Tuesday, August 4, 2020

2020 softball season opens

No benches, no lines, no worries. Play ball!

by Than Acuff

In the immortal words of Aine Falter, “Hells yeah.”

It’s softball season and just in time. I came so close to getting roped into the Facebook wars to feed my typing habit and make a Covid-compulsive purchase of a German truck for sale in Delta.

Did you know Governor Polis called people who don’t wear masks “selfish bastards”?

I’m not saying I disagree, but, wow.

Typically, in uncertain times such as these, citizens look to their leaders to guide the country accordingly. They’re a government “of the People, by the People, and for the People” and would only act in a manner that is best for the people. Sure, it only took the president 13 weeks to get a mask on but I’m sure he had his reasons.

No one tells the president what to do anyway, except Putin.

“Donald, my comrade, put mask on, calm things down. We then get back to what matters.”

“Yes master… Can I come over for a play date and ride a horse without a shirt on?”

“Nyet.”

“C’mon, please? I will bring my wife.”

“Nyet, you too fat, small hands can’t hold reins. Just send wife, and maybe daughter. Give me their number, I call myself and I have pictures of my Russian oligarchy I share with them.”

“Ok, fine, but you’re hacked into our system right? I mean I’m pretty sure I still got this presidency thing in 2020 wrapped up but I just want to make sure. Apparently people are growing weary of my utter incompetence and overt racism. Hey, cool if I bomb someone? You know, a little fire and brimstone, Make America Great, USA and all of that?”

“Nyet, Send wife, daughter and wear mask. We talk after election. Also, you give me Biden’s number, he owes me too.”

“Fine.”

Trump leans forward and opens bathroom door without getting up.

“Hey guys, we’re wearing masks now. Get ‘em on, all of you. We got these really great masks, they’re like 14 times better than the old masks. We’re calling them the super duper masks, and we’re gonna wear them. Anyone seen the remote? Hannity is on. And get me another phone, I dropped mine in the toilet again. I got to make a call to get another friend who overtly lied and conspired to take down the foundation of our democracy exonerated. I’m King in here.”

And while those two plot the further demise of America and we enter the second wave of “uncertain times,” at least we got ourselves some softball, for the time being, and the 2020 season opened Tuesday, July 14. Better late than never, better something than nothing.

No benches, no lines, no worries. Play ball!

Elevate and the Whetstoners had the privilege of opening the season at Gothic field and it looked like player/manager CJ Hoover used the delay in the start of the season to make a couple of key acquisitions as they continue their quest to win a title. And, as God as my witness, I will cover local softball until they do.

The Whetstoners, on the other hand, remain tried and true to their roster and I can’t think of a more fitting squad to help me return to some sense of normalcy.

Yet, there was still something missing. I’d say it was attitude. Everyone was pleasantly happy to be back at it though, and when one player wondered amidst all of the Covid protocols in place, “What are we allowed to do?”

The response was simple.

“Hit the ball, run around the bases and be happy about it.”

So that’s what the two teams did with Elevate scoring the first run of the season in the bottom of the first inning as Sam Reaman tripled to the gap in right center and then scored on a single by Hoover.

The Whetstoners responded soon after in the top of the second with a nice little six-run outburst kicked off by a lead off single from Meghan Dougherty. Heather Culley followed with another single and Pete Basile pushed Dougherty home with a double to right. Jordan Willoford drove two more runs in with a single and Michele Fitzgerald tacked on another Whetstoner run with a single before Alex Mattes-Ritz cleared the bags with a two-run shot for a 6-1 Whetstoners lead.

Elevate then spent the next two innings climbing back into the game despite some outstanding defensive work by Culley in the outfield for the Whetstoners.

Jared Martin and Christian Allen combined hits to score Elevate runs in the bottom of the second and then Reaman singled and scored when Hoover cracked a home run on a rope over the right field fence to pull within one.

Reaman and Hoover did nearly the exact same thing in the bottom of the fifth inning to tie the game 6-6 with official game time running out.

The umpires and teams agreed to play one more inning to try and break the tie but the Whetstoners caught fire to drive in some runs and with game time up and the Elevate not able to get their chance at bat, the game reverted back to a 6-6 tie and, remarkably, everyone was civil about it.

If only that same civility could be found in our leaders.

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