Men’s summer softball season begins

Gustaves hold off Floaters in exciting opener.

Floaters shortstop Aksel Cooperrider makes the tag on Michael Montanile to retire the Gustaves in the third inning. — Ralph Stewart

The men’s Island Softball League season finally got underway with a Thursday-night triple-header at Veterans Park in Vineyard Haven, after the first six games, scheduled for May 29 and 31, were rained out.

The Gustaves (named for a man-eating Nile crocodile from Burundi) and Floaters opened the festivities, and the game turned out to be a dandy. The Crocs scored six runs in the first inning, opened up an eight-run lead, then held off a furious Floaters rally in the sixth and seventh to win, 13-11.

Derek Mava belted a double to start the game, and the Gustaves were off and running. Oscar Hansen, Tom Corr, and Kyle Stobie all singled. Matt Montanile Jr. also reached base, and George Ducharme finished off the six-run rally with a two-RBI double.

The Floaters fought back in the bottom half of the first, and cut the Crocs’ lead in half. Chris Bonica, Kyp Cooperrider, and Josh Robinson-White singled to load the bases, and Adam Petkus drilled a three-run double.

After an uneventful second frame, the Gustaves added a run in the third on a Michael Montanile fielder’s choice, following a trio of singles by Tom Corr, Tyler Johnson, and Matt Montanile Jr.

The first five batters got on base in the Gustaves fourth as the Crocs padded their lead to 11-3. George Ducharme, Aaron Lowe, Noah Stobie, Derek Mava, Connor Cinque, and Tom Corr all singled, and Matt Montanile Sr. drew a walk.

With their bats taking a bite out of the Floaters at the plate, the Gustaves were letter-perfect on defense in the middle innings, retiring the Floaters 1, 2, 3 in the third, fourth, and fifth.

In the top of the sixth, the Gustaves went down in order for the first time. The Floaters found a spark, and erupted for five runs in the bottom half. As they had in the first inning, Chris Bonica, Kyp Cooperrider, and Josh Robinson-White, at the top of the order, all singled. Cue cleanup hitter Daron Stobie, who did just that, by clearing the bases with a long triple to deep center field.

The Floaters continued to chip away. Adam Petkus and Evan Hammond each singled, while Nainoa and Askel Cooperrider both walked. Two more runs crossed the plate, and the Gustaves’ lead shrank to 11-8. Game on.

With insurance runs welcomed in the seventh inning, Tyler Johnson and Michael Montanile provided for the Gustaves with a run-scoring double and single to make the score 13-8.

The Floaters fought on with Kyp Cooperrider, Daron Stobie, and Todd Vanderhoop all earning RBIs, but the comeback came up short and the Gustaves got the win.

In the second game of the evening, the Blazers burned the Brewhas 16-13. Mike O’ Donoghue and Mike Mussell went yard for the Blazers. Matt Rivers and Amos Cavallo bashed first-inning homers for the Brewhas.

The Whitecaps took the nightcap of the triple-header, submerging the Mermen under a wave of hits and runs, 29-6.

The three-time defending champion Hurricanes, winners in five of the past six seasons (2011, 2012, 2014-2016), were scheduled to play their first game Wednesday night against the Blazers.