Sports: White Plains Recreation Men’s Softball Heats Up
As the heat index rises and the competition heats up at the mid-point of the season in the White Plains Recreation Department Summer Softball Leagues, let’s not forget the true objective of this popular adult recreational activity.
The most descriptive word in the title “White Plains Recreation Softball Leagues” is “Recreation.” The White Plains Recreation Softball Leagues are probably the most entertaining, exciting and competitive organized athletic activity for adults during the summer months in White Plains. Furthermore, the White Plains Recreation Softball Leagues has a history and tradition which dates back over 50 years.
This year the White Plains Recreation Department organized three Men’s Softball Leagues, which consists of 34 teams, two Co-Ed Leagues with a total of 20 teams and a Women’s Softball League with eight teams. Most of the teams are supported by local area sponsors that extend the opportunity for male and female adults to compete playing softball in a fun fashion, after their workday ends.
On Thursday, July 18, in the Men’s Thursday Night League, Riemans Auto Body challenged Plus 40 in a rematch of last year’s Playoff Championship. Riemans is the reigning Men’s Thursday Night League Playoff Champions.
Whenever Riemans plays Plus 40 fans can always expect a very competitive and highly spirited game. Both teams are longstanding members of the White Plains Recreation Men’s Softball League and each year they rate among the top four teams in the league.Nonetheless, an incident that occurred in the top of the fifth inning of Thursday’s Night game on July 18 was a bit more than spirited and no less than controversial and had the potential to evolve into a dangerous situation.
In the fourth inning, after Riemans’ pitcher Tommy Zeoli hit his second homerun of the game and leftfielder Kevin Murray followed-up with a solo back-to-back dinger; Riemans was running away with the game with a lead of 13-3. Plus 40 scored once in the bottom half of the fourth, which made the score 13-4.
After two runs crossed the plate for Riemans in the top of the fifth inning, Riemans second baseman Nick Parente hit a hard line drive right at Plus 40 pitcher Mike Delligge that took the heralded veteran’s glove right off his hand.
Parente, in my opinion, had no intention of hurting Delligge. However, considering the blowout score with Riemans leading 15-4, and the fact that once Delligge complained about the dangerous back-to-the-box hit and did not immediately receive a sportsmanship apology from Parente, things almost got out of control.
The umpires separated the teams who were in the midst of vehemently arguing fair play and instituted a firm warning to both clubs to play softball only and then the game continued.
But when Parente returned to the plate in the sixth inning, he hit a hard grounder which crossed the mound on Delleggi’s right side and then things got even more heated on the field.
Plus 40’s longtime Manager Joseph Pinto had enough and used some choice words towards Parente, which got him tossed from the game.
Delligge, with his knee already bandaged on the mound, was furious, as were both ball clubs. Delligge, a wise veteran of almost over 40 years in the league, made a wise decision and purposely walked-in Riemans next run, making the score 17-6. This gave the Auto Body team an 11-run lead and the Mercy Rule was applied, which ended the game with Riemans getting the win.
“That is why we ended the game the way we did, we were not going to allow our players to get hurt. It is recreation ball, we have fun, we come here to enjoy ourselves, we all have to work,” said Pinto. “I am going to call Frank (Magaletta) in the morning, it is nothing against any of these guys, these are all good guys, I have played ball with them for years, it just is what it is,” said Pinto.
Frank Magaletta is the White Plains Recreation Department’s Supervisor II, who organizes and supervises the White Plains Recreation Softball Leagues. Magaletta certainly deserves a telephone call concerning this incident. Not so much for distinguishing blame upon anyone but for gaining a quick understanding of how softball pitchers in these leagues can be protected from hard hits back to the box.
Riemans pitcher Tommy Zeoli is one of the top Men’s pitchers in the White Plains Summer Softball Leagues. However this year fans will notice that Zeoli is pitching with a catcher’s mask or a mask worn by a hockey goalie. Why? Because playing shortstop in another league a ball bounced up and broke his nose.
Zeoli, as Delligge or any male or female pitcher in the White Plains Recreation Softball Leagues should not have to face even the chance of injury by balls hit back-to-the-mound. Maybe all the pitchers should be made to wear helmets or maybe a batting practice pitcher’s cage installed in games with a one-base rule if you hit the cage on a hit.
Myself, I do not know the solution to this problem, but what I do know is that you cannot ask a batter to avoid hitting the ball up the middle when at the plate. It would leave the batter at a disadvantage and ruin the other true objective of the game, which is “competition.”