Sunday, July 21, 2013
I know. Some of you want to run away. That's OK. I understand. Go to The Boston Herald and read about my encounter with a shaved black cat. While this is going to be all about softball, that only mentions softball a little bit.
All right. If you're still here, I have to assume you want to find out about every little detail of my life in softball this week. Bless you. We'll start with the M Street Softball League.
(By the way, if you just plain can't get enough of me writing about softball, here's my article that appeared in South Boston Today last week. If you come here regularly, you'll probably remember most of it. Don't let that stop you. My writing is like fine wine. Take in enough of it and your head spins, then you puke. No, wait a minute - that's not what I meant to say. It gets better with age, just like old smelly cheese!)
SOUTHSIDE TAVERN - 13 Lincoln Tavern - 5
Playwright - 9 SOUTHSIDE TAVERN - 8
Shenannigans - 13 SOUTHSIDE TAVERN - 1
Obviously, the opening game is what I would like to see every time. Everything worked. We got good pitching, good fielding, timely hitting, it was a coach's dream.
The second game was one we should have won without too much trouble. We had one of those innings that gives a coach nightmares. In the third, we literally gave Playwright 8 outs. There were 5 errors in the inning. Playwright scored 7 runs, only one of those runs was earned, and we trailed 7 to 2. Playwright made it 8 - 2 on another unearned run in the 5th. We got that one back in the bottom of the 5th, but also left the bases loaded. In the bottom of the 6th, we rallied for five runs. Pat Pickup's two-run homer tied it. Then the next batter walked.
At this point, we have a runner on first with one out and you need to understand something. We had drawn 8 walks so far in the game. I had been telling every person on the bench to make the pitcher work, take a strike, this was not a guy who was going to blow it by anyone and if we gave him enough rope, he'd hang himself. That's exactly what he was doing, too. If one of our guys worked the count, he might not draw a walk, but that wasn't necessarily the goal. If you draw the walk, great, but the goal is to get the pitcher so paranoid about walking you that he starts lobbing huge cream puffs over the heart of the plate and then you go to town. So, what do the next two batters do, with the go-ahead run on first and they're facing a pitcher who is ready to either walk the ballpark or deliver a big fat pitch when you work the count to 2 - 1 or 3 - 1? Yeah, of course. They swing at the first pitch. One delivered a grounder to short that was close to a double play, and then the other guy popped up.
I said, "Goodness gracious, guys! That was a bit of hard luck! We'll get them next time, old chaps!"
Uh, no. I almost popped a vein and spit out my dentures with the force of the swears that left my mouth. I had only been saying, for the last three innings, make him work, take a strike, and on and on and on. No sense going into any more particulars. I'm sure you understand.
(For folks who are reading this blog for the first time, I want to make sure you notice I mention no names. I never give names of people who do bad things. I only give names of players who do good stuff. All bad stuff is done anonymously in this blog. So, if you were one of the guys I'm talking about, nobody reading this will know it's you unless you're truly stupider than a bag full of rocks and you decide to talk about it yourself, thus giving away your identity.)
Of course, Playwright scratches out a run in the top of the 7th, taking the lead, and we were unable to get the equalizer (although, in our half, with a runner on and two outs, Pat Dolbeare hit a shot to left that I was sure was going to at least tie the game, probably win it, but their left fielder made a fantastic diving grab going to his left and that was that. Great catch to end it and all you can do at that point is line up and shake their hands. We had every opportunity to win that game, it didn't happen, and ARRRRGGGGHHHH.)
The third game was just Mike Hoadley stomping on us. He's a pitcher for Shenannigans, and one of the best. We were missing our biggest guns (some guys are competing in multiple leagues at the moment and there was a scheduling conflict.) A few of my players had never seen pitching of the sort Mike showed them. He struck out 13, gave up only two hits (one of them a home run by Billy Botting, accounting for our lone run), and the game wasn't really in doubt at any point.
(For what it's worth, I made my actual playing debut at M Street this season during that game, giving Billy Botting the 7th inning off. I caught that inning, then relinquished my spot in the batting order back to Billy, since he had hit a home run his previous at-bat. So I still show no at-bats for the year, but I have played.)
SOUTHSIDE TAVERN STATS
For the Bombers, life continues to be good.
BOMBERS - 19 Moe Howard Club - 1
BOMBERS - 14 Moe Howard Club - 7
That puts us at 14 and 2. A win in any of our last four games (or one loss by the Renegades) clinches first place in our division (and a bye in the first round of the playoffs.)
Lots of good stuff happened. Everybody did something that made the wins happen. I'll talk about a couple of the guys who were outstanding.
Big Jay Atton ran his record to 7 - 0. That's a great won-loss record, but the most impressive thing about his pitching thus far is his 1.97 ERA. By all rights he could have three shutouts this season, but he has none. He gave up one run in each of those outings, only one of which was earned (today's).
Mark Preziosi continues to rip the ball. He had 4 doubles to go along with his team-leading 5th home run. And his play at shortstop is just as impressive.
Pat Atton continues to pile up the OB%. Five bases-on-balls, and 3 for 4 when he swung the bat.
Robbie Costello came in to throw four innings of shutout relief in game two, earning the win there.
And Joey Baszkiewicz again got whacked in the knee while catching. Here's the thing about that. We have three catchers on the roster, basically - Joey, Dave Nutter, and me. Dave Nutter has missed two weeks. Each time he's been unavailable, Joey has been crippled and I've had to take over behind the plate. And each time, something has happened to me, also. I had a small train wreck in the second game, when a throw to the plate arrived just a fraction of a second too late for me to grab it and put on a tag, the runner sliding into my ankles and sending me down for a nine count, while the ball itself hit me just below the rib cage. I think Nutter not being there is somehow responsible for this carnage. It's some kind of catcher karma. He should buy Joey a six to make up for his having to limp through his mail route this week.
My day? I was 1 for 3, with 4 walks, couple of runs scored, an RBI. Nothing outstanding, but good enough to keep things moving around to the top of the order.
Bottom line for the future? Things will get better in Southie on the weekdays. As long as we don't implode on Sunday, we're looking good. As always, getting to play at all, at my age, is a blessing.
Soon, with more batter stuff.