Sunday, August 25, 2019

Elevate holds off Kochevar’s to remain in top spot

Go back to where you came from

by Than Acuff

Finally, no one can say “shoulda been there” to me because I was there. After covering a string of not so good games, I caught a great game Tuesday night between Kochevar’s and Elevate, complete with several lead changes, a couple of crushing home runs, some errors, some great defense and some tempers.

But before I get into it, the local softball extended family lost one of its alums. Rob, Big Rob, Raw Bacon, Aiken passed away this week. Rob was a member of the Airheads, the infamous Airheads, a team that holds a spot in local softball lore for their outlandish attitude backed by some pretty damn good play and even a title or two. You hated them, you loved them but either way, Big Rob always brought the big love for friends, teammates and opponents. So let’s pause for a moment of silence…

As the regular season wraps up with the playoffs starting in just one week, intensity builds and, sometimes, tempers flare. Nothing personal, really, and it’s probably something someone brought with them from work to the field.

One way to handle these tense situations is to reply—and by reply I mean tweet—with a racially insensitive—and by racially insensitive I mean racist—comment.

But that would be crazy—even my 10-year-old knows that’s wrong.

Or… you could try Forest Bathing. Apparently, Forest Bathing originated in Japan and is making a comeback.

Let your body be your guide. Listen to where it wants to take you. Follow your nose. And take your time. It doesn’t matter if you don’t get anywhere. You are not going anywhere. You are savoring the sounds, smells and sights of nature and letting the forest in.

The benefits of Forest Bathing include but are not limited to creating kung fu fighting killer cells, decreased risk of heart attack, more energy and better sleep and mood-boosting effects.

If you’re not careful when Forest Bathing though, you might end up stepping in a pile of Shinrin-yoku.

Until then, let’s get to some field bathing, or softball, and back to the best game I’ve seen this season and maybe in a while.

Elevate remains at the top of the standings and Tuesday night they were faced with quite a test as they had a doubleheader at Tommy V Field facing the Hares in the first game and then taking on Kochevar’s in the late game. Kochevar’s has struggled the past couple of weeks, losing their last four games to fall into fourth place but there’s no shortage of talent on the team and while they may be struggling now, there’s a good chance we may see them in the finals, or at least in the running.

Still, they have to shake their funk and they looked to do that against Elevate.

Elevate carried their momentum from their win over the Hares into the game against Kochevar’s to open with three quick runs as CJ Hoover, Spencer Bates and Jared Martin all connected for base hit RBIs.

Former Airhead Rob Houston put Kochevar’s on the board with a RBI double but a running miscue and heads-up play by the Elevate defense led to a double play to stop Kochevar’s in their tracks.

Base hits from Yan Linero and Kelly Jones set up Hoover and Allen for two more RBI base hits and a 5-1 lead as the Kochevar’s play remained erratic.

Ian Baird looked to spark some energy when he led off with a triple and scored off a sacrifice hit from Rachel Brodsky but their next two batters popped out.

Bates then stepped up to crush a solo oppo dinger for a 6-2 Elevate lead but the Kochevar’s defense then helped turned their game around. First, Krystal Ramsey flagged down a hot grounder in the hot corner to get the force at second and then Kochevar’s pitcher Adam Westlake snagged a line drive and tossed to first for the double play, reviving the slumping squad.

Their defense coupled with a towering solo oppo home run from John “Big Sky” Mahoney had Kochevar’s back on track until they got derailed again by some tip-top Elevate effort in the field, leaving Kochevar’s still short of their potential.

Elevate continued to tack on a run here and a run there through the top of the fifth inning to build a 9-4 lead before Kochevar’s finally found their game.

Tyler Williams, another Airhead alum (Rob would be so proud), led off with a double and scored on a single by Ramsey. Westlake cracked a two-RBI double, Kari Roberts singled to load the bases and Houston drove two more runs in with a double to give Kochevar’s their first lead of the game.

The Elevate women then led the way at the plate in the top of the sixth inning as Rebecca Pavlik scored two with a sacrifice hit and Mikaela Johnson tacked on another run with a single up the middle to put Elevate back on top 12-10.

Brodsky and Williams proceeded to spark another Kochevar’s surge as they connected for base hits and Mahoney did the honors as he destroyed the ball sending it over the right field fence for a three-run home run. Korrie Roberts drove a two-RBI single through to follow Mahoney’s mighty swing and Kochevar’s was back on top 15-12 heading into the seventh inning.

But Elevate is on top of the standings for good reason and they came right back to score five runs and retake the lead. Libero led off with a triple to the gap in center and scored off a double by Allen. Kochevar’s recorded the second out of the inning and Elevate was staring at a loss down two with two outs until Hoover tripled to score a run, Pavlik walked and Bates blasted his own three-run shot over right for a 17-15 Elevate lead.

But wait, there’s more.

Houston led off for Kochevar’s in the bottom of the seventh with a double and scored on a single from Heather Culley. Down one, with a runner on and no outs, Kochevar’s was primed to finish it off, only they didn’t. A heads-up play from Hoover and Martin caught a runner stretching for third base on a bloop base hit to get the first out. Elevate catcher Ashley Jackson III then corralled a foul ball for the second out and Jones chased down a high fly ball to deep left field from Williams to make the grab at the warning track and seal the 17-16 Elevate win.

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