Pitas Meatsticks opens softball season with 17-6 win over Hares

Support your local liquor stores

By Than Acuff 

These days you can get most anything alcohol related, most anytime at the grocery store. But I implore you, support your local liquor store. Nothing against our Clark’s Market crew, they’re nice folks and I’m sure the directive came from corporate to sell alcohol and they had to abide. But one local liquor store owner told me that sales are down 52% once Colorado voters took a step further to allow wine sales at grocery stores back in March.

That hurts.

You know what else hurts? The first week of the softball season as players sprint down the first baseline, stretch for extra bases, charge in on shallow fly balls or even just throw a softball for the first time since last August. 

And we are in the first week of softball as the 2023 season started on Tuesday, May 30, with defending champions, like forever defending champions, Pitas Meatsticks taking on the Hares, in the season opening softball game of the Crested Butte adult coed town league at Gothic Field.

Good to have a purpose, or an excuse. At least in my life.

“Hey, can you help move a sleeper sofa out of my house?”

“Nope, gotta cover town league softball.”

“Hey, can you watch my kids?”

“Nope, got cover town league softball.”

“Hey, where have you been?”

“Covering town league softball.”

“On Sunday?”

“I mean COVID.”

“Isn’t that over?”

“Never.”

One other thing, is it me or was our very own coed softball league woke before woke was considered woke? Follow me here. Several years back, the league, whether they knew it or not, introduced non-binary, except without the label non-binary, to the league when they decided that men over a certain age are considered coed players.

Woke A. F. 

Now that I’ve aggravated softball players by not getting to game coverage and aggravated the woke by exposing my ignorance, let’s get to the game.

Pitas, with 11 titles in two separate leagues over the past seven years, set the tone prior to the game that they have no intention of slowing down when owner, manager, father of three Drew Stichter shared some pre-game words with the team.

“We’re gonna show up, roll the ball out and f*** everyone up.”

“While we’re drinking,” added a player.

And they did, sort of. I mean they didn’t f*** the Hares up, they just beat them 17-6.

It took a couple of innings to get the blood flowing for both teams, a few innings more for the Hares. Pitas took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first when Stichter, who “hadn’t even swung a bat yet,” used his first swing to hit a two-run home run.

Pitas then loaded the bases with their first three hitters of the second inning, but the Hares defense proved that a little preseason training can go a long way when Dan Brown scooped up a grounder down the third base line, tapped the bag and fired home for the 5-2 double play.

The effort stemmed the Pitas tide temporarily until Joe Erickson stepped up and hit a two RBI triple and Eliana Adams tapped an RBI e-assisted double for a 5-0 Pitas’ lead.

Pitas tacked on two more runs in the third inning and we were on pace for an early season Pitas pummeling, but the Hares defense came through again in the top of the fourth inning.

First, second baseman Gary Huresky flagged down a grounder and with a deft backhand flip of the wrist, got the force out at second base. Tom Stenerson then struck out the next hitter and a deep shot to left from Scott Sanders was destined for extra bases and a couple of more runs until shortstop Bryce W. Miller sprinted into left field as the cutoff man and turned to throw a runner out stretching for another Pitas’ run.

That was enough to wake up the Hares’ bats as they rattled off five runs in the bottom of the fourth. Frank Stichter kicked it off taking a pitch from son Drew and sending it into deep left field for a run. Tucker Brown and Dan Brown, no relation, then hit back-to-back base hits for another run. Miller walked to score another Hare run and Stenerson stroked a two RBI single up the middle to pull the Hares within three of Pitas, good thing he didn’t get bit by that rattlesnake doing trail work in Arizona last week.

One problem, Pitas is Pitas and, more often than not, when they feel the least bit threatened, they always strike back and that’s just what they did. Thomas McLean led off the top of the sixth inning with a triple and scored on a base hit from Stevie Hewkel. New to the team but certainly not new to softball. Heather Duryea then followed up with a two RBI double and Sanders cracked a RBI double, and Pitas was, once again, out in front by eight runs. 

While Lucas McMullen, Frank and Tucker connected to push one more Hare home, Pitas remained on the throttle through the top of the seventh inning to score four additional runs. Rhett Yarbrough connected for a solo shot, Erickson finished the night with three base hits when he hit a RBI double and then Adams, who honed her softball skills playing fast pitch, eventually figured out the subtle nuances of hitting skills in slowpitch and smacked a two RBI single to cap the 17-6 Pitas’ win.

“Hey, can you cover our team next week?”

“Nope, gotta cover town league softball.”

“Huh?”

“Exactly.”

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