Dirtbags win Highlands Rec Adult Softball Championship game

The Highlands Rec adult softball league Championship game boiled down to the Dirtbags versus The Pizza Place, but the Dirtbags won the coveted-championship title with a 16-12 final.

The Pizza Place’s Destin Gearhart heads home during the Championship game on Thursday, but Dirtbags Keri Raby has other plans.

The Dirtbags maintained the lead for most of the game, and at one point it was tied 6-6, but The Pizza Place could not catch up in time.

“That’s the best anybody’s played against the Dirtbags all year,” said Highlands Recreation Dept. Director Lester Norris. “A lot of them play tournaments every weekend, they live for softball.”

The Pizza Place came in 5th place for the season, but fought their way to the Championship game on Thursday.

The Pizza Place came in 5th overall for the season but fought their way to the Championship game.

They lost to 4th place Mountaintop in the first round. In round two, they beat 3rd place Essential Power. In round three, they got some payback and beat Mountaintop. In round four, they defeated 2nd place First Baptist Church and then moved on to the Championship, said Norris.

The Pizza Place’s Dylan Schmitt throws it to the infield on Thursday in Highlands.

Norris added the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the start of the league this season, but did not cause any serious disruptions.

“We didn’t play as many games because we got started late,” said Norris. “We had to wait until the Governor went to Phase 2. Only thing that really affected us was the rain.”

The Pizza Place’s Tim Dearth ends a scoring streak by the Dirtbags during the Championship game.

The league had 7 teams this season with games on Mondays and Thursdays. With so many events cancelled because of COVID, Norris said the league was a great way to get outside.

“I think it was a big hit,” he said. “A lot of people are picking it up because there’s nothing else to do.”

The Pizza Place’s Ryan Gearhart cranks one to the outfield.

The Highlands Rec Adult Softball League runs from June through mid-August. Anyone can join and teams need a minimum of 15 people. For more information, email Norris at lester.norris@highlandsnc.org.

The Dirtbags are sponsored by Stephen L. Lucas CPA and Carolyn Raby. The Pizza Place is sponsored by, you guessed it, The Pizza Place.

The Pizza Place’s Seth Schmitt makes the play in the infield.

Pictured at the top of the article are the Dirtbags, winners of the Highlands Rec Adult Softball Championship game. Front row from left Sherry Holt (Sponsor Stephen L. Lucas CPA), Keri Raby, Jesse Stephens, Katie Smith, and Jay. Middle row from left are Carolyn Raby (Sponsor), Falon, Justin Brewer, Joe Holbrooks, Buddy Tabor. Back Row from left are Brandon Williams, Christopher Raby, Austin Holbrooks, Kalin Haskett, and Mike Holbrooks.

The Pizza Place’s Bryan Dearth pitches against the Dirtbags on Thursday.

Article and photos by Brian O’Shea
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