By Bob Balgemann
REPORTER
June 13 was the day for early showdowns among some of the front-runners in baseball and softball divisions, during Harlem Community Center’s Summerball 2017.
One of them came in the Coach Pitch Girls division where, in a battle for first place among undefeated teams, head coach Mark Hawkinson’sballclub took a defensive duel from Team Smith, 5-1.
“They always play us tough,” coach Hawkinson said of his team’s opponent. “They did last year and we knew they would be tough again this year. You can see some of the girls on his team will be good softball players.”
His team jumped off to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, then increased the margin to 5-0 before the Brandon Smith-led team put one run on the board.
“You have to get better every game,” coach Hawkinson said. “That’s what we push for. We’ve definitely done that. Two-thirds of our players have been together since T-Ball. So we grow together.”
Softball is fun, he said, adding that he both plays and coaches the game. “I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
Coach Pitch baseball and softball is for players 7-9 years of age.
Coach Pitch Boys
The last undefeated team in this division fell as the week of June 12 began, with Team Wenzel (3-1) upending Team Lower, 16-12. The victory put head coach Laura Wenzel’s squad in a four-way tie for first place.
There was a full slate of games this evening as victories were scored by teams Campbell, 16-1; Larys, 23-2; Higginbotham, 10-9; and Grover, 11-8.
Each of Grover’s earlier games had been decided by one run: a 4-3 win; an 8-7 win; and an 8-7 loss.
On June 14, Campbell (3-2) defeated Grover (3-2) by 8-4, to push Grover one game behind leaders Wenzel, Lower and Larys. Also that day victories were scored by Lower, 10-3; Wenzel, 19-9; Larys, 20-18; and DiGuiseppi, 19-18. That was the first win for Nick DiGuiseppi’s team, which had been involved with mostly one-run games so far this summer. Three of their four losses had been by 14-13, 8-7 and 10-9, before the June 14 success.
Coach Pitch Girls
Teams Hawkinson and Smith stayed on course for their June 13 clash as they closed out opening week with 15-9 and 9-3 victories, respectively. And Lasala made it

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