Deep River Horseshoe League Gallops Ahead with Focus on Safety
Clinton resident Mark Goodale and the Royals moved into third place after Week 4 of the Deep River Horseshoe League. Goodale, a Division A player, turned in the season’s highest score this year with a series of 170 last week. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/Harbor News | Buy This Photo)
Deep River Horseshoe League President Frank Jolly (Old Saybrook) has seen his fellow pitchers adapt to the necessary guidelines, which has allowed for an abbreviated 2020 season. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/Harbor News | Buy This Photo)
Chester resident Karen Perna and the Pirates remain at the top of the Deep River Horseshoe League standings with a 19-5 record so far on the season. Perna led all Division C players last week with a series score of 93. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
Cris Christensen (Deep River) has played the role of mentor and elder statesman for many Deep River Horseshoe League throwers, offering tips and strategies to new and veteran players alike. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
The Deep River Horseshoe League (DRHL) nears halfway mark of the season after Week 4 action, and the top teams are proving their muster. The Pirates continue their first-place streak, while the rest of the standings have shuffled. Regardless of team record, the entire DRHL can chalk up a win as the players have been competing safely in accordance with the this year's guidelines. Now, it's full-steam ahead for the remaining six weeks of the regular season.
Pirates' A player, Kris Toohey (Westbrook) has been encouraged to see so many people from various walks of life coming together to play a sport they love and taking care to keep their fellow throwers safe.
"It's good to get the competition back. I was a little skeptical at first because we didn't know what was going to happen and who would be compliant. We all got there, and we're all being compliant. Now it's just routine," Toohey said. "You have to do what you have to do. While walking around, wear a mask, and keep your distance. You don't have to wear a mask when you throw, but you put it back on when you're done. Everyone feels comfortable with everyone complying. It looks good, and I hope we can keep it that way. Hopefully next year we have a nice full season."
Toohey's Pirates had a solid week going 3-3 against the Giants to maintain their hold on first place. Toohey supplied a 120 series in the A Division, B player Gerald Hines (Higganum) had a 67, and C player Karen Perna (Chester), led the all C players with a score of 93.
This marks Perna's second year. She joined DRHL along with her husband Andy Perna, who plays for the Rangers. The Rangers took second place this week by sweeping the Tigers, who fell from second to fifth. Rangers' A player Mike Zanelli, Jr.(Higganum) scored a series of 101, while Perna tallied a mark of 100 at the B-spot, and Paul Stevens (Higganum) had a series of 58.
The Rangers have raced up the standings from 10th place in Week 2. Andy Perna credits two strong weeks for the surge. He just feels lucky to have a season at all with so many plans canceled due to COVID-19.
"We had two really good weeks. Week 3 our A player wasn't able to make it but we were still able to win. We had a ghost player, which only gets 80 percent of their actual score. Fortunately for us, Paul and I both played fairly well," said Perna. "My wife and I weren't planning on playing horseshoes after so many things were shut down. All we had going on was tending our bees with the Red Maple Apiary."
Karen Perna credits her and her husband's recent success to consistent practice. As for the Pirates' recent run, she believes its been a matter of team chemistry and skill.
"Before this league, I did not play horseshoes, even at picnics, but we went to meeting, signed up, and started to play. Last year, I was terrible. This year, I'm a little better. I just wish there were more women in the game" said Perna. "It looks like this team just kind of melded together. It's taken a lot of practice. Andy and I go down to the green a couple days a week and throw for an hour or so. It feels great to be out there playing."
The Royals have also been steadily climbing the standings, as they are now in third place. Playing a heavy hand in the Royals' success is A Player Mark Goodale of Clinton, who threw a series of 170 this past week—the season high mark for all players.
"We're doing very good, and I'm pitching with some veteran players. Dave Aldrich is our B player, and he's very consistent. George Talmadge has come on board after the first week as our full time C player. He's from Clinton as well, and he's a nice gentleman," Goodale said. "I know I've been riding a streak the last couple of weeks. I give most of the credit to Cris Christensen. He's given me a lot of tips over the years. It's also been a lot of practice in between. I enjoy the game, and I find the camaraderie a lot of fun."
Rounding out the best of the A players this week after Goodale and Zanelli Sr. was the Reds' Billy Beckwith (Old Lyme) with a score of 130. As for the Bs, the Yankees Ted Dubay (Colchester) threw a 122 for the top mark ahead of Andry Perna's 100. The Mets' Dennis Goodrich (Essex) and the Dodgers' Paul Felie (Old Saybrook) tied for third with 96 points. Karen Perna's 93 led all C players, just ahead of the 92 from the Cubs' Scott Allen Jr. (Deep River). Keith Toohey (Westbrook) scored for third highest series of all C players.
The DRHL standings have the Pirates (19-5), Ranger (17.5-6.5), Royals (16-8), Cubs (14-10), Tigers (14-10), Giants (13.5-10.5), White Sox (13-11), Yankees (11-12.5), Mets (11-13), Reds (11-13), Red Sox (11-13), Orioles (9-15), Cardinals (8.5-15.5), Braves (8-16), Dodgers (8-16), and Angels (7-17).
League President and White Sox's A player Frank Jolly (Old Saybrook), has been pleased with the results so far this season. His biggest concern was figuring out how to get the DRHL started safely, and now that everything is running smoothly, he can focus more on determining this year's playoff format to close the year on a high note.
"You really need all three people to contribute to have a successful season. It can't just be the A player who is really good. Each person only throws four games out of the 12 that make up the score," said Jolly. "We're seeing some great teams, but we haven't finalized how the playoffs will run quite yet. We're trying to get as many people involved as we can because everyone enjoys it."