by Than Acuff
Pitas Meatsticks put an end to KBUT’s post season run stopping them dead in their tracks Tuesday night at Gothic Field to seal the 2017 title. It would be the third time in 10 days Drew Stichter and company would raise a trophy in triumph after winning the Ball Bash as the Tommyhawks, taking the Wednesday league title last week and now the Tuesday/Thursday league title.
KBUT was on a roll heading into the finals after scoring a total of 56 runs over two games last Thursday including a 35-19 drubbing over pre-playoff favorites the Brew Crew serving up a dose of revenge after the Brew Crew beat KBUT earlier in the post season.
And Tuesday night they looked like they would carry that momentum into the finals jumping out to a 5-0 lead in the first inning as Reed Betz led off with a double, Collin Vossen jacked a home run and a series of base hits complimented the effort.
Pitas Meatsticks looked to enforce their will early but their bark had little bite. Scott Sanders and Drew Stichter did what they do, crush home runs, but the base hits from the rest of the team didn’t follow and they scored just three runs and used up two of the allotted four home runs per game rule.
KBUT knocked in three more runs as Kat Harrington smacked a RBI single, Vossen walked to score another and Christen Lindeman tapped a RBI double. Granted, a perfect relay from the Pitas Meatsticks’ defense tossed out a runner at home and Sanders made a sliding grab in shallow center to rob a bloop base hit, but KBUT was groovin’, it was raining and the momentum felt like it was in KBUT’s favor.
They continued to hold Pitas Meatsticks back, actually holding them to just one hit in back-to-back innings but KBUT suffered an even worse fate going hitless those same two innings.
By then enough was enough for the Meatsticks. Much like the world appeared to not take North Korea seriously lo’ this past 10 years, the same could be said of Pita’s attitude toward KBUT. But once North Korea proved nuclear worthy and a legitimate threat, much like KBUT, things turned a bit more serious.
As a result, Pitas Meatsticks not only threatened, but did actually respond with some “fire and fury” over the next two innings to somewhat denuclearize KBUT. Which is okay when you’re talking about softball. Globally? Maybe not so much.
(Yes, denuclearize is a word. I heard our republican U.S. Senator Cory Gardner say it and thought it was a Bushism for sure, but it turns out I was wrong.)
At any rate, the fire and fury came in the form of back-to-back singles and then a bases-clearing three-run blast from Rhett Yarbrough. Two more base hits put two more ducks on the pond for Sanders and he was given the brightest of green lights to go yard. Instead, rather than use Pita’s last allowed home run, Sanders went with brains over brawn and opted to drive a base hit to load the bases. Heather Duryea (now with 11 softball titles to her name) followed with a RBI single and Stichter followed Sanders’ lead walking rather than swinging at junk to score two more runs and keep the bases loaded for Roland Mason. Then, for the third time in a row, a Pitas Meatsticks hitter who could easily ding one over the fence, opted otherwise and instead knocked a base hit as well. It just so happened that the base hit turned into a “little league” grand slam for Mason, much like many of the home runs he probably hit as a little leaguer growing up in the Gunnison Valley and resulting in playing Division I baseball for CSU, putting Pitas up 12-8.
Meanwhile, KBUT’s bats remained fairly silent and Pitas Meatsticks tacked on four more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. A couple of base hits, including a RBI single from Bryan Densmore, set up Sanders once again and this time he did what he does, flaring a three-run home run over the right field fence for a 16-8 Pitas lead.
KBUT was down, but not out, and they returned to their hitting ways for one last hurrah. Melissa Story singled and scored off a triple from John Hopper. Heather Heinz pushed Hopper home with a single and Shawn Harrington chased Heinz home like a ghost chasing Pac Man for a two-run “little league” home run just barely avoiding a 9-2 double play at home plate (thanks Chad).
Pitas Meatsticks added two more runs to their lead in the bottom of the sixth but some big D from Ed D (Dujardin to be specific), including a full extension leaping grab to rob Yarbrough of an extra base hit to right, kept Pitas well within striking distance heading into the top of the seventh inning.
KBUT tried to bring the heat when it mattered most as both Betz and Vossen homered but they were solo shots and not enough to erase the deficit as Pitas Meatsticks’ defense sealed the 19-15 win and the 2017 title.