By Dave Hoffenberg
This year’s championship series between the defending champion Rock Warriors (Rock) and league newcomer Chasin Tail (CT) was the best this league has ever seen. Every game went to extra innings with each team winning one game to set up a winner-take-all finale.
Rock Co-Captain Josh Stevens started the scoring with a three-run home run in the first inning. CT had no answer and could only walk one guy on base. Greg Duprey made it 4-0 in the second with an RBI single. The inning also saw Todd Popovich suffer the game’s first “Cold Beer K.” Rock’s pitcher Warren Bombardier delivered a “CBK” to Duane “Big D” Laughlin but also walked in a run. Raf Robles nice looking sac cut the lead in half, 4-2.
Bombardier can deliver “CBK’s” and suffer them too as he did for the first out in the third. Mikey Davis, Jr. scored for Rock to make it 5-2. CT needed a two-out rally to get a run on the board in the bottom with Luis Shannon driving in Ricky Robair. They had a chance for more with the bases loaded but Big D couldn’t get the big hit they needed. Duprey got his second RBI of the game, driving in Popovich, to make it 6-3. CT pitcher Chris “Poppa” Booska delivered his third “CBK” of the game, this one to Craig Brothers.
CT had two on with two out in the fourth but Gus Ruby fouled out to end the inning.
Rock had a two-out rally in the fifth, scoring three runs off an RBI double by Stevens and a two-run blast by Jordan “JT” Tolar, to take their biggest lead of the game (9-3).
CT got those runs right back in the bottom with Russell Gallo’s swing of the bat. They had a chance for more with two on but Jojo Holland struck out to end the inning. CT right fielder Dylan “Mahomes” Gaberiault had the biggest web gem of the series when he robbed Tyler Somers of a home run with a diving, over the fence, catch in the sixth.
After Popovich flew out, Rock was going to need another two-out rally and they delivered. Actually it was cousins Greg and Nick Duprey who delivered, with back-to-back home runs. A rare feat from the bottom of the lineup and a rare feat by each of them. Rock was pumped up with their 12-6 lead. The fans could feel the three-peat coming but CT would not back down. They loaded the bases with one out and then captain Dakota Booska jacked one over the fence for a grand slam. Big D later tied the game 12-12 with a big two-out hit. Bombardier got on with one out but Rock went scoreless in the seventh after Stevens hit into an inning-ending double play. CT got a runner on base as well but couldn’t get him home so for the third straight game, it went to extra innings.
It was back to the Dupreys for the scoring in the eighth but this time it was Greg’s brother Kevin who drove in a run and scored to take an important 14-12 lead. Robair grounded out to start the bottom of the eighth so Rock was two outs away from their third straight championship win.
Only two teams have that honor, Lookout Tavern and the Rivershed Sluggers franchise. After Dakota’s double, Shannon drove him in to cut the deficit to one. Greg Whitney drove in Russell Gallo to tie the game but Shannon got tagged out for the second out.
Big D’s double put runners on second and third to bring up Jojo Holland who did not have a hit all game. He sent the ball to left field where Brothers had a chance for the out but it hit off his glove to give Holland the walk-off, two-run, championship winning hit.
It was quite the explosive finish to give Chasin Tail its first league championship in only their first season with a final score of 16-14. As I said earlier, it was an incredible series to watch and the fans got to see a classic.
Congratulations to Chasin Tail on their big win.
2022 Killington Softball Season Awards Best Sportsmanship: Wyatt Mosher (First Stop)
Gold Glove: Josh Stevens (Rock Warriors)
Web Gem Specialist: Tall Tom Gilligan (Rivershed Sluggers)
Rookie of the Year: Neiko Young (Sushi Yoshi)
Most improved within a season: Tyler Radil (Rivershed Sluggers)
Comeback Player of the Year: Craig Brothers (Rock Warriors)
Most Inside-the-park Home Runs: Luis Shannon (Chasin Tail)
Most Cold Beer K’s in a Game: Ronzoni Hacker (Rivershed Sluggers) with 10 vs Sushi Yoshi (6 Looking)
Best Hitter End of the Season: Ed Mazzella (First Stop)
Hit for the Cycle: Nate Mispel (Rivershed Sluggers) vs Chasin Tail on July 27
Game of the Year: Chasin Tail vs Rock Warriors (CT came back and won from 15-0 down)
Best Party: Rivershed
Best Nickname made by Themselves: Big Time Bobby Dederer (First Stop)
Best Camaraderie: Chasin Tail helping Rock Warriors beat First Stop by fielding their team, which gave Rock the No. 2 seed but almost the No. 1!
MVP of the Championship Series: Luis Shannon (Chasin Tail)
Thanks to the five teams who make up this great league; Rivershed Sluggers, Rock Warriors, First Stop Board Barn, Chasin Tail and Sushi Yoshi.
Additionally, this season would not have been possible without the help from the great folks at Killington Parks and Rec, umpire Nick Melotti, umpire Collin “Diz” Clark, umpire Neiko Young, umpire Scooter Watelet, umpire Ronzoni Hacker and everyone who subbed in as umpire, Rivershed Killington and Sushi Yoshi for hosting after parties, the fans and all the great players that make up this league.
Congrats once again to Chasin Tail and thanks to all for a great season!