The Martha’s Vineyard Women’s Softball League (MVWSL) celebrated opening night Tuesday at War Memorial Field at Veterans Park in Vineyard Haven, beginning with an 8-6 Creamers win over the Snaps on Field A in the early game of a triple-header.
Now, actual league play began last week, but everyone in this whimsical, often madcap, league knows that its annual pregame cookout (rained out last week) is the true symbol of its season opener. So players, kids, SOs, and assorted dogs chowed down on burgers ’n’ dogs ’n’ mostly soft drinks before the Snaps took the field and the Creamers picked up their bats in the MVWSL’s 13th season.
The Snaps were coming off a 15-14 win last Thursday over the Honeys, and the Creamers off a 10-1 pasting of the Shady Ladies in their opening game last week.
Veteran hurlers Sue Stephenson (Snaps) and Alleyne Hughes (Creamers) toed the slab as the Snaps took a 1-0 first-inning lead after Kris Conklin beat out an infield roller and came around to score on a single and a Creamer miscue.
Each team scored twice in the second, making it a one-run game as the bats got untracked and the teams traded runs for several innings while working winter rust off their gloves and arms.
After four innings, the Snaps were up 5-4 before the Creamers struck for three runs in the bottom of the fifth to take a 7-5 lead on a dramatic turn. Ivry Russillo hustled out an infield hit, and was followed by Tara Dinkel and Lindsay Kleeman singles to load the sacks with two outs. Ms. Hughes delivered a run-scoring single, and watched from first as her teammates kept running and running and running, as Snaps infielders threw unsuccessfully to several bases to try to stop the stampede.
Undeterred, the Snaps scored in the sixth on a booming double by Jackie Millard and consecutive singles from Kurstin Moore and Marybeth Meehan to make it 7-6, with the game-tying run being thrown out at the plate.
In all, the teams combined to throw three runners out at the plate, not something you see at any level of the National Pastime. In that regard, Snaps shortstop Lauren Goethals took the coveted though mythical MV Times Defensive Player of the Game award for her glove work.
Amid rumblings of thunder and a spot of lightning, the Creamers picked up another run in the home half of the sixth on a double by Becca Goreham and singles from Kirsten Pinto and Sandy Barnes for the 8-6 finale.
Then it was on to the postgame handshake, the favorite part of the evening for Figaro, Snaps’ catcher Conklin’s favorite terrier. Figaro lined up with everyone else, tail wagging furiously as Ms. Conklin observed, “Yeah, he’s a veteran. He’s been doing it for five years.”
The Creamers stand at 2-0 and the Snaps at 1-1 in league play.
On Veterans Park Field B, the three-time defending champion Mama’s Girls roared back from a 5-0 deficit to beat the Honeys 9-6. Jenna Zechner drilled a three-run homer and rang up five RBIs to pace the Mama’s attack.
The Rug Sox and Shady Ladies closed out the evening under the lights on Field A. The game was tight after two and a half innings, with the Sox holding a 3-2 lead. Then, with streaks of lightning crackling in the sky behind left field, the game was halted for 15 minutes.
The pyrotechnics seemed to put a charge in the Rug Sox, who came out after the delay, let out a team cheer of “Hooty Hoo and Lightning Too,” and proceeded to score 10 runs over the next two innings, to win 13-2. Mariah Duarte homered in the first inning, while Carol Bailey and Michelle Cacchiotti added RBI doubles in the third and fourth, respectively.