Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Game that Almost Wasn’t – 9/20 vs. The Beestroyers

Zeb at the plate - no question in my mind he was "Player of the game" with 3 homers & 7 rbis!
When I showed up at Irving Park last Sunday—early as usual—for our game against the Beestroyers, I expected to watch some of the game between Yur’s Bar & the Pineapples; but what I found instead was a group of the Pineapples milling around, playing catch, & generally taking stock of a situation that included virtually no players from Yur’s Bar. Indeed, the 1:30 game had been a forfeit.

So what were the odds that our game would also be a forfeit? Slim, right? It was a beautiful late summer Sunday, perfect for a game of softball. Who wouldn’t want to come out on such a day? But in fact, as the time for our game drew near & the Underhanded Compliments gathered, we discovered that the Beestroyers didn’t have enough players, & weren’t sure enough would show up—in fact, they suspected strongly that they wouldn’t get the minimum eight players.

Lauren at the plate: a model of consistency & skill. 3 for 4 with 3 runs scored & 2 driven in.
Various options were discussed; we wanted to play, so at one point we agreed to a scrimmage that would involve loaning the Beestroyers a couple of our players. In addition, a player from the Syndicate had showed up very early for his 4:30 game, so the Beestroyers recruited him. & then, just as the forfeit was about to become a fait accompli, a couple of Beestroyers came to the rescue, & they had a nine-player team.
Mark at the plate: speaking of models of consistency--4 for 4 with 3 rbis!
The Beestroyers went down 1-2-3 in the top of the first, & Lauren started off the first for us with a single. Zeb—who had a monster day (& is having a monster season after 3 games!) rocked a homer to deep right field, & we were up two just like that. Matt singled, & then with one out, Bryce also hit a home run. Mark followed with a triple, but we were unable to bring him home. Still, we had a 4-0 lead after one.
Matt lamented that he had few rbi chances with all of Zeb's home runs, but he did go 2 for 3 & added a sacrifice fly the one time Zeb didn't homer!
The Beestroyers were able to answer however, as their first two batters reached base, & both ended up scoring. We were able to escape the inning without further damage though, in part because of a great catch made by Mark, ranging from his shortstop position well in to left field, to record the third out with two runners on base.
Kristina went 4 for 4 & scored 3 runs!
We really got our offense going in the bottom of the inning. Kristina, Emily H, & Rob led off with singles, the latter scoring Kristina. Nicole then drove Emily home on a fielder’s choice, & after a second out was recorded, we rallied in a big way. Zeb hit yet another 2-run homer, Matt tripled, Triffid singled him home, Bryce doubled, then Mark singled to score both Triffid & Bryce. Just like that we were up 11-2, & the Beestroyers went quietly in the top of the third.
If I could name two "Players of the game" Emily H would definitely be my choice along with Zeb - possibly her best game ever with the team. 3 for 4, 3 runs scored & an rbi! Really solid contact too!
The third turned out to be even a better inning for the Underhanded Compliments. Yours truly led off with a single, as did Kristina—& then Emily H smacked a liner to center for an rbi. Rob came through with an rbi double, & Nicole followed with a 2-run single. Lauren also singled, & then Zeb doubled to score Nicole. Matt hit a sacrifice fly to drive in another run with the inning’s first out, & then in succession, Triffid singled, Bryce doubled, & Mark singled; after a second out was recorded, yours truly came up again & drove in the ninth run with a single to center.
Nicole attacking the ball! Big 2-run single for her in the third, & a total of 3 rbis!
Having reached the run limit, we moved to the fourth inning, & the Beestroyers did score a single run. But we were back in business in the bottom of the inning as Kristina & Emily H started us off with singles, & Rob followed with an rbi double. With one out, Lauren hit a 2-run single, & then Zeb hit his third 2-run homer of the day! The amazing thing is the Beestroyers insisted on playing him at medium depth (at best) in right field, though the way those balls were crushed it wouldn’t have made much difference. Five more runs on the board & a 25-3 lead.
No matter where he bats in the order, Rob is an rbi machine! Really great addition to the club too, as he is willing & able also to play several positions in the field.
The Beestroyers did plate two runs in the fifth, but we matched that in the bottom of the inning as Bryce led off with a homer, followed by a double from Mark, who was then driven home by Emily K’s single. The Beestroyers were held scoreless in the sixth, & the game was called both for time & score. We won 27-5; you could say we "beestroyed the Beestroyers."
Emily K put on exclamation point on the proceedings with an rbi single in the fifth inning
The next three games are all against teams ahead of us in the standings: 9/27 vs. The Pineapples, who are also 2-1, though one of those wins was the forfeit by Yur’s Bar (which also means they’ve allowed fewer runs), then 10/4 & 10/11 against the two currently undefeated teams, & the Syndicate. Of course, one of those teams will have a loss after 9/27, because they’re facing off against each other in the 10:30 game!
Triffid was 2 for 4 batting clean up, with 3 runs scored & 2 driven in; & pitched a great game as always!

Next week: 9/27 vs. The Pineapples!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Not Quite: 9/13/15 vs Yurs Bar

Triffid had a great game recording four strikeouts & no walks (as usual!) She was named Player of the Day - with Emily K at third base

Sunday September 13th was an ideal day for a softball game: warm & sunny, & a summer feeling in the air; & the Underhanded Compliments & Yurs Bar (AKA Up Yurs) played a rollicking softball game indeed, going to extra innings, Unfortunately, we came out on the wrong end of a 19-18 score.

We got off to a solid start in the first inning, as Zeb, Lauren, & Matt led off with consecutive singles, & then Rob followed with a 2-run double, & Emily K added on with a 2-run single. Unfortunately, we were unable to add on, & Yurs scored 3 runs in answer in the bottom of the inning. We were playing as the visiting team, & that may have been a crucial factor in this tight game.

Rob also had a big game going 3 for 5 with two doubles, a triple &  6 rbis!
Mark led off the second with a home run, then with one out, Kristina & Zeb each singled. Following a second out, Matt singled home Kristina & Rob doubled in Zeb & Matt. Yurs only scored one in the bottom of the inning, & after two we led 8-4.
Kristina had a big hit in the second
Unfortunately, we were unable to score in the third, & Yurs scored in the bottom of the third to go up 9-8. But we answered in the top of the fourth: With one out, Zeb smashed a homer to right, then Lauren walked & Matt followed with a 2-run homer. We had a two-run lead! Admittedly, in slow pitch softball two runs are practically nothing.
Huge day for Zeb: 5 for 5, 4 runs scored, including 2 homers & a triple!
The lead was indeed short-lived as Yurs again put up 5 runs in the bottom of the fourth to go back on top 16-11. We got one back in the top of the fifth; with two outs, Triffid tripled & Mark sent her home with a double. & we were finally able to hold Yurs scoreless in the bottom of the inning!
Emily K was 2 for 4 plus a walk, including a homer & 4 rbis!
The sixth was our big inning. With one out, Zeb hit his second home run, Lauren & Matt singled, & Rob hit a 2-run triple. Emily K then rocked a 2-run home run to left center, & we’d taken a 17-16 lead! & we held Yurs scoreless again in the bottom of the sixth!

In the top of the seventh, Mark led off with a single—his fourth hit on the day—& after two outs were recorded, Zeb tripled to right. We had a two-run lead going into the bottom of the seventh.

Mark had a big 4 for 4 game, including a homer & a double.
Yurs put its first two runners on, but then a base running blunder by them & a great, heads up play by Triffid & Zeb led to a double play. There was a runner on second with two outs, & we had a 2-run lead.
Lauren was 2 for 4 plus a walk, with three runs scored
Sad to say, the next Yurs batter smashed a ball into the left center field gap. Lauren made a valiant attempt to track it down, but when the dust cleared, the ball went to the fence for a 2-run inside the park homer. The next batter flied out to Rob, but the game was tied at 18.

It’s unusual for Underdog Sports league games to go to extra innings because the games are run on a tight schedule. However, our game was the final game of the day, & so we went to the eighth inning. We went down quietly in the top of the inning—our only base runner was Emily K, who worked a 2-out walk.

Matt on the move! 4 for 5 including a homer, 4 runs scored & 4 rbis
The leadoff batter for Yurs doubled, & then we recorded an out. But the next Yurs batter absolutely crushed a ball to deep right field—actually, more like left field on Field #2. Emily H had zero chance of getting to the ball, which would have been a home run, but of course once the runner on second scored, the game was over.

It was a tough loss. While we’ve been scoring a lot of runs, we’ve been surrendering a lot so far this fall as well. But one thing for sure: this is no fault of Triffid, who really pitched a great game & was let down by the defense on several occasions. Triffid recorded 4 strikeouts without a walk (the latter almost goes without saying), & was named player of the day.

We’ll hope to get back on the winning side on 9/20 (today, actually!) against the Beestroyers!

Next Week: The Beestroyers!