“I don’t give a sh** what happens, let’s just have fun”
by Than Acuff
Rent-A-Gades manager Brendan Waldron threw down the above line to his team prior to their first game at the abridged Wednesday league playoffs at Gothic Field on Wednesday, August 19. The title was on the line all night long as the Rent-A-Gades and KBUT squared off in the semifinals game with the winner advancing to face Pitas OG’s in the finals that same evening.
The team took Waldron’s words to heart as they carried a calm focus through the first game to take down KBUT 15-5, earning a shot at the title.
But, as mentioned before, Pitas OG’s stood between them and a title and Pitas had their own goal in mind: winning their fourth town league title in a row. It would be an unprecedented mark in the history of local softball, or at least as long as I can recall.
It’s truly a toss-up as to whether or not playing back-to-back is a good thing. On the one side, there’s the benefit of playing the first game and carrying the momentum into the second game while your opponent is just sitting there itching to play and doing whatever it takes to remain focused and warmed up.
Then, there’s the other side, where fatigue can set in during the first game and then take hold in the second game, leaving a team depleted against a fresher squad.
But it’s softball so I can’t imagine fatigue setting in. Intoxication, maybe, but fatigue? I doubt that.
Regardless, it really just comes down to basics. Score runs, play defense and you win. Don’t and you don’t. And, in the end, Pita’s OG’s did that and then some to win their fourth title in a row 23-10.
The Rent-A-Gades did have some energy as they returned to the field following their opening win to score three runs in the top of the first on a series of base hits from the likes of Jeff Snyder, Crystal Staggs and Jake Ellis.
But before the Rent-A-Gades could catch their breath, Pitas OG’s struck back as Dakota Wiggins led off with a triple off the fence and scored off a sac fly RBI from Mallory Zimmerman. Ben Hayes followed with a double and Connor Coughlin pushed him home with a single.
Pitas’ defense then held the Rent-A-Gades to one base hit and returned to the plate to rattle off four more runs despite the defensive effort of Renta left fielder Kody Hawkins. Hawkins chased down two line drives to hold Pitas’ runners on base but eventually they broke through when Ben Hayes connected for a three-RBI triple for a 6-3 Pitas lead.
Once again the Rent-A-Gades’ bats remained silent and in the bottom of the third inning, Pitas reminded everyone why they have so many titles.
Garrett McBride doubled and then scored when Frank Magri cracked a triple to deep left center. Let me repeat that, Magri tripled. Lisa Vuckovitch and Melissa Geringer each drove in runs with base hits and then Hayes cleared the bags with a grand slam to put Pitas up 14-3 heading into the fourth inning.
The Rent-A-Gades held on for the next two innings, giving up just two runs total and knocking in a couple of their own, but then Pitas proceeded to punish them in the bottom of the fifth inning, knocking eight base hits to score seven more runs. Rayna Clark, who proved deft on defense in left field, turned it up on offense to knock a RBI double. Magri and Drew Grigsby each connected for sac fly RBIs so things weren’t looking too bad for the Rent-A-Gades with two outs on Pitas. But Pitas tacked on four more runs as Geringer knocked a two-RBI single and Wiggins connected for a two-run home run for a 22-4 Pitas lead.
Staggs did chase down a foul pop behind the plate for the Rent-A-Gades and Ryan McCudden did connect for his own grand slam late in the game but the damage was done as Pitas cruised through the final two innings for the 23-10 win and the Wednesday league title.