Daily Local News: Jack Cassidy's Pub wins Greenday Trophy at 2015 Charity Challenge
By Bill Rudick, email@example.com
WEST CHESTER — They were pushed to an extra game, but thanks to a four-run seventh in the second game of the championship finale, Jack Cassidy's Pub won its second Greenday Trophy in three years as the champions of the 8th Annual Charity Challenge Championship.
The annual slow picth softball tournament, benefiting the American Cancer Society and Prostate Cancer awareness, is held over two days at Kennett Square and West Chester, with the final games played at the West Chester Area Sports Association Complex. The Greenday Trophy is named for the late Daily Local News Sports Editor Greg Greenday.
"We love playing in this tournament," said Jack Cassidy's player/coach Dan Lucas. "It's really the last hurrah of the summer season, so we all get really geared up for this one. It's always great competition and for a great cause."
It was yet another tough field in the Charity Challenge, as evidenced by the fact that last year's champs, TMS Combat was bounced from the winner's bracket in the first round, and won just one game in the tournament.
Cassidy's arrived in the championship finale after winning a wild one, 31-24, over Unique Image in the winner's bracket final. Unique Image worked its way to the finals with wins over Barnaby's of Havertown, A&R Iron Works, and UBBIBC. Cassidy's were winners over Brawlers, Barnaby's of Ridley/Danese Softball, and Ram's Pizza Tavern.
It looked as though the winner's bracket final might be a quick one when Cassidy's posted an 18-run first inning, and tacked on another eight in the second to go up 26-10 after two, but Uniqie Image fought and scratched and was back in it, and the game went the distance. Dan Lucas had a pair of home runs for the winners, while Kevin O'Keefe added a 3-run blast of his own.
Unique Image was then dropped into the loser's bracket, where they squared off against a UBBIBC squad they had just beaten in a mercy rule 10-0 game in the winner's bracket semi-finals on Saturday. This time around, though, UBBIBC carried the big sticks, and earned a slot in the championship finals with a 19-9 victory in seven innings.
"We play in this tournament every year," said UBBIBC coach Jon Fanelli. "It's great to come out and raise awareness for prostate cancer, and play some softball. But we always seem to play just well enough to finish fourth or fifth. It's great to finally make the finals, especially against Jack Cassidy's. We're good friends with all those guys and play them a bunch. We just beat them in two close games to win the Marcus Hook Slow Pitch League."
Prior to the start of the championship finals, longtime umpire Jake Royal was honored. Earlier in the year at the ASA of PA Hall of Fame Awards Banquet, Royal, whose distinctive "striiiiiiiiike" call is immediately recognized by all local players, was honored with the J. Richard Millhouse Memorial Award, given each year to a Pennsylvania umpire who has shown great commitment and service on the local level with his chapter and to ASA of PA.
"There couldn't have been a more deserving winner than Jake," said Sonny Pompillii, the ASA of PA District 6/Deputy State Umpire-In-Chief, who nominated Royal for the award. "He's committed, never turns down an assignment, near or far, is well-liked, and he's a great umpire."
"It's a lot of hard work and commitment," said Royal, who has been an ASA umpire for 40 years. "But it's also a lot of fun. It's a great way to still be a part of the game, and it's nice to have all the hard work recognized."
The first game was yet another close one between UBBIBC and Cassidy's. UBBIBC opened strong, notching a pair in the first on a single from A.J. Welk and a homer from Mike Ferguson, and another three in the second when Fanelli walked, T.J. Duranto followed with a single, and Mike Palumbo homered. A solo shot from Duranto in the top half of the fifth made it 6-1.
Cassidy's cut the lead to one in the bottom half of the fifth, with a single from Pee Wee Stinson, a double from Jevin Brown, a two-RBI double from Chris Kerstetter, a walk to O'Keefe and a single and error for Tony Leon.
But UBBIBC forced the "if" game with a run in the sixth on a two-RBI double from Ryan Duke, and another two runs in the seventh singles from Fanelli, pinch hitter Dan Stapert, and Welk.
Most of the winner-take-all finale was a pitcher's duel, with the two teams tied at 4-4 after six innings of play.
Brown led off the seventh for Cassidy's, and went opposite field for single. Pinch hitter Brian Leon followed with another single. With one out, O'Keefe and Kerstetter went back-to-back to put Cassidy's up 8-4.
Mike Hill cut the lead to 8-6 with a two-RBI single in the bottom of the seventh, but Cassidy's was able to leave two runners stranded when the last out was recorded to take the 8-6 victory.
"It's always fun to win, but it's also fun to just come out, play ball and raise money for cancer," said Stinson, who was named the tournament MVP. "I guess this was a little revenge for the last time, and we all played really well. Chris Kerstetter hit really well all day, Kevin O'Keefe hit the homer that put us up in this one--any of us could've been MVP."