Lori Brown | Democrat
The Neversink FD team won the 2011 Eastern Sullivan Volunteer Firefighters Softball League championship on Tuesday night with a 17-16 victory over White Sulphur Springs FD. In the front row, from left to right, are Jesse Noren, John Shamro, Andy Garigliano, Dan Knox and Andy Hollenbeck. In the back row, from left to right, are Joe Noren, Mike Garigliano, Russ Turner, Bo Murphy, Jack Halchak, Kevin Murphy, and Nelson Durland. Missing from photo are Ron Hewlett and Ben Monell.
Neversink FD clinches softball league championship
By Lori Brown
NEVERSINK The Neversink Fire Department hosted White Sulphur Springs Fire Department in Game 2 of Eastern Sullivan Volunteer Firefighters Softball League finals series on Thursday, Aug. 25.
Unfortunately the weather did not cooperate, causing the game to be delayed and to be finished on Tuesday night.
On Thursday, Aug. 25, WSSFD started the top of the first inning with one run when Matt DeWitt crossed home plate.
Neversink FD answered by scoring two runs in the bottom of the first. Andy Garigliano scored Dan Knox with a single and John Shamro scored Bo Murphy with a double.
In the top of the second, WSSFD earned one run to tie the game at 2-2. Stacey Yaun had a sacrifice pop-fly and Devin Day tagged up and ran home.
Neversink FD took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the second when Ron Hewlett hit a solo home run over the fence. Before the third inning was to start, lightning struck to postpone the game. With the lightning brought heavy rain and the game was washed out until Tuesday night.
With beautiful sunny skies, Neversink FD and White Sulphur F.D. continued their playoff game on Tuesday night. There were a few changes to each lineup, but everyone was ready to play.
With the score tied at 16-16 going into the bottom of the seventh inning, Neversink FD knew it had to only cross one player over home plate to become the league champions, and that is exactly what the team did. Shamro hit the ball to deep right field and scored Dan Knox to win the game by the final score of 17-16.
WSSFD started the game strong. In the top of the third, DeWitt started with a single and Josh Schwartz hit a triple to score DeWitt. Chad Roth continued with a double to bring home Schwartz.
Neversink FD got the next two batters out, but then Mike Black doubled to deep center field to record two RBIs and give WSSFD a 6-3 lead.
Neversink FD’s Bo Murphy started off the bottom of the with a solo home run to deep center field. Shamro also hit a solo home run over the right field fence. The two homer cut the deficit, but Neversink FD still trailed WSSFD 6-5.
With two outs in the top of the fourth, Schwartz had a home run to bring home teammate DeWitt and give WSSFD an 8-5 lead.
But Neversink FD had a great bottom of the fourth and took the lead. Knox had a single to score Joe Noren. Andy Garigliano hit a double to right field, scoring teammates Jack Halchak and Knox to tie the ball game. With two outs, Mike Garigliano hit a single up the middle of the field to bring two teammates, Murphy and Andy Garigliano, across home plate to give Neversink FD a 10-8 lead.
WSSFD regained the advantage at 11-10 in the top of the fifth. The bases were loaded with no outs when Joe Decker ran home safely after a catch in the outfield. Carl Yaun was safe at first base due to an error and took the extra base while teammate Devin Day ran home. DeWitt hit a single scoring Nick Schiebe for the go-ahead run.
Murphy, the Neversink FD shortstop, ended WSSFD’s scoring streak by reaching over the fence to catch a foul ball.
After a couple of errors by WSSFD in the bottom of the fifth, Neversink FD regained the lead at 13-11. Jesse Noren ran home after an error. Joe Noren and Knox both scored when Knox hit an inside-the-park home run.
Chad Roth was the only WSSFD player to score during the top of the sixth. He tagged up from second base and ran home to cut the Neversink FD advantage to a single run at 13-12.
Neversink FD extended its lead by scoring four runs during the bottom of the sixth. Shamro hit an inside-the-park home run. Moments later, Andy Hollenbeck hit the ball over the fence for his first home run of the season.
Going into the seventh inning, Neversink FD led WSSFD, 16-12.
WSSFD’s Mike Black took advantage of the first pitch of the top of the seventh inning, hitting a solo home run over the right field fence. With a couple of errors in the infield, Justin Yaun ended up scoring.
With bases loaded and two outs, Neversink FD was one out away from winning the championship game. But Joe Decker doubled, which allowed teammates Schwartz and DeWitt to cross the plate and tie the game at 16-16.
That set the stage for Knox to score the game and series-winning run on Shamro’s single in the bottom of the seventh.
WSSFD only lost one game during the regular season and swept Swan Lake FD two games to none in their semifinal series. WSSFD took first place in the regular season and second place in the playoffs.
“I congratulate Neversink, they hit well,” WSSFD Player/Coach Matt DeWitt said. “We were fighting every inning.
“I am very proud of our team members,” DeWitt added. “We are all active members of the White Sulphur Springs FD. I thank all the young guys for coming out to play. We win as a team or lose as a team. We hit well, but they hit better.”
Neversink FD’s regular season record was 8-4 and after four playoff wins in a row, the team’s final record was 12-4.
“We played the Smallwood/Mongaup Valley [FD] team in the semifinals,” Neversink FD Player/Coach Russ Turner said. “We were shorthanded tonight as Hurricane Irene hurt us a little bit. Two of our players were doing rescues over the hill. We played together as a team, but missing two starters hurt us. We had a few errors in the field.
“Mike Garigliano pitched a great year, he pitched his lights out,” Turner added. “Andy Hollenbeck had a big home run of the year.”
“I have been waiting for that all year,” Hollenbeck said.
Turner continued, “Bo Murphy had a great catch to end the sixth inning. This is Neversink’s first championship win ever. All year we stuck together and played great ball and this was the end result and where we wanted to be.”
Turner said he will be presenting game balls to Fred Costa of Grahamsville and Herb Lepke of Neversink, as “they kept the teams together throughout the years.”
The Neversink FD team is a combined effort of the Grahamsville and Neversink Fire Departments.