Rob Potter | Democrat
The members of the Homers softball team and four of their most loyal fans gathered for a team photo after the team won the first annual Santos Memorial Softball Tournament on Sunday afternoon at Edward M. Collins Memorial Park in Mongaup Valley. In the front row, from left to right, are Thomas VanDunk, Chris Morgan Jr., Lesley Morgan, Dillon Kozloski, Chris Morgan, Wayne Kozloski, Jamie Caufield and Mike Talmadge. In the back row, from left to right, are Chris Smith, Jason Corman, J.R. Drew, Tom Butler, Alex Rodriguez, Brian Kowal, Billy Schutz, Chuck Worthington and Jason McCann.
Homers wins first annual Santos Memorial Softball Tournament
By Rob Potter
MONGAUP VALLEY The Fitness Factory softball team is used to playing in tournaments and playing very well in those tournaments.
Last summer, the team, which is sponsored by The Fitness Factory Health Club in Monticello, won the New York State Men’s Modified Tournament held in Mechanicsville.
This past weekend, however, the Fitness Factory coaches and players held a softball tournament the first annual Santos Memorial Softball Tournament.
The Fitness Factory team decided to organize the tournament to honor Santos Rodriguez, who moved to Puerto Rico in 2009 and passed away in February 2010. When he resided here in Sullivan County, Santos Rodriguez played for the Fitness Factory team and was one of the pitchers who helped the team win the second annual John Spear Memorial Softball Tournament held in July 2008 at Edward M. Collins Memorial Park in Mongaup Valley.
Earlier this year, Fitness Factory Coach Edwin “Flaco” Rodriguez and his teammates decided to honor Santos Rodriguez with a softball tournament. Santos Rodriguez was a beloved teammate and the uncle of team members Edwin Rodriguez, Serafin Rodriguez, Dennis Rivera, Derwin Rivera and Xavier Cardona.
The first annual Santos Memorial Softball Tournament was held this past weekend at Collins Park and Kenneth H. Somerville Field in Monticello.
Four games were held at Somerville Field, while the other games were played at Collins Park.
“I think he helped us out with the weather for this tournament,” Edwin Rodriguez said of his uncle on Sunday afternoon while looking to the heavens above moments after the championship game ended. “We had 12 teams in the tournament and had to turn away six or seven teams. The teams came from all over to play in the tournament, from the Bronx to Binghamton to Pennsylvania.”
Instead of first and second place trophies, the first place team received $500 and the second place team received $250. The Fitness Factory team members served as umpires for the tournament and as the public address announcer for Sunday afternoon’s championship games. Other members of the Fitness Factory team and their family members also volunteered to help the tournament run smoothly.
In Sunday’s first possible championship game of the double-elimination tourney, Rockland Revolution, which came out of the loser’s bracket, defeated Homers, 5-2.
Moments later, the teams played again for the title. Homers, which is sponsored by Homers Coffee Shop in Port Jervis and has players who live in the Port Jervis and the Matamoras, Pa. area, edged Rockland Revolution, 13-12.
Rockland Revolution, which includes players from Rockland County and Sullivan County resident Tim “Chopper” Ackermann, who also pitches for the Fitness Factory team, rebounded from an early 3-0 deficit to take a 12-6 lead in the top of the third inning.
But Homers scored six runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to even the game at 12-12.
The score remained tied until the bottom of the sixth inning. With one out, Mike Talmadge singled to left field. When Wayne Kozloski hit a fly ball to the outfield which was caught for the second out of the frame, Talmadge tagged up and advanced to second base.
Tom Butler then hit a double down the left field line to bring Talmadge in to score what became the game-winning run.
As Edwin Rodriguez noted, the dozen teams which played in the tourney represented several communities in the tri-state area. One of the teams, Darders Stone Works, is based here in Sullivan County.
Edwin Rodriguez and his teammates are already looking forward to next year’s Santos Memorial Softball Tournament.
“We’re planning on holding this tournament every season,” he said.