Star Spangled Banner, grills, tunes and first pitch
by Than Acuff
It was another incredible display of softball stoke sparked by Drew Stichter that included another riveting performance of the Star Spangled Banner by Alec Lindenman and a first pitch tossed out by current Flaushinck royalty King Dave McGuire and Queen Krista Hildebrandt. Not to mention an incredible array of grillables cooked up by Will Mixon and drinkables provided by everyone, including some schnapps-infused coffee drink called Ullr. Last year White Clam was the drink of choice. Sorry, I was just corrected by one of my co-workers, it’s called White Claw and, apparently it’s awesome. This year it’s Ullr.
At any rate, alcohol and caffeine? Yessir! If I were a drinking man I’d be slamming that noise and eventually be impossible to shut up at the bar. Kind of like that vodka Red Bull craze that swept the town causing friends to fight, partners to cheat and the drink eventually earning the name Instant A**hole.
According to another co-worker people are still drinking those, “too much actually.”
At any rate, fueled by good vibes and good times, Pitas Meatsticks and the Dingers squared off at Pitsker Field in the official season opener and after four innings of back and forth softball, Pitas Meatsticks blew the game wide open for the 20-8 win.
The Dingers scored the first run of the 2019 season in the top of the first but the Meatsticks came back with three runs in the bottom of the first led off by a stand up triple by Michael Villanueva and followed by RBI base hits from Heather Duryea, Callie Aspinwall and Bryan Densmore.
The evening also included the triumphant return of Frank Magri to softball after an eight-year hiatus. He showed that he’s still got it as he roped a single off the first pitch he saw, which he never does, but as the Meatsticks looked to capitalize on that, the Dingers defense pulled off a double play to stop the Meatsticks in their tracks.
Solid defense then led to some offense for the Dingers as they took a 4-3 lead on singles from Kye Graham and Ashley Dennis and RBI hits from Jason Chamberlin, Autumn Carpenter (“who doesn’t really play for the Dingers”) and Ryan Kay.
The tit-for-tat scoring by both teams continued through the next couple of innings before the Meatsticks turned metasticks.
Cody Sexe doubled off of the fence and scored. Maddie Lechter and Villanueva each popped base hits and then scored off a double from Duryea and Scott “new dad” Sanders capped the quick assault with a RBI triple to the gap in left center for a 9-5 Meatsticks lead.
The Dingers showed some life still left in their bats as Dennis, Chamberlin, carpenter and Kay all connected for hits to score two runs but the Meatsticks stepped on the throttle, and the throat, in the bottom of the fifth inning to score seven more runs.
They tacked on three more in the bottom of the sixth inning while the Dingers answered back with just one run as the Meatsticks put the starting touches on what could be another title.
More importantly though, why didn’t the town negotiate for a skybox overlooking Pitsker Field to be included in the new Center for the Arts building?