Unlikely win spurs Hoodoo Brown to sweep in B Division
A fly ball that looked to be the final out resulted in a game-winning, momentum-shifting victory.
Trailing 10-8 going into the bottom of the seventh inning in the first game of the Ridgefield Men’s Softball League B Division finals Aug. 16, Hoodoo Brown got one run back before Pepper Whitbeck lofted the seemingly routine fly ball with two outs and two teammates on base.
But when a Ridgefield Pet/Little Pub outfielder lost track of the ball in the lights, it dropped for a double that scored both runners and gave Hoodoo Brown an 11-10 victory.
Hoodoo Brown took advantage of the reprieve, scoring six runs in the top of the first inning of the second game en route to a 17-5 triumph and a sweep in the best two-of-three championship series.
“We all thought that it was a flyout,” said Hoodoo Brown player/manager Mark Seavy about Whitbeck’s double in the opening game. “I think that sucked the wind out of them and gave us a little more confidence.”
Ridgefield Pet/Little Pub, the reigning B Division champion, led 5-1 after one inning and 8-3 after four innings in the first game. But Hoodoo Brown scored three runs in the fifth and two in the sixth (on Greg Masciotti’s single) to close within 10-8 entering the bottom of the seventh.
Singles by Dillon Becker and Sean Cobelli preceded Mike McCartan’s RBI single that cut Ridgefield Pet/Little Pub’s lead to 10-9. Whitbeck followed with the two-run double that gave Hoodoo Brown an unexpected walk-off win.
Batting first in the second game, Hoodoo Brown got a two-run single from Stu Gardos and an RBI single from Dante Cobelli before Dan Albano blasted a three-run homer for a quick 6-0 lead.
Hoodoo Brown added single runs in the second and third innings to widen its advantage to 8-0. Ridgefield Pet/Little Pub broke through with its first two runs in the bottom of the second, but Hoodoo Brown tacked on a run in the fifth to open a 9-2 lead.
Ridgefield Pet/Little Pub scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth to trim its deficit to 9-5 before Hoodoo Brown went on an eight-run rally in the top of the seventh that ended the game early due to the 12-run rule.
The rally included a pair of two-run singles by Gardos and Dante Cobelli, followed by RBI singles from Albano, Paul Cherico, and Mike Shockley. Seavy then added another RBI single that clinched the 17-5 triumph and the championship sweep.
“Defense and timely hitting,” said Seavy. “Those were the keys for us during the regular season and the playoffs.”
Notes: Hoodoo Brown’s Sean Cobelli went 6-for-7 and made several nice plays in left field to earn MVP honors. Cobelli had five hits in the second game, including a solo homer.
Gardos pitched both games for Hoodoo Brown, which won the title in just its second season as a sponsored team. Many of the players previously played for Plumtrees Plumbing (2015) and GNP Printing (2011-14). Several players (Seavy, Whitbeck, McCartan) were members of the Corner Pub team that won the B Division title in 2007.
Seeded second in the playoffs, Hoodoo Brown finished the season with a 22-7 record, including a perfect 6-0 mark during the postseason.
John Lehaney had a two-run homer and Alec Brown added a solo home run for Ridgefield Pet/Little Pub in the opening game. Trevor Filacchione had a three-run triple and Ben Couch contributed a two-run double in the second contest.