Rockers miss title by just two runs - Team enters postseason tournament as No. 2

By Matt Phelps

The Rockers, Mercer Island's coed 55-and-over softball team, defeated Kent 18-7 to finish the regular season Aug. 2 and clinch the No. 2 seed to the postseason tournament.

``We just need to play balanced as we have throughout the season,'' said Rocker Ted DeCampo. ``This was a good game because Kent can apply a lot of pressure.''

The Rockers began the game with the lead. Islander Mike Salokas led the game off with a base hit, followed by a double by John Mueller to put the Rockers on the board. An RBI single by Janet Garretson gave the team its second run of the inning.

``I got injured last year and I haven't been running,'' said Garretson. ``I just love being able to do what I do.''

Garretson will miss competing in the postseason tournament as injuries have kept her from playing in enough games to qualify.

Kent looked as if it would answer right back in the bottom of the first inning with the first two hitters reaching base, but consecutive fielder choices ended the rally.

The Rockers took advantage during the top of the second. All seven hitters the Mercer Island team sent to the plate reached base. The Rockers scored the maximum five runs in an inning, including a two run single by Larry Musil.

The Rockers' momentum ceased, however, as they failed to score during the third inning. Kent came back, scoring three in the second and four in the third to tie the game at 7-7.

The momentum shifted again and for good. The Rockers received a two-run double by Ted DeCampo and an RBI single from Doug Davis in the fourth. RBI singles from David Vetter and Garretson, along with a two RBI single from Larry Patelli, gave the Rockers a seven-run lead after five innings of play.

The Rockers added four more runs in the seventh to complete the rout.

The win helped the Rockers keep pace with league-leading Seattle for the top spot.

``Our comeback was a total team effort,'' said DeCampo.

The Rockers began the first half of the season two games out of first place with Seattle surging, but Mercer Island came back to make every game count to finish the season.

``We could have played better this season,'' said Patelli. ``I think we might have had too big of a team at times.''

Seattle clinched the title with two victories last week, including a makeup game against Renton, a team it lost to just two weeks previous. Mercer Island and Seattle each finished the regular season with 21-3 records, but Seattle held the tie-breaker by scoring two more runs than the Rockers in head-to-head games.

``This team showed a lot of heart to keep battling throughout the season,'' said Rockers head coach and starting pitcher John Weinberg. ``They just did what had to be done.''

Last year the Rockers finished the regular season 28-0 but lost the postseason tournament title to Tukwila. This season the Rockers want the championship.

The postseason tournament is played at Game Farm Park this week with the championship game taking place Thursday.

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