Murphy, Z Leaguers capture Over 35 softball title

Murphy, Z Leaguers capture Over 35 softball title

CUMBERLAND - The Z Leaguers, led by Kirby Murphy, had all they could handle, but emerged once again as the champions of the Cumberland Over 35 Softball League.

The team whisked through the double-elimination tournament but were pushed against the wall in the final game before pulling out a 21-20 win to take their 18th championship in 22 seasons.

Murphy, who pitched throughout the tourney, had an outstanding run, collecting 20 hits in 22 trips to the plate, including nine homers.

In the first game, the Z Leaguers were trailing Time Out Cafe, 11-8 going into the final inning, but exploded for six runs and then held on for 14-13 win.

Murphy crushed two homers and a double, also getting an intentional pass. Ron Church and Steve Sherman also went yard, Bruce Nobrega and Bill Plant rapped four hits each.

For Time Out, Chick Sweetman belted a homer and double and Mel Mitchell, Bino Dos Santos and John Theroux each collected three hits.

The Z Leaguers then took on O.S.N.S. and followed Murphy's slugging to a 21-14 win. He cranked three homers, and Jeff Menard added one. Chris Recasino, Dave "Doc" Leach and Matt Paine added three hits each to the offense. Best for O.S.N.S. was Robert Czalkalski, who crunched two homers and a pair of doubles.

Next up for the Z Leaguers was the Cumberland FOP, and the champs took an 18-11 decision. Murphy added two more round-trippers to his resume along with a single, Brad Yankee went yard and added a pair of doubles, Ken Almstrong had a homer and two singles and Kevin Scott had four hits in as many trips to the dish, including a triple.

Jim Speroni had it going on for the cops, belting a pair of homers and a double, Kevin Kolek blasted a homer and two singles and Alan Crowe rapped four hits.

In the next contest, the Z Leaguers stumbled and were beaten by Affordable Services, 19-15, giving both teams one loss in the double-elimination tournament and setting up a winner-take-all contest.

Mike Bissonnette paced the winners with a homer, double and two singles, Dave Carr ripped a double and three singles, and J.R. Corsi, Jack Neubaur and Bob Desper had three hits each.

Paul Decesare had a monster night for the Z Leaguers, crashing three homers while Joe Rabbitt picked up four hits.

In the final game, the Z Leaguers were trailing, 11-5 going into the sixth inning when the team erupted for 15 huge runs to take a 20-10 lead.

Murphy was intentionally walked four times in the game, but got picked up by Bob Sailant, who cracked a grand slam and a three-run homer. Kent Tunnicliffe also smacked a two-run homer in the big innings.

But the game was far from over. In the bottom of the final inning, Affordable put together a huge rally.

Heath Lefort, Derek Hutnak and Mike Bissonnette all blasted three-run homers.

Then, with the bases juiced and no outs, Kent Tunnicliffe hauled in a long drive that appeared to be leaving the yard.

The next batter smacked a bullet liner that Murphy snagged, and the final out was a one-hopper back to the mound as the Z Leaguers escaped with a 21-20 win.

Sailant smacked five hits and Tunnicliffe four for the winners, while Bruce Nobrega, Bill Plant and Joe Rabbitt added three hits each.