Walk off spurs Solstice softball

  • Jon Cole, of the Safety Sluggers, talks with umpire Rusty O’Lari at Butterfield Park, Saturday in Orange.  FOR THE RECORDER/CADEY SPENCER

  • Sparky the Fire Dog gives instructions to Jon Cole, of the Safety Sluggers at Butterfield Park, Saturday in Orange. FOR THE RECORDER/CADEY SPENCER

  • Members of the Safety Sluggers and the Mahar All-Stars at Butterfield Park, Saturday in Orange. STAFF PHOTO/ADAM HARGRAVES

  • Tim Powling (left) and Chad Softic celebrate the game-winning runs for the Safety Sluggers at Butterfield Park, Saturday in Orange. FOR THE RECORDER/CADEY SPENCER

  • Sparky the Fire Dog gives instructions to Jon Cole, of the Safety Sluggers at Butterfield Park, Saturday in Orange. FOR THE RECORDER/CADEY SPENCER

  • Charlie Barnes and Jordan Fournier, of the Mahar All-Stars, fist bump at Butterfield Park, Saturday in Orange. FOR THE RECORDER/CADEY SPENCER

  • Tim Powling , of the Safety Sluggers, puts a charge into a pitch at Butterfield Park, Saturday in Orange. FOR THE RECORDER/CADEY SPENCER

  • Megan Rich, of the Mahar All-Stars, gets ready for a pitch at Butterfield Park, Saturday in Orange. FOR THE RECORDER/CADEY SPENCER

  • Jordan Desrosiers (left) and Todd Chiasson, of the Mahar All-Stars, shake hands at Butterfield Park, Saturday in Orange.  FOR THE RECORDER/CADEY SPENCER

  • Andrew Herk, of the Mahar All-Stars, destroys a grapefruit with a swing at Butterfield Park, Saturday in Orange. FOR THE RECORDER/CADEY SPENCER

  • Hailie Meeker, of the Mahar All-Stars, making contact at Butterfield Park, Saturday in Orange. FOR THE RECORDER/CADEY SPENCER

Staff Writer
Published: 6/24/2019 12:12:55 AM

ORANGE — Experience beat youth at Butterfield Park on Saturday afternoon. 

In the first-ever softball game to accompany the Orange Solstice Riverfest, the Safety Sluggers walked off against the Mahar All-Stars, 11-10. 

The youthful and spry Mahar All-Stars jumped out to a 10-2 lead early in the game with help from the bat of Sam Paul, 2018 graduate of Mahar Regional. 

“I don’t feel like they were really ready,” Paul said. “The older gentlemen out there.”

But the plucky members of the Orange Fire and Orange Police Departments chipped away at the Senators to get to within striking distance in the late innings. 

The hero for the Safety Sluggers was Joey Larson (five RBIs), who hit an RBI single in the bottom of the seventh to score Chad Softic and Tim Powling to win the game in walk-off fashion.

“I just focused on the ball and tried to get it into the outfield,” Larson said. “It was good to start the tradition on a good note.”

The idea was floated around of a statue of Larson in downtown Orange similar to the Bobby Orr statue outside TD Garden in Boston. 

After the first two innings, the Safety Sluggers did not give up a run.

“It was the old bones,” Powling said. “You gotta loosen up the muscles. It took a little while. The first two innings were rough and then we were golden.”

The game brought over a hundred members of the community out to Butterfield Park. Softball fans packed the bleachers and both foul lines.

“It was a blast,” Powling said. “We were all talking about all the people that were here. We didn’t think anybody would show up for this. So it’s good, hopefully it’s something we can build on and do this every year.”

Another positive factor for the game was the emergency responders in the community to have an afternoon together in a stress free environment, which is not always the case out on calls.

“It’s all of us together on a different note,” Larson said. “It’s not like dealing with someone’s emergency. We were out there with the public playing with the kids. It was a good environment.”

Paul had three RBIs for the Mahar All-Stars.

“It was definitely a fun game to play in,” Paul said. “It was a beautiful day out. It was a great part of the weekend.”

A storm cloud loomed over the field but only brought a few seconds of rain drops after first pitch.

Sparky, the Safety Sluggers’ mascot, made an appearance giving advice and pointers to Jon Cole who pitched for the emergency team. 

On two occasions, Cole traded out the softball for a piece of fruit.

Both Andrew Herk and Hailie Meeker of the Mahar All-Stars smashed the fruits into oblivion, much to their surprise. 

Jamie Paluk pitched for the Mahar All-Stars.

Nino Rodriguez made some nice running catches in center field for the Sluggers.  

Rodriguez clobbered a long fly ball down the left field line in the first inning with runners on base. Umpire Rusty O’Lari definitively ruled it a foul ball.

This brought some good-natured umpire bashing from the bench of the Safety Sluggers.  

Brennan Mailloux made the catch of the day, with a running snow cone catch in left field for the Mahar All-Stars.

Megan Rich, Herk, Meeker and Todd Chiasson all had RBIs.


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