On Roberts’ retirement day, his staff routs Team Codey

On an evening when heavy hearts filled the dugout, the Assembly Democrats' softball team rode a tidal wave of emotion in routing the Senate Democrats 21-10 in the first round of the Golden Dome League playoffs.

The victory was sweet revenge to an Assembly team that suffered defeat at the hands of their rivals from the other chamber during the regular season. However, while the Assembly could view that loss as a temporary setback, the Senate's loss last night was permanent, signaling the end to their season.

"This team was able to step up when it mattered most to restore the Legislature's softball world to its rightful order," said Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts. "Just as in their day-to-day work, there is no quit in this team. This is a group that knows how to fight until the fight is done and that winners need to be magnanimous in victory. I am so proud of this team's class."

The win came less than 12-hours after Speaker Roberts, who was named honorary team captain before the game, announced he would not seek re-election November.

'We are determined to give the Speaker one last championship and tonight this team showed that it plays best when it plays from the heart,' said team coach Lauren Repole. 'From top to bottom our lineup came through at the plate and in the field. This team has tons of fight left and does not plan to rest on its laurels.'

Much like the voting in Chicago, the Assembly Democrats' scoring came early and often. The 'Killer Jims' — Jim Jefferson and Jim Schultz — underlined the consistent offensive attack with inside-the-park home runs. The Assembly's tenacious efforts were further evidenced when Jillian Dempsey hustled-out a routine grounder, fearlessly colliding with the first baseman and knocking the ball loose.

The emotion of the day also would not let key team members succumb to ill-health or injury. Outfielder, co-coach and team stalwart Brian Quigley overlooked his bout with pneumonia and bronchitis to play. And Assembly Democratic Executive Director Bill Caruso shook off a pulled muscle earned while legging out a double to stay in the game.

Other significant contributions came from the cannon-like arm and range of shortstop and Maccabi Games standout Aaron Binder and the first-base glove of Evan 'Scoop' Piscitelli. Other veteran contributors included veteran left-fielder Jeff Kolakowski and utility player and power-hitter
Ethan Hasbrouk.

Earning the victory for the Assembly Democrats was rookie hurler Dan Sperazza, who helped the team all but forget their previous starter from last season.

Rounding out the Assembly team, Mary Messenger contributed with a clutch walk to keep a late rally alive. Sara Fedorczyk continued her roll of advancing base runners into scoring position, and Ben Graziano provided significant assistance as a designated hitter.

"Come next spring, our team's new owner sure has big cleats to fill," said Repole.

On Roberts’ retirement day, his staff routs Team Codey