Kraw Sox capture Courier Cup
By EMILY H. WAKE (September 11, 2016)
WATCH: WALK-OFF HOME RUN | HIGHLIGHTS
FARMINGTON — The Kraw Sox started the 27th annual Courier Cup Wiffleball Classic with a whimper, but there’s no doubt they ended it with a bang.
They lost their first game of the tournament Saturday morning in extra innings to the FB Squad. After that you could call the Kraw Sox “sterno” because they were on fire.
They won six straight games, including three in the playoffs Sunday. They beat, in order, the three-time defending champion Heart Breakers, the Know It Alls and the Rochester Rogues (6-1) in the championship on Nick Hanrahan’s walk-off home run in the bottom of the last inning, 9-8.
Trailing the Rogues, 8-6, in the bottom of the fifth, Jon Hamel hit a two-out, two-run homer to tie the game, 8-8, and then Hanrahan followed with a solo dinger to the deepest part of the park in left center to win it — the Kraw Sox record fifth Courier Cup championship and first since 2009.
“I called for the home run,” said Kraw Sox captain Tom Krawczyk. “I told Hamel to go deep on this one and he totally did.”
Tournament MVP Donny Joy walked to start the last inning, but the Rogues got the next two outs on a whiff and a foul out. That set the stage for the left-handed Hamel, who deposited the game-tying homer over the fence in right.
Hamel was named to the All-Tournament team along with teammates Joy and Alan Doucet. The Rogues’ Tyler Poisson and Cody Stevens were also selected, along with Jesse Moody of the Know It Alls and Codie Healey of the Slime Dogs.
The Rogues went up 2-0 in the first on Tyler Poisson’s two-run homer, but the Kraw Sox (6-1) came back in the bottom of the frame to take a 3-2 lead on Joy’s two-run single to right and an error.
Stevens’ solo dinger in the second tied it at 3-3, and the Rogues went up 7-3 in the third, three of the runs scoring on consecutive solo circuit clouts by Josh Poisson, Stevens and Kory Ferullo.
Three errors by the Rogues and an RBI fielder’s choice by Doucet cut the lead to 7-6 after three full.
It stayed that way until the top of the fifth when the Rogues added an insurance run on Ferullo’s two-out double to right center that scored Ben Douglas from first base.
It wasn’t enough as it turned out.
“It’s unbelievable,” Krawczyk said. “Every time we win one, it’s surreal.”
Was there any doubt after that first loss?
Joy admitted that when the team went to the Poor People’s Pub on Saturday for lunch, with two games still to play, they considered saying to heck with it and just go for the good time and not worry about winning.
“Do we turn it off or keep it going?” Krawczyk said.
They decided on the latter, winning two more games in the afternoon to set things in motion for the final day.
“I just knew we had to work hard and dig deep,” said Krawczyk after that first loss. “We had good defense and pitching, though we weren’t hitting the ball (on Saturday). We were hitting everything today.”
In the first round Sunday, the Rogues beat the Wiffle Kings, 8-3; the Slime Dogs slammed the Wild Ones, 14-1; the Know It Alls blanked Carp’s Seamen, 10-0, and the Kraw Sox shocked everyone with a 10-0 win over the Heart Breakers, who had won four of the last five championships.
The Rogues beat the Heart Breakers late in the day Saturday, 16-7, to snap their tournament-record 22-game winning streak. Their woes continued Sunday with the loss to the fired-up Kraw Sox.
In the semifinals, the Rogues beat the Slime Dogs in extra innings, 11-5, and the Kraw Sox outslugged the Know It Alls, 15-8.
“I’m happy we drew the Heart Breakers,” Krawczyk said. “They’re the best team. … We had to play a lot of hard games.”
NOTES: The Rogues’ Kory Ferullo won the annual home run derby, hitting six homers out of eight pitches. … Proceeds from the event benefited the Farmington 500 Boys and Girls Club, which hosted the event. … The Courier Cup T-shirts were once again designed by long-time Wiffle Ball friend, John Dauphinais, of Chester.
2016 AWARD WINNERS
Donny Joy, Kraw Sox (MVP)
Jon Hamel, Kraw Sox
Alan Doucet, Kraw Sox
Cody Stevens, Rochester Rogues
Tyler Poisson, Rochester Rogues
Codie Healey, Slime Dogs
Jesse Moody, Know It Alls
HOME RUN DERBY CHAMPION
Kory Ferullo, Rochester Rogues