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The OTHG Year-End Tournament is now finally in high gear after a sputtering start, again due to Mother Nature's cruel joke of providing rain on game nights. This year's double elimination format is different than years past on a request from the membership to try something different. An inherent problem though is that this type of format doesn't work with 12 teams (either eight or 16, etc) so it was determined to give the top four seeded teams a bye in the first round. Opening up in the first round on Tuesday, Sept. 12 with a resounding win was a revived Bethpage PT team which thrashed a recently hot Mers team 26-7. PT came out flying, scoring 13 runs in the first, battering around twice. Mers responded early but wasn't able to maintain any momentum as Bethpage continued their terrific effort, both offensively and defensively. On Tuesday, Sept. 19, BMB beat Changing Times 22-8. Ira Berger was the winning pitcher with help from a potent offense. Tom "T-Ball" had four hits while Joe Cipolla, Marc Fischer, Tom Dittmeier and Beno Reverberi had three. Jerry Mazza, John Defalco, Richie D'Amico and Bobby Schubert each added another two hits. Schubert also had a stellar game in the field, smoothly handling numerous chances at the hot corner. Special thanks to scorekeepers Brian Tinney, Jr. and Aaron Fischer for their valuable assistance. The other Tuesday game had Barco edging out Bar Boy in a low scoring affair. Capitalizing on a huge break in the third, Barco put together clutch two-out hits from Dave Ringer, Kevin Moloney and Bill White to open up a four run lead that they never relinquished. Helping out Barco was a sterling running catch by Dave Ringer in left center to rob an extra base hit. An RBI triple by Gary Jambor in the ninth provided a bit more breathing room as Barco held on 8-5. Special thanks also go out to Debbie White, Denise Falcone and Anne Jambor for braving the inclement, rainy weather to come and support the team.

On Friday, Sept. 22 the last of the opening round games finally were able to be played as Hampton Air beat M&T to move on to the next round, which turned into a double header as they faced #3 seed Synergy. The second game on the big field put two good veteran pitchers against each other but Richie Dargie, the Synergy pitcher, put his best together to earn a 17-4 win over Hampton Air. The defense behind him backed him up with special standouts Dave Rubino, Tommy Vanasco, and Benny Macchia. Dave Rubino also went 3-3 at the plate. Twice Al Devine started big innings for Synergy. Also having multiple hit nights for Synergy were "Mr. Steady" Joe Lutz, Benny Macchia, and Billy Fitzpatrick who homered over the left fielder's head. A special commendation goes to John Garrity for playing despite a bad leg. On the 60, Bethpage PT continued their terrific play as the defeated Singletons, the top seed, 11-5. Again PT came out hot as they scored eight runs in the first, capped off by Frank Horoszewski's Grand Slam. PT's defense continued to shine as they turned four DPs to thwart Singleton's effort to put together a rally. The middle game had Barco taking on #2 seed Moby. The game started out slowly as Barco had numerous opportunities but was unable to get that clutch hit to break away. Barco's good, steady defense kept Moby at bay but it was two super sliding catches by Dave Saur in right center that hurt Moby the most. Barco was finally able to put the game away as they scored 19 runs in the last two innings. Offensively Barco was led by Dave Saur (5-5) including a big 3-run homer in the sixth, and Kevin Moloney and Phil Tripoli who had four hits apiece. Special kudos go out to Terry McPartland, who despite his leg injury played his regular shortstop position and added three hits at the plate. Although it is rumored he was in a deep depression after the game having been pinch-run by "Sponge Bob" Diamond. Who wooda of thunk it. In the final game Built-More Builders went 2-0 following a thrilling 19-15, extra-inning win over Granny O'Sheas. BMB jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first inning when Marc Fischer blasted a 2-run homer but BMB couldn't hold the lead and trailed until the ninth inning. Marc Fischer then belted his second homer of the night to start the critical ninth inning rally. Beno Reverberi and John Defalco followed with singles and Joe Manning came up with the clutch hit that tied the game. In the tenth, hits by Joe Algerio, Karl Dessel, Ira Berger, Joe Cipolla, Jerry Mazza and Tom "T" Ball gave BMB another five runs and the victory. Some other BMB highlights: Tom Dittmeier cleared the fence with a two-run homer, Tom T-Ball had four hits while Rich D'Amico was tough at second base. Ira Berger got the win with a solid performance on the mound.

The rest of the second round was completed on Tuesday, Sept. 26 with Bar Boy ousting Changing Times while Mers rebounded with a win over M&T ending M&T's season as well. The third round was played on Friday, Sept. 29 with Singletons winning over Moby, Hampton Air crushing O'Sheas and Mers defeating Bar Boy, which was the second loss for all the losers, knocking them out of the tournament. In the winners bracket, Barco held off a comeback by Bethpage PT to take an exciting 13-11 victory. Barco jumped out with five runs in the first with the clutch RBI hits coming from Dave Ringer, Kevin Moloney (two RBIs) and Dave Saur. Barco added another two in the third on Dave Ringer's sac fly and Kevin Moloney's single to go up 7-0, but PT came storming back. The PT bats produced five runs in the fifth and sixth to take a short-lived 11-7 lead as Barco responded by plating four in the bottom half to go up by one. Keys hits again came from the dynamic duo of Dave Ringer with his two RBI triple and Kevin Moloney's tremendous two-run homerun. The Barco boys added two insurance runs in the seventh which came in handy as Bethpage rallied for one in the eighth but came up just short. Barco's defense again was a factor as the infield turned numerous DPs including one in the ninth that derailed PT's rallies. Outfielder Dave Saur made another outstanding diving catch for the second game in a row. The other winners bracket game Synergy battled a resilient Built-More-Builders team that ended with Synergy on top 12-9. The Synergy offense was led with multi-hit nights from Aldo Balducci (three hits), Joe Lutz, Benny Macchia, and Bruce Coonan. Veteran Richie Dargie pitched masterfully keeping BMB from catching up despite a late game surge. Bob Joyce, back from a trip to Europe, played second base like he was 30 again.

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