Dig their energy
by Than Acuff
Tried and true, the Hares returned for another season of local softball and appear to have added even more youth to their roster, though the original core of the team keeps the Hares rolling.
Meanwhile, local dispensary Backcountry Cannabis Company (BCC) has decided to try their hand at local team sports, jumping into the Crested Butte league for the first time this season and, while a little disorganized, they have some players who have some experience and could prove to be a worthy opponent as the season continues.
As for now though, the Hares dispensed with BCC on Thursday evening at Pitsker field as the Hares’ mix of smart play and precision hitting proved too much for the league rookies.
The Hares wasted no time getting going, rattling off three runs in the top of the first. Shoeless Lucas McManess led off the early surge with a single, followed by base hits from Frank Pavkov, a man partially responsible for saving the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, and Geoff Duncan loading the bases for Tom Stenerson. Stenerson delivered with a RBI single and Kent Fulton then stepped to the plate. Fulton is an Oregon State alum and his former team is currently in the mix for the college World Series. Fulton fed off that energy, smacking a RBI single for a 3-0 Hares lead.
BCC got their feet under them by the bottom of the second inning to score a couple of runs. Deft fielding by Hares pitcher Sam Lumb denied the BCC lead-off hitter a base hit but hits from Tom Frampton and Nicole Akselrad soon led to a couple of runs.
Fulton came through again with a RBI base hit in the top of the third inning and just as it appeared the Hares were set to blow the game open with two runners on base and no outs, in stepped BCC’s Jolene Dreith. Dreith had been hiding over in the hot corner of third base for the first few innings of the game but was called into action immediately and rose to the challenge. Lumb grounded to third and Dreith scooped and tapped third for the force. Dreith did it again to the next hitter and then once more, recording all three outs in a row to stop the Hares in their tracks.
Not only that, but Dreith then stepped to the plate to lead off BCC in the bottom of the third and tapped a single to continue the one-woman highlight reel. Additional base hits from Shane McDermott and Brooke Wagner loaded the bases and Doug Conant came through with a two-RBI single to tie the game 4-4.
Frampton looked to keep things going with a grounder and for some reason, what seemed a rather straightforward play soon turned into complete chaos on the base path among the BCC runners. Now, I’m not going to say the confusion had anything to do with the team’s sponsor being a weed shop but the confusion may have had something to do with the team’s sponsor being a weed shop.
Aggressive base running by the Hares and RBI hits from Lumb and Don Bunnell led to four more runs for the Hares but BCC gave it one last try to keep the game close in the bottom of the fifth inning. A leadoff single from Reggie Park led to a run as Park got on his horse and hustled home to score on a base hit by John Morris. Continued reckless abandon led to another BCC run but the energy soon tapered off for BCC and the Hares then erupted in the top of the sixth inning to blow the game wide open.
A series of hits loaded the bases for Pavkov, who crushed a two-RBI double to the gap in left center. Duncan took it a step further as he connected for a two-RBI triple, and core Hare players Lumb, Fulton and Stenerson all combined for additional base hit RBIs. Jackson Sisson, Dave Clement and Joseph Draper followed with more fireworks to score more runs and before it got real ugly, a circus catch by Carl “Branch” Rickey and a relay throw by Rickey to pick off a Hare stretching for home ended the BCC nightmare on a high note.
BCC did pull off a few more hits and runs ,which bodes well for the new team as they proceed through the season proving that while seemingly down and out of a game, they still got spirit. Park and Wagner tapped a couple of base hits and scored off additional hits from Jason Briggs and Regina Meckes, but the game was well out of reach and the Hares tacked on one final run for the 20-11 win.