By Tim “Shoe” Sullivan
Rookie’s Royals is the new king of the hill in the Portage County Women’s Fall Softball League. The Royals defeated Johnny & The Bootleggers, 28-27, in the wildest game in PCWSL history. The epic battle was also played on the coldest night of the season.
Rookie’s Royals advanced to the title game by downing Star Struck, 17-8, in the first game of the tripleheader at Iverson Park. With temperatures hovering around 16 degrees, the Royals broke a 4-4 tie against Struck with eight big runs in the fourth inning. Their rally included doubles by shortstop Katie Steinbach and Amy Kurszewski, singles by Samantha Zommers, Bailey Hinderman, Nicole Kirsch, Erin Laffe, and Steinbach, and two walks.
Rookie’s added five insurance runs in the fifth thanks to hits by Jacci Seefeldt, Hinderman, Steinbach, and winning pitcher Beke Blue. In all, Rookie’s had 16 hits to Star Struck’s 13. Three hits by Katie Steinbach and Bailey “Bails” Hinderman led the Royal’s attack while Amy Kurszewski, Jacci Seefeldt, and Erin Laffe chipped in with two each.
Star Struck had six players with two hits apiece. They were Readie Meyer, Stephanie Lynne, Shae Kellner, Karli Homann, Sarah Gray, and Meredith Sikorski. Star Struck finished the season in third place.
Star Struck Batting Stats: Chelsey Zarecki: double; Readie Meyer: two singles; Stephanie Lynne: two singles; Shae Kellner: two singles; Karli Homann: single, double; Brittany Zarecki: walk; Bria O’Donnell: two walks; Sarah Gray: two singles; Meredith Sikorski: two singles.
Rookie’s Royals Batting Stats: Katie Steinbach: two singles, double, two walks; Samantha Zommers: single, two walks; Amy Kurszewski: single, double; Jacci Seefeldt: double, single; Bailey Hinderman: three singles; Nicole Kirsch: single, two walks; Valerie Folan: single, two runs; Beke Blue: single, run, winning pitcher; Erin Laffe: two singles, two runs; Jodi Napiwocki: two walks.
Morey’s (2-8) dispatched Two Harps (2-8) in the second game of the frigid night to the tune of 13-6. It was so cold that a duck flying south almost crashed into the scorebooth in search of a heater. Morey’s scored five runs in both the fourth and sixth innings.
Those attacks featured two hits from Jean Higdon, Laura Waltenberg, and Amanda Cherek plus three hits by Shannon Hoffman and Stephanie Spindler. Emily Kolbeck, a rookie, picked up the pitching win for Morey’s. Alishea Johnson paced Two Harps with three hits while Toni Gaddo, Kayla Perez, Brooke Sprecher, Brandy Zblewski, and Emily Schnese swung the bats for two hits each. Toni Gaddo of the Harps also found a quarter in the Iverson parking lot.
Two Harps Batting Stats: Maddie Sprecher: single, walk; Darcie Garcia: single, walk; Toni Gaddo: walk, two singles; Kayla Perez: two singles, walk; Brooke Sprecher: two singles, walk; Alishea Johnson: three singles; Brandy Zblewski: two singles; Emily Schnese: two singles, walk.
Morey’s Bar Batting Stats: Candice Williams: two singles; Cheyanne Zabawa: single; Brittany Spindler: single, run; Jean Higdon: two singles, two runs; Stephanie Spindler: three singles; Laura Waltenberg: two singles, three runs; Shannon Hoffman: double, two singles; Emily Kolbeck: single, run; Amanda Cherek: two singles, double, walk.
And then it was on to the championship game! It was so cold that little pop flies and slow rollers were dropping in all over the place. Neither team could get the other one out. Get this: Rookie’s Royals and Johnny & The Bootleggers combined for 73 hits. That’s 73 hits. The Bootleggers had 35 hits and Rookie’s belted out 38. Some batters batted seven times. Chel Vidal had five hits for the Bootleggers, and Cheyenne Hahn, Stacey Zarecki, Kayla Keepers, and Stephanie Thomas had four hits each. Nicole Kirsch crashed five hits for the winners. That didn’t even lead the team as Amy Kurszewski and Beke Blue came through with six hits each. Becky Kurszewski, Katie Steinbach, and Samantha “Sam” Zommers added four hits apiece.
The lead changed hands almost every inning. Bootleggers would go ahead in the top of the inning and Rookie’s would grab the lead back in the bottom. The game was tied at 12-12 after three and 24-24 after six. Fans expected a hockey game to break out. The announcer announced the game from his heated car. In the top of the seventh, things looked pretty good for the Bootleggers. They took a 27-24 lead with three runs behind hits from Cheyenne Hahn, Chel Vidal, Kayla Keepers, and Stephanie Thomas. Hahn, Kristin Felts, Mak Lee, Vidal, Keepers, and Nicole Irchke all socked doubles earlier.
Rookie’s came to bat in the bottom of the seventh trailing by three. The first batter made an out. Then Nicole Kirsch singled but was forced out at second. Two outs. One out to go for a Bootleggers’ win. But then Beke Blue singled. Erin Laffe singled to drive in Val Folan. 27-25 Bootleggers. Becky Kurszewski walked to load the bases. Katie Steinbach walked and Beke Blue scored. 27-26.
Then it all came down to Amy Kurszewski. Amy hit a grounder in the hole past first base and Laffe scored the tying run from third and Becky Kurszewski scored the winning run from second.
And thus came the end to another chapter of Women’s fall softball at beautiful Iverson. It totally was a fantastic effort by all the players of both teams, and umpires Steve “Scuba” Stroik, Troy Stanford, and Bobby Sullivan finally got off the field and into their warm cars.
Johnny & The Bootleggers Batting Stats: Hailee Fuller: two singles, double, two runs; Liz Morrison: three singles, two walks, three runs; Cheyenne Hahn: two doubles, two singles, walk, three runs; Kristin Felts: two singles, double, three runs; Mak Lee: two doubles, single, two runs; Chel Vidal: three singles, two doubles, three runs; Stacey Zarecki: four singles, three runs; Kayla Keepers: three singles, double, three runs; Stephanie Thomas: four singles, two runs; Nicole Irchke: two walks, single, double, three runs.
Rookie’s Royals Batting Stats: Becky Kurszewski: four singles, five runs; Katie Steinbach: four singles, walk, four runs; Amy Kurszewski: five singles, triple, four runs; Jacci Seefeldt: three singles, two walks, two runs; Bailey Hinderman: single, double, two runs; Sam Zommers: four singles, four runs; Nicole Kirsch: five singles, walk, one run; Val Folan: three singles, three runs; Beke Blue: six singles, run; Erin Laffe: single, two runs, had hot chocolate in dugout.