut its deficit to 3-2 moments later when Elvis Martinez crossed home plate on a single by Billy Manzi.
The score remained 3-2 in favor of DeGroodt Bros. until the top of the fourth. In that frame, DeGroodt Bros. scored three times to extend its advantage to 6-2.
John DeGroodt led off with a double and scored when Dustin Brundage tripled. Brundage came in to score on a double by Jim Frisbie. The next batter, Matt Costello, singled to left field to enable Frisbie to cross the plate.
Brundage provided the final run of the game when he ripped a solo homer over the right field fence in the top of the sixth inning.
After giving up two runs in the bottom of the first, DeGroodt Bros. pitcher Darren Rea allowed only two hits while holding Team Thunder scoreless through the last five innings. At the postgame awards ceremony, Rea received the Most Valuable Pitcher Award.
Also honored at the postgame ceremony were Billy Manzi of Team Thunder and John DeGroodt of DeGroodt Bros. Manzi received the Defensive Player Award, while DeGroodt was named the Most Valuable Player.
Steve Walsh received the Life of the Party Award.
In addition, Patrick Bonnaci, a member of the SMVFD, was honored with the Bob Bonnaci Service Award.
Ronny DeGroodt, who serves as Co-Manager of DeGroodt Bros. with his brother Dave DeGroodt, noted that the team has only lost one game this year. This is the fourth tournament the team has won this summer.
“I thank all the firemen, you are here all season working at the park,” Dietrich said at the awards ceremony.
“It was a great tournament,” Dietrich added. “I thank all the teams for playing in the tournament. I am glad that we got it in with the rain.”