The following was submitted by Roger Whittlesey
The Nashoba Valley Veterinarian Mustangs dispatched of Willis Tent in three straight games to advance to the finals for the seventh year in a row and their eighth trip in nine years. Floral Arts and Shortcut Landscaping remain tied at two games apiece. The winner of the Floral-SCL series will face the Mustangs in the finals.
Semi-Final Game One
Nashoba Valley Veterinarian Mustangs 19, Willis 7
On Tuesday, Pitcher Don Cusano led the way in the win over Willis Tent with a 3-for-4 effort, two homers and seven RBI. Bill Knute had four hits in as many trips for the Mustangs and knocked in three and hit a him run. Jack Erickson also had four hits and three RBI. Paul Selfrige, Paul Ligouri, and Cormas Bordes tallied three hits apiece, and Mike Kennedy played excellent defense at third base and contributed with a home run.
Floral Arts 13, Shortcut Landscaping 12
Floral Arts beat Shortcut Landscaping in the bottom of the seventh inning on a single to the left field fence by Jim Peloquin, who scored Dave Janowsky from third to go up 13-12. SCL scored three runs in the first inning on a tremendous three-run blast by Brent Oakleaf. Floral scored only two in the bottom of the inning, despite an intentional walk to Simon Tripp with the bases loaded and no outs. Rob Beaduette hit a sacrifice fly that scored Roger Whittlesey from third for the other run. SCL put up five runs in the second to go up 8-2, but Floral scored eight, including Frank Lancelotta’s 500th career home run, a three-run shot that started the eight-run rally. SCL’s Oakleaf hit another three-run homer in the fifth, this one a shot that cleared two fences and likely traveled 400 feet, and then the score remained tied 12-12 for two innings. In the bottom of the seventh, Janowsky, who was 4-for-4 in the game, hit a double to left. Whittlesey, who went 3-for-3 with a walk and 2 RBI, moved Janowsky to third with his second single of the night. With no outs and a man on third, SCL contemplated walking Peloquin to get to Tripp, who they had intentionally walked in all three of his at-bats, but ultimately decided to pitch Peloquin, who then won it on a single.
Semi-Final Game Two
Nashoba Valley Veterinarian Mustangs 13, Willis Tent 9
On Wednesday, Willis Tent put up a stronger fight in this contest, but the Mustangs won on the strength of Jack Erickson’s two home run and 4 RBI effort. Mike Kennedy, Bill Knute, and Don Cusano each homered and had two hits. Jim Ward chipped in three hits. Knute played some stellar defense in left field for the winners.
Shortcut Landscaping 14, Floral Arts 8
David Sullivan had a great night at the plate for Shortcut Landscaping, going 4-for-4 with two home runs and 6 RBI, as SCL tied the series at one, with their 13-9 win over a listless Floral Arts offense. Jason Humphries was busy all night at shortstop, making play after routine play, and showing off his range by ranging left and right to make several stellar plays.
Semi-Final Game Three
Nashoba Valley Veterinarian Mustangs 11, Willis Tent 2
On Friday, the Mustangs clinched the series and won their 26th games of the year (in 27 tries) against Willis Tent. Bill Knute belted three hits, including two homers (one was a grand slam), and tallied 6 RBI. Paul Selfrige, Don Cusano, Jack Erickson, Mark Cusano, and Paul Ligouri each had two hits apiece. Erickson continued his great outfield defense by throwing out another runner at first base from his short fielder spot.
Shortcut Landscaping 8, Floral Arts 6
Shortcut Landscaping took a 2-1 lead in the series with a gutsy 8-6 win over Floral Arts. Floral Arts held the lead until the top of the seventh when SCL plated three runs to go up by two, but Floral, a team that scored the most runs in the league during the regular season, could not plate anyone else and saw three straight batters make outs in the bottom of the seventh. Jim Peloquin and Ken Delaney hit home runs for Floral, accounting for two of the team’s seven hits in the game.
Semi-Finals Game Four
Floral Arts 34, Shortcut Landscaping 8
Floral Arts’ bats rose from the dead just in time to stave off an early exit and force a fifth and final game of the series. Floral banged out 39 hits and knocked nine out of the park, two of which were counted as singles under the league mandate. Jim Peloquin was 6-for-6 and hit two over the fence. Floral got homers from Rob Beaudette (2), Larry Mardany, Ken Delaney, and Mike Alonardo. Dave Janowsky was 4-for-6 and scored four times, Roger Whittlesey was 4-for-5 with a walk and four runs scored, and Greg Marchand, Mark Chambers, and Mardany collected three hits apiece. SCL continued to make nice defensive plays in the outfield, including several running catches.