Reds Cap-Off Return to Amherst Men’s Slopitch League With Division I Title
© Dave Mathieson-Amherst News (File Photo, 2010)
The Cumberland Reds, seen here in this cumberlandnewsnow.com file photo from August 17, 2010, captured the Amherst Men's Slopitch League Division I Championship Thursday night in six games over IMP. The Reds, wo played in Moncton last season, went 27-1 during the regular season before defeating Atlantic Kia 3-0 and IMP 4-2 in the playoffs.
AMHERST-The Cumberland Reds, a team that played softball in Moncton last season, captured the Amherst Men’s Slopitch League’s Division I title Thursday by defeating IMP in one of the most evenly matched finals in recent memory.
“(Games 3 and 4) were both very close games and low-scoring,” stated Reds’ captain Luke Crocker. “It was disappointing to lose the fourth game how we did, but sometimes a loss like that can help ground a team,” added Crocker in reference to his team’s 8-7 loss to IMP Tuesday on a great catch by IMP’s Cody Hunter.
The Cumberland Reds, who dominated the regular season by going 27-1, lost twice as many games (2) in the finals than they did during the entire regular season.
“When things are going well, it's sometimes easy to fall into a trap,” stated Crocker, “Showing up every night and just going through the motions, hoping that we come out on top. Tonight, we played with a bitter taste in our mouth. When our guys went on the field, it was for one purpose: to win both games and end it in 6,” added Crocker. The Cumberland Reds edged IMP 12-10 and 10-6 on Thursday.
Marc Belliveau led the way for the Reds in game 5, hitting a 3-run first inning homerun with Steven Brown and Devin Moore on base. Belliveau singled, tripled, walked and scored another run while Jason Hoeg, captain of last year’s league champions (Money’s Worth/D & D Auto) homered in the second for the Reds. Luke Crocker legged out an inside-the-park homer for Cumberland in the second.
Cody Hunter singled three times for IMP while Chris Peck singled and tripled. IMP pitcher Brian Hebert added a two-run homer and a single as well for IMP.
“Our bats came alive in games 5 and 6, and we got some timely hits from the lower half of our lineup,” stated Crocker, “IMP was strong, and we knew that if we left it (the finals) up to one game, game 7, (that) anything could happen,” added Crocker.
The Reds won game 6 by a score of 10 to 6, the first time a team had won back-to-back games in the series. Steven Brown and Shane O’Byrne hit back-to-back home runs to lead-off the game before scoring again in the fifth inning of game 6 on three-run homer off the bat of Devin Moore. Brown, O’Byrne and Moore singled.
A key spot in game 6 came in the bottom of the 6th inning with two men on base and IMP down by one run. “We had 2 runners on base, me and Paul (Arseneau),” stated IMP captain Darryl Ferguson. “We pinch ran for Paul, and put up one of our best hitters in Kyle (Remington) to try to clear the bases. It backed fired, but I would do it again,” stated Ferguson.
Remington, a left-handed hitter who pinch hit for Troy Miller, who had an RBI single in his last at bat in the 4th, flew out to leftfield to end the threat for IMP.
The Reds put the game out of reach by scoring three times in the top of the 7th.
Brian Hebert single four times for IMP while Paul Arseneau singled three times. Darryl Ferguson singled twice and Ronnie Ross added a homer and a single.
“We had a great year,” stated Ferguson. “We fell a little (bit) short to a great team. (We have) nothing to hang our heads about,” he added. “Thank you to all of my teammates and congratulations to Luke Crocker and the Cumberland Reds.”
“I'd like to thank all those that have played, organized and participated in the Amherst Men’s Slopitch league this year,” stated Crocker. “On behalf of the league, I'd also like to especially thank Jamie Heap and Dave Mathieson for their excellent coverage of the playoffs,” he added. “It's the little things like this that help keep this league running. Thank you also to all those that have sponsored teams this year: IMP, Atlantic Kia, Sobeys and Green Smith,” Crocker concluded.