The men’s softball semifinals began Monday night at Veterans Park with a nailbiter and a rout.
Game one matched the Wildcats and Brewhas, two of the Island Softball League’s oldest teams. They have played each other in the playoffs almost too many times to count. Fittingly, one of the league’s most veteran players had the game-winning hit.
With the game tied, 5-5, after the regulation seven innings, Wildcats’ first baseman Chuck Sullivan lined a single into left-center in the top of the eighth to score Jerry Kroup. The ‘Cats held on for a 6-5 win to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series.
The Wildcats, who lost out on a first-round bye with a 22-16 loss to the Brewhas on the final day of the regular season, came out swinging Monday night and took a 3-0 lead in the first inning.
The Brewhas chipped away at the lead and tied the game at three after four innings.
Jerry Kroup lined a single to left-center to put the ‘Cats back on top 4-3 in the sixth, but John Custer slugged a two-run blast in the bottom half to give the Brewhas their first lead at 5-4.
In the seventh, the ‘Cats were patient at the plate and drew two walks. Chuck Sullivan then popped up to shallow right, but the ball went far enough to score the tying run.
The second contest of the evening was a whitewash for the top seeded Hurricanes, who blew away the Blazers 19-2. The Blazers had stunned last year’s finalists, the Highlanders, two games to one in the first round, but were no match for the ‘Canes on the night.
The defending champs put seven runs on the board in the first inning and that was that. James Rebello was 4 for 4 and drilled a three-run homer. Seth Abbott hit a two-run shot, and Billy Jackson had a solo homer.
The semifinals continued Wednesday night. A decisive third game, if necessary will be played Thursday.