For once I was there
The competitive league is getting down to the nitty-gritty and there’s one Cinderella story still hanging in there.
As of press time, the Black Holes are alive and doing well.
After getting annihilated by the Last Steep in the opening round of the playoffs, the seventh-seeded Black Holes recovered to defeat the Talk of the Town and then shock the softball world, or at least the Crested Butte softball world, with a 10-9 extra innings win over the number one seeded Isotopes on Monday, August 11, thus ending the Isotopes’ season.
The Black Holes came out on fire, building a 3-0 lead until the Isotopes infield turned a double play to end the top of the first inning.
The Isotopes recovered from the early-upset scare scoring four runs in the bottom of the first on RBI hits from Terann Maudsley, John Mardesich and Laveda Bramlitt.
Defense carried both teams through the second inning to hold the bats of both teams silent until the bottom of the third inning.
Then Mardesich spoke up.
With the Isotopes offense sputtering, Mardesich stepped up to provide a little punch at the plate.
Now Mardesich is no speedster, but he’s no slouch, either, and what he may lack in wheels he more than makes up for with his wits on the base path.
Mardesich stretched a routine single into a solo inside-the-park-home run (ITPHR) to put the Isotopes up 5-3.
The Black Holes defense regrouped from the defensive debacle though to hold the Isotopes scoreless through the next two innings.
The respite was just what the Black Holes offense needed as they put together a five-run burst in the top of the fifth inning.
Kyle Anderson stretched his own single into an ITPHR to lead off. A series of base hits loaded the bases and Eric Dishman looked off some of Scott Isensee’s best junk to walk and score two more runs.
Hannah Godwin connected for a sacrifice RBI and Abe Fisher stroked a RBI single up the middle to build an 8-5 Black Holes lead.
The left side of the Black Holes defense continued to shut down potential hits by the Isotopes in the fifth and sixth innings. Infield acrobatics by both Anderson at shortstop and Gracie Coburn at third base denied solid swats by the Isotopes hitters and held base runners in place.
The Isotopes managed to push across one run but a sacrifice hit by Coburn scored another Black Holes run and they took a three-run lead into the bottom of the sixth inning.
Mark Schellhorn connected for a RBI double to the opposite field in the bottom of the sixth to pull the Isotopes within two with one inning to go.
The Isotopes defense retired the side in the top of the seventh setting the game for a game- saving comeback.
Isensee singled to put the tying run at the plate, but the Black Holes held tight to turn the next two outs.
That left Isotopes backbone Mark Fontenot at the plate with two outs and a runner on first.
Fontenot answered the heroes’ call, connecting for a game-tying two-run ITPHR, forcing the game into extra innings.
Extra innings is about as tense as it gets, especially in the playoffs. Rules state that each team starts their at-bat with a runner on second base, no outs and every batter steps to the plate with a 3-2 count. One pitch is all you get.
Black Holes hitter Crista Ryan won the first test of nerves, watching her only pitch fall for a called ball and walked.
Josh Egedy seized his moment to stroke a RBI single to left to put the Black Holes up 10-9, but the Isotopes defense turned the next three outs to keep their hopes alive.
Unfortunately for the Isotopes, the bottom of their batting order failed to come through in the clutch. Two hitters fouled out and one lost the test of nerves, watching their only pitch hit the corner of the plate for a called third strike—thus losing to the Black Holes 10-9.