The Snaps completed a spectacular turnaround, rebounding from an 0-4 start to win their final nine games and 10th overall, culminating in their third Martha’s Vineyard Women’s Softball League championship, and first since 2013, with a 13-8 victory over the defending champion Creamers, Tuesday night at Veterans Park.
The marquee matchup featured the only original teams left in the league, which formed in 2005. The teams split their four regular-season meetings. The Creamers won the first two during an 8-0 start, with the Snaps handing the top-seeded Creamers their only losses during a 10-2 regular season. The first three games between the teams were decided by one run.
The second-seeded Snaps came into the game 2-0 in the double-elimination tournament, needing one win to clinch the championship, while the Creamers, 2-1 since a playoff-opening loss to the Rug Sox, had to beat the Snaps twice to win their second consecutive title and fourth overall.
The Snaps jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second inning. Kurstin Moore hit an RBI single and her sister Jackie Millard added another base hit to score two more runs.
The Creamers responded with four runs in the third. Chloe Blanc hit a leadoff single, Julie (“Mambo”) Rodenbaugh doubled, Lindsay Russo singled, Kendall Robinson knocked in two runs, and Kelly Bowse smacked a double to cap the rally.
The Snaps brought out their bats with a vengeance in the fifth and sixth innings, scoring five runs in each to take command. The first flurry came with two outs in the fifth. Moore and Millard lit the fuse with a pair of singles, and Hailee McCarthy hit to tie the game at 4-4. Ashley Stites then singled, with Kate Hennigan, Elissa Decosta, and Lauren Merry batting in three more runs on three hits to put the Snaps in front 8-4.
In the Snaps sixth, Amy Maciel, Emily Monteiro, and Nicole Le Blond singled to load the bases, and Kara Thibodeau brought the first run across. Kurstin Moore got her third hit of the night, and Jackie Millard followed suit, lacing a double to record her third and fourth RBIs of the game, and Hailee McCarthy batted in her second run of the night to give Team Green a 13-4 lead.
The proud, resilient Creamers weren’t done fighting. Chloe Blanc doubled to score Veronika Buckley in the bottom of the sixth; pitcher Alleyne Hughes and the Creamers defense retired the Snaps 1-2-3 in the top of the seventh.
In their final at-bat, the Creamers added three runs. Lindsay Russo, Kendall Robinson, and Kelly Bowse all scored, and Anne Sullivan, Kelly Oaks, and Hughes earned the RBIs, but the Snaps and veteran pitcher Sue Brooks stopped further damage, and the celebration was on.
Each Snap and each Creamer in the respective lineups got at least one hit on the night. Kurstin Moore and Jackie Millard had three apiece to lead the Snaps. Amy Maciel and Kate Hennigan each hit a pair of singles. For the Creamers, Tara Dinkel had four hits, Chloe Blanc was 3 for 3 and flashed the glove with six catches, and Lindsay Russo, Kelly Bowse, Shawna O’Donnell, and Julie Rodenbaugh had two hits apiece.
Earlier on Tuesday night, the Creamers kept their hopes of back-to-back titles alive with an 11-3 elimination-game win over the Rug Sox, avenging a 12-4 defeat to the Sox in the opening game of the playoffs. The game started last Thursday at the high school, but rain forced play to be suspended.
The Rug Sox scored all their runs in the top of the first inning. Nicole Cancellare and Emily Mello singled, Summer Cardoza hit an RBI double, and Jen Ingraham singled to score two more. The Creamers answered with three runs of their own in the bottom half of the first. Kelly Bowse had the key hit, slugging a monster home run across the street and into the entrance of the gym parking lot.
In the top of the second, the Creamers loaded the bases with no outs before the steady rain turned the high school infield into chocolate pudding.
When play resumed on Tuesday evening, the Rug Sox got a pair of infield pop-ups but the Creamers staged a two-out rally and scored five runs. Lindsay Russo had the first RBI, Kendall Robinson chalked up three, and Anne Sullivan added another.
The Creamers completed the scoring in the third. Kelly Bowse doubled to lead off, Alleyne Hughes scored Bowse, Tara Dinkel brought in Sarah Strem, and Chloe Blanc singled to score Dinkel.
Lindsay Russo, Tara Dinkel, and Kelly Bowse finished with three hits apiece, and Russo turned a double play in the first inning. Katherine Clark, Nicole Cancellare, Summer Cardoza, and Jen Ingraham led the Rug Sox with two hits each. Right fielder Michelle Cacchiotti made a great catch for the Sox in the third inning.