Where does time go?
by Than Acuff
More than one person asked, “Why are you here?”
It was Wednesday night at Gothic Field and I was there to cover the game between Pita’s OG and the Staff Infections. They asked because the last time those two teams met, Pita’s lit Staff Infections up for 30 runs on its way to a 30-6 win.
I was there for two reasons. First, my goal every season is to make sure I cover every team at some point. Two, I was there to witness the biggest upset of the year.
To which one player again asked, “No, seriously, why are you here?”
In the end I almost reached both goals as the Staff Infections, a team with just one win all season, came close to knocking off the undefeated defending champions, falling just four runs shy.
It didn’t start out that way. In fact, the way it started out had me asking, “Why am I here?” as Pita’s opened the game with 10 runs in the top of the first inning. At which point I shifted my perspective from the possibility of witnessing a great upset to perhaps capturing the first 50-run game. Not since the Hills Brothers heyday has a team flirted with 50 runs and this would be a sight to see.
In addition, it offered an existential moment that brought my whole reason for existence into question.
You know the philosophical question: If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?
I applied that to myself, as I often apply ’most everything.
Follow me here…
If a softball game happens, and I’m not there to cover it, did it happen?
Which then led me to, “Even if I do cover it, does anyone care?”
Which then led me to, “If no one cares, why am I doing what I am doing?”
Which then led me to, “Why am I here?”
Which then led me to, “Where else would I be?”
Which then led me to, ”What does it mean to be?”
I’ll spare you the Shakespeare and get on to the ultimate question: “Where does time go?”
It flies when you’re having fun. It stands still. It drags on (like now). It’s wasted (again, like now). It runs out. It’s deducted for good behavior. It’s sensitive. “Time has come today.” It slips. It’s all of those things and more, but where does it go?
I know where the last 15 minutes went, into this story, and no, you can’t get it back.
My shallow thoughts were soon interrupted as Pita’s wasted no time (see?) getting to work in the top of the first inning, scoring 10 runs on 10 base hits, including a lead-off solo home run from Michael Villanueva. Which, apparently, he was in trouble for because that’s a waste of a home run with a four-home-run limit per game.
Not only did Villanueva open with a dinger, he capped the onslaught with a two-RBI double to put Pita’s up 10-0, leaving the umpires no choice but to enforce the 10-run rule.
Okay, so maybe there won’t be an upset but at least it was raining.
Staff Infections took the initial outburst in stride and responded with a two-out rally in the bottom of the first. Will Morgan and Kim Aronson (who was born “8-19-a long time ago”) each tapped base hits, John “Montana” Mahoney crushed a RBI single to right center and Gerry Heal jacked a three-run home run over the right field fence before a ground-out stopped the Infection in its tracks.
While Drew Stichter held back from blasting one over the fence in his first at-bat, he decided to make the most of his second trip to the plate. With Heather Duryea on first, Stichter crushed a two-run shot off the roof of town hall to keep Pita’s out in front 12-4 and teetering on worse. But the Pita’s players started getting greedy with three pop-outs in a row and the Infections started spreading again. Lynelle Stanford singled and reached third on a double from Ian Baird.
Our very own town manager Dara MacDonald drove another run home with an error-assisted single, our very own town community development director Michael Yerman smacked a RBI double to deep left and when Morgan drove a two-RBI double off the netting in left we were back to seeing an upset in the making as the Infections were within four runs of Pita’s.
Then again, we were only two innings into the game and Pita’s would be making their way through the bottom of the batting order and back to the top of the order in their next at-bat.
As a result, the Infections’ upset bid started slippin’, slippin’ slippin’ into the future as Pita’s unloaded for seven more runs in the top of the third inning. The bottom of the order came through, producing one run off three hits and then the top of the order took it from there. Villanueva doubled, scoring two Pita’s runs, Duryea singled, Stichter drove a two-RBI double to right, Jess Johnson caught the outfield in and blasted a RBI double to the fence in left and Rhett Yarbrough tripled for one more Pita’s run and a 19-8 Pita’s lead.
Mahoney would reach Broadway the hard way with a solo inside the park home run and Heal hit his second dinger of the day but when Pita’s turned a near flawless 4-6-3 double play, we were back to the blow-out.
Roland Mason and Cody Sexe stepped into the game for Pita’s to join the Bruise Brothers routine as Mason jacked a solo shot and Sexe golfed a three-run home run. A couple more base-hit RBIs had Pita’s on top 27-12 heading into the bottom of the fifth, with the game’s time limit running out.
Montana Mahoney then took all attention away from the Bruise Brothers, proving there’s more to Montana than big skies—they all got big bats, too. Mahoney led off the bottom of the fifth inning for the Infections with a towering solo shot. Heal, Kyle Thomas and Kayce Barnett followed with a series of hits to load the bases. Tony Valdez scored two with a double, Baird followed suit with a two-RBI double and when Jessica Thomas drove a RBI single, the Pita’s lead was back down to single digits and the Infections were back on the upset track.
Morgan pushed two more runners around with a double and Montana Mahoney cleared the bases with a three-run home run that landed in the parking lot behind Coldwell Banker to pull the Infections to within four of Pitas.
But that was all she wrote and that’s all I’m going to write as Pita’s finally turned the last out to seal the 27-23 win.
Wait, why am I here?