Story by Jon Dinan
CALLICOON It was a pair of back to back jacks by Darder’s Stone Works that drove the dagger through the heart of Ronnies Ringers in Sunday’s championship final of the Delaware Youth Center Benefit Tournament.
Down by two runs in the bottom of the seventh, Darder’s shortstop, Craig Miller sparked the game-winning rally with a sharply hit single. Then it was Jeremy Digoria’s turn. In a pressure-filled situation, he stepped up to the plate and delivered a two-run homer to tie the game, his second of the game. Darder’s was not done however, as the very next batter, Orion Darder launched his own solo shot over the center field fence sealing the 18-17 victory for his namesake team.
“It feels awesome. I love playing with this team,” Darder said. “Everyone did their part and it was a real team effort.”
The championship round of the double elimination tournament began at 3 p.m. at the Delaware Youth Center softball field in Callicoon. The first match-up was Ronnie’s Ringers vs. White Sulphur Springs Inn. The Ringers easily won 11-1, the game being called in the third inning due to a 10-run mercy rule, eliminating White Sulphur.
The second game would have a similar outcome as Ronnie’s Ringers advanced and bested the undefeated Darder’s Stone Works team, 18-2. However, since Darder’s was undefeated they would still need one more loss in order to be eliminated, so the two teams would took about a 10-minute break before they played a rematch for the championship.
The Ringers would strike first putting three runs on the board in the top of the first inning. In the bottom of the first, Darder’s would answer back with a two-run home run off the bat of Tom Butler. The Ringers went back up 5-2 in the top of the second as they added two more runs. That lead was short lived. In the next inning a two-run homer by Darder’s Miller and a solo bomb from Digoria tied the game at five apiece.
Every time the Ringers tried to put the game out of reach Darder’s offense would kick in and allow them to come roaring back. However it was a defensive play that saved the game for Darder’s. A diving catch from Darder’s left fielder, Jared Meola to rob the Ringer’s Kyle Rizzi allowed Darder’s to stay within striking range for the last inning heroics.
The annual tournament in its sixth year is held to raise money for the Delaware Youth Center in Callicoon.