Monday, August 06, 2012

Ugly Can Be Beautiful

BOMBERS – 5 Mayhem – 4
Mayhem – 16 BOMBERS – 15
BOMBERS – 19 Mayhem – 12

They weren’t things of beauty, but we move on to the semi-finals to face the Titans.

Well, to be honest, the first game was a little bit beautiful. The guys from Mayhem might not have thought so, but that’s because the beautiful part of it came when we scored three in the bottom of the seventh for the come-from-behind win.

Trailing 4 – 2, Joey Baszkiewicz, who is pretty much the hottest hitter on the team right now, singled to lead off. Drew Atton reached on an error. After an out, another error produced a run that brought us within one. Jimmy Botting then came through with a clutch single to tie it up. Steve Burke, a great mid-season addition who has tightened up the outfield defense tremendously, was walked intentionally, loading the bases and setting up a double play possibility. With the outfield drawn in, Big Jay Atton (who allowed one earned run pitching) stroked a solid shot to right center for the walk-off game winner.

It should be noted that the poor Mayhem pitcher gave up ZERO earned runs in the game. So, all in all, 9 runs were scored, 8 of them unearned. Not beautiful, but, yes, beautiful for us.

Game two made up for that little bit of beauty by being a whole bunch of ugly.

We scored six in the top of the first, two in the third, and another four in the fourth. That gave us what we thought was a cruising-to-a-sweep 12 to 2 lead. Give Mayhem credit for hanging in there, though, as they plated five in the bottom of the fourth to make it 12 – 7. We added on three in the top of the fifth, 15 – 7. They chipped away some more in their half, 15 -11. And that’s what it stood at going into the bottom of the seventh and Mayhem’s possible final at-bats for the year. But they didn’t feel like going home just yet, so a single, a fielder’s choice, a walk, and another single made it 15 - 12, setting the stage for their lead-off hitter to blast one to right center for a game-tying three-run homer.

Big Jay Atton, who had thrown 13 and 1/3 innings in a broiling 90-degree sun, was relieved by his uncle, the veteran Jack Atton. No go. Mayhem completed the job with a couple of hits and we went back to the bench shell-shocked at having to actually play a third and deciding game.

I mentioned the heat. It was a scorcher. After I got home and stripped off my soaking wet uniform, I decided to weigh myself. I had lost 8 pounds in sweat. During the third game, I was seriously close to fainting behind the plate in the final inning. I didn’t want to cause any drama that might take any edge from my team, so I took a couple of deep breaths and gutted it out, but it was as close as I’ve come to that in a game, ever. Luckily, that final inning was short, as our defense got the job done in quick fashion.

OK, getting back to the start of that game, we’re still reeling from losing the second game and Mayhem jumps to a 3 – 0 lead on the strength of five walks and an error. The Bomber bats didn’t quit, though, and we got those three runs back, plus two more, on six consecutive singles, a fielder’s choice, and perhaps a little help from ill-advised throws. Mayhem grabs one back, but we add on five more to make it 10 - 4.

It remains 10 - 4 into the fourth. Mayhem hits us with the sticks again for four, to make it 10 - 8. We plate one in the fifth to make it 11 – 8. Mayhem, damn it all, comes through in the clutch again, four more runs to pull ahead, 12 – 11.

And here’s where I get to write about my lone bit of heroics in an otherwise dreadful (1 for 6, two walks) day at the plate. With one out, Joey Baszkiewicz and Fast Freddy Goodman single, putting men on first and third. I come up. I’ve been trying to put one on a line into right field all day because Mayhem was giving me some room over there. I’ve popped up to the first baseman, grounded out 4 to 3, and the one time I hit it on the screws it was right at the second baseman for another out. Did I get the line drive this time? No, but I put enough air under it to drop it two feet inside the right field foul line and I drive in the tying run. Fast Freddy goes to third. Drew Atton singles him home for the lead, 13 - 12.

These guys wouldn’t go away. Mayhem loads the bases with one out in the top of the sixth, but a fly to center, played nicely by Steve Burke to hold the runner at third without tagging, then another good defensive play by Big Jay ended the threat (he played 1B in the third game and went to his right for a grounder, flipping to second for a force.)

(It was such an odd day defensively. We’d commit some sort of ugly blunder, but then follow it up with something textbook and wonderful to behold. Shout out to two guys specifically in that regard. Jimmy Botting played shortstop rather than his usual 2B or OF, filling in for regular SS Joel Kershner. He was great. We don’t win without him. And Bennett made a couple of nice plays at 2B, filling in there [for the most part] for Jimmy. Between he and Drew Atton, the other 2B, along with Pat Atton and Jack Atton [my, we have a lot of Attons!] doing duty at 3B in place of Robbie Costello, well, this is a convoluted and highly unintelligible sentence, but it worked out well. Thanks, guys!)

We finally put those pains-in-the-ass away in our half of the sixth.

(I say “pains-in-the-ass” with respect. Mayhem earned it.)

We sent eleven men to the plate, scored six runs for a 19 – 12 lead, and then took care of business defensively. The big blow was a three-run homer by Tom Resor. Amazingly, with 39 runs scored yesterday, his was the only round-tripper. He’s having a season offensively that rivals the best in the 18-year history of the team. He upped his RBI total for the year to 42, already a tie for the team record with at least two more games to go (possibly as many as six more.) He’s mostly a quiet guy who settles things down with logic and calmness when some others of us might be a bit more off the point. He’s a real pleasure to have as a teammate.

So, next week we play the Titans. They’ve won the league title more than any other team and they’re the defending champs. They went undefeated during the regular season, including three wins over us. It will be a tall order to best them two-out-of-three and move on to the finals, but it can be done. And I don’t give a damn if we do it ugly or beautiful, just so long as we do it.


Soon, with more bomber stuff.


Sandi McBride said...

I hope you guys tear it up...we're pulling for you...and we want a good run down of the game or a video...a video would be the bomb!!!

Stephen Hayes said...

Good luck with the Titans. They fell in Greek mythology and they will fall to you.

Craig said...

Congrats, and good luck t'yer Bombers!

Ugly can be beautiful in its own way, can't it?

And, just for the sake of sayin' so - yours is the third instance I've heard of in the past couple weeks where, with a man on third and one out, the defensive team issued two intentional walks to load the bases and set up the double play. One of 'em actually worked. . .

And, as to passing out during a game, you remind me of the time I gave blood at work on a 95-degree day, when I had a softball game that evening. Not a happy set of circumstances. . .

Daryl said...

Okay, sports post with lots of sports words .. congrats .. and thanks for giving blood (not now that other time)

Uncle Skip, said...

Congratulations! I hear it's supposed to be cooler next Sunday?

Ernest Borgnine was beautiful.

Does anyone besides me see a resemblance between Suldog and Hunter Pence?

Michelle H. said...

Congrats! Sounds like you had great exciting games all around, altho -- in all honesty -- to think you could have killed over in that heat weighs more on my mind then the importance of softball.

Jackie said...

I am so happy for you and your teammates! :)))
I wish that my hubby and I lived close enough that we could drive there and watch the game next week...truly! That would be awesome!!!
I'm with Sandi. Is there any way that someone could video the game for us?
Congratulations on the win... (and I'm glad that you didn't get "bear caught" (that's what we call it here in South Georgia when the heat is so bad that one almost passes out.) You came close to passing out it sounds like.
I'm glad that the temperatures are beginning to be a little lower. Sounds like you guys need a slightly cooler day to finish the Titans off. Good luck to you, my friend!!
P.S. Uncle Skip...I think Jim looks like Hugh Laurie.

Buck said...

Congrats. "W's" are "W's", regardless of pulchritudinous considerations. Keep it goin'!

Anonymous said...

Hot as heck out there last Sunday!!!
Almost passed out!!!

It was quite a battle!!!
"Gringo" Bombers over shit talkers and illegal aliens on classless Mayhem squad!!!


messymimi said...

Go Bombers!

lime said...

forgive me....i get out of this that it was hot, that the bombers didn't play spectacularly but they are good luck bombers!

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing.

Uncle Skip, said...

Gringo Bombers WBAGNFARB, Shit Talkers & Illegal Aliens not so much.

Babs said...

Glad you're having a great baseball summer...

I didn't understand most of the ins and outs ha!
I'm just checking in lol..
You do realize football is around the corner? he he he

Chris@Knucklehead! said...

Great day at the ballpark, Jim. Ugly wins are still wins. Keep it rolling, though from what you've said, the Titans are the 400-pound gorilla, so to speak. Hope you've got a lot of bananas.

Pearl said...

So it was hot and various things happened. Do I have that right?



Judi FitzPatrick said...

Best wishes for continued ballgame enjoyment!

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

Kudos on the hit, sometimes a clutch play like that can be even better than a win. Of course you did win...hey, 2 out of 3 ain't bad!

Stay hydrated out there my friend & good luck against the Titans.

silly rabbit said...

Yikes about the heat! You take care of yourself sir... stay hydrated. I know its kind of a joke for some folk to say they'd like to die playing ball, but seriously, no heat stroke please!

A baggie full of ice on the back of your neck or between your wrists helps when you're in the dugout.

Congrats on the final outcome... and moving forward. Keep it rolling.

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing.