Who let the dogs out?
by Than Acuff
Remember when I said the Rent-A-Gades did not get a team into the Wednesday league? Well, it turns out they managed to squeeze a team in, thank God, and opened the 2023 season introducing a new team, the Yard Dogs, to local softball with a 27-0 shutout.
Yep, shutout. First one I’d ever seen.
But that’s not what is important here. What is important is that local softball hit the time machine and we have a nearly all-women’s team in the Wednesday league for the first time since the Loaded Ladies took the field for several seasons back in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Word has it there was even a women’s league.
Fast forward to 2023 and here we are again, compliments of the Yard Dogs. Now, it may take some time for them to get a win but with a little luck, some time and a lot of persistence, they just might get close to a win. It’s early in the season and I have yet to see a couple of the new additions. Plus, let’s not forget Elevate’s introduction to the league was less than prolific and eventually rose to a title.
Until then, they’ve got a tough road ahead of them. Fortunately, they don’t appear too concerned right now and spirits remained high despite the loss, the rain and the cold that cut the game short.
The rain did play a part in the initial struggles of the Yard Dogs as pitcher Mikah Ryan had a tough time getting a quality grip on his backspin delivery, and when he did, he was serving the ball up on a platter for the Rent-A-Gades’ hitters.
As a result, the Rent-A-Gades racked up 10 runs off 10 hits in the top of the first inning including doubles from Montana Wiggins and Mark Krause, a two RBI single by Peace Wheeler Schaefer, additional RBI hits from Kate Schmidt and Jesse Smith and a three-run inside the park home run by Kody Hawkins.
Maggie Leslie and Mikah Ryan did get on base for the Yard Dogs but never advanced and the Yard Dogs were forced to turn to their closer Cis Berry in the top of the second inning to slow down the Rent-A-Gades offense.
The move worked as Berry mixed in high deep pitches with low shallow pitches as well as several pitches way outside and even some behind the batter leaving the Rent-A-Gades hitters off balance, literally. Enough to limit the Rent-A-Gades to four runs in the top of the second inning.
Unfortunately, the Yard Dogs’ offense continued to struggle at the plate with Krystal Gourgue providing the only hit and the Rent-A-Gades went back to work at the plate in the top of the third as the two teams agreed to just let the Rent-A-Gade pitcher pitch to both teams.
Wiggins and Wheeler Schaefer connected for RBI hits, Katie Sauer did the same, as did additional Rent-A-Gades as they racked up 10 more runs to take a 24-0 lead heading into the bottom of the third inning.
Curtis Beutler did provide the Yard Dogs with another hit before they fell shy of a run and the Rent-A-Gades proceeded to start scoring at will once again. Brendan Waldron led off with a triple, Emily “Otter” O’cañas and Wheeler Schaefer knocked RBI hits and when Krause knocked an RBI base hit to put the Rent-A-Gades up 27-0 midway through the top of the fourth inning, the teams decided to call it a game.