The Tirabassi team name fits with the history of Kenosha softball like the New York Yankees in Major League Baseball.
Even if you’re not a fan, it just feels appropriate when they’re on top.
Well, Tirabassi is back on top in the Rotary Club of Kenosha West Tournament, even if it took a marathon day to get there.
Playing well into Sunday night — the teams were about an hour away from making it to Monday morning — Tirabassi and fellow heavyweight Shenanigans/Dunn Sports/WTP slugged away at each other for the Men’s Division title in the 47th annual tournament at Lincoln Park.
Needing a pair of wins to claim the title in the double-elimination tournament after coming out of the loser’s bracket, Tirabassi pulled it off, winning 9-5 to force a winner-take-all game, which it won 21-12.
Technically, it was a second straight title for Tirabassi. The team played as Blue and the Brothers last year, but it was essentially the same roster. Still, winning under the Tirabassi name meant a lot.
“We’re so overwhelmed with joy that we got the opportunity to put Tirabassi softball back on the map a little bit in the Kenosha area and throughout the surrounding area,” Tirabassi team manager/first baseman Anthony Ambrose said in a phone interview Tuesday afternoon.
“It was just really nice to represent Tirabassi this past weekend. It was just great.”
It certainly wasn’t easy.
Shenanigans/Dunn Sports/WTP defeated Tirabassi, 16-13, Sunday morning in the winner’s bracket title game. Tirabassi then beat Sunnyside, 16-7, to stay alive and advance to the championship round.
Then came a lot of waiting.
With both the Women’s and Coed divisions playing the maximum number of games, the Men’s championship round didn’t get started until the lights were on.
“We have a really loose bunch of guys,” Ambrose said. “They just kind of kicked back and relaxed, stayed out of the sun. We’re just a real relaxed group. Of course you get antsy, because it drags on and on.”
After waiting came the task of having to beat Shenanigans/Dunn Sports/WTP — which won four straight Men’s titles from 2014-17 — twice.
The key, of course, was getting the first win.
“They’re the class of Kenosha softball,” Ambrose said. “They’ve been the class of Kenosha softball for roughly, what, the last eight years? The guys knew what we had to do. We did feel like we kind of let one get away in the winner’s bracket final. We knew what we had to do.
“We wanted to jump on them early. We did a nice job of just staying the course the first game. ... If you can get one game from them right away, the pressure really mounts on them more than it does yourself.”
The teams went back and forth early in the second game until a key defensive play by Tirabassi outfielder Tomas Nieves, a first-year player with the team.
“A guy from WTP, I mean, he hit it probably 340, 350 (feet),” Ambrose said. “Some way, somehow, Tomas ran it down, almost like a Willie Mays-type catch, over his shoulder. The kid has tremendous speed. It would’ve been a two-run homer at the time. That actually swung momentum.”
Tirabassi followed by getting its bats going to pull away for the title.
Chad Ori was named the Men’s Division MVP, and Ambrose also cited the contributions of pitcher Sean O’Dea, Antoine Williams, Tino Nieves and Ransley Presley, among others.
Tirabassi suffered injuries to Mark Blaziewske, last year’s Men’s MVP, and Jeremy Williams and needed its depth to survive the long weekend.
“It was just really a team effort,” Ambrose said. “Our depth really showed up this weekend. Our roster is pretty deep.”
Girlmatose was riding high after closing Saturday with a big victory in the Women’s Division winner’s bracket championship.
So, despite losing its first game Sunday by a 14-6 score to CD/DVD Game in the championship round of the double-elimination tournament, the players on Girlmatose remained unfazed.
They rallied in the winner-take-all second game to win 11-6 and capture the championship.
Girlmatose was afforded the cushion of being able to lose a game Sunday after its 12-0 blanking of two-time defending Women’s champion Squirrels on Saturday sent Squirrels to the loser’s bracket.
“We really didn’t warm up before (Sunday’s) first game, so we just went into the first game just trying to roll with it with our big 12-0 (win over Squirrels on Saturday that) we ended the day on,” Girlmatose team manager Emily Jarstad said.
“I think once we got our bats rolling (in) the second game is really when we started hitting and going along with it.”
CD/DVD Game was also sent to the loser’s bracket by Girlmatose, 6-4, on Saturday but early Sunday afternoon eliminated Squirrels via a 26-5 drubbing to set up a rematch with Girlmatose for the title.
After CD/DVD Game won the first game, Girlmatose — comprised of players from the area who play on different league teams — got an early jump in the second game due to Tiffany Seaverson’s three-run homer.
CD/DVD entered the top of the seventh inning trailing 11-2 and needing a massive rally. They did score four runs, including Val Auseth’s two-run homer, but it wasn’t enough.
“CD/DVD is an excellent team,” said Jarstad, who’s played in the Rotary before. “We knew that we had to come hard, we had to play our all, and we really just had to hit.”
Rena Dillard was named the Women’s Division MVP.
In the Coed Division, winner’s bracket champion Union Park Tavern/Ya Sabes and loser’s bracket champion Shenanigans battled well past sunlight in the championship round.
Shenanigans earned a 20-12 win over Erickson’s Hot Shots on Sunday morning to stay alive and then beat Union Park Tavern/Ya Sabes, 19-12, in the first game of the championship round to force a winner-take-all second game.
Union Park Tavern/Ya Sabes rallied, however, for a 19-14 win and the title.
Willie Buege was named the Coed Division MVP.
Men’s Hometown Classic Division
Spanky’s Chicks won the first Men’s Hometown Classic Division title.
The division was created so the four teams who went 0-2 in the Men’s Bracket could play more games Sunday.
Spanky’s Chicks beat Misfits, 24-10, in the title game.
In the semifinals, Spanky’s Chicks knocked off Swedes, 16-6, while Misfits edged ECI, 12-11.