The Mustache Bashers did something
Happy Fourth of July, people! America. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I celebrate life by liberating a blueberry pie from its wrapping in my pursuit of happiness. How about you?
And what could be more American than slowpitch softball?
At some point on Wednesday evening during the Talk of the Town/Rent-A-Gades game, someone from the Mustache Bashers yelled something at me about something they had done recently.
Can’t remember what it was but I did say I would mention them in the paper. So there you go, Bashers. Nice work, whatever it was.
But I was there to cover the reigning comp league champions, the Rent-A-Gades. Granted, they didn’t win the title last year, it was the Nuts & Honeys. But the Nuts & Honeys have disbanded so it was pointed out to me by one of the Rent-A-Gades players that, as a result, they are the reigning comp league champions.
But the reigning comp league champions, one year removed, are having a rough start to their season, missing a woman on the field in the past couple of games and thus giving up rally-killing automatic outs.
The Talk of the Town, on the other hand, brings a full roster every game and should win every game. The talent is there, the knowledge is there, the coaching is there but, for some unknown reason, the wins are only scattered.
The two teams came into their showdown Wednesday evening at Gothic Field with records of 2-3. A loss would drop one team to the bottom of the standings, while a win could catapult the other team into second place.
That’s what you get with just four teams in the league. Every game counts. Comp league with just four teams is intense and in your face. Well sort of. I mean, it’s still slowpitch softball in Crested Butte.
I will say one thing, though. That new 11-inch ball that the women are hitting has really opened up the game. The chicks are jacking it! Unfortunately, the 11-inch ball has a tendency to result in fly outs as opposed to bloop singles, but when they do hit the gaps, it’s extra base hits for everyone.
Furthermore, I predict that at some point either Peace Wheeler or Kelly McGuire, given the right conditions and the right contact, could send one of those 11-inch balls downtown. Molly Keating for sure, but she’s not playing this year.
Back to the game at hand.
The start to the comp league showdown was a bit subdued, to say the least. Once again the Rent-A-Gades were missing a woman player and suffered the automatic out repercussions as their at-bat in both the second and fourth innings came to an end, leaving a total of four runners on base as a result.
Meanwhile, the Talk struggled to take advantage of both that scenario and the fact that the Rentas had just three players in the outfield. Fortunately, the Talk has Tom Consentino, the latest local Sultan of Swat (the first one being Joe Dukeman). Consentino even has the pigeon-toed amble that harks back to the days of old.
Well, the Sultan of Swat struck not once, but twice, in his first two at-bats with a two-run shot over centerfield in the bottom of the second inning and followed up with a three-run crusher in the bottom of the fourth to put the Talk on top 5-3.
After a somewhat subdued start at the plate the first four innings, the Renta bats turned red hot with a combination of power and precision in the top of the fifth.
Jeff Banford led things off with a triple and scored off an opposite field RBI single from Heather Duryea. Josh Schumacher stepped up to jack a two-run home run and Nathan Lacy followed with a solo shot to put the Rentas back on top 7-5.
Proving that they’re more than just a couple of base hits and a couple of dingers from Consentino, the Talk put together a comprehensive offensive assault in the bottom of the fifth with a little “small ball” action.
Michael Faktor opened the rally with a double and scored off a base hit from Brent Laney. Banford chased down a fly ball in left and gunned down a runner for a double play that looked to kill the Talk rally but they picked up where they left off as Dave McGuire and Chris Kindred connected for RBI base hits to put the Talk back on top 8-7 heading into the sixth.
The no-woman automatic out rendered the Rentas useless in the top of the sixth inning and Eric Turbo Ervin cracked a solo home run to straightaway centerfield adding an insurance run to the Talk’s lead heading into the seventh and final inning, opening the door for some late-game heroics.
The initial heroics came from homegrown Renta player Nathan Lacy. Hits from Schumacher and Duryea put runners in scoring position, Wheeler drove Duryea in with a sac fly RBI and then Lacy cleared the bases with a two-run shot to put the Rentas back on top 10-9.
Just remembered what the Mustache Bashers player yelled at me—apparently they were on a three-game winning streak as of Wednesday night.
Back to the big story, women and 11-inch balls.
Down one run in their final at bat, the ladies led the charge for the Talk when it mattered most. Shannon Costello singled and McGuire doubled to put the winning run on second base with one out and Courtney Bock stepping to the plate. Bock was 1-for-3 on the day so far with a couple of fly outs but this time she leveled out her swing and drove the game-winning two-RBI base hit to deep centerfield for the 11-10 Talk victory.