“Holy cow, we’ve got a fresh bottle of Wild Turkey!”
As I keep track of the local softball standings, one thing always confused me: How is it that perennial softball powerhouse, the Talk of the Town, was in last place in the competitive league?
Sure, they lost several key players in the off-season to other teams and that might account for a mediocre season, but a horrific season. Wow. What happened?
Well, with the help of a couple of midseason acquisitions made just prior to the roster deadline, the Talk of the Town emerged from their season long slide, winning three games in a row. It started to resemble, albeit slightly, the Talk of the Town team of old, pulling themselves out of last place.
They carried their winning streak and contagious confidence into their game against the Wildbunch on Monday, July 28 at Tommy V Field.
The Wildbunch, well, is just that, a wild bunch led by appropriately named coach/captain Tony Wildman and are locked in last place with one win.
With the Talk of the Town on a late-season surge and the Wildbunch with just one win, the first four innings of their match-up proceeded as expected.
The Talk erupted in the top of the first inning, peppering the cavernous Tommy V Field for 10 hits. Patrick Henry Cashion led off with a double and scored on a single by Rice Owens. A walk scored two more Talk runs and the father/son duo of Dave and Connor McGuire connected for a couple of base hits to score two more Talk runs.
Cashion closed the early rally clearing the bags with a three-run inside the park home run (ITPHR) giving the Talk a commanding 9-0 lead. Two more base hits had the Talk set up for several more runs but Wildbunch shortstop Ryan Loflin stopped the bleeding with a leaping grab to end the onslaught.
The Talk was pumped and looked for a little celebratory nip of some of grandpa’s cough medicine before taking to the field.
“Holy cow, we’ve got a fresh bottle of Wild Turkey!” exclaimed one Talk player as if life couldn’t get any better than a 9-0 lead and a fresh bottle of “kickin’ chicken.”
The Wildbunch’s response in the bottom of the first was muffled by the Talk defense as they nailed a runner at second base looking to stretch a single into a double. Furthermore, Josh Skelly drove the ball to deep left center and wheeled around the bases bound for his own ITPHR but a relay toss by Cashion from center field to Staci Lapi at home denied Skelly the solo heroics and ended the inning.
Eric Ervin led off the top of the second with a double, and two more McGuire hits pushed two more Talk runs in for an 11-0 lead.
The Wildbunch snuck in a run in the bottom of the second inning, scoring on an errant throw to first but Talk power hitter Eric Ervin crushed a two RBI triple to the fence in left field and the Talk was up 13-1 before the Wildbunch had even made it through their entire batting order once.
A sliding grab by Wildbunch outfielder Matt Keith and a pop foul grab by catcher Lea Rembrisz held the Talk scoreless for the first time all game in the top of the fourth inning.
Dave returned the favor in the bottom of the fourth, turning two of three outs himself from the pitcher’s mound, spurning another offensive push from the Talk of the Town in the top of the fifth inning.
Kelly McGuire joined her husband and son with success at the plate stroking an RBI single, Tim Callinan swatted an RBI double to right field and Dave knocked his third RBI base hit of the game for a seemingly comfortable 16-1 Talk of the Town lead.
The 15-run lead had the Talk of the Town dugout in a state of euphoria. The effect was such that even their biggest fan, Donna Arwood, who had recently been though some intense oral surgery, was feeling no pain as she stuffed impaction gauze into her mouth.
Yet, no lead is safe, especially at Tommy V Field, as the Wildbunch offense emerged from their quagmire of successive hitless innings to score 10 runs on 12 hits in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Amanda Holley led off with a single and Keith brought her and himself home with a two-run ITPHR. Rembrisz singled, Wildman doubled—that’s right, doubled—and Chris White pushed them home on a triple to the gap. That’s right, Wildman scored from second base.
Loflin and Skelly each tapped RBI singles. Holley cracked a two RBI single and Keith scored one more Wildbunch run on a base hit. By the time the dust settled, the Wildbunch were back in the game down 16-11 with two innings to play.
Both teams were held scoreless through the sixth inning and Lapi drove in the lone run for the Talk of the Town in the top of the seventh adding a little insurance to their lead.
As is rarely the case in the world of insurance, it turned out a little down payment by Lapi ended up going a long way as the Wildbunch came charging back in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Tim Katez kicked off the seventh inning comeback with a single up the middle and scored when Danielle Langlois ripped a double down the left field line. Skelly caught the Talk outfield playing shallow for a two-run ITPHR to deep left center and Keith connected for a solo ITPHR (you seeing a pattern here at Tommy V Field?) pulling the Wildbunch to within one.
Lea stepped up with two outs looking to extend the Wildbunch rally and slapped a line drive down the third base line. Talk third baseman Dave Seymour flagged it down though, leaving the Wildbunch one run shy of an incredible comeback and preserving the 17-16 Talk win extending their winning streak to four games with the playoffs starting next week.