In its final moments the game was a nail-biter, but in the end, the MacCarthy Leftovers edged Frank’s Auto 9-8 in the A Division softball championship game on Sept. 11.
Frank’s, the number one team going into the playoffs, had its chance to tie the game up in the seventh inning. The team had runners on first and third with two out and down by one run. If they could rally and win the game, they would force a second double-knockout game, due to the Leftovers’ undefeated 4-0 playoff record.
But Leftovers pitcher, Steve Joseph, induced a ground ball to second. With a sharp throw to first base, it was all over.
The third-ranked Leftovers celebrated after winning the rematch of last year’s championship. Frank’s won the 2015 title after the Leftovers had won four years in a row before that.
“I think we played as a team,” said Mimmo Ciccone, the Leftovers’ team leader. ”The team-first mentality was key and our women really came through as well. They came up with key hits with two outs.”
He also cited the return of the offence and big hits that helped the win.
Frank’s got off to a good start in the game, hammering out a five-run inning to jump to a 5-0 lead early. But that didn’t faze the Leftovers, who had a record of 24-8-1 during the regular season.
“No one hung their head and we just worked our way through it. We stuck together as a team to overcome the deficit,” said Ciccone.
There was no big inning for the Leftovers, but they just continued to chip away with a couple runs here and there, coming up with hits with runners in scoring position.
Ciccone also praised Joseph’s pitching in the game.
“He knows what individual players like in terms of pitch and was able to dictate the game with his pitching style, so that speaks to his talent,” he said.
The deciding factor in the game was a ball hit to centre field late in the game. The Leftovers were trailing 8-7 at the time and were up to bat. The ball was hit to centre field and looked like the final out of the inning.
But instead, the ball was dropped and a couple runs would score, giving the Leftovers the lead, which they would hold onto.
There was a bit of a scare in the bottom of the fourth. Frank’s centre fielder, Graham Morgan, dove to make a catch but the ball missed his glove and hit him in the face. There was about a 10-minute delay in the game while he was being looked after. He departed the game to a round of applause by the crowd. He wasn’t seriously injured.
The championship signified a team that refused to give up, said Ciccone, who was an outfielder during the playoffs, although he sat out the final game.
“There were times that I wanted to give up because it became a struggle to field the team, but the fact that we were able to put everything aside and win the playoffs, it reaffirmed for me that it was well worth the struggle of keeping it together,” he said.
Ciccone pointed out the performance of Leftovers’ centre fielder, Justin Adams. Although he missed part of the first two games, Adams got on base every single time he came to bat in the semifinal and final game.
Jonathan Hunt and the pitcher Joseph were two other players Ciccone highlighted as strengths for the team and big keys to the championship, although he consistently emphasized an entire team effort.
The Leftovers defeated the Sea Sport Sluggers 13-10 in the semifinals to advance to the final game.
In the B Division game, the Crest Angels defeated the CityWest Breeze.
The league is holding an awards ceremony at the Prince Rupert Golf Club on Oct. 1 to hand out trophies, including playoff MVP.