A Day in the West was forced to make two come-from-behind efforts in a row, but remained at the top of the Adult Summer Softball League, taking the 2017 title.
The team, who has now won the league 16 times, beat Red Rocks Rotary 8-5 in the championship game.
Rotary, the No. 3 seed, almost pulled off a run of three wins in three straight contests.
“We hadn’t played three games before but everyone played pretty good. They just started hitting. They were well placed, they’re good,” Rotary’s Nick Hastings said.
In the championship game it got out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning on five singles, a walk and a fielder’s choice.
A Day in the West’s Michael Ortega hit a sacrifice fly to score Junior “P” Laws, who led off with a double turned triple on an error.
The title challengers then made it 5-1, but the reigning champions pulled one back on another sacrifice.
Rotary touted the league’s best defense in the regular season, but A Day in the West’s came through to retire 12 straight Rotary batters through the middle innings.
“Hitting wasn’t that great in the second part of the game, bats just fizzled out,” Hastings said. “We had a lot of fun, wouldn’t have changed anything, we all played hard .... Our big thing is we just want to come out and want to have fun, if we win, that’s great.”
During that same span A Day in the West scored five runs, four coming in the fourth inning.
“We’re a fourth inning team, we just come back once we hit the fourth inning for some reason,” Laws said. “It just somehow pops up in the fourth inning.”
Charles Timm hit a double past the Rotary outfielders to score Matt Rocha. Timm then scored on the throw home, which was not cleanly fielded. Ortega hit another hard double to score Laws, making it 7-5 before a double play ended the run streak.
Anthony Rojas hit a double to score Jason Steward for the team’s final run in the fifth.
“Stayed solid, just good defense, that was a big one,” Laws said.
Both semifinals were high-scoring, back-and-forth affairs.
No. 1 A Day in the West, just as it would in the championship game, gave up four runs in the first to No. 4 seed Pagos. Pagos’ Nando Machado crushed a three-run home run before a fielder’s choice scored the fourth.
The lead grew to 6-0, then A Day in the West caught its wave of hitting momentum in the third. Three singles and a walk plated its first run. A fielder’s choice precluded a two-run single for Steward. Two more hits made it 6-5.
That momentum continued into the fourth, when the team scored six more runs. Steward plated Pedro Ortega to make it 11-7.
“We were good at hitting the first couple innings, then our bats died after that,” Machado said. “Usually that’s what it comes down to, one or two big innings. They came alive in the third inning.”
Pagos cut the deficit with a run in the top of the fifth, but it would be its last.
“We had a good season, it was our first year as Pagos,” Machado said. “It was our first time playing together, all of us, and it wasn’t that bad. That’s just what it’s about, having fun.”
In the other semifinal, Rotary beat No. 7 seed L’Auberge Mighty Ducks 14-9, who upset No. 2 Reddell Construction in Week 11.
It was all Mighty Ducks at the start. They went up 7-0 in the first inning, with Matt Fox hitting a three-run home run.
But Rotary cut the deficit to 7-4, the last run scored by Eilis Brackin.
L’Auberge hit back with two more runs, as Austin Zwart plated Arley Leyva and Fox doubled in Stephen Sarysz.
“We were putting the bat on the ball, getting good hits. We were putting the bat on the ball all around, and that’s what it comes down to,” Sarysz said.
In the third Rotary made its move, going on a nine-run tear to grasp the lead. It kept putting the ball in play and the L’Auberge defense struggled to get the outs. Three of the Rotary runs came with two outs on the board.
John Bradshaw singled in Mike Hughes to cap the run at 13-9, and Rotary scored once more in the fifth.
“We had a lot of errors, the whole team did,” Sarysz said. “The gaps were definitely big, we weren’t reading the ball properly.
“[The season] started off super sloppy but we really banded together at the end.”
Rotary’s first win came against the No. 6 seed Dirty Rats in the quarterfinal, winning 11-1. Tony Meza scored Nick Hastings in the first inning for the early lead.
Hastings caught a high pop up in foul territory and shortstop Mikey Rebstein single handedly retired all of the Dirty Rats batters in the third.
Rotary’s lead increased in the bottom of the third. Rebstein doubled in the first run, then Meza hit a long ball into the outfield and Rebstein scored on some heads up baserunning.
Dirty Rats left runners on base in almost every inning, and Rotary scored theirs. The lead extended to 6-0 before the Dirty Rats’ Eric Dominguez hit a solo home run in the sixth, the team’s only fence-clearing hit of the season.
But Rotary continued to pepper in the singles, scoring five more runs in the sixth to put it out of reach.
“It was a tough one, their defense is really good,” Dominguez said. “It was a really good season with lots of good people. I’m looking forward to coming back next year. It’s a lot of fun.”
BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS