Bill Hysell can be certain of one thing: His Revco Electrical men’s softball team needs to come out of the gate ready to play.
As Hysell, the Revco manager, sees it, his team, the Riverhead Men’s Softball League regular-season champion for the second year in a row, has to hit in the playoffs.
“Sometimes we come out slow and we don’t always hit the first couple of innings,” Hysell said. “If we do that in the playoffs, we’re not going to win.”
Some slugging is in order, and Revco undoubtedly has the ability.
Defending tournament champion Revco (23-1) entered the double-elimination tournament, which was scheduled to start last night, as the top seed. It was to play either the En4cers or Modell’s/Riverhead Building Supply in its first game. But Revco was expected to be without two of its top players in John Zilnicki (11 home runs) and Tim Velys, who both left the team to return to college.
“They were a big part of our team,” Hysell said. “Losing them is going to hurt us. But John and Tim weren’t with us last year and we won, so we should be able to repeat again.”
Revco has gotten better in each of the five seasons it has been in the league. This season, in addition to the slugging of Zilnicki, Revco has been led by its power-hitting designated hitter/first baseman, Greg Goodale (13 home runs), outfielders Chris Contino (seven homers) and Mile Velys. Todd Van Scoy has provided stellar pitching.
Goodale is a threat to hit the ball out of the park every time he steps to the plate. Contino, the cleanup hitter, smacks a lot of line drives, many of them off the outfield fence. Mike Velys, who broke his hand in the opening game of the season and missed a month, has returned. Hysell said, “He brings a ton of speed and is unbelievable in the outfield.”
“Our defense is what separates us from other teams,” Mike Velys said. “Suffolk Cement can score a ton of runs. We play well against them. The key is our defense not giving them any extra outs. We just have to play the way we have been playing.”
Also, Van Scoy is one of the top pitchers in the league.
“Todd is very accurate and he can move the ball deep in the box or shallow,” Hysell said. “Since each team is only allowed four home runs in each game, Todd can put the ball in a batter’s wheelhouse when there is no one on, so he hits a solo homer, rather than when guys are on base.”
Still, Van Scoy emphasized how important defense will be.
“We’ve shown we can put up double-digits in runs,” he said. “But we’ve got to limit the chances of the other teams. If we only give up 21 outs, we have a good chance to win.”
Hysell talked about the likelihood of his team facing both second-seeded Suffolk Cement and the En4orcers down the road in the tournament. Revco beat Suffolk Cement twice in three games this season and swept its three contests against the En4cers.
“On paper, Suffolk Cement is tremendous,” Hysell said, “and the En4cers added Chris and Roger Turbush from Diggers. They can beat anyone.”
Because it is the top seed, Revco gets to pick which field at Stotzky Memorial Park that it wants to play on. Hysell said Field No. 2, which is the bigger of the two fields, is an advantage for his team because of its speed in the outfield.
Hysell likes his team’s chances to repeat.
“We’ve got a good bunch of guys who hustle and play good defense,” he said. “We have good pitching and we can slug with anyone.”
More than anything, Mike Velys said the team has “figured out how to win. Last year we wouldn’t win the one- or two-run games. This season we’ve figured it out where someone steps up and makes the big play each night.”