These two teams are providing consistent entertainment in their Wayne County Men's Softball League quarterfinal playoff series.
Coming off a 7-2 defeat two days earlier, Kestler’s met Joe’s Ranch House at the dugout field in Bingham Park.
This was Game Two in a best-of-three series in the Wayne County Men’s Softball League playoffs.
Pete Saprona was on the mound for the home Kestler’s team. On the visitors’ side was John Blockberger for the Ranch House.
Back & Forth
The Ranch House struck first claiming a first inning run off Saprona, but Kestler’s answered back.
Buddy Vail cracked a two run homer that went so deep into left the ball might have needed to check in at The Settler’s if it went any further.
Two more runs in the first gave Kestler’s a 4-1 lead going into the second.
Strong defense on Kestler’s part kept the Ranch House gang scoreless in the second.
Helping the offense was Jim Fulton who pounded in a three run homer helped raise the score while Kestler’s added two more runs driving the score to 9-1.
The Ranch House was down, but not out. They grabbed two runs in the top of the third, closing the gap, but not for long.
Kestler’s was developing a pattern: A 2-run homer in the first, a 3-run shot in the third, What next...agrand sllam? Sure! Leave that to J.W. Swanick. A deeply smacked ball allowed Swanick to clear the bases.
The hot bats of Kestler’s paused only briefly to gather at the plate for a celebratory round of high-fives as Swanick came home, then it was back to business with follow-up RBI from Vail late in inning.
Kestler’s sluggers were finally halted after a pitching change by the Ranch House bringing the score to 14-3.
Progress was made against Kestler’s in the fourth as the Ranch House was able to muster up another run.
While they failed to gain further runs in the fifth, they staved off further assault from Kestler’s until the bottom of the sixth, giving up one run and bringing the score to 15-4, in favor of Kestler’s.
Not giving up, the Ranch House batted in two more runs in the top of the seventh but fell to well played defense in the outfield.
With the score 15-6 in favor of the home team, Kestler’s claimed the win and forced a third playoff game to be held Tuesday at the Group Home field.
Speaking about the win and the upcoming third game, Kestler’s catcher Jeff Gombita and first baseman Buddy Vail noted that their team was really hitting well and that the team sluggers were driving the balls deep.
Defense helped, too, and the team made very few infield errors. Adding to the deeply hit fly balls, grounders were bouncing hard or allowed to roll far into the outfield due to the field conditions.
In spite of the thunderstorms that struck the region the day before, little rain fell on Hawley leaving diamond bone dry and brick tough.
While not looking forward to more play at the Group Home field either, they hope their batters will keep driving in the runs and propel them into the next round.
Score by Innings...
JRH 1 0 2 1 0 1 2 - 6
KES 4 5 5 0 0 1 x - 15