Do it for Pete!
by Than Acuff
The 2015 coed rec league season opened Tuesday night at Tommy V Field in fine fashion as the Hares edged out a 15-12 win over the Talk of the Town. It was a great start to the Hares’ season and the perfect way to kick off what I’ve decided should be their title bid in memory of Pete Davis.
“Hope to,” commented manger Sam Lumb on the idea. “We’re just lucky to be out here.”
Last month the community lost Pete Davis. Davis did many things, including working as the director of player operations and information for the Hares, helping to keep them organized and on track each and every season. Not only that but his printed rosters, acute scorekeeping and gems of historical information at every Hares game made my job covering them that much easier.
Last season the Hares came under a bit of scrutiny when they fully embraced the new coed rule allowing men over the age of 60, of which they have plenty, to play as a coed player. Sometimes they would field no more than two women in a game and the fact is, their men over the age of 60 play pretty good ball. As a result, several other rec league teams grumbled at their use, or abuse, of the rule. Truth be told, I did a little too. But this year, I don’t care what they do. I just want to see them win the title for Pete.
Monday night was the first of many steps on what will be a long, hard title climb, but the first one is often the hardest.
It wasn’t without some struggles, though, as the Hares lost two players by the second inning to injuries but they pulled Kathy Cannon out of retirement to fill the hole and kept playing.
On the other side of the field stood the Talk of the Town. The Talk regulars were there in uniform but it appears they’ve picked up a few additional players who definitely add some pop at the plate.
The Talk jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning as Melvin Seyfried led off with a triple and scored on a single by Julie Frerichs. Nate Akell and Crystal Ramsey drove in two more runs with base hits and Brent Dolf capped the opening surge with a RBI triple to deep left field.
The Hares’ offense sputtered in the bottom of the first—takes a while to start up the engine—and the Talk added a fifth run in the top of the second inning on base hits from Brice Harrell, Christine Hawk and Arthur Jenkins.
Once the Hares settled in though, they came alive to score six runs in the bottom of the second in classic Hares fashion, spraying base hits all over the field and being smart but aggressive on the base path. Frank Stichter led off with a double and was wheeling around third on a deep shot by Brian Brown when his hamstring snapped. He fell to the ground in obvious pain but managed to get up and hobble home to score, just barely beating the throw.
Dave McGuire pushed Brown home with a single, Kent Fulton cracked a RBI double to left, Don Bunnell pushed another run home with a base hit and crafty base running produced two more runs and a 6-5 Hares lead.
The Talk tied it up again in the top of the third but Brown, McGuire, Fulton and Bunnell all connected again to score five more Hares runs to rebuild a five-run lead.
Matt Hart caught the Hares outfield in with a crushing RBI double to chip away at the Hares lead and the Talk pulled within two in the top of the fifth but the Hares were far from done.
They proceeded to step to the plate in the bottom of the fifth and drive in four insurance runs. Lumb and Fulton kicked off the rally with back-to-back base hits. Bunnell and Steve Lawlor exploited confusion in the Talk’s defense to stretch base hits for RBIs and Jen Hartman tacked on a run with a RBI hit for a 15-9 lead.
The Talk took a late run at the Hares in the top of the seventh inning when Frerichs and Brian “Turnah” Turner slapped base hits and scored on singles by Cis Berry and Akell. Ramsey drove a liner to left but the Hares defense gunned down the runner at home with a picture-perfect relay. The Talk scored one more run and were just three runs down with one out, but the Hares defense turned the next two outs to seal the 15-12 win and kick off their title bid for Pete.