The Mamas won the 2016 Women’s Softball League championship on Tuesday at Veterans Memorial Park and they did it in convincing fashion. Needing a win in the 6:15 pm game against a formidable Snaps team, the Mamas exploded for nine runs in the top of the seventh inning to take a 16 to 12 victory. That victory forced a second game to decide the championship. Riding their momentum, the Mamas slugged their way to a 33 to 6 win and the title.
This was the situation entering game one. The Snaps started the night with an 11 and 1 record, best in the league, and had already beaten the 9 and 4 Mamas three times this season. One of those wins was in the league playoffs, a round robin tournament with a simple format: lose two games and you’re out. For the Mamas the task was clear.
Prior to game one, Mamas coach Mike Magaruci was asked how he felt about his team’s chances. He answered without hesitation. “I’m feeling very good. We’re going to win. And you can quote me.”
The coach may not have anticipated the 50-run onslaught that was to follow, but he certainly had the pulse of his team. Led by shortstop Danielle Pappas — whose stellar defense and on-field presence are key to the team’s success — and the steady pitching of Jillian Sedlier, the Mamas held the hard-hitting Snaps at bay and led 7 to 5 entering the last inning. A nine-run rally clinched the game and set up the winner-take-all finale.
That finale was decided early as the Mamas answered four first-inning Snaps runs with 13 of their own. By the fifth inning the lead was more than 20 runs, but with no slaughter rule in effect during playoffs, the teams hung in until the end.
It was a disheartening finish for the Snaps, but they’re a talented, close-knit group that is sure to contend again next year. For the never-say-die Mamas, they had pizza and champagne to savor … not to mention a well-earned threepeat.