Playoff season approaches
By Than Acuff
Believe it or not, the post-season is approaching with one more week left in the regular season, and while the Rent-A-Gades are dominating the Wednesday league sitting at the top of the standings with an undefeated record, there are several other teams that are plenty capable of seeing their way to the league title.
Two of those teams met Wednesday evening at Tommy V Field with their capabilities, and shortcomings, on full display as the Lords of Dirt and the Inglorious Batters battled back and forth through seven innings of softball before the Lords of Dirt pulled out a win.
The Lords of Dirt had an auspicious start to the game one player short of a full team which can be a death sentence playing on the expansive Tommy V Field. With that in mind, they made a point to score early taking a 3-0 lead in their first at bat. After Billy Watson walked, he managed to make it all the way home on a ground out as the Inglorious Batters defense was less than glorious. Morgan Holleran and Colin Dill followed up with base hits and then scored when Holly McFadden roped a two RBI single to left for a 3-0 lead.
The Inglorious Batters set themselves up for success as a “weird area” single by Mallory Briggs and additional base hits from Dave Meas and Stephanie Reeves loaded the bases, but they managed just one run thanks to an RBI double from Grant Robbins.
Dill and McFadden combined again to score one more Lords of Dirt run for a 4-1 lead, but Josh Varnadore sparked some offense for the Inglorious Batters when he connected for his first of two inside-the-park home runs (ITPHR) in the game to lead off the bottom of the third inning. Tadd Mertens stretched a bloop hit into shallow centerfield for a triple and then Bobby Crimi, Briggs and Meas followed with additional RBI base hits to push Inglorious Batters out front 5-4.
The Lords of Dirt defense then shut off another surge by the Inglorious Batters in the bottom of the fourth inning and retook the lead as Katie McKernan stroked an RBI double and Jake Sunter slapped a two run ITPHR to the gap in left center for a 7-5 lead.
Enough was enough for the Inglorious Batters though and the call was made by a couple of players as they returned to the dugout to hit in the bottom of the fifth inning.
“Let’s get offensive.”
“Time to offend.”
And offend they did as they connected for seven base hits to score five runs. Bron Walton led off with a double and scored as Varnadore combined power, placement and pace to drive a two-run ITPHR. Ashley Bouey then continued her two-sport assault. After placing second in the local downhill mountain bike race series the week before (and again this week), she connected for a double and scored off another triple by Mertens. Crimi then knocked a high fly “oh f***” two-run ITPHR to right field and the Inglorious Batters had offended their way to a 10-7 lead.
Jack Foersterling then took the mound for the Inglorious Batters to close the game out and, backed by some fairly glorious defense, held the Lords of Dirt to a lone run in the top of the sixth. The Inglorious Batters remained offensive in the bottom of the sixth inning to tack on two more runs on RBI hits from Walton and Varnadore for a 12-8 lead heading into the seventh and final inning.
The Lords of Dirt then proceeded to dig their way out of the four-run hole when Dill and McFadden tripled and singled respectively to get the scoring going. Sunter doubled to left to score another run and Robbie Cushman’s two-run ITPHR tied the game up 12-12. Hailey Mangan stepped up to the plate with two outs to tap a double to keep the rally going and the Lords of Dirt scored two more runs for a 14-12 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh inning.
That would prove to be just enough for the win as Crimi and Briggs connected to score one Inglorious Batters run but a couple of their more reliable hitters struggled to remain offensive as the Lords of Dirt held on for a 14-13 win.