The defending champion Hurricanes came at the Wildcats with full force in the opening game of the Island Softball League championship series, Monday night at Veterans Park.
The ‘Canes posted eight runs in a two-out first inning rally and put the game away in the fourth on home runs from Billy Jackson, Seth Abbott, and Matt Goethals en route to a 24-6 five-inning mercy-shortened win.
Game two of the best of three series was late Wednesday night. A third game, if necessary, will settle the championship tonight.
The opener started well enough for the Wildcats, who recorded two quick outs. From there, Keith Crossland singled and Matt Goethals reached on an error. James Rebello then doubled and the floodgates opened. Billy Jackson, Harrison Holmes, Seth Abbott, and Mike Jackson all singled. Aaron Robinson walked and Andrew Phillips reached on a fielder’s choice. All told, the ‘Canes led 8-0.
After retiring the ‘Cats lickity split in the second, the Hurricanes tacked on two more. Joel Rebello led off with a triple, James Holenko hit another three-bagger, Keith Crossland reached on an error, and James Rebello doubled.
Down 10-0, the ‘Cats mounted a rally in the third. Ryan Murtha and Joe Fontaine singled. Wally “Gator” Tomkins batted in Murtha. Chuck Sullivan got on base and Andrew Williamson singled for an RBI. Kyle Crossland scored Sullivan. Noah Stobie made it 10-4 on a fielder’s choice.
Any progress the ‘Cats made in the top half of the third was wiped out in the bottom half, starting with another error to put Harrison Holmes on base. Aaron Robinson doubled, Seth Abbott tripled, and Mike Jackson singled. The ‘Canes led 13-4.
The fourth inning was all she wrote. Hurricanes shortstop Billy Jackson broke the ‘Cats with his glove and his bat, first with a spectacular diving grab and putout on Ryan Murtha, and then with a two-run homer to left. Seth Abbott crushed a three-run homer and Matt Goethals hit a two-run shot to complete the rout.
Wildcats 14, Brewhas 12 (8 innings)
Extra innings were required to settle a classic semi-final between the Wildcats and Brewhas on August 23.
Chuck Sullivan batted in Ryan Murtha with a deep sacrifice fly and Kyle Crossland singled in Gator Tomkins to send the ‘Cats to the finals with a win in the third and decisive game.
The Wildcats showed no ill effects after a 26-7 pounding in game two as Anthony Piland drilled a three-run homer in a five-run first inning.
The Brewhas scored three in the bottom half and the teams proceeded to trade blows for 90 minutes.
With the score tied at 11-11 in the fifth, the ‘Cats took the lead as Ryan Murtha charged home as Jerry Kroup dove head first into first base, safe.
The Brewhas set the table for extra innings on a Matt Gebo lead-off solo shot in the bottom of the sixth.