Although Saturday, Oct. 7, like so many other weekends this fall, looked like a washout, the decision was made to go ahead with the Old Timers Game, a popular tradition played to benefit the Shelter Island Little League, and just for the sheer fun of it.
Twenty-six players, the best participation in a long time, according to organizers Amanda Katta and John Brownlie, showed up to don their White and Blue team shirts. Robert Brewer was the captain of the Whites and Dominick Restani was captain of the Blues. The designation of Old Timer evidently begins in the 30s and extends for several decades thereafter.
The competition was fierce, especially in the case of the sibling rivalry of George Goodleaf, pitching for the Whites, and his brother Michael, facing him for the Blues.
The Whites jumped out to a strong lead in the first inning with 7 runs led by Mark Lava and his long home run. The Blues were shut out in the bottom of the first by powerful pitching and defense.
In the top of the 2nd inning the Whites continued its offensive onslaught by adding another 7 runs with hits/runs coming from all batters from the lead off spot through the 7th spot. In the bottom of the inning the Blues were able to scratch across their first 2 runs of the day led by Captain Dominick.
The game progressed slowly for the Whites on offense as the Blues were able to close the gap significantly to 14-11 by the 7th inning. Unfortunately for the Blues, the Whites were able to scratch out another 4 runs over the last two innings of the game.
The Whites’ leading offensive players were John Brownlie, 3 for 4 with a double and 3 runs scored. Mark Lava was 2 to for 4 with 2 runs scored and 2 HR’s and Mike Mitchell went 3 for 4 with 3 runs scored. On the Blues, top offensive players were Dominic Restani, who went 2 for 3 with a run scored; Adam Thielberg went 3 for 3 with a run scored; and Erik Kelt went 3-4 with 2 runs scored.
The weather threatened at points to halt the game after all, but shifting winds with a strong hint of rain in the air ultimately yielded to sunny skies by the time the game was completed with the Whites winning by a final score of 18-13.
After a round of “Good game” handshakes was concluded, the event moved to an after-party at the Flying Goat at Shelter Island Country Club. A raffle winner was drawn and was generously donated the proceeds to benefit of the day’s real winner, the Little League. The proceeds of the game fees and 50/50 raffle help to make participation in Little League more affordable for Island families. Last season nearly 60 Little Leaguers ages 4-12 played in the spring.
This year, the Little League is also sponsoring “Fall Ball” so players can sharpen their skills in the off-season.
Young players are learning the fundamentals of the game with fun drills, and even get to use a batting cage for hitting practice. Registration is free of charge. About 35 little leaguers ages 5-12 participate in Fall Ball every Thursday at 5 p.m. at the school.
Please reach out to [email protected] for more information, or if you are interested in getting involved in the League.