This championship night in the Richard T. Betts Rec Modified Softball League was one for the ages.
Needing to beat Fralick Chiropractic twice in one evening, Betts came within one out of accomplishing the feat before Fralick put together a two-out rally to clinch its first Rec League title.
Fralick defeated Betts in the winners bracket final one week ago, meaning Betts needed to knock Fralick off twice to win the double elimination tournament. The local team got off to a strong start Wednesday at Betts Park, handing Fralick a 5-1 loss in the first game of the finals.
Times Observer photo by Jonathan McAfoos
Fralick Chiropractic pitcher Joe Conti delivers a pitch versus Betts during the Richard T. Betts Rec Modified Softball League finals held on Wednesday at Betts Park.
Chris Yost had two hits for the winners and the lone extra base hit of the game. Nick Fiorella was the lone Fralick player with two hits.
With a strong start in the second game, Betts appeared to be on its way to its first Rec title since 2009 when Nic-L-Inn ended a streak of 14 straight titles from Betts.
Jeff Eaton started the first with a single, advanced to third on an error and gave Betts a 1-0 lead on Andy Hanks' sacrifice fly. Darren Cummings followed with a single, Don Cummings had a double and Mark Massa brought home runs number two and three with a two-run double. Rick Eaton's RBI single scored Massa and made it 4-0 before the top of the first was over.
Betts extended the lead to seven in the fourth inning, getting a two-run homer from Hanks and an RBI from Don Cummings.
Despite things looking grim, Fralick refused to go down without a fight.
In the sixth, Jeremy Engquist got the rally started with a triple and scored on Jim Cama's RBI single. Ryan Fralick followed with an RBI single of his own, Ben Lindquist's RBI single made it 7-3 and Nick Fiorella's two-run double closed the gap to 7-5.
Betts went scoreless in the bottom of the sixth, but quickly got the first two outs in the seventh, leaving the team one out from the title.
Fralick had one more rally in the tank.
Again, Engquist started things off with a double and Cama walked to put the tying run on base. Fralick singled home Engquist to make it 7-6, bringing Shane Swan to the dish. Swan singled home Cama to tie the game and Chris Maggio followed with a two-run double, providing what would be the game-winning hit.
Fralick, Engquist. Fiorella and Swan all had two hits in the victory. Darren Cummings, Don Cummings and Jeff Berdine all had three hits in defeat for Betts while Jeff Eaton and Rick Eaton added two hits each.
Fralick (17-3) handed Betts (18-3) its only three losses of the season - two in the playoffs after Betts finished the regular season at 15-1.
Betts 210 001 1 - 5 7
Fralick 010 000 0 - 1 6
2b-Chris Yost (B). WP-Rick Eaton. LP-Joe Conti.
Fralick 000 005 4 - 9 12
Betts 400 300 0 - 7 14
2b-Mark Massa (B), Don Cummings (B) 2, Jeremy Engquist (F), Nick Fiorella (F). 3b-Engquist (F), Chris Maggio (F). HR-Andy Hanks (B). WP-Joe Conti. LP-Rick Eaton.