Lords of Dirt lie in waiting
By Than Acuff
It’s always a tough call and I don’t know if there are stats to say one way or the other. The question is, is it better to have a bye week during the post season or not.
On the one hand, maybe a little R&R can help. On the other hand, winning creates momentum. On the third hand, man would it be great to have three hands. Coffee in one, TV remote in another and a bowl of cereal in the third. Anyway, on the third hand, it’s local softball so momentum reigns over R&R. But we will find out for sure as the Rent-A-Gades won back to back games Wednesday, August 16 to punch their ticket to the Wednesday league finals to face the Lords of Dirt, who had the week off.
Actually, we already know if R&R was the ticket or momentum was the special sauce because the final was the day before this article was on the stands and in your hands™ on Thursday.
Be that as it may, despite the news coming across as “olds” because of the softball schedule and the weekly rhythm of the paper, there are still players who deserve some credit for their effort and I’m all about names in the paper so here we go.
The Rent-A-Gades racked up 52 runs over two games Wednesday to take down the Inglorious Batters in the first game and then send Butte & Co. packing in the second game.
After a somewhat smooth ride past the Inglorious Batters, the Rent-A-Gades regrouped to open the second game against Butte & Co. with five runs in the top of the first inning.
Katie Sauer, arguably one of the most consistent lead-off hitters in the league, led off with a single, Montana Wiggins singled as well and Mark Krause, arguably one of the most consistent clean up hitters in the league, drove them both home with a double.
A SWUNT single set up Pip Bailey to drive another run in and Andrea Schultz and Jeff Snyder connected to drive in two more runs for a 5-0 lead.
Butte & Co. managed just a lone run in the bottom of the first as Spencer Nowell doubled and scored off a double from Ryan Carroll. But amidst all of that, Sauer flagged down a wild throw to first to tag the runner, proving she’s more than just a bat, and two typically consistent Butte & Co. hitters popped out.
The Rent-A-Gades then continued their hitting and aggressive running ways throughout the next three innings to build a 17-2 lead. If there was any question regarding the Rent-A-Gades’ intensity, it was answered by Kate Schmidt in the top of the second inning as she stroked an RBI hit and stretched and got dirty for two. Her effort then set her up to score on a double by Kody Hawkins, and Hawkins’ madcap baserunning style then led to another Rent-A-Gades run as he rallied home off a hit from Sauer.
Butte & Co. ombudsman Fred Garth did look to spark his younger counterparts with a lead off double and scoring on a single by Alden Watkins, but Butte & Co. was held to just one run once again.
Meanwhile the Rent-A-Gades tacked on another five runs with Krause kicking things off with a solo shot off town hall and Schmidt capping things off with a two RBI double to left field.
The fourth inning was similar to the first three as Butte & Co. continued to search for their bats, while Krause continued to send the ball over the fence and Lauren Alkire, Peace Wheeler-Schaefer, Snyder and Bailey peppered the field with base hits for a 17-3 lead that soon turned into a 22-3 lead going into the bottom of the fifth inning.
Finally, Butte & Co. started clicking on offense, and when this team of youthful exuberance gets going, watch out. The enthusiasm had one wondering, are they making a major comeback? Because it sure seems like it.
Major? No. Comeback? Kinda.
Ashton Mabry was the first shot across the Rent-A-Gade bow as he led off with a triple and reached home on a single to centerfield by Isabel Lucas. Nowell and Andrew Arnold then connected to score two more runs and Garth provided an RBI single churning the Butte & Co. bench and their fans into a frenzy. Given the excitement, one would have thought they were back in the mix, but the reality is they were still down 22-7 heading into the sixth inning.
But reality is for old people and these young’uns live in the moment and at that moment, they were back in the game.
Problem was, the Rent-A-Gades kept scoring and sent Butte & Co. back to the quiet corner by scoring six additional runs in the top of the sixth inning. RBI doubles from Jesse Smith and Sauer put up the first three runs and Wiggins and Wheeler-Schaefer the next three runs for a 28-7 Rent-A-Gades lead.
Butte & Co. didn’t care though, they were living in the moment and they kept coming back for more.
Mabry was the spark once again when he connected for a solo inside-the-park home run. Lucas then flared a single and jogged around the bases to home when Nowell crushed a two-run shot to straightaway centerfield. Carroll and Arnold combined to score another run, Garth knocked an RBI triple, and when Danny Stoneberg drove an RBI double up the middle it was party time once again on the Butte & Co. side no matter what the score.
If only they hadn’t given up 22 runs earlier in the game, or if they had scored 22 runs earlier in the game, we would have had ourselves a game. But the Rent-A-Gades proved too much all game long and scored a handful more runs just as a reminder as to who was really in charge finishing Butte & Co. off 32-18 earning their rightful place in the Wednesday league finals.