By Tim “Shoe” Sullivan
On a perfect night for softball, Airport Bar dispatched Sloppy Swats 13-2 Monday night at Moore Barn Memorial. Their win set the stage for next Monday’s championship game in the “Bud Berry” League which will see Airport take on Kim’s Barrel Inn.
Sloppy Swats got off to a good start by scoring two runs in the top of the first. Singles by Brady Spees, Jen Eggleston, and Evan Volm plus a walk to leftfielder Matt Barden allowed two Swats runners to cross home plate. However, any further damage was prevented when Airport’s Garrett Karnowski, Meg Lee, and Kyle Krieger pulled off a snazzy double play. Airport Bar’s outfielder Adam Lee noted: “That double play was huge for us. They had a nice rally going and we were lucky to hold them to only two runs.”
Airport Bar failed to score in the bottom of the first so the Swats led 2-0 after one inning.
Unfortunately for the Swats, those two runs in the first were the only runs they would score for the whole game. Airport’s defense was simply outstanding. Tyler Mader, Abby Rottier, Kim Schmitz, and Adam Lee made several nice catches in the outfield, and Meg Lee, Kyle Krieger, and shortstop Garrett Karnowski were flawless in the infield. Sue Gruba at third base also threw out five of the Swats’ batters.
The Swats’ Pat Scheele said, “They caught everything. Airport always came up with a great play whenever we got someone on base.” Indeed, the Swats only had ten hits during the semi-final playoff game, and they were all singles.”
Airport still trailed 2-0 after two innings, but then they staged another one of their patented comebacks. Their first eight batters reached base as they erupted for nine big runs in the bottom of the third. Airport’s offense turned on the jets as rightfielder Kim Schmitz, Kyle Krieger, and Abby Rottier each singled. Then Adam Lee walked, Meg Lee singled, Garrett Karnowski doubled, Sue Gruba reached on an error, and Tyler Mader doubled.
Kyle Krieger also doubled for his second hit of the inning. Krieger had three hits in all, every one of them to center field. For the year, Kyle had about 40 hits, and every one of them were right up the middle.
Airport’s huge rally in the third gave them a 9-2 lead after three. The Swats got two runners on in the sixth and seventh but couldn’t put anything up on the scoreboard. Onlooker Tom Riske observed, “Airport always came up big on defense when they had to.”
The winners tacked on four more runs in the fifth to complete the rout. Sue Gruba used a batting tip from hubby Ricky Gruba and led off with a single. Then Tyler Mader, and Stefanie Jackson and the pitcher singled and an infield error loaded the bases. Kyle krieger unloaded them with yet another hit to center, and that was all she wrote.
“Our hats are off to them,” Pat Scheele of the Swats said. “They got the key hits, and their defense, as always, was outstanding. It’s hard to score runs against them.”
And so the season that began way back on May 1 is down to one game with Kim’s Barrel Inn slated to take on Airport Bar for the league championship. The title game will be at 6:00 p.m. on September 18. KBI advanced to the championship by beating Shoe Crew, 12-5, two weeks ago. KBI’s starting lineup for that game included Eric Mueller, Morgan Oppor, Josh Barnes, Jazmin Soto, Nic Dulmes, Megan Wiczek, Jacob Barnes, Megan Pollack, Jake Mortimer, and Kassie McGettigan.
Airport Bar squared off against KBI three times in the regular season. On May 8, Airport Bar won, 15-9, as Adam Lee and Kyle Krieger led the way with three hits each. On June 19, KBI won a squeaker, 10-9, behind four hits by Josh Barnes and Morgan Oppor’s home run. On July 31, Airport won 17-14 as Tyler Mader had four hits and Garrett Karnowski added three. Jazmin Soto and Jacob Barnes led KBI with four hits each while Josh Barnes and Megan Pollack added three apiece.
The League Party will follow after the title game.
SLOPPY SWATS BATTING STATS: Brady Spees: single; Rachel Graves: single, run; Matt Barden: walk, single, run; Jen Eggleston: two singles; Evan Volm: two singles; Pat Scheele: two singles; Justin Scott: single.
AIRPORT BAR BATTING STATS: Abby Rottier: single, run, great catch in center; Adam Lee: walk, run; Meg lee: single, run, turned double play; Garrett Karnowski: double, run; Sue Gruba: two singles, two runs, listened to hubby Ricky, the great former shortstop; Tyler Mader: single, two doubles, two runs; Stefanie Jackson: two singles, run; Kim Schmitz: single, run; Kyle Krieger: double, two singles, run.
The championship game on Sept. 18 will also be Megan Wiczek Bobblehead Night.