Artists 6, Writers 9 in The Game's 69th Edition

It was an agon again at Herrick Park.
Alec Sokolow, an Academy Award nominee for “Toy Story,” was the traditional turnip designee. Durell Godfrey

Brett Shevack’s fielding, Harry Javer’s pitching, and Brett Mauser’s hitting treated the Writers to a 9-6 win over the Artists here Saturday in what is said to be The Game’s 69th anniversary.

And Mike Lupica, the sports commentator and writer, a stalwart in the Writers’ lineup in the past 35 years, could claim some of the credit too inasmuch as his two-out single in the bottom of the third inning keyed a four-run rally that came within a run of erasing an early Artists’ lead.

Lupica pulled a quadriceps muscle in legging out the hit, but the victory his team gained that day allayed the pain. “I’m icing it all the way back to Connecticut,” he said, beaming, as he left the after-party at Dopo.

Interestingly, the 9-6 score was the same as last year — the first time in four encounters that the Writers had won — and Shevack, the Writers’ 67-year-old third baseman, made an eye-popping flat-out one-handed catch in this one too, robbing Geoff Prisco of a two-out double with a runner on first in the top of the eighth. That electrifying catch — one of several he made during the course of the game — went far toward earning him his third M.V.P. award, which he shared with Javer, who virtually shut the Artists down from the fifth inning on. Lupica, for the Writers, and Walter Bernard, for the Artists, were the starting pitchers.

The Writers broke the ice with a run in the bottom of the first, but the Artists came back with five in the top of the third. Billy Strong led it off with a single, after which he was forced at second, but Brian Pfund, a professional Independent league ballplayer — the winner of the home run derby with 14 — followed with a double up the middle, putting runners at second and third for Ed Hollander, who promptly singled both base runners in. Dennis Duswalt’s subsequent two-run inside-the-park homer painted an even prettier picture. 

The next batter, Jeff Meizlik, the recent recipient of two new knees, flied out to the short-fielder, but Bernard beat out a nubber hit toward the mound, after which Eric Ernst, the Artists’ perennial leadoff hitter, drove in the Artists’ fifth run — and extended his hitting streak to 47 games — with a single to right field. 

(Ernst’s streak apparently may end there given that he’s to move to Maui soon, Trump and ticks being among his reasons.) 

Leif Hope, the Artists’ longtime manager, subbed in an all-female team from the town’s slow-pitch softball league at that point — The Game was celebrating the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote in New York State — a team gotten together by T. Schirrippa that also comprised Nicole Yeager, Elise Thorsen, Dawn Green, Rachel Haab, Catherine Curti, Marissa Friedes, Kathy Amicucci, Katie Osiecki, and Maddie Schenck. 

The Writers wrested the lead back, at 7-5, in the bottom of the sixth. Jordan Green, their young cleanup hitter, led it off with a double, Rick Leventhal drove him in with a single, tying the score at 5-5, and took second on the throw home. With two outs, Mauser, who recruits players for the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League and is a freelance writer and communications director for St. George’s University of Grenada as well, put the Writers ahead with a cue-shot triple to right, and Alec Sokolow, an Academy Award nominee for the “Toy Story” screenplay and creator of the Skylanders video game, put them ahead for good with a sac fly to left.

Some daring baserunning by Mike Dougherty, who slid in to second under the tag following a one-out hit to left and then came all the way around to score on a subsequent infield single, brought the Artists to within one, at 7-6, in the top of the eighth, but Shevack’s stab of Prisco’s smash ate the Artists’ dreams.