The defending men’s Island Softball League champion Highlanders and the Brewhas completed opening-round best-of-three series sweeps Monday night at Veterans Park in Vineyard Haven.
The third-seeded Highlanders and No. 6 Floaters were first on the diamond. Joel Rebello hit a three-run blast in the first inning for the Floaters, but that’s all they got. The champs jumped on the gas with seven runs in the second inning, and three more in the third to lead, 10-3, en route to a 19-3 win. The Highlanders didn’t use the long ball, but used timely hitting to ground the Floaters.
Defensively, the Highlanders pulled off a pair of web gems. Third baseman Russell Hodson ended the sixth inning by fielding a laser at the hot corner and firing a rocket to second base for the double play, and Nainoa Cooperrider made a great catch to rob the Floaters of a home run.
James Rebello, like his brother Joel, was a standout for the Floaters.
In the nightcap, the fourth-seeded Brewhas closed out the No. 5 Mermen, 28-10. The ’Has took control of the game with a 12-run fourth inning, and hit five homers on the night. Amos Carvalho had two, including a grand slam; Marc Doyle had a pair of his own, and Tim Millerick added another.
The series openers were played on July 25. In the first game of the night, Matt Rivers, Marc Doyle, and Kyle Rood each homered as the Brewhas beat the Mermen, 17-10. The ’Has led just 10-7 through four innings before erupting for seven unanswered runs in the sixth and seventh. Mermen’s slugger James Mortimer hit a two-run homer in the fifth and a three-run shot in the sixth, while Ryan Welty, Josh Burgoyne, Garri Saganenko, and David “Soup” Campbell chipped in with an RBI apiece.
Under the lights, Darron Stobie homered as the Floaters put up seven runs in the top of the first inning and led 8-1 after two, but the Highlanders fought back and claimed a 16-14 win.
With the league’s top two seeds, the Blazers and Whitecaps, lying in wait with first-round byes, the best-of-three ISL semifinals were set to start at Veterans Park on Wednesday night at 7 pm. Game two is Thursday, with the Highlanders taking on the Whitecaps at 7 pm, followed by the Brewhas and Blazers at 8:15. The third games, if necessary, are scheduled for Monday night.