By Tim “Shoe” Sullivan
Back on May 2, five teams were in the hunt for the championship T-shirts awarded each year to the winners of the Monday Night “Bud Berry” Coed Softball League.
After Monday night, it was down to two. Airport Bar, 13-0 on the year, used great defense and terrific hitting to eliminate the Shoe Crew, 14-5.
Doug Berry, owner of Doug’s Sports Pub in Buena Vista, noted: “Airport looked pretty tough. Next week’s title game between them and Kim’s Barrel Inn should be a dandy. I’d like to thank Team BAMF, the Sloppy Swats, and Shoe Crew for participating this season.It was great having them all aboard.”
The visiting Shoe Crew opened the game with solid singles by Kyle Norwood and Melissa Dombrowski. But then Andy Horst hit a hard smash to pitcher James Marthaler who was coming off injured reserve. Marthaler flipped the ball to Kyle Krieger at first to retire Horst, and Krieger fired home to catcher Kim Schmitz and barely gunned down Norwood at home. The next batter for the Crew grounded out to short. Zip for Shoe Crew in the first.
With Airport Bar owner Christine Almanza and Airport Sanitation Engineer Tony Almanza looking on, Airport took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Sue Gruba led off with a triple and came home on Meg Lee’s groundout. 1-0 Airport after one.
Almanza said, “I was starting to get a little worried. I knew the Shoe Crew was a tough opponent.”
It should be mentioned that both teams stood at attention prior to the game as the National Anthem was played honoring America a day after 9/11, and no player or fan in the stands was detected kneeling down.
“There’s a time and place to make a statement,” said Airport first-baseman Kyle Krieger, “but this was not it.”
Shoe Crew tied the game at 1-1 with a run in the top of the second. BJ Stearn doubled and came home on Jared Shilka’s single. Ground-outs to Meg Lee and shortstop Josh Swan ended further damage. Airport wasted singles by Beke Blue and Swan and failed to score in their half of the second as Marthaler flew out to Jenni Brandt in center and Stefanie Jackson was retired by left-fielder Max Delap. 1-1 after two.
“Things were really tense,” Almanza said. “I figured the game could go either way.” In the top of the third, Shoe Crew’s Julie Peskie led off with a single. Kyle Norwood flew out to Beke Blue in right, and Julie was erased on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Melissa Dombrowski.
Andy Horst then singled and Sam Stuard was safe on a rare error by Airport. With the bases loaded and two out, BJ Stearn then lined out to Josh Swan at short.
“That third out was huge,” said Airport’s Sue Gruba.
And then came the fireworks for Airport in the bottom of the third. Kyle Krieger singled, Sue Gruba doubled and was thrown out at third while Krieger scored. Adam Lee doubled, Meg Lee was safe on an error, and both came home on Tyler Mader’s three-run homer to left-center.
Mader said, “Man, I thought Jenni Brandt caught it.”
5-1 Airport, and they weren’t done. After Mader’s homer, Beke Blue singled and James Marthaler went yard with a two-run bomb to left. Singles by Stefanie Jackson and Sue Gruba’s second hit of the inning also brought in Josh Swan. The big seven-run inning made the score 8-1 in favor of Airport after three.
The Shoe Crew got back in it by coming up with four runs in the top of the fourth. A double by Jared Shilka and singles by Jenni Brandt, Max Delap, Kyle Norwood, Melissa Dombrowski, and Andy Horst put the score at 8-5 but Sam Stuard was retired on a wicked shot to Meg Lee at second.
Airport got one run back in the bottom of the fourth on consecutive singles by Mader, Beke Blue, and Marthaler. 9-5 after four. The Shoe Crew never did score again in the 5th, 6th, or 7th. Airport scored three more in the fifth when Josh Swan doubled, Sue Gruba singled for her fourth hit of the game, and Adam Lee belted a three-run homer to center as the flag was blowing straight out.
Said Almanza: “I didn’t know we had so many home-run hitters.”
Airport ended the scoring with two additional runs in the sixth. Tyler Mader led off with his second homer of the night. Then Beke Blue had her fourth hit and came in following singles by Swan and Kyle Krieger. 14-5 was your final, and Almanza could rest easily.
If you’re interested in stats, the Shoe Crew had 14 hits while Airport smacked 23. Airport bashed four home runs. Remarkably, there were no walks in the game.
Airport’s rover Beke Blue said after the game, “I really got pumped up after seeing a chipmunk in the dugout.”
Umpire Jesse “The Legend”Higgins said, “I think the Airport owners bought drinks for both teams.”
Airport is the league’s defending champion, and James Marthaler had a warning for Kim’s Barrel Inn, next Monday’s championship opponent. He said, “Remember when New England went 13-0 that one year and lost the championship? Well, we don’t want to be like the Patriots.”
“I’d love to party with the team, but someone has to sweep up the bar, and since I’m the sanitation engineer, I guess that means me,” Alamanza said.
Speaking of parties, the league at Doug’s will have their league party following the championship game at 5:45 PM next Monday. Terry Kluck’s fantastic barbecues will be featured.
SHOE CREW BATTING STATS: Kyle Norwood: two singles, run; Melissa Dombrowski: two singles (plays for Team Biadasz in Erin Laffe’s Women’s League on Thursdays at Iverson … the PCWSL); Andy Horst: two singles; Sam Stuard: good play at first; BJ Stearn: double, single, run; Jenni Brandt: single, run; Jared Shilka: single, double, run; Max Delap: single, double; Julie Peskie: single, run (plays for Team Biadasz in PCWSL). DNP. Tammy King, Amber Hintz.
AIRPORT BAR BATTING STATS: Sue Glodowski Gruba: triple, double, two singles; Adam Lee: double, three-run homer in fifth; Meg Lee: scored run, great plays at second, plays on Team Biadasz in PCWSL); Tyler Mader: single, three-run homer in third; solo homer in sixth; Beke Blue: four singles, saw chipmunk in dugout, plays for Rookies Royals in PCWSL); James Marthaler: winning pitcher, single, two-run homer in third; Stefanie Jackson: two singles; Josh Swan: double, two singles; Kim Schmitz: single, nice play at home; Kyle Krieger: two singles …correctly guessed the mystery song “Carrie Ann” by the Hollies.