Honeys, Creamers, and Mama's win playoff thrillers

Snaps first baseman Kaylea Moore secures the ball to get Darcie Lee Hanaway in the nick of time. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

The Martha’s Vineyard Women’s Softball League double-elimination playoff tournament continued Tuesday night at Veterans Park in Vineyard Haven. All four games went down to the wire; three were decided in the final at-bat.

Before the three scheduled games got underway, the Honeys and Creamers completed a playoff game begun on July 30 and suspended due to darkness. The teams picked up where they left off, tied at 24-24, after the regulation seven innings. The slugfest ended quietly in the eighth as Megan Buchanan drew a walk-off base on balls, scoring Texe Craig to give the Honeys a 25-24 victory.

With the win, the Honeys stayed on Field A for a winner’s-bracket showdown with the Snaps, who beat the top-seeded Mama’s Girls 18-12 on July 30. The Creamers, meanwhile, moved down to Field B to take on the Rug Sox in an elimination game.

The Honeys and Snaps battled to a 3-3 tie after seven innings. The game was filled with defensive gems

from both teams. Honey’s centerfielder Darcie Lee Hanaway had the brightest, thwarting a Snaps threat in the top of the seventh by catching Crystal Roy’s long fly ball and firing to first to double up Kris Conklin. Then, with bat in hand, she stroked the winning single in the bottom of the eighth, scoring Micheli Lynn in a 4-3 win.

With darkness falling, the Rug Sox and Creamers moved up to Field A, completing their game under the lights.

The Sox led 6-5 after five innings, and scored three more in the top of the sixth. With the bases loaded, Jess Sonia walked to score Mariah Duarte, and Julie Pringle followed up with a two-run single, batting in Virginia Clarke and Ms. Sonia.

The Creamers responded with five runs in the bottom of the sixth, and held on for a 10-9 win. Becca Gorham singled, Ivory Russillo doubled, Emily Anderson walked, and Emily Cooney singled. Zoe Nugent had the big stick, clearing the bases with a three-run homer to right-center. The Creamers would likely have scored more if not for Sox left fielder Miranda Tokarz, who robbed Sam Burns of an extra-base hit with a diving, rolling catch on the foul-line.

The final game of the evening may well have been the best, and that’s saying something. The sixth-seeded Shady Ladies gave the top-seeded Mama’s Girls all they could handle in a 15-14 defeat.

The Shadies scored three runs in the first inning and opened up an 11-1 lead after Katie Davey, Heather Gibson, Sue Sanford, Rachel Rooney, Harriet Broun, and Maggie Sarmiento all plated in a six-run fifth.

The defending champs had work to do. Sarah Williston, Emily Williston, and Caroline Davey all doubled as the Mama’s whittled the Shadies’ lead down to 11-9 heading into the seventh inning.

Harriet Broun, Maggie Sarmiento, and Jen Neary all scored in the top half to put the Shadies up 14-9. Mama’s second baseman Jenna Zechner made sure the margin stayed at five, stretching to barehand a Jaci Smith toss for the force-out at second.

The Shadies were within three outs of an historic upset, while the Mama’s, with a loss to the Snaps already in the books, were three outs away from elimination.

Hayley Panek and Jaci Smith both singled to open the Mama’s seventh. After two quick outs, the Mama’s showed a champion’s heart, reeling off five straight hits. Emily Williston, Lauren Williston, and Caroline Davey all singled, Jenna Zechner tied the game with a triple, and Jamie Forend singled to win it.

The Mama’s move on to face the Creamers, August 6 at 6:35 pm on Field B at Veterans Park. The Snaps will play the winner Tuesday on Field A at 6:35 pm. The Honeys, unbeaten in the tournament, have reached the championship round, and will play the survivor of the Mama’s, Creamers, and Snaps on August 13 on Field B.