The combination of dominant pitching, tight defense and timely hitting helped Waterfront Cafe capture their first North End Men’s Softball League Championship over the Blumpkins in a rematch of last years championship bout.
Waterfront Cafe entered the 2013 playoffs as the three seed but had their sights set on returning to the championship game for the second straight year and third time in four years.
Kevin Szczesuil, a 12 year veteran of the league and manager of the Waterfront squad, lead the team with outstanding pitching and leadership all year. Leveraging his left handed advantage, surgical accuracy and newfound knuckleball, Kevin continually kept hitters guessing and limited any opposing teams attempts to rally.
Pete Manzo, Kevin’s battery mate and seasoned veteran himself, helped carry the team with his hot hitting and composed demeanor behind the plate; the ying to Kevins yang, as it’s been described by some. Manzo added, “The way Kevin was locating his fastball inside, outside, up and down all helped to keep the Blumpkins bats at bay. His pitching has carried us for years, thankfully I discovered him while candlepin bowling in 2002.”
Waterfront took Game 1 of the championship, in mercy rule fashion. However, Blumps came back with a victory in game 2, pushing the series to a winner take all game 3. With a chance to hoist the trophy, Waterfront capitalized on Szczesuil’s pitching and airtight defense to keep the Blumps from defending their title. The final out was recorded with the winning runners on base.
Waterfront had their dominant defense on display, once again this year. A clear strength of the team, errors were few and far between, with more then several ‘web gem’ caliber defensive plays even Tom Emanski would be proud of.
TJ Compagnone, a power hitting first basemen, found his opposite field power this year and helped anchor the middle of the lineup, paired with the dangerous Matt Thompson who’s power is second to none in the league.
“I’ve seen a few shots over the years, but none with the same trajectory or distance as those Matt hits,” said his teammate and league commissioner, Eddie Chibaro. “But, there is something so smooth about a lefty hitting for power to the opposite field. I’ve been waiting for TJ to break that out for years. Better late then never, but that’s classic TJ behavior.”
Rocco Zagarella, owner of Waterfront Cafe and generous sponsor of the team, is drawing up plans to build a proper display for the trophy, which is currently on a Stanley Cup like tour at players apartments and houses.