7th one for the franchise
by Than Acuff
Stick a fork in it, it’s done. The 2019 softball season wrapped up last Wednesday, August 21 with the Wednesday league championship and Pitas tacked on another title to their franchise history as they took down KBUT in back-to-back games.
KBUT was on a miracle run in the post-season, having entered the playoffs the fifth seed and then rattling off three wins in row, including a win over the OGs, to reach the finals. Momentum is everything in the playoffs and KBUT definitely had momentum.
But, and this is a big but, Pitas are seasoned veterans of the playoffs and despite their trip through the loser’s bracket, they seemed no worse for wear when they took the field Wednesday evening.
Game one played out in horrific fashion for KBUT as Pitas made sure they proved why they were the number one seed and how they have been such a successful franchise all of these years.
While KBUT stumbled through the first game, with the exception of some defensive highlights, Pitas picked the field apart with base hits, rolling to a 17-4 win with just one home run. When a power team can rack up 17 runs with just one home run, it’s trouble.
The win set the two teams up for another game to determine the champion and questions swirled as to how KBUT would shake off their first game debacle and rebound to keep their title hopes alive.
One potential remedy came in the form of, you guessed it, alcohol, as KBUT player Will Dujardin made a run to the Wine House for a White Claw re-up. In addition, while the crowd for the first game was noticeably smaller and less enthusiastic than the Tuesday/Thursday league finals, the stands were packed for game two and far more vociferous.
Pitas player/manager/owner Drew Stichter looked to set the tone for a Pitas double-header domination as he opened game two with a lead-off solo home run. Pip Bailey drove in a second run but, for the most part, the OGs looked a little sleepy and KBUT pounced in the bottom of the first inning scoring seven runs.
Dujardin led off with a single and Heather Heinz drove him in with a single. Brady and Katie Harper connected for a couple more base hits, Shawn Harrington scored two more with a single and RBI hits from Lonnie Eichinger and Sohrob Nimrouzi had KBUT up 7-2.
Then Stichter struck again. Katie Valach and Mark Bortolin each singled and Stichter cleared the bags with a three-run shot, his second of the game.
Heinz helped tack on another KBUT run with another RBI base hit but Bailey responded for Pitas as he turned a routine base hit into a two-run inside the park home run as the typically steady KBUT defense suffered a systemic brain fart, much to the chagrin of their player/co-manager Scott Stewart, as he jogged back from the port-o-john to exclaim, “I go pee for two seconds and you throw the f***in’ ball around!”
Intensity and composure is what got KBUT to the finals in the first place though, and the words from Stewart had KBUT back on point and the two teams traded off small attacks with neither managing to open it up.
Eichinger put KBUT up 9-7 with a RBI base hit but Stichter connected for his third home run in a row to tie it back up in the top of the fourth inning.
Base hits from Ashley UpChurch-Kreykes and Dujardin and a RBI double by Collin Vossen had KBUT back in the lead and when their defense handcuffed the Pitas hitters, led by two foul pop catches by Katie Harper, KBUT was set up to make a run at the title for good.
They were on pace too, as Brady and Katie slapped base hits and Harrington and Nimrouzi scored runs with RBI hits for a 12-9 lead with the bases loaded and one out.
Only thing was, Pitas are more than just bats, they’ve got some defense too and when Stewart punched a line drive to center, Garrett McBride charged in to make the catch and fired to first base for a big league double play to keep Pitas in the mix.
Fact is, Pitas is too potent to linger around and they rekindled some of their precision hitting from the previous game to score four runs. Autumn Carpenter and Stichter each connected for base hits, Mallory Zimmerman scored one with a single, Ben Hayes did the same and Melvin Seyfried and Ari Grunert came through with additional RBI base hits for a 13-12 Pitas lead.
KBUT came back with another run in the bottom of the sixth inning and the two teams entered the seventh and final inning all tied up 13-13. This was going to be good.
Being the seasoned post-season program that it is, Pitas knew full well they needed several runs if they wanted to hold KBUT off. Dakota Wiggins kicked it off with a lead off double and then jogged home as Stichter connected for his fourth home run out of five times at the plate. Zimmerman singled and scored on a double by Rayna Clark and Seyfried closed it out with a RBI single to give Pitas a 17-13 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh.
The grind proved too much for KBUT in the end, as they mustered just three hits and one run in the bottom of the seventh inning and Pitas OGs took home the title.