The American League champs, Rye Liquor, can look forward to more titles, when future star Casey (pictured with his dad Remy Totten), steps up to the plate.
A Whole New Ball Game
By Melanie Cane
Sometimes, everything old seems new again. This was certainly true for the Rye Recreation Adult Softball season that was canceled last year due to the pandemic. Last August, some of the men’s teams played a week-long double elimination, but this April, all 17 teams resumed where they left off in August 2019. The only difference was that the batters, catchers, players in the dugout, and umpires had to wear facemasks for the first half of the season.
In the Men’s National League Division, the Bears topped the Hammerheads two games to none (9-3 in the first, 2-0 in the second) for the championship. Team Manager Michael Winderman, said, “The championship was a longtime coming for the Bears. After over a decade of losing, we entered the playoffs as the fifth seed, one up from the bottom, but we managed to pull off five straight wins to clinch the title.” He credited AJ Thompson for propelling the team to victory.
According to Winderman, the future looks bright for the Bears, a young team with speed, strength, and good hitters and fielders.
Neri’s Hardrollers knew they would have to play their best to topple the reigning Women’s champions, Poppy’s Ballbusters, who had beaten them five years in a row.
Neri’s came in as the top seed and topped Poppy’s in two exciting games, 9-5 and 8-7.
“Our two teams always go head-to-head, and the games are always tough. It felt good to be able to come back after missing a year and win it all,” said Team Manager Jen Diglio. “We have a great group of ladies who go out to have fun and play ball. Coach Domingo was amazing as always…doing the brunt of the work.”
For the second year (but not in a row), Rye Liquor, which was the top seed, won the American League championship. In 2019, they beat Sam’s Bar and Grill, and this month they beat Red’s Garage in two games, both by a score of 4-3.
Rye Liquor is unique in that there are two sets of fathers and sons on the team. Pitcher Pat Gillick has been playing for over 20 years and his sons, Brian and Rob, have been on the team for over a decade. Team Coach Willie Totten has been part of the team for 45 years. His sons, Remy (team manager) and Derek, have been playing for 13 and 10 years, respectively. In April, Remy had a son, Casey, and it is only a matter of time before Casey will be at the bat!
All the managers and players sent a shout-out to the Rye Rec staff and crew, especially Ricky DiRago, who was hired as an attendant a week before the Covid-19 shutdown and did “an incredible job of working through Covid protocols and restrictions.”
DiRago said he was as excited as the players to be able to be part of a full season of adult softball and thanked the ground crew, who often go unrecognized but are the backbone of everything outdoors at Rye Rec. “Having a 15-week season again brought a sense of normalcy and joy to our world.”