by Than Acuff
The Wednesday town softball league wrapped up last week and is now heading into the post-season. While Pitas OG’s sits at the top of the standings, the Staff Infections finished up one game back in second place and three teams finished with a 4-3 record. All five of those teams have a shot at the title, but the proof will be in the pudding.
Last Wednesday, two teams that could still maybe, just might, sorta possibly have a chance at a title as well, closed out their regular season. The Irwin Tuckers, who had just one win heading into their final game of the year, and the Rastas, who were in the midst of a horrid three-game slide, faced off at Pitsker Field and after six and a half innings of solid play, Irwin emerged with a 13-10 win.
Despite their recent struggles, the Rastas were the pre-game favorites, as they have the means to pull off a win and Irwin, according to statistics, has the means to give up a lot of runs.
Jordon Williford hoped to spark the Rastas back to their winning ways as he opened the game turning a double into a lead-off triple and scored on a single from Johnny Green.
Then something happened. Yes, Irwin has given up more runs than any other team in the league but they proceeded to turn a 1-6-3 double play on the next ground ball and it felt as if this Irwin team, a team that had lost all but one of their games so far this season, may have a trick or two up their sleeve.
And boy did they, as they proceeded to score the next 10 runs over the next three innings.
Tim Mahan led off the bottom of the second inning with a single turned error-assisted triple and scored on a base hit by Amelie Barry. Jacinda Lemons then singled and Phil Dujardin drove her home with a single. The bases were then loaded with one out and Kyle Pendleton stepping to the plate.
But the Rastas had a little magic of their own as Arliss Merrell flagged down a line drive by Pendleton and tapped first base to stop the Tuckers in their tracks.
Both teams then traded off additional defensive highlights in the second inning, including a circus catch by Rasta second basewoman Anne Moore, before Irwin eventually caught fire.
Mahan started it all off again with a double. CJ Hoover tripled down the left field line to score Mahan, a sac fly RBI from Dujardin scored another Irwin run and RBI hits from Pendleton and Tiffan Wannamaker had Irwin up 6-1. Sonny Burgess crushed a two RBI triple to deep right field, Jeff Hurley and Erin Dalton singled to load the bases and Mahan closed it out with a RBI single and a 10-1 Irwin lead.
Jesse Smith and Kirstin Gallien pushed three Rasta runs home with base hits in the top of the fourth inning but Irwin came right back to tack on three more runs, including a hit by Tom Tammy Barry as she pushed the hair from his/her face just enough to knock a RBI double down the third base line.
The Rastas finally woke up in the top of the fifth inning to mount some late-game heroics. Jamie Clarkson, Lucas McMullen and Joey Reed all connected for base hit RBIs and their defense, led by a huge snag by Pat Byers at first base, had the Rastas down just 13-9 heading into the sixth inning.
Irwin regrouped defensively, though, to prevent any sort of Rasta uprising as Elliot Manning reached up to snag a line drive, a perfectly executed relay nailed a Rasta stretching for home and a line drive off Lemons’ glove fell to Manning and he touched second base for the third and final out to seal the 13-10 Irwin win.