“Everybody can hit the chicken”
Well, all is normal now in the world of softball as I finally witnessed my first inside the park home run (ITPHR), my first out of the park home run and the Talk of the Town’s first victory, all the while soaking up the evening sun at a perfectly manicured Gothic Field.
The only thing missing was a tall frosty one, but since I gave that up, tobacco and caffeine were there in relief.
About the only bummer was that the Rent-A-Gades, a team rich in enthusiasm and sponsored by the Wheeler family business Crested Butte Rental Center, were on the losing end of the deal, but it’s sports and for every winner, there’s going to be a loser, if not several.
Perusing the local softball statistics and standings Monday morning on crestedbutterec.com I could not believe my eyes when I saw that the Talk of the Town was in dead last with a record of 0-10.
Not a single win all season—how was that possible? I, and the rest of the dudes now turned into dads and recently seen at the latest Alpenglow concert, probably spent enough money in that fine establishment “located in the liver of downtown Crested Butte” over the years to sign Manny Ramirez to the roster.
Nevertheless, there they were as the lone cellar-dwellers of the competitive league and searching for their first win on Monday, July 13.
After a hapless offensive effort by the Rent-A-Gades in the top of the first inning, they took the field with a defensive schematic rarely used—having a woman, Sarah Much, pitch.
Much did her job throwing strikes and leaving it up to the defense to back her up. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much the Rent-A-Gades defense could do as the Talk bats were hot.
Colleen Farrell connected for a sac fly RBI to score the Talk’s first run and then Patrick Cashion and Jocelyn Wallace connected for base hits to set up Tim Callinan. Callinan punched a RBI single through the infield and Erik Ervin slapped a two RBI double to right centerfield.
Nicole McEowen got some help from a confused Rent-A-Gades defense to connect for an error-assisted two-RBI double, giving the Talk a 6-0 lead with one out and inspiring a call from the Rent-A-Gades bench.
“Let’s hit the reset button — come on!” hollered a Rent-A-Gader.
The defense took note and responded as Amber Orton snagged a line drive down at first base and fired to husband Ross Orton at second base, catching a Talk runner off-guard for the double play, ending the inning.
The Rent-A-Gades suffered another scoreless inning in the second, thanks in part to the efforts of Ervin in the outfield. After who knows how many years in the local leagues, Ervin, a.k.a. Turbo, hasn’t lost a step in the outfield. He proved it once again, charging in on a sinking line drive in shallow centerfield for the diving, rolling grab.
Cashion then gave the Talk a two-run bump in the bottom of the inning, sending a deep drive over the centerfield fence.
Yet, the Rent-A-Gades and their fervent fan base refused to fold despite the eight-run disadvantage. Locally grown Ben Somrak took it upon himself to open up a four-run rally in the top of the third inning with a solo ITPHR to the gap in left center.
Andrew Harford and Amber tapped singles and Ross drove one run in with a double while Michael Pruett pushed the Orton’s home with a two- RBI triple, cutting the Talk lead in half.
The Rent-A-Gades added one more run in the top of the fourth on an error-assisted RBI single by Much and it appeared as if the Talk’s first win of the season just might slip away.
Farrell drove in another run for the Talk to offer some brief offensive resuscitation and Turbo, once again, chased down a fly ball in the outfield to rob Michael Pruett of an extra base hit, end the inning and tear a hamstring. Fortunately, the Talk’s team medical assistant was on hand and immediately prescribed a remedy that would have made the late Hunter S. Thompson proud.
It wasn’t until the bottom of the fifth inning when the Talk put together one more rally to insure their first win of the season.
Ross robbed Brent Laney of a single up the middle with a diving grab and rolling flip to second base for the force out but a walk put two runners on with Turbo up to hit.
Turbo drove in one run with a single and then Connor McGuire cleared the bases with a three-run ITPHR to the fence in centerfield building an eight-run cushion for the Talk.
Laney added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth inning and Cashion turned two of the last three outs of the game in the top of the seventh inning to seal the 14-5 Talk win and offer the team their due reward.
“Everybody can hit the chicken,” announced Cashion as he twisted the top off the Wild Turkey bottle.