We know more about the playoffs after last week’s action. All participants except one are settled in the “A” division – Thirst and Harp & Bard are both battling for it. In the “B” division, three teams - Kekambas, Banshee and Roza Lyons - have clinched spots. It’s still undecided for most, and much will be decided in the coming week.
With so many spots still open, and the order of finish still up in the air, making sure you get a full team to the field is as important as ever (two games this past week were probably decided because of a lack of that fourth outfielder.) All rainouts have now been plugged back into the schedule, so coaches should make certain they know when their teams are playing and get their teams to commit. The teams that get their best 10 to the field, time after time, are usually those who go deep into the M Street playoffs.
It also time to make sure you’ll have enough players QUALIFIED for a playoff run (well, actually, it’s something a good coach should be aware of from the start, but better now than never.) To clarify, players need 25 plate appearances (AB + BB + Sacrifices) -OR- 25 innings pitched. This does not mean a pitcher appearing in the playoffs has to have 25 innings pitched during the regular season – anyone qualified can throw for you – but a player with neither of the qualifications will not be eligible (barring a waiver, granted by the commissioner, for injury or other extenuating circumstances – and if you have such a player, who appears unlikely to make the cutoff, it would be best to make us aware of it BEFORE you take the field for your first playoff game. If your opposition wants to use it to their advantage, they can definitely ask to have a player removed from the field if he hasn’t qualified or been granted an exemption.) Also, rules that may have been interpreted loosely, or let slide by your opposition, during a regular season game, may not be during playoffs. It’s best to play it by the book, or be ready to take your medicine if you don’t.
Here are the results from week 15.
I believe we set a new all-time high for runs scored on Monday – 109 in three games. First, Roza Lyons clinched a playoff spot via a 21 – 13 victory over Colt Recycling. Joe Zanca and Ryan Linehan led the way with three RBI each, while Derek Richards and Connor Hayes scored four times apiece. Only home run in the game came from Ben Morse of Colt. Then the second game had a result of 18 – 13 in favor of Village Pizza. Team Cookout were the victims and they became the first squad to be officially eliminated from playoff contention. One home run for the winners – Frank Reiman – and one for the losers - coach Ryan McGloin. Balanced attack for the doughboys, with Eric Archembault, Eddie Blum and Alex Marlowe all going 3-for-4. Then came the topper of the unlikely scores, as VK’s Club demolished Elevated Realty, 33 – 11, with the 33 definitely a record for most runs scored by a team in one game. This time, it was the victorious team who had the home runs – six in all (Patrick Triggs and Mike Boudreau with one each, while Jimmy Botting and Mike Bulman stroked two each.) Triggs and Bulman had four runs batted in, Botting had seven, and coach Mike Boudreau led the way with EIGHT. Yikes.
Tuesday began with a more reasonable game. Roza Lyons came from three runs down to beat Handdukies, 8 – 6. Rob Caggiano’s two-out grand slam in the bottom of the sixth put Roza in the lead for the first time and they held on in the seventh to clinch the victory. Odd game for Dukies pitcher Brian Walsh, as he gave up only four hits but walked nine. And because of the placement of some key errors behind him, only one of the eight runs he gave up went on the books as earned. Middle game was a rematch of a playoff series from last season. STATS Sluggers eliminated the Loco Pirates, 2 games to 1, in the quarter-finals last year. Pirates gained a bit of revenge in this game, posting a 15 – 7 win that wasn’t in doubt most of the way. It was 9 – 1 after two complete and Loco wasn’t much threatened after that. Corey Schneider had a three-RBI night for STATS, but Rob Rogers and Nate Meyl had home runs and three RBI each for the black and gold. Brian “Cheeks” Pacheco picked up his eighth win, leading total for an “A” pitcher. In the nightcap, Harp & Bard was desperately trying to make up ground and get back into the playoff picture, and they gave it a good shot – they led, 17 – 14, after five innings – but Lincoln Tavern just plain had more ammunition in the end, outscoring Harp, 12 – 0, over the final two innings, to post a 26 – 17 victory. Max Vigliotti and Leo Evriviades had home runs for Lincoln, with Evriviades driving in five runs. Nice games at the plate for a lot of guys (that happens when you put up 26 runs) and Adam Feinstein drove in four, Joey Fabiano went 4-for-5, and Al Porcaro made his return to action a memorable one with a 4-for-5 night. For Harp, Tim Jean and Kevin Greene had four hits each.
One of the biggest late-game comebacks in M Street history started the night on Wednesday. Banshee had built a 16 – 9 lead, entering last call for Playwright, but 10 hits, 4 errors and a walk later, Playwright had put 13 runs on the board, shellshocking Banshee, who went quietly in the bottom of the inning. Playwright pulls off the 22 – 16 come-from-way-behind win, running their winning streak to seven games, and Banshee probably blows their opportunity to finish first in the “B” division. Mark Lopez started the late-inning heroics with a two-run homer, while his double-play-combo partner, Glenn Peterson, finished the scoring with his two-run homer. In between, everyone in the Playwright lineup either scored a run or drove one in. Wow. Kekambas followed up by taking advantage of Banshee’s misfortune, winning their game against Junction Yard Goats, 7 – 1, and moving into a tie for first-place (they have a game remaining, while Banshee’s schedule is finished, and Roza Lyons still has three to go wherein they might pass both.) Story in this one was some solid playing at SS by Jake Brawley, as well as good pitching by Pete Kelich (who notches his 10th win, to tie Banshee’s Jack Atton for the league lead, with an opportunity to pass him in the remaining game on their schedule.) Brawley also went 3-for-3 – all doubles - while David Kurey had three RBI and Will Kiriazidis had a first-inning home run that provided all the cushion Kelich would need on the evening. Nightcap saw PGH (Pitches Get Hit) in a back-and-forth affair with VMT. The lead changed hands seven times in this one, with PGH finally coming out on top, 16 – 14. Jake Quinn and Calvin Texeira had home runs for VMT, while Matt Clifford powered one for PGH. Kevin Amarucci ALMOST had one for VMT, but here’s today’s lesson in softball, kids: You have to touch all the bases or it doesn’t count. Amarucci missed second base and an alert Eric MacDonald of PGH appealed the play. Out! Instead of a tie game at that point, and VMT still batting, it got PGH out of the inning with a one-run lead. Ouch.
Thursday was a night where, if you could bet into a point spread on M Street games, all the underdogs would have covered. First up was an outright win for a team lower in the standings than their opposition, as City Tap House took down Village Pizza, 13 – 9. Pizza had the early lead, 6 – 0, held it until the fifth (7 – 6), but then Tap outscored them, 7 to 2 from the fifth on, for the victory. Chris Boyd had his “B” division-leading eighth home run, while Alex Manoogian stroked a grand slam in the sixth to break it open for Tap. Eddie Blum had a 4-for-4 outing for the doughboys. Next up, Southside Tavern jumped out to a quick 9 – 0 lead, but then barely held on to beat Lincoln Tavern, 11 – 10. Lincoln, missing many of their regulars, had the go-ahead run to the plate with two out in the seventh, but couldn’t cash in. One of the regulars who did cash in was Adam Feinstein – 2 doubles and a triple. For Southside, the theme was power. Miguel “Lenky” Dupree had ¾ of a cycle (the hard parts – double, triple, home run) and Sammy “Ballgame” MacDonald had a vicious THREE home runs, none of them cheap by any means – one almost traveled to the right field foul pole on the N Street diamond – and 5 RBI. Last game saw Thirst almost mount a big comeback, but they also came up one run short, losing to Pat Simpson Club, 9 – 8. Johnny Rigs (Rigopoulos) was solid in the leadoff spot, going 4-for-4 with 3 batted in. For the winners it was Marky Goodman, Brian Goodman, and Brian Gomes with home runs. Props to Kevin Rosher for suiting up and catching. He’s a guy who’s down here for almost every game, hasn’t played all year, but came in as the tenth man and made a big difference – 2-for-3 with a run batted in. No Rosher? Maybe no win in a game so closely decided.
Friday’s first contest was a no-go, as VMT forfeited to City Tap House. Final game of the week saw Thirst and STATS tangle in an affair filled with offensive production. Thirst takes a huge step toward securing that last “A” playoff spot with an 18 – 14 win over STATS. Any Thirst win, or Harp & Bard loss, will clinch the playoff spot for Thirst (they hold the tiebreaker on Harp, having beaten them earlier in the season.) Lots of hitting stars in this one, but Billy Zoglia gets the ink. He had two home runs and eight runs batted in. Mercy!
That wraps it up for this week. See you down the ballpark.
[Jim Sullivan writes for the Boston Herald on a semi-regular basis, and has been published in many other places. Go to the Boston Herald website at bostonherald.com/opinion/op_ed to see his writing there, usually on Wednesday and Sunday.]
A few reminders from your commissioner:
Parking - guys please leave your cars at home as the available parking spaces around the field is VERY limited. Most spaces are Resident only so unless you are a South Boston resident then you will most likely get a $40 ticket that the league cannot cover. Some relief (Thomas Butler Park on First Street will have 1200 parking spaces) is on the way but is still a year away. If possible, car pool, take the T, or bike/walk to the park and save yourself the headache.
Umpire/Scorekeeper fee - please pay the umpire $25 and pay $5 to "Sully" the official scorekeeper BEFORE the game begins.
Forfeits - we don't like forfeits in the M Street Softball League as they cost the league money and waste people's time. With that said, if you know there is a scheduled game that is going to be a problem then let me know ASAP and I will work with you in finding additional players, rescheduling the game, and/or cancelling it all together.
Inclement weather/rain outs - the league will usually make a decision by 5pm on whether or not the game is on or off. Once the decision is made then the league will reach out to the coaches - we will not leave you hanging. The league website (sbsports.com) will also be updated within minutes of a cancellation.
Bats - just a reminder that composite bats are illegal...however, bats that have a composite handle and metal barrel are OK. DeMarini Steel is a very popular bat in our league as is the Anderson RocketTech.
Equipment - the league will provide bases and also has a catcher's mask that your catcher can borrow (ask Sully) on a nightly basis.
Pitching rules - we are using the same rules as we implemented last year...that's strict modified pitching - no sling, no windmill, and no arc. It's pretty much straight back with the arm, a forward step to the plate, and deliver the ball. A great source on the "Classic Style" with videos can be found here 10manmodified.com/pitching-rules/videos-of-modified-styles/
Starting lineups - reminder, we use four outfielders, P, C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS and if you want (optional) you can use a DH and an EH for a total of 12 players. The EH can take the field and substitute for any defensive player while the DH cannot take the field (unless injury).
Playoffs - 16 teams will be eligible for the playoffs.
Playoff eligibility - although the rosters are open there is minimum number of plate appearances or innings pitched (25) a player must meet to qualify for the playoffs.
Stats, news, etc... - please check the league website for all the latest news, standings, stats, and more.
Schedule - we tried to evenly spread out the amount of start times for each team...it's not an easy or exact science. The regular season will run from May to mid August followed by the start of the playoffs.
Wishing you and your players a great season of softball at M Street.
M Street Softball League