The Love Handles finished off a perfect regular season in Edina Men’s Rec 35 & Over softball Aug. 2 at Van Valkenburg Park.
They went 12-0 in league play to edge Bunny’s (11-1) and Federated Insurance (9-3). Next in the pecking order were the Bruce Avenue All-Stars (7-5), C-Side (6-6) and the L.B. Dirtbags (6-6).
Those teams comprised the entrants for the one-night playoff, which was scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 9.
“In our loss to the Love Handles during the regular season, we gave them too many outs,” said Bunny’s player-manager Paul Halpin.
The Love Handles are still boiling over their playoff loss to Bunny’s last summer. All the Love Handles needed to win that game was a fly ball to the outfield, but instead one of their players hit a grounder to Bunny’s shortstop Greg Roth, who turned the gift into a double play.
“All I can say is, we have a job to do,” said the Love Handles’ star shortstop, Jason “Turbo” Sirek.
Roth said, “It would be fitting to see another championship game between Bunny’s and the Love Handles next week.”
In the final games of the regular season, both of the league leaders were tested.
The Love Handles fell behind 7-2 against the Unified Fielders before scoring 13 runs in the bottom of the third for a 15-7 lead. Vic Halverson, the ace pitcher for the Fielders, shut the Love Handles down the first two innings, but may have developed a case of whiplash in the third.
Sirek hit a 360-foot homer to dead-center field, and then Bill Bausman blasted a 350-foot homer, just to the right of center field. Scotty Christensen’s 345-foot shot finished the home run parade. The fielders fought back, but lost by the final count of 22-12 in five innings.
Bunny’s went against the Dogs of Corn, led by one of their former players, pitcher Greg Wagner.
It was a struggle, as neither team hit a home run and Bunny’s prevailed 12-6.
Bunny’s scored five runs in the sixth inning with big doubles from Roth, Jeb Lau and Bryan Fricke.
In other regular-season finales Aug. 2, Capstone topped the Boys of Summer 18-7, the L.B. Dirtbags held off the Cruisers 14-11, the Bruce Avenue All-Stars closed down C-Side 16-2 and Federated Insurance blanked the Blade Runners 13-0.
The Boys of Summer were happy to see their player-coach Bruce Grant at Van Valkenburg. He has missed the 2017 season while being treated for cancer. Several players from other teams dropped by to wish Grant well. He is the son of legendary Vikings head coach Bud Grant.
Contact John Sherman at [email protected]