Chiles Group softball team runs the table
|The Chiles Group softball team poses for a photo after opening season playoffs with an 11-5 victory, extending its undefeated streak to 15 games. Islander Photos: Kevin Cassidy
|Chiles Group shortstop Keith VanOstenbridge fields a hard-hit grounder to start an inning-ending double play in C-division softball playoff action at G.T. Bray Park in Bradenton.
The Chiles Group entry into the Manatee County Parks and Recreation softball league ran the table in the 2009 C-division regular season and playoffs to finish as the first undefeated team the league has seen in 10 years.
CG’s 18-0 record is even more impressive when you consider the department offers three seasons per year, making this undefeated regular-season and playoff run the first in 30 seasons.
CG had two really close calls during the regular season. The first one came on June 30 when they won a back-and-forth battle with West Coast Aluminum by an 18-16 score. A week later, the team found itself trailing Rico’s Pizza 4-3 going into the bottom of the seventh inning. CG managed to tie the score at 4-4 on the way to a 5-4 victory in eight innings.
The playoffs were a grind for the players, with Chiles Group in four games in three nights on the way to the championship. They opened their playoff run by defeating Nuisance Wildlife Removal 11-5 on July 21, and followed that with a 22-5 victory over Rico’s Pizza on July 22.
Chiles Group had to win two games on July 23 to take the title. They easily won the first game over Master Batters 16-4 on the mercy rule.
The championship game against Camo Pimps was not quite as easy. Chiles Group jumped out to a 9-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, but found itself trailing 13-11 at the end of three innings.
The deciding moment in the game came with Chiles Group trailing 13-12 in the bottom of the sixth inning. CG loaded the bases for Chiles Group outfielder Scott Ellis, who came through with an inside-the-park grand slam home run to put up a 16-12 lead. They then withstood a bases-loaded threat by Camo Pimps on the way to a 19-16 victory.
After one playoff victory, Chiles Group softball manager Joe Rodgers joked, “I took a ragtag crew and coached them up to a championship squad.”
Rodgers, also manager of the Sand Bar Restaurant, pointed out that the team includes current and former employees, as well as several players with Island connections.
Rodgers attributed a lot of the team’s success to the players’ ability to stay loose and have fun together. It also didn’t hurt that they had two players hit over .700 and four players batted .600 or better. Throw in good overall team speed and solid fielding and you can see why they were so successful this year.
Other members of the team include second-baseman Matt Bowers, shortstop Keith VanOstenbridge, pitcher Kevin Morash, catcher Jeff Cavanaugh, third-baseman Adam Moffett, first-baseman James Daniels, left-fielder Brando Fetzik, right-fielder Rob Newingham, center-fielder Greg Harland, EH Don Voakes, pitcher Mike Mancusso and outfielder Bob Tucker.
Key Royale golf news
The Key Royale Club women played an individual-low-net game on July 21. Terry Westby earned clubhouse bragging rights for the day with an even-par 32. Joyce Brown, Markie Kzaisek, Joyce Reith, Jane Winegarden and Tootie Wagner were all a shot back in a five-way tie for second place.
Four teams emerged from pool play during July 25 horseshoe action at the Anna Maria City Hall horseshoe pits. In the first semifinal, Steve Doyle and Jeff Moore skunked walker Debbie Rhodes 22-0, while Sam Samuels and Gary Howcroft did the same to Hank Huyghe and Herb Ditzel by a 23-0 score.
In the finals with Samuels and Howcroft clinging to an 18-14 lead, Samuels showed why he’s known as “Six-Pack” Sam, throwing a double ringer to win the match at 24-14.
The July 22 games saw Steve Doyle and Gary Howcroft earn top honors as the only undefeated team after pool play. Bob Heiger and Jeff Moore defeated Jay Disbrow and Sam Samuels 22-9 in the playoff for second place.
Play gets under way at 9 a.m. every Wednesday and Saturday at the Anna Maria City Hall pits. Warmups begin at 8:45 a.m. followed by random team selection. There is no charge to play and everyone is welcome.
Sign up now for Her-icane golf challenge
The Manatee High School Her-icanes girls soccer team will host its fourth-annual fundraising golf tournament at the Bradenton Country Club at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26. The team uses the money raised for uniforms, warmup suits, soccer equipment and tournament travel.
For a $100 donation, players can test their golf skills in a four-person scramble on the challenging layout at Bradenton's exclusive club.
All players registered prior to the Aug. 1 deadline will receive a goody bag, cart and greens fees, a post-tourney banquet and guaranteed fun throughout the day. Also on tap are a straightest-drive contest, two closest-to-the-pin contests, a putting contest and tons of prizes will be awarded. The field is limited to the first 100 golfers, so don't delay.
The Her-icanes also are looking for tournament sponsors to help their cause. For $800, a business can purchase the Hat Trick, a package for a foursome of golf, banquet, tee or green sign on the course and a banner that will be displayed at all Manatee Her-icane home soccer games. A golden goal sponsorship includes a foursome and a tee or green sign on the course for $500, and a tee or green sign for the tournament for $125.
To sign up, list four players and each player’s phone number and send the list and check payable to Manatee Girls Soccer Booster. Mail it to me, Her-icane Coach Kevin Cassidy, 2011 79th St. N.W., Bradenton FL 34209. For more information, call me at 941-807-1105.
Islander receives award
Anna Maria Island resident Thomas G. Creed recently received the prestigious Bill Crutchfield Award at the Florida Special Olympics Leadership Conference in Orlando July 18, 2009. Creed serves on the Manatee County Special Olympics management team as Competition Director and coaches tennis year round. The Crutchfield award is presented for contributions made regarding the respect and dignity of Special Olympics athletes.