Playoffs start next week
by Than Acuff
I don’t think there’s a single team in either league that could have taken down the Hares last Thursday at Gothic Field. To say they were hot would be an understatement as they brought the hottest of hot bats (and a real bag of peanuts and Sam Lumb’s cooler that’s older than most players in either league) to the field to hand the Walk of Shame a punishing 20-8 loss.
It was sweet retribution for the Hares after letting their game against the Talk of the Town two days earlier get away from them in the last inning of the game. They did come close to dropping another in a similar fashion but rallied huge to seal the deal.
The Hares started it off with a 1-0 lead when Lucas McMullen led with a single, Bryce Miller then doubled and Dan Brown, found wandering the local fields looking for a team last summer by Don Bunnell, pushed a runner in with a double.
The Walk of Shame answered right back in the bottom of the first inning with a series of hits from Joe Lockwood, Sam O’Brien and Ralph Landi and scored their first run. Scott Hetherington and Emily Deemer combined for two more hits and then scored when Tadd Mertens stroked a two RBI single for a 3-1 Walk of Shame lead.
But, like I said, the Hares were hot as they proceeded to rattle off six hits to retake the lead. Lumb and Gary Huresky started it off with base hits and then Lumb brought the game to a whole new level as he scored from second base on a sacrifice fly from Dave Clement proving that after 40 years in the local leagues, he’s still got some wheels.
Kevin Vierling and Bunnell took a page from Lumb’s book to beat out the throw for back-to-back infield singles and Tucker Brown put the Hares back in the lead with a RBI single.
The Hares picked up where they left off in the top of the third inning to score four more runs as Brown dropped a RBI single in shallow left, Frank Stichter tacked on another run with a sac fly RBI and Lumb continued his all-star game worthy performance ripping a two RBI single to left for an 8-3 Hares lead before Landi flagged down a high chopper up the middle to get the third out and stop the bleeding.
The Walk of Shame still had some game left though and has progressed significantly since I first saw them at the start of the season. They started chipping away at the Hares lead in the bottom of the fourth scoring two runs compliments of hits from Mertens, Regina Tafoya and Lockwood. The Hares added some insurance runs in the top of the fifth and clamped down on defense to stem the Walk of Shame tide until the bottom of the sixth inning when the Walk of Shame fired back up again.
Stephanie Jaccarino led off with a single, another base hit had two on and O’Brien connected for a two RBI double. Maggie Chlipala then knocked another run in with a single and the Walk of Shame had pulled to within two runs heading into the seventh inning.
While the Hares had been close and lost two days earlier, nothing was going to stop them this time around as they erupted for 10 runs in the top of the seventh. Singles from Roberts and Lisa Sumner set McMullen up for a sac fly RBI. Tom Stenerson and Miller scored another run with base hits and then Brown crushed a two RBI double high off the netting in left for a 14-8 Hares lead. Mark Bortolin singled to keep the rally going and Stichter and Lumb capitalized on some defensive confusion to score two more runs. Huresky joined in with a RBI single and then Clement capped it off with a three RBI single to right field for a 20-8 Hares’ lead heading into the bottom of the seventh.
At that point the Walk of Shame had seen enough and knew they could do nothing against the Hares’ juggernaut and walked silently into the night with no runs in the bottom of the seventh.
The playoffs start next week for both leagues so take some time away from your Facebook posting to come out and enjoy some softball at any one of the amazing fields in Crested Butte.