“We screwed the pooch on that one”
by Than Acuff
Before we get to the other game of the week, it must be mentioned that the Steep Peeps did not lose on Tuesday night. They didn’t win, either, but at least they didn’t lose.
They were supposed to be the featured game of the week, but when I showed up to cover them against the Trash Talkers at Pitsker Field, they had just seven players when the game started and, without a win all season, I figured they must have given up.
Well I was wrong, which is nothing new.
Because when I returned from covering a different game, the Steep Peeps were down 16-13 in the top of the sixth inning. Nothing happened in the sixth, nothing of note anyway, and the game was desperately close to hitting the time limit. But with the next two teams busy adjusting their costumes and drinking at the kegs in preparation for their upcoming Whetstoners/KBUT Kegs and Costumes game, the umpires agreed to play one more inning but with extra innings rules. Meaning, each team started with a runner at second when they were up to bat and each hitter stepped to the plate with a full count.
The Trash Talkers pushed one run home in the top of the seventh to go up 17-13 and were poised to seal the win until the Steep Peeps went nuts. Hitting and running like a team that just doesn’t care, while the Trash Talkers defense unraveled, the Steep Peeps scored four runs before giving up a pop fly for a double play to finish with a 17-17 tie.
“We screwed the pooch on that one,” commented Trash Talkers player Marni Joslyn following the debacle. Meanwhile, the Steep Peeps tracked down the game ball for their trophy case to commemorate the first game they didn’t lose. With the post-season one week away, the Steep Peeps could be catching fire at just the right time.
Once the dust cleared, KBUT and the Whetstoners got down to more serious business, playing softball in costumes, cranking tunes and drinking beer.
The Whetstoners struck first in the top of the first when Liz Wigginton and Alex Mattes-Ritz singled. Lawson Yow scored Wigginton with a RBI single.
KBUT came right back in the bottom of the first inning with a small but potent two-out rally. Josh Egedy singled before the next two KBUT hitters popped out. Betty Sue Gurk put in a cameo performance to knock a base hit, and Shawn Harrington and Rosa Greeley combined for two base hits to drive in three runs and a 3-1 KBUT lead.
Whetstoner Lisa Sumner led off the second inning with a single looking to spark some more offense from her team, but when Rich Driscoll tapped a grounder and started running, his top hat fell off and he stopped to pick it up, allowing KBUT to turn a double play, quashing that opportunity.
KBUT pulled off another small but potent two-out rally making the most of their wood… bats. Richard “Buzzman” Kadzis sparked the rally wheeling his way to an infield single. Scott Stewart doubled to put two runners in scoring position and Kat Harrington drove them both home on a single to left center. Egedy snuck to first on a dropped infield fly and then Meredith McNamara and Will Mixon scored two more KBUT runs with base hits for a 7-1 lead.
The work of Megan Craver served as a brief reminder for her Whetstoner teammates that among all of the fun there was still a game. Craver tracked down not one, but two foul pops behind the plate in the bottom of the third and then stepped to the plate in the top of the fourth to drive in a run with a single. Brad Wigginton scored another Whetstoner run and Fat Mattes-Ritz finally found some pop in his gut to knock in one more Whetstoner run to pull them within four before the game started to disintegrate further into a costume party.
The two teams took a break for a fifth inning stretch to line up for a few keg stands, and when chaos ensued during infield fly, a decision was ultimately made when someone yelled, “F*** it, let’s do keg stands again. ”
Ben McLoughlin got KBUT back on track, albeit briefly, in the bottom of the sixth inning when he stroked a double and scored on a single from Heather Heinz. Kadzis pulled off another big hustle infield base hit and things were clicking for KBUT until Whetstoner first basewoman Barb Winter pulled down a line drive and stepped on first base for a double play, ending the inning.
With the chance at a comeback in the making for the Whetstoners, they opted instead to keep the game in perspective. And while they managed a couple base hits in the top of the seventh inning, including scoring a run off a sac-fly RBI by Chris Durante, the focus was more on other things and KBUT finished them off for the 8-4 win so both teams could truly focus on the task at hand—the two kegs and good times on another beautiful evening in a park in Crested Butte.