Whetstoners need to elevate
Well, the Whetstoners are definitely getting an introduction to the rec league softball scene in the first year of the franchise’s existence.
The team is no rookie squad, with a collection of players left over from some recent team break-ups in the off-season. They came close in their first two games of the season, losing by just a run to both PooFest and Earth Station Radio. And they’ve got the vibe of rec league play down with constant stoke no matter what the score and a five-gallon bucket of beer by the bench.
But they met their match and more in KBUT. KBUT brought their A-game Tuesday night at Gothic Field as I suspect they will all season long in an effort to return to the title game and wash the bitter taste of last year’s loss from their mouth.
They opened the 2011 season winning their first two games, including a win over the team that beat them in the finals, the Rasta Hairnets. Still, the wins were slight, offensively, generating just a total of 15 runs.
Tuesday night they found their offense and then some, shelling the Whetstoners to win 23-3.
KBUT player/manager/DJ Kelly Jensen set the tone in the first at bat of the game, stroking a solo inside the park home run (ITPHR). Carson “Hoff” West and Rob Wissing connected for RBI doubles and Shannon Dunlap capped the opening inning outburst with a two-RBI double.
KBUT flirted with inflicting the mercy rule in the top of the first but Whetstoner centerfielder Charlie Parr chased down a deep shot to the gap to make the grab and hold KBUT to nine runs.
The Whetstoner defense held KBUT to just one run in the top of the second inning, led by the work of Alex Mattes-Ritz at shortstop. After almost skulling a fan in the stands trying to throw out a runner in the first inning, Mattes-Ritz sighted in his cannon arm to make a play at first to open the top of the second inning. Two batters later he took a toss from the outfield and turned to gun down a runner stretching for home.
KBUT was far from done at the plate and the top of their batting order delivered again in the top of the third inning. Jensen tapped an error-assisted base hit and Dunlap crushed a two-RBI triple to the gap in left center as KBUT built a 14-0 lead.
They backed up their offense with some solid defense, leaving the Whetstoners little to no hope for a comeback.
Just when the Whetstoners were threatening to score some runs with the bases loaded and no outs, Jensen made a diving shoestring grab on a pop-up and tossed to second for a double play.
The Whetstoners persevered to finally push a run across in the bottom of the fourth when Carson Elliott cracked an RBI single down the third base line.
But KBUT showed no mercy to the wayward Whetstoners, tacking on four more runs in the top of the fifth.
Dunlap led off with her third base hit of the game and Mark Ewing cleared the bags driving a two-run shot over the fence in straightaway center. Rich Driscoll added in a two-RBI error-assisted double and KBUT was cruising with a 19-1 lead.
KBUT continued the bludgeoning in the top of the sixth and it could have been worse had it not been for the work of Whetstoners second basewoman Barb Winter. Winter stabbed a line drive out of the air to deny Dunlap her fourth base hit and then scooped a ground ball and fired to first, holding the KBUT base runners in place.
Renee Newton and Parr tapped base hits and Elliott delivered again to push in two more Whetstoner runs, but KBUT added a couple more runs in the top of the seventh to cap the 23-3 crushing.