Saturday, August 29, 2015

Fall Opener – 8/23/15 vs All My Subs

Opening Day Line-up!: L-R: Emily K: 3B; Kristina: OF; Derek: OF; Triffid: P; Zeb: 1B; Cameron: C; Matt: OF; Justin: OF; John: 2B; Mark: SS
As we approached the opening game of fall season, not only were the Underhanded Compliments about to play All My Subs…for a while it looked as though we ourselves could have used that for a team name (or at least a sort of sub-title.) In fact, up until a few days before the game, it looked like five of our full-time players in addition to all three subs who’d signed on would be unavailable for the first game! That left us with only seven players.

We launched into a recruiting campaign, & were able to find 3 more subs; then it turned out one of the players who thought she’d miss the game was available after all, so going into Sunday, we seemed to have eleven. But one of the subs had to bail out because of a work situation, so as it turned out, we played the game with exactly ten players.

Zeb's first inning homer
All My Subs opened the scoring with one run in the top of the first, but we answered back loud & clear. In fact, after one out was recorded, Zeb, in his return to the team after taking the summer off, blasted a long home run to right field, & Matt, Emily K, & Mark followed with consecutive doubles to increase the lead to 3-1. After the second out was recorded, Triffid began a string of six batters getting hits with a double of her own to drive in Mark. Justin, who was one of the new subs & who finished the day 4 for 4 with an rbi & 2 runs scored, lined a single, then Cameron doubled, Kristina & Derek (our other new sub, who had a great day both at the plate & in the field) singled, & Zeb doubled to end the scoring. We’d sent 13 batters to the plate & scored 8 runs.
Mark went 4 for 5 with 3 runs scored & 2 rbis
However, All My Subs is an experienced team filled with capable players, & they scored five runs themselves in the top of the second to cut the lead to 8-6. But we kept up the attack during our turn at bat. Emily K, Mark & yours truly started the inning off with singles, & then Triffid hit a sacrifice fly to center to score Mark. Justin followed with a single & Cameron drove in another run on a fielder’s choice. Kristina & Derek again had back-to-back base hits & Zeb then smoked a 2-run triple—he had three legs of the cycle in the second inning! Emily K & Mark followed with singles, which brought us to the 9-run maximum.
Big game for Emily K: 4 for 4 including a double & triple; also a walk, 3 runs scored, 3 rbis, & her usual strong play at third base
We led 17-6, & that seemed like a safe enough lead. Also, through 2 innings we’d been able to score almost at will, so we were looking forward to a romp. All My Subs had other plans however, & followed our 9-run maximum with one of their own in the top of the third! Now the score was 17-15, & anyone’s game.
Cameron checked in with 2 for 4, including a triple, & 4 rbis!
Yours truly led off the bottom of the third with a base hit, then with one out Justin also singled. Cameron followed by crushing a ball to center for a two-run triple, though he was thrown out at the plate trying for four—& that was the end of the scoring.

We held All My Subs scoreless in the fourth, & Derek led off the bottom half with yet another base hit. She went 4 for 5 on the day, scored 2 runs, drove in 2 more, & played a solid game in the outfield. After two were out, Emily K (who also had a big day at the plate) hit an rbi triple.

Great debut with the Underhanded Compliments for Derek!
Things remained tight from here on out, & All My Subs actually took the lead, 21-20 in the top of the sixth. But Kristina & Derek once more packed a one-two punch as each singled to start the inning. With one out, Matt doubled Emily walked, & Mark singled. Yours truly followed with an rbi fielder’s choice, & we had a 23-21 lead. All My Subs managed one base hit in the top of the seventh, but the other three batters made outs & the game was ours.
Kristina had a great 3 for 4 day!
Matt was named player of the game as he made some great plays in center field & also went 3 for 5 with two doubles. Obviously there were a number of other worthy candidates as well!
Matt was player of the game based on both great hitting & great fielding!
This Sunday will be another tough match-up: versus The Syndicate!

UPDATE: The game against The Syndicate was rained out, & Underdog is taking Labor Day weekend off. Our next scheduled game is September 13th vs. Yurs Bar. There may or may not be a new blog post in the interim.

Friday, August 7, 2015

The Champ(s)! – 8/3 vs. The Therminators

The Champs! L-R: Cameron, Emily K, Kristina, Nicole, Matt, Gustav, Triffid, Steven, Mark, John, Emily H, Lauren, Bryce

Monday August 3rd brought the Underhanded Compliments to the game we’d all been waiting for: the Summer League Championship final versus the Therminators. The game was a rematch of last year’s title game, in which we’d defeated the Therminators 20-4 to take the 2014 title. So here we were again, defending champs, with a record of 8-0, trying to finish off a perfect season!

We’d dominated the Therminators in a game earlier this season, winning 28-3; but I suspected they were going to prove to be stiffer competition in this game. Indeed, they came out hitting, racking up two singles in the first three batters, & scoring two runs on a 2-out triple.

Cameron played a really inspired game both at bat & in the field
But we were able to answer in the bottom of the first. Gustav, playing his final game with the Underhanded Compliments, led off with a walk, & Lauren & Matt followed with  singles, the latter scoring Gustav. Bryce then hit a 2-run triple, & Emily K came through with a sacrifice fly to center to send Bryce home. Mark singled, then after the second out was recorded (with Mark taking second on a grounder), yours truly doubled to drive him in. We led 5-2.
Triffid had a great season pitching, with a 6-0 record!
But the Therminators were far from done. Their lead-off hitter singled, & with one out the next batter drew a walk; this was followed by yet another 2-run triple! But we were able to strand that runner on third base & maintain a narrow lead.
Steven at short, Gustav in left: great games by both!
Steven led off the bottom of the second with a single, & with one out, Cameron hit a hustle double to put runners on second & third. Kristina followed with an rbi infield single (aided by a really heads up deke from Cameron at second that delayed the shortstop’s throw to first). After the second out was recorded, Lauren drew a walk & Matt came through with a clutch 2-out, 2-run single to increase our lead to 8-4.
Kristina made a fine catch in right & had an rbi single!
The Therminators were not quitting, however. Their lead-off batter singled, & with one out, another single put runners on the corners. Kristina made a fine catch on a fly ball to right field that followed, but it was deep enough to score the runner on third. Fortunately, Steven was able to make a fine running catch from his shortstop position on a pop up to shallow left to end the rally.
Emily H had a big clutch rbi single in the 4th!
We were held scoreless in the bottom of the inning, & despite loading the bases in the top of the fourth, the Therminators also failed to score. In our half of the fourth the first two batters made outs, but Steven came through with a triple, & then Emily H lined a clutch rbi single to the outfield. Cameron doubled again, but we were unable to score further. We held the Therminators scoreless in the top of the fifth, & then Gustav led off by drawing another base on balls. Lauren singled, but both Gustav & Lauren were retired going for the extra base. Matt came through with a 2-out double, however, & Bryce sent him home with a triple. Going into the top of the sixth we led 10-5.
Bryce in center & Nicole at second reacting to a ball in play. Nicole had another solid game in the field, & Bryce was tremendous as always!
Gustav made a couple of fine plays in left field in the sixth, but the Therminators were able to score a run; the inning was brought to a close on a truly heads up & skillful play by Emily K on a slow grounder to third. Still, we were able to answer during our at bats. Mark led off with a double, & with one out yours truly singled to score him. After the second out was recorded, Steven tripled to drive in yet another run, & we led 12-6.
Emily K played her usual great game at third & had a big rbi in the first
Going into the seventh, it looked like we had the game in hand. Their lead off batter hit a pop up to Emily K, & while the next batter tripled, we were able to record the second out on a routine fly to left.

It was at this point that all hell broke loose—2 outs & one on, with a 6 run lead….what could go wrong? In fact, the next six Therminators batters all reached base on a series of hits & errors, & suddenly the score was 12-11 us with the tying run on second & the go ahead run on first. Their batter made hard contact, sending a drive to left—but Gustav was able to run it down, & with that, the title was ours! How appropriate that Gustav recorded the final out for us in his final game, & on a fine play at that.

The winning bracket!
It was a great season. We finished 9-0, to improve our 2-year record in the Irving Summer Weeknight League to 17-0-1, with back-to-back championships. We outscored our opponents this season 178 to 69, & we put up a team slash line (batting average/on base percentage/slugging percentage) of .627/.637/1.043. Most importantly, however, the team had a lot of fun, always supported each other, & created a great atmosphere. So proud of these folks!
Final standings & a nice write-up by Underdog Sports
We’ll be on hiatus for a bit until we start up Fall League on August 23rd!