RUN FOR IT — Aaron Breindel of Springville makes a failed attempt to steal third base on a hit by Manager Jared Owen, but the ball was caught, before Breindel got on base.
BOSTON — Berean Free Presbyterian Church’s softball team entered its final game of the season on July 31, knowing first place in division three of the Southtown’s Church League was out of reach.
Back-to-back losses, for the first time all season, set the home team at 8 – 3, with no hope of catching rival Marilla First Baptist, when Berean took on Big Tree Wesleyan, but the Boston church still had second place to play for and a chance to advance to division two, next season. If the first game between Berean and Big Tree was any indication, a 14 – 2 win that pushed Berean to 4 – 0, early in the season, second place would belong to Boston, by the evening’s end.
TAKE IT HOME — Craig Moody of Chaffee sprints to third base, while a member of the away team catches the ball, in an attempt to make an out, only to drop the ball and allow Moody to get on base.
Three Big Tree batters came up and three went down, to start the game. However, the first three batters for Berean were all called out, as well, one on a steal. That left the game still scoreless, after one inning. Big Tree would have the same luck in the second: three up, three down, to leave a double goose egg on the scoreboard, as Berean came up to bat.
The teams were on the verge of going two innings with no scoring, as both Scott Overhoff and Steve Salisbury, the first two batters, were called out. However, the majority of Berean’s work, this season, has been done with two outs on the board, and tonight would feature more of the same clutch offense.
SLAM THAT BALL — The Rev. Phil Owen of East Concord slams the ball, to get onto first base.
The Rev. Phil Owen got things going with a single, and the Boston church went on to score 9 consecutive runs – all with two outs – to hold a 9 – 0 lead, after two innings.
Owen, Aaron Breindel, Eric Drake and Drew Payne all scored, one in each remaining inning, to round out Berean’s offense, with 13 runs. Payne’s run was an inside-the-park home run, after a couple steals and multiple errors, on the part of Big Tree’s fielders. Big Tree managed a run in the third inning and another in the fifth, but that production was too few runs to make a game of it, and Berean won 13 – 2.
WATCH IT GO — Drew Payne hits one out of the park, during the game against Big Tree.
With the win all but in hand, Berean began to experiment, by putting different players in different positions, as well as easing up on stealing bases. For one inning, Payne, who typically plays shortstop, filled in for the team’s catcher, Mike Sargeant, who took the field.
“I had wanted to try catcher, all season,” said Payne.
“I love catcher,” Sargeant said, “but, even for just one inning, I wanted to play the outfield. It felt good to stretch my legs a bit.”
Jared Owen, the team’s captain, played several positions. “That was, by far, the most positions I’ve played in one game,” he said.
RUN, JARED, RUN — Team Manager Jared Owen of East Concord sprints to first base, as an opposing fielder makes a failed attempt to get the ball to the first baseman, for an out. Photos by Jessie Owen.
With the win, Berean improved on last year’s inaugural 7 – 5 campaign, with a 9 – 3 finish, this year, which included a 5 – 0 start. The 4 – 3 finish included those back-to-back losses. The team’s all-time record sits at 16 – 8 (.667 winning percentage), despite the fact that the Boston church itself has a much smaller congregation than most of its rivals.
“We closed out the season on a high note,” said Jared Owen. “It was good for morale, after a couple disappointing losses. But we played well enough to finish in second and we were given an option to move up a division, next year.”
Owen had no comment, when asked what the team was planning to do with that option.
SCL had not released its final standings yet, but Marilla and Berean finished Nos. one and two, respectively, and both teams could be playing in division two, next year. If they do, Gowanda Free Methodist, which stands at 2 – 10 and Orchard Park Community, at 0 – 10, would likely move down to division three.
Marilla won two divisions, as its other team finished first in division one with an identical 10 – 2 record to win the league. Marilla’s division three team was 1 – 1 against the Boston church.
Big Tree bottomed out in division three, finishing 1 – 11, including an 0 – 2 record against Berean.