SCOTCH PLAINS-FANWOOD, NJ -- The Mermaids, the most successful team in the history of the JCC Men's Softball League, won its record ninth championship on Sunday, Aug. 17. The third-seeded Mermaids soundly defeated the second-seeded Outsiders team, 21-11, in the semifinals before besting top-seeded Chico's Bail Bonds, 13-7, to capture the crown.
Staff ace Craig Damast pitched complete games in both contests while his bat accounted for three runs in the semis and a critical hit that gave his squad an early 2-0 lead in the finals. Leadoff hitter Fred Steinberg went 6 for 7 in the two games, scoring five runs, and had the defensive play of the championship game, making a shoestring catch in right field to thwart a rally in the fifth inning.
Captain Dave Kadish, Rich Doren and Chuck Frei all had big offensive day, combining to produce three runs extending the lead to 13-7 in the final frame of the title game. Cleanup hitter Brad Taylor knocked in five runs in the semis, including a mammoth two-run triple off the left-field wall in the first inning staking the Mermaids to a 2-0 lead.
Damon Roth had three hits and scored three runs in the opener, while veterans Dave Steiner, Gary Bachman, Greg Roth, Larry Freeman and Greg Horowitz all contributed to the cause. Rookie Jay Krihak had a terrific catch in the title game to end the fourth inning when the opposition had the bases loaded. Fellow newcomer Matt Hodges homered in both games while his brother Dave produced a 2-run, bases loaded single extending the lead to 5-2.
In winning the title, the Mermaids overcame injuries to key players, including Jeff Hoffman (calf), Jeff Arkin (rotator cuff), and Larry Glickstein (broken shoulder).