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Softball

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Nicole Cancellare hits a rocket up the middle for the Snaps.

In two games of intense softball, the Mama’s Girls came out victorious, defeating the reigning champion Snaps 8-5 to claim the 2014 women’s softball title.

Snaps pitcher Susan Stephenson pitched in relief in both games.

Snaps pitcher Susan Stephenson pitched in relief in both games. — Photo by Michael Cummo

The Mama’s, previously undefeated in the playoffs, hosted the Snaps who had one loss. Because the tournament structure is double elimination, the Snaps had to win two games in a row to claim the title.

With a four  presidential helicopter flyovers kicking off game one, the Snaps started out hot and stayed that way. Snaps infielder Lauren Merry knocked in Crystal Roy with an RBI single for the first run of the game, and the Snaps poured it on from there. The Snaps led 3-1 going into the fifth inning but exploded for six runs, making the score 9-1. Back to back RBIs for Ryan Gold and Crystal Roy kickstarted the rally, and pitcher Chrissy McCarthy contributed to her own cause with a 2 RBI double.

With a patient approach at the plate, the Snaps continued to dominate, going into the bottom of the seventh inning with a 14-1 advantage. The Mama’s fought back, though, and strung together a four-run rally culminating in pitcher Jillian Sedlier’s two-run home run. But it was not enough as the Mama’s fell in game one, 14-5.

Mamas infielder Jamie Forend attempts to tag a Snaps baserunner but is moments too late.

Mamas infielder Jamie Forend attempts to tag a Snaps baserunner but is moments too late. — Photo by Michael Cummo

The second and decisive game was played under the lights, mere minutes after the first ended. The pitchers remained the same, Chrissy McCarthy for the Snaps and Jillian Sedlier for the Mama’s, but this time the Mama’s came out swinging. Down 1-0 after a first inning RBI single for Ryan Gold, the Mama’s took their first lead of the night after a Jillian Sedlier RBI sac fly and a bases loaded RBI for Caroline Davey, making it 2-1 Mama’s. They would not look back after that.

An RBI single from Lauren Williston extended the lead in the second inning to 3-1. The top half of the third showed tremendous defense by the Mama’s, particularly shortstop Danielle Pappas, who made an inning-ending diving catch to keep the lead intact. Snaps pitcher Chrissy McCarthy ran into trouble in the bottom of the third, when she initially struck out the first two batters, but then walked the next five, which scored two runs and put the lead at 5-1, Mama’s. Susan Stephenson came on in relief for the second game in a row and immediately ended the inning with a strikeout.

Danielle Pappas kept another run off the board in the top of the fourth, diving and snagging a hard ground ball to keep it in the infield. In the bottom of the inning, Caroline Davey extended the Mama’s lead with a booming bases-loaded double, clearing the bases and extending the lead to 8-1.

The Mama's celebrate winning the league championship.

The Mamas celebrate winning the league championship. — Photo by Michael Cummo

The Snaps had opportunities to fight back but could not bring baserunners home. In the fifth they left two baserunners on and in the sixth they stranded three, missing the most of good opportunities to fight back. The Snaps did show some punch, but it was too little too late. In the bottom of the seventh, pitcher Chrissy McCarthy hit a monster double, scoring two. Moments later, a Mama’s throwing error led to another run. Two more were tacked on with a double, but ultimately Mama’s pitcher Jillian Sedlier was able to pitch through it and end the game, 8-5, breaking the Snaps championship streak and giving the title to the Mama’s Girls.

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Jeff Charles of the Wildcats uncoils for a hit.

Summer sports at Veterans Park officially got underway Monday night with a Martha’s Vineyard Men’s Softball League doubleheader.

Wally "Gator" Tomkins of the Wildcats swings through the ball with his eyes sharply focused.

Wally “Gator” Tomkins of the Wildcats swings through the ball with his eyes sharply focused. — Ralph Stewart

For the first time in three decades, the league opened play without the familiar forest green shirted Treds who disbanded over the winter. In their place, with some familiar faces, are the Whitecaps.

Due to scheduling with travel soccer, during the first two weeks of the season, men’s league games will start at 7 pm, with two seven-inning games per night in a one-pitch per batter format to speed up play.

The ‘Caps started off opening night with a 27-14 win over the Wildcats. Billy Johnson wasted little time putting the league newbies on top by crushing the game’s third pitch for a two-run homer. The Whitecaps led 4-1 after one and 6-3 after four but put the game out of reach by exploding for five, nine, and seven runs over the final three innings.

The Whitecaps' Mike Luongo rounds third after hitting his second homer of the game.

The Whitecaps’ Mike Luongo rounds third after hitting his second homer of the game. — Ralph Stewart

Mike Luongo drilled two grand slams, one in the fifth and another in the sixth. Also in the sixth, Asa Vought hit a two-run single and Luke Bettencourt followed with a two-run double. Alex Bettencourt keyed the ‘Caps seventh with a grand slam of his own.

Not to be outdone, Anthony Piland blasted a grand slam in the bottom half of the seventh as the ‘Cats finished up strong by scoring eight runs.

In the nightcap, the Hurricanes scored early and often in a 27-3 win over Gustav.

James Holenko led off the game with a home run and slugged a second round-tripper in the second inning. Bobby Sprague homered in the first and launched a three-run triple deep to left in the second. Harrison Holmes also tripled in the second, scoring three, as the camouflaged ‘Canes built a 13-0 lead. Joel Rebello hit a two RBI double to key a six-run third.

Alec Tattersall and Ryan Welty had RBI singles in the bottom half of the second for Gustav.

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Vineyard pitcher Jessica Sonia winds up for a pitch in the second inning Thursday against O' Bryant.

The Vineyard varsity softball team is off to a 3-0 start after the first week of play. The Purple swept a doubleheader, 14-2 and 13-6, Saturday at Randolph. In the opener, Sarah Strem pitched a complete game with 7 K’s to earn her first varsity win. Jessica Sonia went the distance in game two, striking out 10. Julia Sauter hit three doubles on the day and has five in the first three games. Alistair Rizza had the other big bat for M.V. and is 10 for 12 at the plate this season.

On April 3 in Oak Bluffs, Mariah Duarte crushed a grand slam to key an 11-run first inning as the Vineyarders romped to a 23-11 five-inning win over John O’Bryant of Boston in the season opener. Mariah singled in the third and finished 4 for 4 on the day. Alistair Rizza earned two walks to go 3 for 3, while Miranda Tokarz went 2 for 3 with a double.

Sophomore pitcher Jessica Sonia recorded her first varsity win.

Vineyard coach Donald Herman is pleased with his team’s solid start atthe  plate but hopes for continued growth with his young pitching staff. “I’m encouraged by the way we’re swinging the bat,” he said. “Coming up, we’ll be seeing some much tougher pitching. The quicker our pitching improves, the more competitive we’ll become as a team because this game is so pitcher-dominated. Also, lowering the number of walks will also increase our chance of being competitive.”

The Vineyarders played at Bishop Stang Wednesday, host Bishop Feehan Friday, travel to Cambridge Rindge and Latin Saturday, and play Falmouth Monday in Oak Bluffs.