Story by Jon Dinan
LIBERTY Jim’s Automotive Hitmen of the Liberty Men’s Slo-Pitch League crushed seven home runs en route to a 32-20 victory over Wildcats of Blume's H & L Improvements and claimed the Liberty Slo-Pitch League’s A Division championship.
The Hitmen swept the best-of-three series winning the first game, 20-19.
“We feel really great,” said Hitmen coach Rob Sze. “We put this team back together after a hiatus for a couple years. A lot of guys stayed loyal and came back. [The Wildcats] were shorthanded tonight, but they are still a good team who fought back well. We have nothing but respect for them.”
The Hitmen certainly lived up to their name with Friday night’s offensive onslaught. They scored 11 of their 32 runs in the top of the first placing the Wildcats in a devastating hole.Fred Moore set the long ball tone with a three-run shot in the first, one of his two homers. Jason Garritt also belted two dingers. Second baseman, Dez Williams also got into the act jacking an apparent grand slam in the third that would be scored a three-run homer because one of the runners on base missed home plate.
By the fifth inning, Jim’s already belted seven home runs and there could be no more. League rules allow no more than seven home runs -- after that any fly ball hit over the fence in fair territory after a team’s seventh homer counts as an out. By chance or strategy, Jim’s kept the ball in the park for the final two innings.
The Wildcats tried to fight back. They shaved what was once a 20-run lead down to 10 by the end of the fifth, but a few defensive lapses in those later innings kept the Cats from clawing their way all the way back.
Blume’s lopsided game 2 loss came despite shortstop Mike Mill’s huge effort. A double away from the cycle, Mills went 5 for 6 with 3 home runs, a triple, and a single.
“I was seeing the ball great today. Sometimes they float in right where you want them, but it still hurts to lose the way we did,” said Mills, a 2011 Livingston Manor graduate.
“I think next year we’ll be better. We’ll have fresh legs next season,” Mills added.
Beaverkill Wins “B” Title
In the B Division championship, Beaverkill Fire Department defeated Royal Associates in the best-of-three series.