GARRET MEADE PHOTO
Wedel Signs third baseman Kevin Cobey caught a ball during his team’s game against R&K Precision Autoworks.
Over the course of a doubleheader on Monday night, Wedel Signs showed why it can be so dangerous to opponents — and yet so self-destructive.
With an offense that can put up 10 runs in an inning, the Riverhead Men’s Softball League team also has a defense that can surrender 10 runs in an inning.
After allowing 10 runs to R&K Precision Autoworks in the top of the first inning, Wedel Signs used a nine-run rally in the fifth and a seven-run rally in the sixth to score a 22-13 win at Stotzky Memorial Park. Then, in the nightcap, Wedel Signs staged rallies of eight and 10 runs to help build a 25-15 lead against the En4cers. The En4cers used a seven-run surge in the seventh to make things tight, but Wedel Signs held on for a 26-25 victory.
Welcome to the wild world of Wedel Signs softball, where no lead — or deficit — is too big.
“That’s the way our season is,” Wedel Signs slugger Mike Mowdy said. “We score a lot, we give up a lot.”
Fourth-place Wedel Signs (14-8), sandwiched between the En4cers (15-6) and R&K Precision (7-12) in the standings, has made changes since last summer. New to the team are talented young players such as Rob Allen, Mike Bieber, Kevin Curtis, Mark Miloski and Bill Torre. Their young legs have helped on the basepaths.
“We shed a lot of veterans and we got a lot of youth,” said Larry De Vito, one of the team’s longtime veterans. “It’s nice to have a lot of team speed to put a lot of pressure on other teams. We used to be a base-to-base team.”
Now Wedel Signs is a team with power (it reached its league limit of four home runs in each of Monday night’s games) as well as the ability to hit in the clutch and take the extra base. Still, it is not a team without issues. Wedel Signs made four errors in the first game, three of those miscues coming in the first inning.
“We have a lot of new guys this year, so there are going to be growing pains with this team,” Mowdy said. “It all comes down to defense, and defensively we have room for improvement. We can hit with the best of them, but I think that’s what separates us [from defending champion] Revco is Revco, for example, is just a great defensive team. They don’t make a lot of mistakes.”
Wedel Signs barely pulled out the sweep on Monday by edging out the En4cers for the second time in three meetings between the teams. Taking a 26-18 lead into the seventh, Wedel Signs watched as the En4cers pounded out eight of their 30 hits for seven runs to make it a one-run game. Donnie Law doubled home three runs to get the rally going. That gave him nine runs batted in for the game from 4-for-5 hitting with two home runs.
Steve Jones singled in his fifth run of the game to pull the En4cers to within one run. Then, after Bill Vail singled, leaving two runners on with two out, pitcher Mike Drozd got Bernard Bobinski to hit into a game-ending fielder’s choice.
Wedel Signs had to finish the game without its starting pitcher, John Hansen. Hansen had questioned the home-plate umpire’s call of one of his pitches being higher than the league-mandated 12 feet in the second inning. After the top half of the inning ended, the umpire had more words with Hansen and ran him.
But Wedel Signs could count on a potent offense. Before his ejection, Hansen had hammered a three-run homer. Kevin Cobey (4 for 5), Bieber and Don Truesdell also drove balls over the fence, and Mowdy supplied four RBI.
The En4cers received 5-for-5 games from both Rich Kulesa and Steve Jones, who had five RBI and a home run. Roger Turbush added a home run.
The game was twice interrupted by a dog running on the field. At one point, the canine picked up Kulesa’s glove and ran off with it in his mouth before teammates retrieved it.
In the first game, David Zilnicki’s grand slam capped a nine-run burst that gave Wedel Signs a 15-11 lead against R&K Precision. That was the highlight of Zilnicki’s seven-RBI performance.
Mowdy homered twice and Bieber delivered a three-run blast.
R&K Precision received a three-run homer from Mike Dunn and three hits (including a two-run double) by Richie Vlacci.
But the night belonged to Wedel Signs. “We just battled and didn’t give up,” Bieber said. “It was a little shaky in the first game on the field. We picked it up, we battled, and we took two.”