After their first-game loss to the Mayville Pounders, the Chautauqua Arthritics defeated their longtime rival for the first time ever.
On Wednesday, the Arthritics triumphed over the Pounders, 17-14, at Sharpe Field in a Chautauqua slow-pitch men’s softball league game. The rivalry between the Arthritics and the Pounders has existed since the teams’ founding. The Arthritics played smart; their use of good communication was key to their success, according to coach Mike O’Brian.
O’Brian said small improvements, like calling out who would catch a ball or who should run, were important to the team’s cohesion.
Though the younger members of the Pounders were strong at bat, the Arthritics had a stronger outfield that was always prepared to make a big play.
After the second inning, the score was still low, but going into the third the Arthritics got into gear, scoring 10 runs and gaining a strong lead over the Pounders.
Arthritics outfielder Max Lerman scored a triple, and later a double, scoring five total runs in the third inning.
After moving to defense in the outfield, Lerman delivered a strong performance, catching big hits from the Pounders and keeping the Arthritics ahead. Arthritics pitcher Curtis Paul scored two home runs, while O’Brian scored one, setting the team apart in points and morale. With additional big plays, the Arthritics’ energy on the field grew, drawing cheers from the bench and the stands. Paul said he was proud of his team for the work they put in for the third inning.
“We hit three home runs this game, which was amazing. Our defense played really tight,” Paul said.
Playing in his second game ever for the Arthritics, Paul said he had been to Chautauqua the season before but never thought to join the team. After playing with the Arthritics, Paul said he would be back to continue playing in future seasons. All ages were in attendance for the Arthritics, with fans ranging in age from 15 to late 60s. Commissioner of the men’s softball league Mark Altschuler said he appreciates the players, saying it makes the league “quirky” to have people getting competitive during the games and becoming friends after.