By Dave Hoffenberg
And then there was one, undefeated team that is, but it was not easy for Clearly Moguls to remain that way.
First up was the Sum Boss Bombers and on a rainy night, CM was able to string together some hits and overcome the great pitching from rookie Nick Melotti. The Bombers kept it close for a few innings but CM fired up the hit machine in the third inning and ended up with a 20-4 win. One of those hits was from DJ Dave Hoffenberg who hit a grounder to third and was able to beat out the throw to first. That got the fans in attendance excited as they (more specifically, his Mom, Doris Hoffenberg) tooted their car horns to celebrate the feat. Melotti was able to strikeout Will “The Thrill” Burdick and make him suffer a rare “Cold Beer K.” The Bombers may not have shined offensively but they did discover a great defensive duo with shortstop Vince “I am the Boss in Boss Bombers” Chiarella and second baseman Rob “Norty by Nature” Norton who combined for a plethora of outs.
Clearly Moguls and The Garlic McGraths had a double-header battle for the ages. Both teams shined defensively and had plenty of candidates for “Web Gem of the Year.”
The first game was a continuation of a rain game from May 27 with CM up 4-2 after two innings. CM scored a run in their first chance at bat after Judd “Magnum” Washburn drove in Angel Shannon. McGraths went down 1-2-3 in the third and could only get three base runners all game. Washburn added another RBI in the fifth, this time scoring Burdick to put CM up 6-2 which was the final score. CM pitcher Ron “Ronzoni” Hacker was “en fuego” in his first game back from a two week lay-off. On top of only giving up two hits and a walk, he also delivered a “CBK” to Zach “Cookie” Cook and had three put-outs in which he dove to stop the ball and then threw the runner out at first. As for the web gems, Tall Tom Gilligan for CM is the front runner for the award. He, Shannon and Hunter Pike all went in for a shallow outfield hit and it seemed as if the ball would drop between them but Gilligan dove and as he fell on his back the ball bounced out of his glove and he caught it with his bare hand to save two runs. In the seventh inning Gilligan was put out by a web gem from left fielder Jame Rameau who went one way but ended up catching it the complete other way. McGrath’s pitcher Bob Pauly limited CM to six hits and delivered a “CBK” to Jackie Blue Livesey and had three put-outs.
The tables were turned in the next game as McGrath’s started out hot and CM not. McGraths had hit after hit to the outfield as Cliff Melendy, Nate Mispel and Cookie all scored. Tweed Bus Bob Schaffner drove in a run as well to start with a 4-0 lead. CM could only muster a double in the first inning as nobody else could get the ball out of the infield. Second baseman Jeremy Prior had a sweet web gem diving for a ball hit by Burdick. Gilligan was a beast defensively in the second as he threw out Pauly from deep right to third. Mispel scored in the third to make it 5-0 and they had a chance for some insurance runs in the fourth but Gilligan stepped up again, this time throwing out someone as home. CM woke up the bats in the fourth when Shannon his a two run blast and Gilligan drove in two to cut the lead 5-4. They could have tied it but Gilligan tried stretching a single into a double but was thrown out at second. Luckily Washburn was able to cross the plate before that out. McGraths went down 1-2-3 in the fifth with one of those being yet another runner thrown out from the outfield. Denel Mcintire was thrown out by left fielder Neal “On the Fruit” Giberti to Washburn. That makes it three for CM in the game and each time it cost McGraths some crucial runs. McGrath’s could not get a run or runner the rest of the game. That took CM to the bottom of the seventh, facing a one run deficit. Burdick reached base on an error, Shannon and Jackie Blue walked to load the bases for Washburn. That left Pauly in quite the predicament and he did not fare well as Washburn crushed the ball to the Ottauquechee River to give his team an 8-5 come-from-behind win and record a walk-off grand slam, a very rare feat. CM welcomed back Rob Pelletier and Pauly welcomed him back with a strike-out looking for a big “CBK.”
Earlier in the week, McGraths was knocked from the undefeated ranks by The Killington Deli Team 6-4. McGraths scored first 1-0. TKDT made it 3-1 in the second. Evan Anderson and Jimbo Cassineri scored in the third to stretch the lead 5-1. McGraths got one back in the fourth and each team scored in the fifth to keep TKDT leading 6-3. John White scored in the seventh to cut the lead 6-4 but McGraths blew two opportunities in both the sixth and seventh stranding runners on the corners and suffering their first defeat. TKDT had a batting practice of sorts against the Bombers on Wednesday bashing them 24-0. The Bombers ended their bad week of defeats with a mercy loss to STF who got their first win of the season.