The men’s Island Softball League best-of-three semifinal series got underway on Monday night with a doubleheader at Veterans Park. The Brewhas took on the top-seeded Highlanders, followed by the Whitecaps against the three-time defending champion and second-seeded Hurricanes.
The opening contest was a classic, as the Brewhas staged a rally for the ages in overturning an 18-10 deficit, scoring 14 runs in the top of the seventh inning to gut out a 24-18 win.
Matt Rivers, Derek Chrebet, and Tim Millerick all hit three-run homers for the Brewhas in the barrage. Mr. Rivers, in fact, slugged a trio of three-run homers on the night, good for nine RBIs. Leadoff hitter Matt Alexander and Matt Gebo each went 3 for 4 on the night, with three runs scored.
The Highlanders got great production from the top half of the order. Todd Hitchings, John Mazza, Jeremy Scheffer, Ryan Kurth, and Matt Kurth had three hits apiece, and scored 14 runs.
The offensive fireworks aside, the game had multiple web gems. Brewhas pitcher Matt Rivers twice got his glove on laser shots to the mound, the first resulting in a rare 1-2-3 double play to end the fifth inning and the other crucial to securing the win in the seventh. Third baseman Alec Tattersall made another big out in the seventh by snaring a line drive at the hot corner. Jeremy Scheffer had the circus catch for the Highlanders, husting to make a shoestring grab in left-center to end the Brewhas’ sixth.
The first game would be a hard act to follow, but the nightcap certainly didn’t lack for intensity.
Hurricanes and whitecaps can make for a volatile mix on the ocean, and so it was in a truculent tilt between the two rivals on the diamond. But to borrow from “Macbeth,” through all the sound and fury signifying nothing, the ’Canes topped the ’Caps, 21-15.
The Hurricanes inflicted the most damage in the 2 through 5 spots in the order. Keith Crossland had two hits and used aggressive base-running to score three runs. Joel Rebello hit two singles, a double, three RBIs, and four runs scored. James Holenko, in the cleanup spot, lived up to the title, going 4 for 4 with a triple, three singles, four RBIs, and five runs scored. James Rebello chalked up two singles and two doubles, knocking in four runs and scoring three.
Evan Sosa went yard for the Whitecaps in the seventh inning.
The semifinals continue on August 16, and decisive third games, if necessary, are scheduled for August 17. The men’s championship series is set to begin on Monday, August 21.