Medaglia’s Island of Misfits cruise to Softball Tourney crown
By WES HARDIN
The Island of Misfits swept their way to the title in the Cleveland Indians Annual Softball Tournament on Monday at Progressive Field, beating Omar Jufko’s Erie Warriors, 12-8, in the title game. (And yes, we’d prefer it if next year this tournament happened in November, not October, after the Indians season is over.)
It was the Misfits’ second victory over Warriors of the day; earlier, the Misfits won, 10-1, to advance to the title game without a loss and send the Warriors to the losers’ bracket.
“It really was an entire team effort,” Misfits manager Tony Medaglia said. “We had speed, power, and solid defense behind my sensational pitching. I couldn’t have asked for much more out of the group, and we’re hoping to keep everyone together for next year.”
The Misfits started the day with an emphatic 15-2 win over Matt Clark’s Deuces team, then beat Neil Weiss’ Dollar Dogs, 4-1, to move into the winners’ bracket final. There, the top of the Misfits’ order jumped all over pitcher Ryan Lantz with four in the first and five in the second, punctuated by Raphael Collins’ mammoth homer.
“I was really impressed with the top of their order,” said Clark, whose team lost to the Warriors in the losers’ bracket final. “They had Patrick DiBiasio batting ninth and Jesse Holloway batting 14th. That’s crazy.”
Members of Medaglia’s winning team included Casey Nance, John Bowers, Mark Hug, Kris Roukey, Court Berry-Tripp, Collins, Joel Hammond, Patrick DiBiasio, Jesse Holloway, Jami Kinton, Brian Recktenwald, Kyle Stepanik, Deangelo Williams and Nick Wrenn.
The day was not without its controversy, however. After Collins’ aforementioned big blast in the winners’ bracket finale, the Warriors intentionally walked him for the rest of the afternoon. The strategy backfired, as Misfits cleanup hitter Mark Hug had a big day. And Collins sternly vowed he’d “remember that next year.”
“I’ve been doing this for many years, and I’ve never seen anything like that,” said home plate Jack Efta, who was capably assisted by Bryan Hoffart, Jim Folk, Curtis Danburg and Dave Lisowski. “If you ask me, really an unsportsmanlike move – not to mention foolish, since they had Hug behind Collins.”
Thanks to everyone who made the event another big success, including DNC, which provided a delicious lunch in the Visitors’ Clubhouse.
–Photos by Kyle Emery