"Goes to show, you don't ever know" (R. Hunter). It was a bad week for curses. First the Boston Red Sox inexplicably ended 86 years of frustration by winning the 2004 World Series. Then the Garden City Bombers, a privately sponsored baseball team, won their first championship after more than a half-dozen runner-up finishes in four years of tournament and league play.
The Diamond Pros Fall League Playoffs for the Bombers would begin on a misty, dark and dreary Saturday afternoon against a team from Middle Village, Queens at Garden City Community Park. The game would be a seesaw battle typified by each team taking and surrendering leads.
The Bombers would eventually prevail winning a most exciting contest, which ended when the potential tying run was thrown out at the plate on the game's last play. The Bombers were paced by the strong hitting of Patrick Sylvester (four for four, including three extra base hits), Matt Rivera (three hits) and DJ Kadamas (the eventual game winning two-run double). Brandon Saldana's fine plays at second base supported the pitching of Mike Mancusi, who persevered versus Mother Nature and the opposition and truly earned a complete game victory.
In contrast to Saturday's miserable conditions, Sunday's championship at Fort Tilden in Brooklyn was played against the backdrop of as perfect a day ever scripted for October baseball. The Bombers' opponent on this day was the league's regular season undefeated top seed - an all-star select team known as the Brooklyn Amigos.
This game would evolve into a classic pitching duel with either team not being able to dent the scoreboard for the first five innings. But in the top of the sixth, the Bombers would break through. Johnny Wittman would work out a leadoff walk and be perfectly moved to second on Fred Stutzmann's sacrifice bunt. One out later, Wittman would score when Will Volz would drive a one-hop double off the left field fence. Andrew Cauchi's pitching would make the run stand up by throwing a complete game three-hit shutout, which was supported by fine all-around defense, two picked-off runners and four would-be base stealers being erased by the strong arm of catcher Mark Bader.
The Bombers 1-0 victory secured their first league championship. The team would like to recognize Greg Butler and Conor Monaghan who were unable to play last weekend but whose regular season contributions enabled the Bombers to make the playoffs. Congratulations to the Garden City Bombers for realizing what their parents and coaching staff already knew: they are true champions!