Sunday, August 25, 2019

Defense sets tone for Psycho Rocks win

That and errors…

by Than Acuff

We’re getting deep into the softball post-season now where every run, every base-running decision, every bobbled routine play and solid defense makes all the difference in the world. Even more so in the loser’s bracket and that came brutally true for Third Eye as they fell to Psycho Rocks 8-4 at Gothic Field Tuesday night.

That’s right, not Pitsker, but Gothic Field. Because that’s a Pitsker score. Not only that, Psycho Rocks and Third Eye were second and third in the league for runs scored so they both got some offense.

Which reminds me of a part of the Houston Oilers fight song:

“Houston Oilers, Number One.

“We’ve got the offense, we’ve got the defense,

“We give the other team no hope.

“‘Cause we’re the Houston Oilers, Houston Oilers,

“You know we’re gonna hold the rope.”

Man I miss Earl Campbell, Billy “White Shoes” Johnson, Dan Pastorini and Bum Phillips. Okay, close Wikipedia rabbit hole on the Houston Oilers and let’s get back to softball.

Look—squirrel!

As I was saying, according to the stats from the regular season, Psycho Rocks averaged 20 runs per game and Third Eye averaged 16, so offense was to be the name of the game Tuesday night, only it wasn’t. Instead it came down to great defense and a handful of miscues that decided the game.

Third Eye struck first in the top of the first when Lis Collins caught the Psycho outfield playing in with a RBI double to deep left and Slater Weil followed with a double to score Collins.

Psycho then pulled off a nice little two-out rally. After solid defense from Third Eye turned the force out at second base twice in a row, a RBI hit from Grace Owen, a two-RBI double from Rosa Greeley and an error-assisted RBI triple from Ben Hayes had Psycho up 5-2.

Then came the miscues for Third Eye, coupled with great defense by Psycho. Third Eye was sitting pretty with a runner on second and one out when a grounder to the Psycho shortstop turned into an inning-ending 6-5-3 double play. Mind you, there wasn’t a force to be had but the runner on second tried for third and Eli Fiddler threw to third for the tag-out.

Meanwhile, the hitter tried to stretch for two and was subsequently tagged out at second. I’m all for aggressive base running early in the game but David St. Hubbins is right: “It’s such a fine line between clever and stupid.”

Still, it was early in the game and given Third Eye’s propensity for scoring, that miscue could have proved negligible (only took three tries to spell that correctly). Only it didn’t prove to be negligible. Instead it proved to be… progligible?

Wait a minute. Back to the internet!

What’s the opposite of negligible?

Apparently there are 287 antonyms for negligible and progligible isn’t one of them, until now. You’re welcome, readers.

Look—squirrel!

So, there’s that and then there’s this next thing. So running errors led to zero runs for Third Eye and Psycho tacked on two more runs as Kyle “Pete” Townsend and Mallory Zimmerman led off with base hits and scored off base hits from Fiddler and Owen.

Third Eye looked to turn the corner offensively when Sam Reaman and Rachel Miller each singled and Ben Reaman drove a run in with a double off the fence in right but Psycho turned the next two outs to stop them in their tracks.

Then a fumble in the outfield allowed Greeley to turn a routine single into a double and then score off a single from Hayes for an 8-3 lead.

At this point one, and by one I mean me, could argue that base running and fielding miscues had now led to four of the eight Psycho runs but it was still just the third inning.

One problem, though. The Psycho defense proceeded to turn a 1-6-3 double play in the top of the fourth inning and Townsend chased down a pop fly in shallow left and then turned and fired to second for another double play in the top of the fifth inning.

The Third Eye defense retired the side in the bottom of the fifth setting the stage for their comeback but the Psycho defense had more highlights to share. Jack Collins sent a high fly ball into shallow left destined to fall for a double until Fiddler made a sliding over-the-shoulder grab to deny Collins, ostensibly sealing the win.

Ostensibly then soon turned tensibly as the Third Eye bats never got going and Psycho finished them off 8-4, sending Third Eye packing for the season and keeping Psycho’s hopes at a title run still alive. They just need to get past Elevate to get there first.

Final tally? Three big words used, ostensibly, negligible and propensity and two words made up, progligible and stensibly. Some might say this was an atrocity. I would argue that it was a trocity.

Look—squirrel!

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