Two softball champions: Zaftigs and Chestnut Hill Realty

By Jody Kessler/correspondent Brookline -

The Brookline Mens Softball League recently finished another season of double plays, screaming liners and home runs.

A and B Division Champions were decided on Sept. 18 at Deleteskty Diamond. Zaftigs Deli swept Moe’s Tavern in three games for the A championship, while Chestnut Hill Realty beat 1918 in a five-game series for the B championship.

Zaftigs has many players from the Smokehouse Red team, which won the last three championships before folding after last year. After beating Moe’s, 6-5, in the first game, and 4-3 in the second, Zaftigs won, 8-1, in the deciding game. The game was close for four innings until Ryan Oshea broke things open with a two-run triple in the fifth inning. Games one and two featured timely hitting from Pat Elison, including a two-run home run in game two.

Pitcher and team captain Andy Hawkridge said of the win, “Yeah, it’s been four in a row for me, five for some other guys. The guys behind me do it. We have a great ‘D.’ That’s what wins games in this league.”

“[Moe’s is a] fantastic team,” Hawkridge said. “Two runs differential in two games. It could have easily flipped. They lost some people; I think that was the difference in game three. My hats off to them.”

“It was a tough series,” Alex Dubanowitz, team leader of Moe’s said. “We had a couple of guys who moved, but we didn’t hit. The name of the game is hitting. We played good fielding. We almost won game two, they came back. We had a good time.”

The deciding game of the B series ended with drama and some controversy. The game went into extra innings. In the 8th inning (games are seven innings), Chestnut Hill went up, 9-6. 1918 came back in the bottom of the inning to score two runs. With the tying run on third base, a ball was hit around the plate, sat right next to the plate and was ruled to be in contact with the plate, and thus a fair ball. The batsman was thrown out at first for the final out. 1918 was upset with the call.

“Any ball that’s hit, if it is in contact with the plate and remains in contact with the plate is a fair ball,” lead umpire Jimmy Hennessey said. “The home plate umpire ruled the ball was in contact with the side of the plate so that makes it a fair ball.

“Zaftigs is more talented than other teams, good hitters,” Hennessey added. “They’re the best hitting team in the league.”

Hennessey said if other teams in the league want to knock Zaftigs off going forward, they’re going to have to improve their hitting and keep their fielding sharp throughout the season.

League Commissioner Bruce Raine said of the season, “It went very well. I was really happy for 1918 and Chestnut Hill Realty, two of the lower division team that are vying for the upper division. Zaftigs [Smokehouse] is there again. It’s a season that went as smoothly as others. I think everybody’s having fun. From the league point of view, we have 15 teams. We’ll get at least one more, possibly two or three.”

(Original article appeared in the Brookline Tab 9-29-08