The following was submitted by Roger Whittlesey. To submit your own news to the Westford Template, e-mail us at [email protected]
It all came down to the final night of the regular season.
On Tuesday night, when Pro Sports Therapy (10-14) beat Willis Tent, they breathed a sigh of relief because the win continued the team’s streak of making the playoffs since its inception in 1997. That left two teams with nine wins, and they played each other on Wednesday night. Willis Tent (10-14) got the necessary tenth win against Healy Oil (9-15), a solid team with three championships to its legacy, and ultimately knocked them out of the playoffs.
That left league secretary John Bodi with the task of figuring out how to seed three teams with identical records, as Drew Farms (10-14) also finished with ten wins. Bodi pored over the tie-breaker rules and, using every resource short of sorcery, determined the match ups for the first round of the playoffs (a best-of-three series).
Third place Shortcut Landscaping (13-11) beat sixth place Drew Farms in Game 1 of the first round of playoffs. Fourth place Pro Sports Therapy lost to fifth place Willis Tent in their first playoff meeting. The winners of these series will move into the semi-final round (a best-of-five series) against either first place Nashoba Valley Veterinarian Mustangs (23-1) or second place Floral Arts (20-4).
Nashoba Valley Veterinarian Mustangs 22, Pro Sports Therapy 10
On Sunday, The Mustangs began their last regular season game with five home runs in the first inning and never looked back. Paul Selfrige went 3-for-5, three runs scored and an RBI and set the tone by leading off the game with a blast to left. Jim Ward followed with a single, then the Mustangs hit four consecutive homers. Don Cusano was 4-for-5, with a homer and 5 RBI, Bill Knute went 4-for-5, with two homers, and 5 RBI, Mike Kennedy homered and Mark Cusano went 4-for-4 with a home run. Ward (4-for-5, HR, 4 RS, 3 RBI) later added his first home run of the year. The Mustangs hit 12 home runs in total, but league rules allow only the first seven to count. Jay Dolan added three hits and played excellent outfield defense for the Mustangs. Several PST players quietly had big games: Al Nudler and Dave Chirokas both went 3-for-3 and Tom Rose was 3-for-4 with a three-run homer and three runs scored.
Pro Sports Therapy 9, Willis Tent 7
On Tuesday, both teams were fighting to qualify for the playoffs, but Pro Sports Therapy had to win or go home. On the strength of four runs in the bottom of the sixth, the PST squad was able to hold off Willis Tent with a 9-7 win. Willis jumped out to a two-run lead in the first, but PST responded with three runs. Willis broke out for four in the fourth to take the lead back. PST got two in the fifth and then took the lead in the sixth. Willis rallied in the seventh, pushing across one run, but saw their rally die with the winning runs on base and a fly-out to the fence. PST’s Tim Schutt had two hits and two RBI. Willis got offensive contributions from Dennis Kane, who went 3-for-3, with a two-run homer and Rob Swinamer, who was 2-for-2, walked, and hit a two-run homer. Dave Harrington pitched a solid game.
Floral Arts 19, Shortcut Landscaping 6
Floral Arts hit two grand slams en route to a 19-6 victory over Shortcut Landscaping. Jim Peloquin, typically the team shortstop, pitched well for Floral Arts, earning his third win of the season on the mound. Mike Alonardo hit two homers, including a grand slam, Peloquin hit a grand slam, and Rob Beaudette and Frank Lancelotta each hit solo shots for the winners. Lancelotta also made a nice running catch in right field.
Willis Tent 22, Healy Oil 8
Healy Oil’s season ended Wednesday with a 21-8 loss to Willis Tent. Ten players on Willis had two or more hits. John Hunter (2 HR, 5 RBI), Rob Swinamer (2 HR, 5 RBI), and Jeff Briggs (HR) provided the big hits for Willis. Dave Harrington pitched a strong game. Healy’s Bill Eaton hit a three-run homer over the left-center fence.
Gutcheck 22, Mario’s Restaurant 9
In a contest to determine eighth place, Mario’s Restaurant fell behind early and could not keep pace with Gutcheck’s offense, closing out their season with a 22-9 loss to Gutcheck in six innings. Gutcheck’s Thanh Nguyen pitched against his former mates and hit three home runs, including one that rattled the Porta-Potty just outside the right-center field fence. Threes were wild for Mario’s as Dave Batchelder hit a three-run home run, John Russo and Jim Scott both went 3-for-3, and Raghu Mantena and Russo both legged out triples.
GAME 1: Willis Tent 17, Pro Sports Therapy 12
On Friday, Willis Tent put up seven runs in twice in the game and defeated Pro Sports Therapy, 17-12, to take a 1-0 lead in this first round series. Willis pitcher Dave Harrington kept PST off balance all night, recording two strikeouts and six walks. Rob Swinamer took the mound during PST’s desperate seventh inning rally and closed out the game. PST’s Tom Rose, Jeff Fuller, and Jeff Morse all were 2-for-2 with a walk. PST also got important contributions from the bottom of the order, as Al Nudler and coach Gary Royal both contributed two RBI. Rob Swinamer hit two home runs, including one of his trademark bombs that landed nearly seventy feet over the right field fence.
GAME 1: Shortcut Landscaping 21, Drew Farms 9
Shortcut Landscaping overcame a 6-2 deficit in the third inning on the power of home runs by Mike Gross and Steve Jacobsmeir. Both players swatted two home runs in the game. Gross amassed 5 RBI. Dave Sullivan and Brent Oakleaf also homered for SCL. Todd Shepherd hit two home runs for Drew Farms and Tom Menucci hit a line-drive home run over the center field fence. SCL leads the best-of-three series, 1-0.