The 5th NYTHL league date of the 2017-2018 season did not disappoint. Despite some players missing – the competition was fierce and a great time was had by all the competitors. With the absence of Lou Marinoff, the day became about opportunity. It gave a chance to someone to make the final that usually doesn’t. Would someone new make it to the Promised Land? Perhaps it would be the improving Bob D’addario, or the savvy veteran Len Mecca! Perhaps a name from the past such as John Power or John Fayolle would make their way back to a league date Championship? Maybe even The Rod Father, George Slater or Larry Durham would break through and surprise everyone. Let’s review the day and find out.
The Vinner finished the two round robins at the top with a record of 10-2-2 for 22 points. The steadily Improving - Bob D’Addario finished in 2nd place just 3 points behind with an 8-3-3 mark. Len Mecca finished in 3rd with an identical 8-3-3 record, but was seeded 3rd due to his head to his loss and tie to D’Addario. 4th place went to John Power (8-5-2, 18 points) who has been working his way back and playing very well. Johnny “NY Lightening” Fayolle had a disappointing double round robin compared to last league date. He finished 5th with a 6-7-1 record which was good for 13 points. George “GS” Slater continues to steadily improve. He finished 4-7-3 (11 points) landing him in 6th place. Larry Durham 3-11-0 (6 points) and the Rod Father 2-11-1 (5 points) rounded out the standings taking 7th and 8th place respectively. On to the playoffs.
No play in rounds were needed this league date as we had an even 8 players. The one seed Vinny Catania swept past the Rod Father by scores of 7-4, 7-2 and 7-1 for the three game sweep. The second seed Bob D’Addario also swept past his opponent by defeating Larry Durham by the scores of 5-3, 5-1 and 3-1. The 3 vs 6 seed series ended up being the closest that the quarterfinals had to offer. George Slater who has had enormous success in the best of three play in series, has not had that good fortune translate into the quarterfinals. That almost changed when he gave the 3rd seeded Len Mecca the scare of his life. George took game one by a score of 4-3. Mecca rebounded to take game two by a 2-1 score. George took the lead in the series two games to one when he defeated Len pretty easily in game three 5-1. Game four was a thriller as Len Mecca was pushed to the brink of elimination when the game went to overtime. If George scores he moves on to his first semi-final. If Len wins he forces a deciding game five. Slater’s magic ran out as Mecca used his experience to squeeze past George, winning in overtime 3-2. Mecca took that momentum and rolled into and through game five as he finished George off with a 4-1 victory, for an impressive come from behind 3-2 series win. The final spot in the semi-finals would be a John. But which John would advance? It was another classic John Power -vs- John Fayolle match up. The 4th seeded Power took game one with an impressive 3-0 shutout. Fayolle won a thrilling game two in overtime 3-2 and won another OT thriller in game three 7-6. John Power displayed plenty of resiliency by coming back to win game four 3-2 to tie the series. With a trip to the semis on the line – John Fayolle earned another shot at The Vinner in the semis, when he blew past Power 6-2 in the game five series finale.
With a trip to the Finals on the line the 5th seeded (and only lower seed to win his series) – John Fayolle took on League Champion Vinny Catania. Catania swept him in the semis one month prior, but knew he would be in for a battle. With that said – The Vinner was able to clinch a berth in the final with another series sweep over Fayolle by scores of 7-2, 5-2 and 6-3. Bob ‘Addario and Len Mecca had never been to a league date final since the league was renamed NYTHL. That would change after their semi-final matchup. A trip versus The Vinner in the league date final was on the line and the Bobo did not squander his opportunity. D’Addario’s box defense was able to contain Meccas offense and in the end D’Addario swept past Mecca in what was a closer series than what seemed. D’Addario won game one 3-2 in overtime. Bob took game two 3-1 and put the series away with a 5-4 victory in the 3rd and last game. Bob had done it – his first league date final and an opponent that he is more familiar with than anyone – Vinny Catania (his practice partner)
Bob D’Addario had swept his way into his first final winning all six of his playoff games. So did The Vinner. Something had to and did give in. The Vinner used his knowledge of Bob’s style and his own experience to help him gain a three game sweep for the League Date 5 title. Catania took the series in three with victories of 4-2, 5-2 and 4-2. The Vinner had swept his way through the playoffs enroute to his second league date title of the season. D’Addario’s steady improvement has made him a solid contender in the NYTHL as he will be heard from again soon.
Len Mecca came back after a game one 6-4 loss to John Fayolle to win game two 6-1, and game three 6-4 to win the consolation best of three series two games to one. The victory gave Len a solid 3rd place finish on the day and dropped Fayolle to a respectable 4th place finish. League Date 6 is on Saturday March 3, 2018 at Steeplechase Beer Garden in Coney Island. The biggest attendance of the year is anticipated. Who will win with the competition getting tougher and tougher is anyone’s guess. Come out and experience a great time with even greater people. Hopefully we will see you at our next league date.