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Got Em won the Carroll County Men's Softball League Wednesday Night Gold Division championship back in the spring.
Got Em won the Carroll County Men's Softball League Wednesday Night Gold Division championship back in the spring. (Courtesy photo)

Sometimes they play under the name, "Krysztof's Barber Shop," other times by "Got Em."

But they are a pretty good softball team regardless of what they call themselves.

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Manager Chris Sontag says the "Got Em" nickname evolved from the fact that his guys always yell "got 'em" when they make a good fielding play. They evidently made a whole lot of "got 'em's" this summer, because they won the Carroll County Men's Softball League's Wednesday Night Gold Division championship.

This spring though, they used the name "Krysztof's Barber Shop" when they won the championship in the "Rising Above Addiction" charity softball tournament at the Carroll County Sports Complex. The proceeds went to local drug awareness programs.

Sontag is a barber and manager at the Westminster-based Krysztof's, which is one of the team's three sponsors.

The players, who live mostly in the Westminster and Hampstead areas, played on various teams in the Men's League. They broke off to form their own team last fall. Because of their experience, Sontag felt the group would do well even though they were playing together for the first time.

They did do pretty well, too. Got Em finished third in last autumn's Carroll County Men's Fall Softball League championship tournament.

This spring the team had three new players and played in the Men's League's Wednesday Night Gold Division. This loop is considered a bit less competitive than the Monday Night bracket.

The schedule consisted of doubleheaders. The opening doubleheader was against Full Tilt, the team that Got Em would ultimately play for the championship. Sontag explained that the key for the entire season came in the second game of that twin bill.

Full Tilt won the first game, but Got Em came back in the second to easily win in four innings via the league's "mercy rule."

"We knew they were the team to beat. After winning the second game like that, we were confident the rest of the year," Sontag said.

At one point, his team ran off seven wins in a row before finishing the regular season in first place with a 16-3-1 record. The manager credited the players' cohesion for a lot of that success. But he also credited a number of individuals as well.

Pitcher Rob Schroeder exhibited outstanding control and limited opponents' hitting. And speaking of hitting, Sontag could count on consistent production from some of his own players.

Third baseman Josh Yacovissi and shortstop Evan Picciotto were consistent power hitters as was catcher/DH Bryan Cugle who would be named Men's League tournament MVP for the fourth time.

League rules allowed three over-the-fence home runs each game, and "Got Em," well, got 'em.

"I can't recall a game where we didn't hit three," Sontag said.

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Defensively, the outfielders were so good that the team could often play just three out there and put an extra man right behind second base to shut off up-the-middle hits.

Left fielder Brandon Beam, center fielder Jim Green, and right fielders Mike Kunkle and Dan Boone covered the ground and were outstanding defensively.

With things going well, Sontag says he was very confident going into July's postseason tournament at the Carroll County Sports Complex.

Got Em opened against Blizzards. Leading all the way, it won 11-6. Green was 4-for-4 and Kunkle, 3-for-3. Manager Sontag went 2-for-3.

Game 2 was against Classic Kids. Got Em scored six runs in the sixth inning on the way to a 15-6 triumph.Yacovissi clubbed two home runs and went 4-for-4. Schroeder was also 4-for-4.

Sontag's team and Full Tilt then met in the winners' bracket final. Got Em prevailed emphatically by a score of 21-5, scoring 15 runs in the first inning. Sam Wilt, Picciotto, Green, and Beam all had three hits in three tries in the rout. P.J. Wonders hit a home run.

Full Tilt then won its way through the losers' bracket to face Got Em for a rematch. There, it got some revenge and laid a total whomping on Sontag's team, 16-3.

The manager admitted that his team did little right in the game. It didn't field well and didn't hit much. What's more, he felt his guys might have been a bit overconfident coming in.

So, he gave his troops a stern talking-to before the upcoming deciding game.

"I told them that we've been (winning) all year and to pull their heads out of their butts," Sontag related.

The final was another lopsided affair, only this one was in Got Em's favor. It scored 14 runs in the first inning and went on to win 15-2. The game never got past the third inning and was called on the league's mercy rule.

Boone went 3-for-3. Cugle cinched that MVP award by going 3-for-3 with a home run, triple and eight RBIs. In winning his fourth MVP in Men's League tournaments, the DH batted well over .700, Sontag said.

"I was confident going into the tournament, but then I got pretty nervous in that final game," Sontag said."I was ecstatic when we won though. I was proud of them."

These days as it plays in the Carroll County Men's Fall Softball League, the team again calls itself Krysztof's Barber Shop. But the wins keep on coming.

Krysztof's is 11-1, although it is in second place behind unbeaten RK Catering.

"We'll play the first place team next Wednesday, and we'll try to take first place away from them," Sontag said.

He says he's heard that his newly-crowned Wednesday night champions will be asked to move up and play in the Men's League's more competitive Monday Night Division next year.

Sontag though isn't worried.

"We beat some of those Monday Night teams in that spring tournament we won," he said.



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