Game 7: Offensive Power Failure
Strong ‘D’ not enough to overcome power-hitter handicap
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Game date: Aug 4, 2008

Score Box
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7   R H HR
0 2 1 4 0 2 3   12 X 2
0 1 0 0 1 0 4   6 21 0

Eno making one of many great running grabs in left field  (Reynolds)

The Verdasys Softball team will be looking to make it two in a row as they square off against the 1-3 “Milestones”. But if the team is to succeed, they will need to overcome an offensive handicap. At game time, it was announced that the team would be without four of their power hitters: Ron Smith, Darrell Teague, Ryan Grimard and the “Mr. Doubles” himself, Don Muldoon. Their absence from the line-up will undoubtedly cost the team runs.

But don’t expect the team to just roll-over, as the team will field a strong defensive line-up lead by speedy Elliott Eno. Will the team find enough offensive spark to complement their ‘D’ for a win?

Pre-Game Summary

Making a surprising return to the team this season is Elizabeth Cornwall. Liz was originally side-lined for the season after spraining her right ankle in Game 4. Originally, it was believed that the ankle was fractured. However, further examination determined that the bone had only been chipped; allowing Cornwall to return to the line-up after the ankle was no longer sore.

Making his debut today is 3-time Pro-Cricket Champion of India is Dharmender Verma. Verma has come out of retirement to join Verdasys Softball in pursuit of his first American championship.

Finally, with the team short of female players, the team called-up Kelly Allen from their Triple-A affiliate. Allen (not to be confused with Nicole Kelly or Kelly Raymond,) has played softball extensively since high school, including participating on an all-star team from Concord, MA that made it to the national championships.

Game Summary
Colby makes quick work of the base runner with a force out at second  (Moffitt)

It did not take long for the Verdasys ‘D’ to strut their stuff. Top of one, Milestones squander a lead-off base hit to go down 2-3-4 thanks to some strong infielding. Verdasys could not capitalize as A-WOL flies out to center field with two on to end the first inning.

Milestones got on the board in the second to take a 2-0 lead. Verdasys responds with a run of their own thanks to an RBI single by Kelly Raymond. Elliot ends the inning hitting into a 6-4-3 double play.

Milestones got a run back in the third thanks to a towering HR shot over the center field wall. According to A-WOL who was playing center field, the ball cleared the fence by about a foot and then bounced into the gorge behind the field. But that would be all that they would score as the Verdasys ‘D’ kept their bats in check.

Colby Being Colby

Some interesting base running in the bottom half of the third inning. Colby leads off the inning with an infield base hit by outrunning the throw to first. During the play the ball is overthrown, so Colby decides to try and advance to second. However, the first baseman quickly retrieves the ball and tosses it to second. Expecting to tag Colby out easily, the second baseman makes a swipe at Colby, who in shock manages to avoid the tag and tries to retreat back to first. She is eventually tagged out in the rundown.

Was this simply another Colby being Colby incident? “For a base runner, it can be difficult to tell when to advance on an overthrow” commented A-WOL. “From our vantage point in the third base dugout, we knew Colby would not have a chance. However, we failed to field a first base coach to provide proper assistance.”

A-WOL would fly-out to left field with the bases juiced to end the inning. 3-1 after three.

Continuing Action

Milestones cranked-up the ante in the fourth inning with some aggressive base-running. The inning was highlighted by a 2-run ITP HR. Though aggressive, the team was playing a style of play consistent with a close game. However, A-WOL thought it was perhaps a bit too aggressive.

“On one play, I yelled for ‘time’ so I could set myself in the outfield. It was ignored and the ball was hit in my area with my back to the plate. I know what exactly what they were trying to accomplish: catch-us of guard. But for a ‘non-competitive’ league, this is foolish.”

In addition, base runners were seen running intentionally in the throwing lane between first and second to foil any double-play attempts.

The play was contested and the at-bat redone. In all, the team would collect 4 runs to take a 7-1 lead. Verdasys would not score any in the bottom half of the inning.

Mike trips over the bag despite the absence of a defensive player  (Moffitt)

Milestones go empty-handed in the fifth, thanks to great running catches by Elliott Eno and Kelly Allen in left and right field, respectively. Verdasys would capitalize with a run of their own as Jerry batting in Mike O for the sole run of the inning. A-WOL hit into a fielder’s choice with the bases juiced to end the inning.

The Mike OConnor At-Bat

The highlights of the bottom half of the fifth inning were the crazy antics of Mike OConnor in his at bat. For his first stunt, Mike O attempts to catch the other team off-guard by batting lefty. However, no one was fooled because Mike held the bat incorrectly. In the end, all that Mike accomplished was creating mass hysteria, causing the other team to offer Mike a free base hit.

For his next stunt, Mike successfully bunted the ball for a base hit. Unfortunately for Mike, bunts are not allowed in this league. The base hit was disqualified and the at-bat redone.

For his final stunt, Mike gives it his all and connects for an infield ground ball. He was able to easily outrun a throw to first for the infield base hit. As Mike crossed first base, however, he somehow tripped on the bag and tumbled onto the ground. This tripping occurred despite the fact that no one was covering first. Will Waltham soon be chanting “That’s Mikey being Mikey”?

Not Again?

Milestones would get two more runs in the sixth to take a 9-2 lead, but not without incident. With a runner on first, the same batter who crushed the ball for a HR in the third would connect for a base hit. The base runner attempted to advance to third, so a play was attempted at that base. Seeing an opportunity, the batter attempts to stretch the base hit into a double and slides into second. Unaware of the side-play and covering second, the batter cleats Liz in the left ankle and knocks her to the ground.

The M's base runner helps an injuried Cornwall after knocking her over sliding into second  (Moffitt)

Liz immediately shouted in pain, declaring that he ankle was struck. The batter helped Liz up and apologized to her for the collision repeatedly. Though the play was ugly, both teams agreed to dismiss the incident as an accident after Cornwall mentioned she had requested earlier in the game that the batter slide into second base in the future.

Ironically, the dug-out for the M’s became very quiet after Jerry reminded them that Liz was the team’s lawyer.

Despite this incident, the true play of the inning was a single-handed double-play turned over by Elliott Eno in left field. After catching a fly ball into left field, Elliott caught the base-runner out of position with a quick strike to second for the force out.

Not to be outdone, Dharmender was robbed of his first career base hit in the inning as the M’s outfield unit managed to quickly return a right field base hit to first for the force out. Dhar had to settle with a sacrifice instead.

Seventh Inning

The M’s would score three times in the top of the seventh to take a 12-2 lead, but Verdasys would finally awaken from their offensive slumber and rally. Liz would get the scoring going by batting in a tumbling Colby on an RBI single. Bergstein followed with an RBI fielder’s choice to score Mike O. With runners on second and third, A-WOL would finally break out of his slump and bat in Bergstein with an RBI infield single. Ryan H. would cap the inning with an RBI double before Kelly Allen ended the rally with a 1-3 play to end the game.

As expected, the Verdasys defense managed to keep the team in the game and away from the mercy rule, but the lack of offensive power caused the team to miss out on their second win, losing 12-6.

Postgame Show

The “Planet Mike-O Postgame Show LIVE Sponsored by Panera Bread” was held immediately after the game on Veteran’s Field. Most of the team stuck around after the game and was in attendance. Team Skipper Andrew Wolan started the show with his usual post-game assessment.

“Defensively, I think we played a very good game. Our defense was solid and limited the number of free runs by converting the easy outs and covering-up hits to prevent extra bases. Elliott Eno did a fantastic job covering left field, creating one double play and almost creating a second.

Could Huynh have been the difference maker? He was 3 for 4 with a double, an RBI and a run scored.  (Moffitt)

“Offensive, I think the team played very well given the circumstances. Our batters got on base and gave the team a chance to score runs. We just could not get the big hit when the bases were juiced. Otherwise, the game might have shifted in our favor.”

A-WOL then fielded some questions from the press. The one question on everyone’s mind was this:

Q: Why was A-WOL in the number five spot of the line-up and not Ryan Huynh?

A: “The overall line-up was setup so that we would have base-runners aboard come the number 5 and 6 spot in the line-up. These spots were to then be filled with a power hitter to cash in the base runners. Unfortunately, Don and company were unavailable for the game, so I had to compromise. My options were to put in either Ryan Huynh or A-WOL. Ryan tends to be inconsistent at the plate, while A-WOL has struggled to get the ball in the outfield. I know A-WOL can get the ball into the outfield, so I had A-WOL work on his swing the day before the game.

“Come game day, everything went as planned: the top of the line-up got on base, the bases were juiced come the number 5 spot, and A-WOL made good contact to get the ball in the outfield, even spreading the ball around. Unfortunately, I underestimated the efficiency of the M’s outfield as they made quick work of A-WOL’s hits.

“In hind sight, the M’s infield was vulnerable. Ryan Huynh made some great base hits that leaked through the infield. Perhaps if we batted him fifth the outcome of the game would have been different. But hind sight is always 20/20, and I did what I could to put the team in a position to win before the game.”

Verma talks about his cricket days with Mike O during the post game show  (Reynolds)
A-WOL ended the discussion stating that Jerry Buote had sprained the quad mussels in both legs and would be listed as “day-to-day”.

Mike OConnor followed with a one-on-one chat with Dharmender Verma, discussing his past cricket days, his three national championship titles, and his exit from retirement to play with Verdasys.

After the chat, Jeffery Woo, the show’s director, reminded Mike to mention the show’s sponsor, “Panera Bread”. For some unknown reason, Mike walked off the set, boarded his Corvette and drove away. Why he left at the mention of “Panera” remains a mystery.

Unhappy with the recent turn of events, the show’s sponsor called WSBK-TV38 to protest the show. The station was forced to end the show and air an episode of “The Phantom Gourmet” instead.

Web Gems

  • Liz and Steven: multiple 6-4 force outs at second.
  • Kelly Allen: running catch to her right in right field in the fifth.
  • Elliot: running catch to his left to rob batter of a base hit in the fifth.
  • Elliot: single handed double play in the sixth. Fly out followed by force-out of runner on second base.

  • Big Bats

  • Jerry Buote: 4 for 4 with an RBI and one run scored.
  • Ryan Huynh: 3 for 4 (2B, K) with an RBI and a run scored.
  • Mike OConnor: 3 for 4 with 2 runs scored.

  • Game Photos | Stats from the Game | Scorebook