goleader.com - Union County, NJ Newspapers 97sep11

Scotch Plains NJ Softball
St. Barts Championship Game

St. Joseph’s Says a Prayer, Defeats St. Jude’s, 13-11

By DAVID B. CORBIN Specially Written for The Westfield Leader and The Times

St. Joseph held off a massive eight-run surge in the seventh inning by St. Jude to pull out a 13-11 victory at Jerseyland Field in Scotch Plains on September 1 to become the 1997 St. Bartholomew’s Oldtimers Softball League Champions.

St. Joseph broke into the scoring column first with a run in the top of the first inning. With two outs, Mark DiFrancesco, Jim O’Connor and Bill Wolff had back-to-back hits which allowed DiFrancesco to score.

St. Jude growled and took a 3-1 lead at the end of the first inning of play. Glenn Walz and Fran Celardo both singled, then Tony Williams dished out a triple to drive in Walz and Celardo. Gerry Spitzer singled to bring home Williams with the third run.

Jim Airey led off the second for St. Joseph with a single. Tom DeCataldo followed with a single and John Esposito smashed a triple to drive in Airey and DeCataldo. Kevin McNamara grounded to short to bring home Esposito and give St. Joseph a 4-3 lead.

St. Jude was unable to score in the second and third inning and St. Joseph failed to score in the third. John Wilkinson of St. Jude recorded the only hit during those innings.

In the top of the fourth, St. Joseph struck for another three runs and took a 7-3 lead. Ed Marchelitis and DiFrancesco had back-to-back singles, O’Connor drove in Marchelitis with his second single of the game, Bill Wolff singled home DiFrancesco and Airey singled to bring home O’Connor.

After Williams got the only single in the fourth for St. Jude, St. Joseph increased its lead to 9-3 by the end of the fifth. Esposito poked a lead-off single, Jim Hoelzel drilled a double as Esposito came in to score, then Dean Talcott ripped a single to drive in Hoelzel.

Hopes began to fade as St. Jude was unable to score in the fifth and sixth. Only Nick Barattucci singled in the fifth and Tony Giannaci singled in the sixth.

With the sweet smell of victory lingering in the air, St. Joseph got vicious and nailed down an additional four runs in the top of the seventh inning to take an impaling 13-3 lead. DiFrancesco had a leadoff single, O’Connor followed with his third single, then Wolff collected his third RBI of the day by hitting his third single.

Tom Maher sacrificed O’Connor home, Airey sailed his third single of the day as Wolff lunged toward home and DeCataldo reached first safely as Airey flew home.

Yielding about as much light as an endless tunnel, the shadow cast by the offensive superiority of St. Joseph seemed overwhelming. The cause appeared to be lost; however, the spirit of St. Jude endured. Rich Contrino and Walz singled, then Celardo stepped to the plate and blasted a two-RBI double. Williams got his third hit, Spitzer singled home Celardo and Barattucci loaded the bases with a single.

Tony Perfilio sacrificed Williams home and Billy Hicks slapped an RBI single. Larry Erhard reloaded the bases with a walk. Charlie Laskowski dug in at the plate and thumped a double to deep left as Barattucci, Hicks and Erhard came in to score to narrow the score to 13-11 and to plunge the specter of fear and doubt into all the St. Joseph players.

Now that St. Joseph had been the recipient of a rude awakening, the defense alertly tightened up and finally got the third out to secure the championship.

After the game, a plaque donated by Gina Marie’s in Scotch Plains was presented to League Commissioner Dom Lawrence and League Statistician Al Ulichny for their years of dedicated service. Lawrence and Ulichny also each received $150 gift certificates from the players and Gina Marie’s.

St. Joseph 130 320 4 13

St. Jude 300 000 8 11

Photo by William A. Burke for The Westfield Leader and The Times

LEAGUE CHAMPIONS…The members of the St. Joseph softball team proudly poses for their team picture after winning a hard-fought 13-11 squeaker over St. Jude, the team which searches for a cause. Pictured, left to right; are: Bottom row, Larry Szenyi, Team Captain Dean Talcott, Mark DeFrancesco, Tom DeCataldo, Kevin McNamara, Jim Hoelzel and Jim O’Connor; top row, League Commissioner Dom Lawrence, Tom Maher, John Esposito, Jim Airey, Mike Ciufia, Bill Wolff, Matt Hoelzel, Ed Marchelitis and Gary Jose Cardinale.

Copyright 1997
TheWestfield Leader
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Revised: September 15, 1997.