Stop the presses: Camden Herald wins championshipRedwings soar to two straight wins over top-ranked Benchwarmers
Camden — While there are many reasons and plays during a long season that ultimately factor into why and how a team wins a championship, perhaps the Camden Herald Redwings someday will reflect on a seventh-inning, game-winning triple by Sami Commeau in an earlier playoff contest that ignited the squad to the eventual Camden Adult Coed Softball League crown.
Commeau's hit in the bottom of the seventh-inning plated the winning run for the Redwings in a hard-fought 6-5 victory over No. 3 Smokestack Bar & Grille earlier in the postseason. That thrilling, team-building win gave Camden Herald a berth in the finals and perhaps the momentum and confidence to surge to the title.
Following that victory, the No. 2 Redwings defeated the No. 1 Knox County Benchwarmers two straight "championship" games, including 18-8 Aug. 23 at the Camden Snow Bowl. The Redwings also defeated the Benchwarmers 15-3 Aug. 22 at the Snow Bowl, meaning, following that late-inning playoff win over Smokestack, the Redwings outscored their opponent 33-11 in the final two games.
Thus, after 63 regular-season and 16 playoff games, the Redwings reign supreme, which also means the league has a new champion for the first time in nine years as Misfits, which no longer plays in the league, had won the previous eight titles.
Ironically, the only Misfit still playing in the league is Commeau, who won a championship with her new squad this summer, making her a nine-time consecutive champion.
A winner-take-all finale was made possible when the Redwings, coming from the losers' bracket, defeated the Benchwarmers 15-3 Aug. 22 at the Camden Snow (see other story for photos and details of that game).
Additionally, the Redwings started the season 0-2, with two lopsided losses, and trailed 7-0 against the Benchwarmers in their third regular-season contest. The Redwings rallied to win that third game en route to 16 victories over their final 18 games.
Overall, the Redwings finished 16-4, including 5-1 in the double-elimination playoffs. The Benchwarmers finished 14-5, including 3-2 in the postseason. The Benchwarmers beat the Redwings 16-11 earlier in the playoffs. Both teams finished the regular season 11-3, with the Benchwarmers holding the tiebreaker.
Team members for the newly-crowned league champs include Commeau, Kyle Weaver, Christian Pieri, Gabe Blodgett, Lucas Brower, Marie Lufkin, Mike Curtis Juliette Laaka, Phil Curll, Katie Benedict, Bonnie Gallagher, Reade Brower, Fritz Burke, Christian Wincklhofer, Annie Hart, Lyn Tesseyman, Holly Vanorse, Andrea Curtis and Mike Cummons.
Team member for the Knox County Benchwarmers include Lee Smith, Jay Young, Daphne Ripley, Jason Yates, Tim Jackson, Erin Chase, Chris Burns, Sara Cullity, Betsy Wedge, Heath Smith, Steve Gibbons, Bre Konitzky, Amanda Birmingham and Walter Smith.
Leading the Redwings at the plate in Thursday's championship were Pieri (single, 3 runs), Commeau (double, single, 2 runs), Weaver (2 doubles, 3 runs), Blodgett (home run), Lucas Brower (home run, 2 singles, run), Cummons (triple, run), Curtis (3 doubles, 3 runs), Laaka (2 singles), Curll (2 singles), Wincklhofer (double) and Reade Brower (single, run).
For the Benchwarmers, Young (double, 3 singles, 2 runs), Ripley (single, run), Yates (run), Smith (double, single, 2 runs), Jackson (single, run), Burns (single), Cullity (single) and Gibbons (single, run) paced the offense.
The Redwings jumped on the Benchwarmers early and took a 5-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Pieri scored on an RBI-double by Weaver, Blodgett ripped a two-run double to right field and Curtis doubled home a run and scampered home on an error.
The Benchwarmers rallied with four runs in the bottom of the frame when Young, Ripley and Yates singled and Lee reached on an error to bring in Young. A second error on the play brought in Ripley and Yates, while Jackson later singled in Smith to bring the Benchwarmers within one run.
The scoring continued in the top of the third stanza for the Redwings when Curtis ripped a two-run singled and Curll knocked in Curtis to put the Redwings ahead 8-4, while Smith singled and came in on an error and a sacrifice fly by Chase brought the Benchwarmers within two runs.
However, the Redwings broke the game open with a six-run frame in the top of the fourth when Commeau rapped a two-run double, Weaver followed with an RBI-double and Lucas Brower blasted a three-run home run to deep left field to put the Redwings in fron 14-6.
The Benchwarmers got no closer than six runs the rest of the way.
The Benchwarmers made a heads-up defensive play in the top of the second inning when Cullity, the short fielder, playing in shallow left field, had a line drive by Pieri ricochet off her glove, which was snared by the left fielder Lee Smith for the second out of the inning.
The Redwings had a defensive gem of their own in the bottom of the seventh inning when Pieri made a full-extension diving catch in left field to rob Ripley of a hit.
Earlier playoff results included: No. 2 Camden Herald Redwings 15, No. 1 Knox County Benchwarmers 3; No. 2 Camden Herald Redwings 6, No. 3 Smokestack Bar & Grille 5; No. 1 Knox County Benchwarmers 16, No. 2 Camden Herald Redwings 11; No. 3 Smokestack Bar & Grille 5, No. 8 Feener's Pride 2; No. 3 Smokestack Bar & Grille 5, No. 6 Mad Bombers 4. (9 inns.); No. 8 Feener's Pride 8, No. 5 Maine Cat 3; No. 1 Knox County Benchwarmers 10, No. 5 Maine Cat 9; No. 2 Camden Herald Redwings 7, No. 6 Mad Bombers 2; No. 8 Feener's Pride 5, No. 4 FMC Seaweed Sluggers 3; No. 3 Smokestack Bar & Grille 20, No. 7 French & Brawn 3; No. 1 Knox County Benchwarmers 12, No. 8 Feener's Pride 3; No. 6 Mad Bombers 3, No. 3 Smokestack Bar & Grille 2; No. 5 Maine Cat 8, No. 4 FMC Seaweed Sluggers 7; No. 2 Camden Herald Redwings 8, No. 7 French & Brawn Baggers 6; and No. 8 Feener's Pride 18, No. 9 Back Cove Yachts 13.
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