US beats Ghana in World Cup opening match
The US men’s soccer team played some of their best soccer ever, for the first 31 seconds, to build an early 1-0 lead on Ghana in their World Cup opening match on Monday, June 16.
Then they held on for 81 minutes before they gave up an equalizer in the 82nd minute of regulation. Rather than fold for the classic 1-1 soccer draw, the US pressed forcing a corner kick in the final five minutes of regulation. Graham Zusi floated a near perfect corner just outside the six-yard box and John Brooks soared through the mass of defenders in front of the Ghanaian net to drive home the game-winning header earning the US three key points in group play before they face the next two teams, Portugal and Germany. Between those goals was a bit of good ol’ American whackf**k but hey, a win’s a win.
Speaking of good ol’ American things, rec league softball continues to carry the torch for the local softball enthusiasts with 10 teams signed up for the 2014 season. Furthermore, the KBUT 90.3ers have more people on their roster than the infamously overly rostered Rasta Hairnets.
Speaking of infamous, what better way to open this years’ rec league coverage than with the Eldo. The Eldo rallied last year closing the regular season on top and made a run at the rec league title before losing by one run in the bottom of the seventh inning to Tully’s.
But this is a new year and the Eldo opened the 2014 season recovered from the heart-breaking loss with an 11-6 win over the Rasta Hairnets and followed that up with an easy victory over the Hares.
Tuesday night they were looking to keep their train rolling against… hold on one second.
You’re telling me the Eldo did not beat the Hares? The Hares beat the Eldo? The Hares beat the Hit Squad too? The Hares are 2-0, tied for first place and are averaging over 20 runs per game?
It’s a new era people! The Hares are serious contenders. For the love of God they’ve earned it too. All the work, all of the effort, all of the peanuts is finally paying off.
I’ll get to them later.
Back to the game at hand, with a slight rewrite.
The Eldo came into Tuesday’s game against the Diamond Kings looking to get their train back on track after losing to the Hares last week.
The Diamond Kings, formerly known as the Meatsticks, have seen similar ups and downs in the first week of play with a win and a loss and were also looking to return to their winning ways.
But you can’t win games if you struggle on defense and you definitely can’t win games if you don’t play solid defense at Tommy V Field. Balls, sometimes even players, get lost in the massive acreage of the Tommy V outfield.
The Eldo got rolling early as Jess Ladwig and Matt Laut tapped base hits and scored and Chris Young crushed the first of nine inside the park home runs (ITPHR) to put the Eldo up 5-0.
The Diamond Kings responded with a couple base hits by Shannon Stichter and Emily Ocanas and a two-run ITPHR from Corey Norman. But confusion on the base path quashed the Diamond Kings rally as the Eldo turned a 1-3 double play to end the inning.
The Eldo then proceeded to open up a big ol’ can of whup in the bottom of the second inning spraying the field with base hits and flying around the bases to rack up runs.
Sean Crossen and Jen Cook led things off with a couple singles and Vince Scola followed with a two RBI triple. Andrea Rybarz cracked a two RBI single, Stephanie Gerber added in a RBI base hit, Young struck again and Cook capped the 10-run rally slapping a RBI hit to left to put the Eldo on top 15-2.
But it was early in the game and anything can happen in rec league and certainly at Tommy V Field.
And after the first four Diamond Kings batters in the top of the third, it looked like anything was about to happen.
Don Hale led off with a high fly infield single, Thomas McLean ripped a single and Courtney Bock loaded the bases with a base hit for Steve Graham. Graham, who can be a human highlight reel at shortstop, also provides some pop at the plate and did so pushing two Kings home with a double to right center.
Rather than panic on defense though, the Eldo clamped down before things got out of hand and turned their second double play of the night to end the inning when Justin Howard took a toss at first base for the out and then fired home to nail a Kings runner trying to score from third.
Feeling the heat from the Diamond Kings, the Eldo proceeded to put six more runs on the board. Scola led off with a solo ITPHR and then Ladwig followed up with her own ITPHR when a deep drive to right field slipped through to open the door for her to rally home. Young scored a couple more Eldo runs with another ITPHR and by the second time the dust settled, the Eldo was sitting on a 21-4 lead heading into the fourth.
Never ones to fold, no matter what the score, the Diamond Kings kept plugging away.
Norman cracked his second ITPHR of the game and Betsy LeClair, fresh off a three-month tour of the Far East, returned to provide a defensive highlight and crush a two-run, power bunt ITPHR but the Kings ended up a few defensive miscues, a couple base running snafus, several base hit RBIs and about 23 runs shy of making it a game falling 30-7.
Did I mention the Hares are 2-0? And Jim Schmidt hit a lot of home runs… back in the day.