A Softball Three-Peat at Terry King

"The biggest local event — the best weekend of the summer.”
After the tournament’s final game, the losers assailed the winners with hugs, high-fives, and sprayed champagne. Jack Graves

“There are a lot of great events in the Hamptons,” Charlie Collins said Sunday evening as the final games of the Travis Field memorial softball tournament were being played at the Terry King ball field in Amagansett, “but this, in my humble opinion, is the biggest local event — the best weekend of the summer.”

And the populous crowd that night — the biggest this writer has ever seen watching slow-pitch softball here — drove home Collins’s point.

“It’s amazing the job Brian [Anderson], Austin [Bahns], and Mike [Graham] have done,” he added.

A teammate of Travis Field’s on East Hampton High School’s baseball team, Collins remembers being “devastated” by the news, imparted to him by his brother, Bill, one May morning a decade ago, that his 20-year-old teammate and friend had died in an auto accident. He hadn’t wanted to believe it, he said, but soon after, at Luigi’s, Mike McGuire confirmed what Bill Collins had said.

Soon after, Anderson, Bahns, Graham, Andy Tuthill, and David Samot Jr. alit upon an idea to keep Travis Field’s name alive — through a softball tournament benefiting scholarships in his name that is now in its 11th year and has grown from 10 to 18 teams. Any more and another field will probably have to be added, “at least for early-round games,” said Collins. As it was, three teams had to be turned away this year. 

Then there was the weather — namely a very rainy Saturday. But the games went on, until the lights went out shortly before midnight in the fifth inning of the Catchers in the Rye and Hideaway game, which was resumed Sunday morning.

“There wasn’t much downtime at all despite the rain,” Mike Graham said. “Chris McGuire, Mike’s son, came back with sand from Bistrian’s, and shovels, we even had blowers, and we had the field ready to go again in 20 to 30 minutes.”

Fittingly, the East Hampton High School baseball team, sponsored by the East Hampton Village Police Benevolent Association, won the tourney’s B bracket, besting Camp Anawanna 8-6 in the final, a game bracketed by two encounters between the Pink Panthers (a team made up of the tournament’s founders and others of Travis Field’s contemporaries) and the Raptors of Montauk, who, if there were a prize given out for joie de vivre, would have won running away.

Because the tournament was double-elimination, the once-defeated Panthers, who were to three-peat as the A bracket champions, had to beat the theretofore undefeated Raptors twice Sunday night. And they did, by scores of 12-10 and 12-5.

The Raptors, some of whose players are on the Gig Shack men’s slow-pitch softball team in Montauk, seemed to take the losses in stride, for when the championship game ended, at about 11 p.m., they assailed their opponents with bear hugs, well wishes, and volleys of sprayed champagne.

At first it didn’t look too promising for the Panthers, who made three errors in the top of the first inning, which resulted in the Raptors scoring three runs.

Matt Brierley wiped that lead out with a two-out, three-run clout over the left field fence in the bottom half.

Colin Davis, the Raptors’ pitcher, walked the first two batters to face him (Anderson and Austin Bahns) in the bottom of the third. One out later, Brenden Mott drove Anderson home with a sacrifice fly, and, with two outs and runners at first and second, Brierley found the parking lot again for a 7-3 Panther lead, a blow that proved to be the clincher.

After Brierley had cleared the bases, Dylan Field singled, and was heading for second when Brent Davis, the Raptors’ first baseman, made a spectacular diving, flat-out catch of Tuthill’s rocketed low line drive over the first-base line to end the inning.

Leo Daunt had a chance to pull the Raptors closer in their next at-bat, but, with runners at second and third and two out, he flied out to left.

Austin Bahns drove in two more runs for the Panthers in the bottom of the fourth, after which Mott, with two outs, added still two more with a triple, effectively putting the game out of reach, at 11-3.

But, as aforesaid, the Raptors were to remain rapturous no matter the outcome.

Four scholarships of $1,000 each were given out this year in Travis Field’s name. The recipients were Maddie Schenck, Riley Duchemin (who pitched for the B-bracket winners), Keitlyn Cabrera, and Eamon Spencer. 

Schenck, who played for the Schenck Fuels team in the tournament, and Duchemin threw out the first balls before the opener last Thursday afternoon.

The three new teams this year were Catchers in the Rye, sponsored by Hummel Construction, the Hideaway, and Female Detail, a very competitive team, Collins said, that included Annemarie Cangiolosi, Melanie Anderson, and My Lan Eckardt, all Lou Reale protégées and top-notch college players in their time.

Asked who the man was on the Female Detail team (men’s teams must have at least one female in the field at all times, and vice versa), Collins said he didn’t know, adding, “It didn’t matter.”

Riley Duchemin, who pitched for the B bracket’s winning East Hampton High School baseball team, and Maddie Schenck, who played for the Schenck Fuels entry, were Travis Field scholarship winners this year, along with Keitlyn Cabrera and Eamon Spencer. Jack Graves