Back when Bill Castner was running Joe Roberts' team, there was never any question that the Assembly Democrats dominated Dick Codey's Senate Democratic staff. But now that Castner has moved to the Executive branch, Team Codey has so obliterated the Assembly Dems that officials were forced to invoke the "mercy rule" to limit further embarrassment to the lower house's majority staff.
Last night, Senate Democrats defeated Assembly Democrats 27-10 in a Golden Dome league softball game that was cut off after five innings because they were leading by more than fifteen runs. The Senate Democrats scored eleven runs in the second inning alone, and held the Assembly team scoreless for the 3rd and 4th innings. Yoshi Manale, Matt Halpin, Todd Leon and Jay Gonzalez all hit home runs.
Sources say that Castner, now Gov. Jon Corzine's chief counsel, witnessed the carnage as a spectator.
"This win has been a long time coming for our team," said team captain Doug Wheeler, a former Senate Democratic staffer who remains loyal to Codey. "Every year, our match-up with the Assembly Dems is one of the most intense games of the season, with the Assembly eking out a win by a couple of runs each time. This year, we jumped to an early lead, made some great plays in the field, and came away with a little slice of retribution."
Wheeler attributed a big part of the win to some off-season trades made between the two teams. Joe DeSanctis, who had long been on the Senate's injured reserve list (so long that no one on the team could remember exactly why or when he was injured) was traded for stand-outs Gonzalez and Gina LaPlaca. Gonzalez's pitching and LaPlaca's bat-work ended up being crucial to the Senate team's success.
"Jay and Gina played phenomenal ball yesterday, and I think their energy, coupled with some great performances by Senate veterans Yoshi Manale, Brian Alpert, Matt Halpin, Jarrod Grasso and Todd Leon, made the difference in this game," said Wheeler. "We batted through the order a couple times, and turned some great-looking double plays. Everything just seemed to click with this Senate team."
Wheeler cautioned that if the Senate meets up with the Assembly in the post-season, a win might not come as easy against the two-time Gold Dome league champs, but predicted that the Upper House would bring their A-game.
In other news, there are reports that the Senate Democratic softball team could have a new owner next spring.
"The current owner loves the team and is not looking to sell," said Jon Boguchwal, Codey's chief of staff.