“I’ll have what I’m having”
by Than Acuff
Thursday night the Hares handed the Winehouse Monkeys a pounding, spraying Pitsker field with hits and then more hits, racking up an unprecedented 35 runs. While there wasn’t a single home run that evening, the score reminded me of the days when teams were allowed to use double-walled bats at Pitsker, there was no home run limit and the Hills Brothers used to rack up close to 40 runs during some of their wins.
Suffice it to say, for a team to rack up so many runs swinging single-walled bats on Pitsker in the modern era is unprecedented.
Then again, the season the Winehouse Monkeys is having is unprecedented. Over the past 10 or so years, they’ve gone from league rookies to league title contenders to a team that is wallowing at the bottom of the standings with just two wins so far this season.
But the Hares’ success wasn’t entirely the result of the Monkeys’ struggles. Fact is, when a team is in the zone, they’re in the zone and the Hares were unconscious at the plate, racking up more than 50 base hits throughout the evening.
They came out swinging and never stopped, scoring three runs in the top of the first on five base hits. The Monkeys managed to push one run across as hits from Bart and Shirley Consedine set up Pete Basile for a sac fly RBI.
The Hares then primed the offensive pump in the top of the second inning. After a heads-up defensive effort from Consedine, the Hares hitters put together a quick two-out rally. Dave Clement started it with a walk, Paul Greenberg singled to load the bases and Lucas McManus scored a run with a base hit. Frank Pavkov, with family in attendance, crushed a three-RBI double, Joe Draper followed with a RBI single and before things got out of hand, John Polzin pulled down a line drive at third base proving that he’s still got what it takes to hold down the hot corner.
Down 8-1 early on in the game, the Monkeys did show some signs of life, knocking in two runs in the bottom of the second inning. Michael Ryan singled down the left field line, an infield big hustle single from Justine Sanchez loaded the bases and Chris Katy drove two Monkeys home with a double.
The Hares then officially opened the game up with an eight-run inning. Kent Fulton started it off with a RBI single. Sam Lumb stretched a single into a RBI double. Brian Brown and Don Bunnell combined for two base hits and two more runs and Monkey manager/player Tony Wildman was standing on the mound wondering aloud, “What are we? The Bad News Monkeys?”
Speaking of which, I revisited the Bad News Bears movie (original 1976 version) a couple of years ago and it reminded me how different things were back then with coach Buttermaker (Walter Matthau) slamming beers and smoking Swisher Sweets on the bench; their top player (all of 14 years old) smoking cigarettes; and one line in particular from another player complete with racial slurs. Though, the movie did portray the lead girl (Tatum O’Neal) in a powerful role, so it had its checks and balances, I guess. In addition, it was before the PG-13 movement and was one of the few PG movies with an F-bomb. Point being, if you’re a player and you haven’t seen the movie, see the movie. It’s way better than the remake with Billy Bob Thorton. In fact, see Bad News Bears in Breaking Training too. It’s not quite as good but a worthy sequel.
The bad news continued for the Monkeys as the Hares proved automatic at the plate, slapping base hits all over the place and scoring more runs. Basile provided a respite from the pounding as he scooped a ground ball, tagged a runner and tapped second base for a solo double play, but additional RBI hits from Draper and Frank Stichter had the Hares up 16-3 with a total of 22 hits just three innings into the game.
The Monkey malaise continued through the fourth inning as the pitching of Lumb handcuffed the Monkey hitters while the Hares kept on scoring. Brown and Bunnell banged out a couple RBIs with base hits and Pavkov continued to provide the most potent pop at the plate with another three RBI base hits, bringing his family to their feet as they cheered on “Poppa” and the Hares were on top 22-3. Polzin provided the only upside during the pummeling as he flagged down another line drive in the hot corner.
The Monkeys finally stopped flinging poo and finding their swing in the bottom of the fourth inning to produce a handful of runs. Polzin and Carolyn Whitlow started it off with back-to-back singles, Ryan dinked a single to load the bases and Taylor Hartsfield, Wildman and Sanchez followed through to push three runs home. The Monkey effort gave insight into the reality of the situation in that, if the Monkeys had just scored more runs like that earlier and not let the Hares score so many runs earlier, we would have had a game.
But, alas, such was not the case and the Hares’ batting clinic continued. The effort of Shirley and Polzin defensively held the Hares at bay through the fifth inning but they returned to their scoring ways in the sixth inning to rattle off 14 more base hits, generating 11 more runs to finish off the 35-6 Monkey beat-down.