After a game that kept fans on their feet, a new champion was crowned in the Chautauqua men’s slow-pitch softball league.
On Wednesday, Team Boggs took on the reigning champions, the Mayville Pounders, in the last game of the 2019 season. After a fast-paced and exciting game, Team Boggs was able to pull off the win, by the skin of their teeth, to steal the championship title from the Pounders, with a 10-9 final score.
Team Boggs had the upper hand throughout the game, consistently gaining runs from the second inning on and making important plays efficiently.
The Pounders were not as lucky starting out, with three outs on three batters, one being a tipped foul caught by the catcher.
Boggs’ left center Will Kurtz started the third inning with a major play to increase the team’s momentum. At bat, after letting three pitches pass, Kurtz wound up and sent the ball for a home run.
The Pounders’ first batter Jaron Polino sent a strong hit back into left field, only to be chased down and caught by Elliot Alexander, a star player of the game with four of the biggest catches needed.
Boggs team captain and second baseman Jon Russell said he was proud of Alexander’s performance after moving him to left field.
“Elliot played great,” Russell said. “He normally pitches for us, but our left fielder was gone for the year. He really stepped up for us. He sometimes plays right field, but he came out and helped us a lot.”
Russell was also happy to win, as it was his last year at Chautauqua playing softball with friends.
“It’s my last year to play and to win; this is such a great experience,” Russell said. “Will Kurtz and some other players were huge assets to our team, we lost a few guys last week for the summer, but we played hard.”
But the game nearly went the other way, with the Pounders almost making a surprise comeback in the sixth inning.
Not making any runs until they were at bat in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Pounders went on to score three runs through the sixth, seventh and eighth innings, pushing one run ahead of Team Boggs.
In an inning with almost divine intervention, Boggs right fielder Nate Hurner walked to first, and was sent home by a triple hit by Russell. Boggs interim pitcher A.J. Smith hit a huge single to send the captain home and push Boggs just one run ahead.
By the bottom of the ninth inning, three hits and three outs by Team Boggs sent them home with the championship.