When Founders Tavern and Southold Fish Market entered last Wednesday night’s rubber match of the Greenport Men’s Softball League championship series, an offensive battle was expected. The series pitted the two highest scoring offenses from the regular season against one another, and the forecast was for a windy night. In splitting the first four games of the series, Southold Fish Market outscored Founders by 72-65. With all of the expectations of offense in Game 5, no one could have predicted what happened that night at the Polo Grounds.
After a leadoff flyout, Roger Turbush tripled, beginning a wild night. The next batter, John Hansen, hit a ball deep to left center field that bounced off the top of the fence, jumped diagonally further towards center, hit the top of the fence again, and finally went over for a two-run home run. By the end of the first inning, Founders had belted six home runs and scored 12 runs on 10 hits. But Southold Fish Market responded with a strong inning itself.
After responding with three home runs and seven runs of its own, Southold Fish Market’s first inning ended on an unorthodox play. With seven runs in, one out, and Doug Conklin on first base, Warren Bondarchuk hit a small pop-up to first basemen Jamie Bednoski, who dropped the fly ball and turned a double play, ending the Southold Fish Market rally.
Founders Tavern came back strong in the second with three more home runs and six runs, which eventually proved to be its slowest inning of the night. After three, the game was getting out of hand at 26-9.
“There was no slowing down for us,” Founders Tavern Manager Jon Schlachter said. “It was essentially the championship game, Game 5, and we know that they can put up some runs. We couldn’t risk it.”
In the end, Founders Tavern tallied 14 home runs and put up a whopping 42 runs to take the title with a 42-15 victory. Southold Fish Market knocked out seven homers of its own but it wasn’t enough.
“I still give those guys a lot of credit,” Schlachter said. “After we won the first two games on Monday night, they could’ve laid down and let us take it on Tuesday. But they came back and fought hard and forced us to a Game 5. I have a lot of respect for them for doing that.”
John Hansen led Founders Tavern, going 5 for 6 with four home runs and 10 runs batted in, but he wasn’t the only big contributor of the night. Founders Tavern also received plenty of production from Rob Stanevich (4 for 5, home run, four runs batted in, walk), Roger Turbush (4 for 6, four RBI, home run, triple), Bob Marcello (4 for 4, two home runs, three RBI, two walks), Herb Loper (2 for 6, home run, four RBI), Chris Turbush (3 for 5, home run, three RBI, walk), Carl Ruthinoski (2 for 6, home run, two RBI), Jamie Bednoski (3 for 5, three home runs, seven RBI, walk), Ed Michaelis (3 for 4, home run, triple, three RBI, two walks) and Chris Golden (3 for 5).
After coming into the playoffs as the No. 4 seed, Founders pulled off upsets of No. 1 Billy’s By the Bay, a first-round sweep, and a 3-2 championship series victory over No. 2 Southold Fish Market. Injuries to everyday starting outfielders Dan Hagerman, Glenn Zaleski and Schlachter forced late-season roster additions of brothers Roger and Chris Turbush as well as Kevin Curtis, who played in Monday night’s games. They proved to be championship moves for Founders, which claimed its first league championship.