ANDOVER – (AP) The Ed Sox took the Boston Ski and Sports Club pennant with a convincing 8-2 win over the Hooligans at Andover's Gillette Field, but fell in the championship game to Orange Crush, 23-8.
The Ed Sox playoff victory, the club's first ever, helped them finish the 2006 season with a 3-5 record, the most wins ever for an Ed Sox. It also came in challenging conditions: The game was played in 40-degree weather, reinforcing why it's called a frostbite league.
Ted Young, who was a feared presence at the plate throughout the season and playoffs, was named MVP. Teresa Wu, who transformed herself into a hitting machine capable of driving the ball through the infield, took home the Most Improved Player award, which includes a bonus she's expected to use to buy a new draw-string for her sweat pants.
The Ed Sox played the playoff doubleheader with only one substitute – Skipper Ed Mason, who was used sparingly in the field and relied on a pinch runner after returning from a torn calf in the final regular season game.
"We clearly tired by the second game," Mason said from the team whirlpool. "We don't do double headers well.
"But these were two solid games," Mason said. "Our defense avoided sloppy play and our offense got timely hits. And even though we were down 14 to 1 in the second game, we fought back against a very gifted team. I'm very proud of our performance."
The other good news: The Ed Sox continued to inflict pain on their opponents. The Hooligan's rightfielder took an Ed Mason line drive off of the chest, and an Orange Crush shortstop broke his nose when Chris Cammett broke up a force play at second base. In the final game of the regular season, Jake's Autobody's shortstop was taken from the field with a dislocated elbow.
Although bad weather led to a one-month layoff, the Ed Sox showed little rust when they took the field Sunday for their first of two playoff games.
Pitcher Donna Barry threw six shut out innings on the way to the win. Barry was backed up by solid defense, most notably from the double-play combo of Young and Linda Mason. The only let down was during a comical rundown in which the Hooligans runner strayed too far from second base and was chased by third baseman Michael Keefe, shortstop Young and second baseman Linda Mason – and still managed to get to third base, but burned off 1,000 calories in the chase and was too tired to score.
The Ed Sox gave Barry an early lead to work with. First inning singles by Michael Keefe, Heather Watkins and Dan Stachurski put the Ed Sox on top 1-0.
The Ed Sox added another run in the second when Ed Mason, taken off the disabled list just before the game, singled home Pat Curley.
Barry and the Ed Sox defense, playing their strongest game of the season, made the two-run lead hold up until the sixth inning, when they scored three times. Wu and Cammett singled and scored on a Curley double. Curley came home on an Ed Mason single.
In the seventh inning, the Ed Sox added three more. Barry and Keefe singled and scored on a Young double.
Against Orange Crush in the second game of the playoff doubleheader, the Ed Sox got off to a fast start in the first inning but were retired without scoring. The Ed Sox had four base runners in the inning but two – Keefe and Heather Watkins – were forced out at second.
Barry, pitching both ends of the doubleheader, and the Ed Sox defense showed signs of exhaustion, surrendering 14 runs in the first three innings.
The Ed Sox offense came to life in the third inning. Ed Mason, Barry, Keefe, Stachurski, Wu and Young all scored, and Cammett got his first of two RBIs. The Ed Sox also scored single runs in the fourth and fifth innings.
Keefe, in relief of Barry, pitched a scoreless fourth inning. But Keefe had to be perfect the rest of the way to avoid having the game called – a 15-run lead after five innings would end the game.
The Ed Sox had a chance to draw closer in the top of the fifth, when Wu, Cammett and Curley loaded the bases. But with two outs, Ed Mason flied out to left field to end the rally. Orange Crush then scored five runs to get the lead to 15 and secure the Silver championship.
Speculation on skipper
Boston Ski and Sports Club insiders believe Skipper Ed Mason will be fired by owner/tyrant Flinty McWindbag following yet another losing season.
The Ed Sox made wholesale changes in the offseason, in the hopes of gaining their first winning season. The Ed Sox went on a free-agent spending binge, bring in a record five new players – outfielders Chris Cammett and Anne Slinn, shortfielders Heather Watkins and Todne Texeira, and infielder/outfielder Patrick Curley. The $20 the Ed Sox spent just to negotiate with Watkins accounted for half of the Ed Sox 2006 budget.
Mason, who has escaped prior offseason house-cleanings, has a 7-28 record in his five seasons as manager, and Ed Sox management is believed to be looking at going in a new direction that includes winning.
Miss any of the 2006 season? Go to EdSox.org.