Play Intensifies as Playoffs Draw Closer in Deep River Horseshoe League
The competitors in the Deep River Horseshoe League (DRHL) are starting to think about the playoffs with the regular season drawing to a close over the next couple of weeks. Of the 18 teams in the league, 8 of them will qualify for the playoffs that are taking place at the end of August. When Week 15 play was held on Aug. 4, the matchups were filled with excitement, intensity, and a whole lot of enjoyment as teams tried to improve their place the playoff chase.
On a hot summer night, the best performance in the DRHL for Week 15 came from Clinton resident Mark Goodale, who competes in the A Division for the Marlins. Goodale tossed a league season-high of 184 points, 52 ringers, and 11 doubles to help the Marlins capture a 5-1 win over the Orioles. Goodale’s 184 series broke his own personal-best score of 173 that he set last season and also marked the highest score in the league since 2016.
East Haven resident John O’Brien of the Marlins recorded the best score in the C Division with a series of 76 to contribute to the victory. With the win, the Marlins moved up from sixth place in the DRHL standings into a tie for third place with the Orioles, who are led by A Division player Ed Turner of Deep River.
Goodale, 65, and his fellow members of the DRHL feel thankful that the First Congregational Church in Deep River hosts league play every Thursday night. Goodale also felt happy that he turned in an excellent performance to help the Marlins grab a big win.
“I was fortunate enough to put four good games together for a series. It doesn’t really happen that often,” Goodale said. “I set a goal for myself to top the previous year if I can. I had it in my head that night. It was a nice feeling.”
In another exciting contest, the Cardinals faced off against the Yankees and came away with a narrow 3.5-2.5 victory. Westbrook resident Kris Toohey competes in the A Division for the Cardinals. Toohey and his teammates have made some changes to their game following a few disappointing weeks, and they have been seeing consistent results ever since then. The Cardinals are currently in sixth place in the league.
“Halfway through, we switched our brand of shoes that we were throwing. We threw better the next week and, since then, we keep thinking about that and keep going off of each other,” said Toohey, 31. “Hopefully, I can do my duties as an A player and look out for my team. As long as we get the majority of wins, I think we’ll be safe to get into the playoffs for sure.”
Brady Miller of Deep River, a B Division player for the Cardinals, feels excited about guiding his club on a playoff run. Miller finished second among the B Division players by scoring a 114 series in Week 15. Miller, 72, hasn’t been in the DRHL for long, but has quickly noticed how serious its members take every matchup. Miller is hoping that the intensity of regular season carries over to the postseason.
“We’re looking forward to it, playing in the playoffs. For me, this is only my second year, and these guys really take it serious,” Miller said. “When you step up there, you better be ready to play. You’re playing against some real good players.”
The Mets, led by A Division player and Deep River resident Bob Cifaldi, put up a strong fight against the Red Sox in Week 15, winning the contest by the score of 4.5-1.5. While the Mets haven’t been as consistent as they’ve hoped this season, Cifaldi explained that horseshoes can be extremely unpredictable.
“You don’t know how you’re going to feel or how you’re going to shoot on any given night. It’s, ‘Is the good Bob or bad Bob going to show up tonight?’” said Cifaldi, 72. “I’ve shot against Kris Toohey, and I shot my best game ever. He’s very good.”
In other action, the White Sox claimed a 4-2 win over the Dodgers during Week 15 play to stay in first place with their record of 55.5-34.5. Westbrook resident Dennis Allen of the White Sox topped the century mark for the eighth week in a row as his 101 series put him as the third-leading scorer for the B Division. Frank Jolly of Old Saybrook also made a key contribution to help the White Sox defeat the Dodgers, who are led by A Division player Andy Perna of Chester.
Deep River resident Sheryl Serviss of the Tigers has been on a scoring tear the past few weeks and put together another strong performance with 133 points, 35 ringers, and 6 doubles when her team faced the Reds in Week 15. In the end, the Reds came away with a 3.5-2.5 victory in the match.
Wethersfield resident Mike Didomizio posted the second-best score in the A Division with a 137 to help the Padres earn a 3-3 split with the Royals. The Padres are in eighth place with a one-game lead over the Royals for the final playoff spot in the DRHL standings.
Goodale (184), Didomizio (137), and Haddam resident Mike Zanelli, Sr., (136) were the top-three scorers in the A Division for the DRHL in Week 15. In the B Division, Kris Casey finished with a 115 for the top score and was followed by Miller (114) and Allen (101). O’Brien’s score of 76 led the pack in the C Division with Anthony Conkling of Marlborough (74) and Guilford resident Bill Black (66) next in line.
Following Week 15 action, the White Sox (55.5-34.5) are in first place in the DRHL standings, followed closely by the Giants (55-35) in second place. The Orioles and Marlins are tied for third place with their records of 49.5-40.5. The Tigers hold fifth place with a 49-41 record. The Cardinals and Pirates are tied for sixth place at 48.5-41.5. The Padres are in eighth place with a record of 46-44. The rest of the standings line up like this: Royals (45-45), Red Sox (44.5-45.5), Reds (44.5-45.5), Cubs (45.5-44.5), Rangers (42.5-47.5), Dodgers (42-48), Yankees (39-51), Mets (38.5-51.5), Braves (36-54), and Angels (31-59).