Bangers mash their way to win over ZUNI

Eight, count ‘em, eight ITPHRs

By Than Acuff

Granted, maybe some of those eight ITPHRs (Inside the Park Home Run) were error-assisted but still, eight of them? I mean Tommy V Field has always been expansive but only in that the outfield fence is farther back than at Gothic.

Other than that, it’s the same distance from the left field line to the right field line. Though, to be honest, I don’t know that for sure and it sure looks bigger. Therefore, it plays bigger.

Speaking of playing, guess who came out of retirement? After 10, maybe more, years of hibernation from softball, Geordie VanMarter is back. Gone are the pinstripe pants but not his swing as he joined the Bangers this year and they opened the season with a… bang… taking down ZUNI Brewing Company (ZUNI), formerly known as the Rent-A-Gades, 25-17 Wednesday evening.

While admittedly unsure about their abilities prior to the game, the Bangers proved no worse for wear as a two-run home run, like real deal home run, from Carey Willette and a solo ITPHR from Adam Collins led them to a quick 3-0 lead.

And while ZUNI struggled to find their swing, the Bangers continued to build on their early advantage as doubles from Mikey Weil and Gracie Willette put ducks on the pond for Jimmy Hensley to drive them home with a two RBI double, who then scored off an RBI double by Heather Culley.

Gracie, Weil and Hensley did much the same in the top of the third inning to help build a 9-0 lead for the Bangers that looked to grow when Carey threatened to send another out of Tommy V Field, but it had more up than out, and Krystal Ramsey made the grab at the warning track once the ball dropped back from orbit.

The grab sparked some life for the ZUNI bats in the bottom of the third inning as Ben Somrak channeled six generations of Gunnison Valley Somraks to lead off with an infield single. Three more base hits later Jeffery Snyder drove in a run with a double and then Johnny Green stepped to the plate. Green came onto the local softball scene several years back as a big hitting Rasta Hairnet and while his hair is longer, his swing is still there. Not enough to clear the Tommy V Field fence, but enough to connect for a three-run ITPHR to pull ZUNI within four of the Bangers.

A swirling wind then took hold of the field and resulted in an onslaught of ITPHRs. Lis Collins singled only to reach home off an ITPHR from Adam. VanMarter then singled two batters later and reached home on a two-run ITPHR by Gracie for a 13-5 Bangers’ lead.

ZUNI got in on the fun in the bottom of the fourth inning as singles from Jess Noll, Somrak and Lauren Alkire loaded the bases and Vandervoort cleared them just beating the throw to home for a grand slam ITPHR. More small ball loaded the bases once again and Jesse Smith stepped up to drive a three RBI triple to the gap, more of a gorge really at Tommy V, in centerfield to pull ZUNI back within one of the Bangers.

The gun-and-run continued as Carey hit a two-run ITPHR and Adrienne Weil smacked an RBI double to rebuild a little breathing room for the Bangers, but ZUNI was on a heater and scored five more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Vandervoort connected for a three-run ITPHR, Kate Schmidt scored another ZUNI run with a single and Smith knocked his second triple of the evening to drive in a run and put ZUNI on top 17-16 heading into the sixth inning.

While the momentum had swung firmly in ZUNI’s favor, one would have thought that would be it for the Bangers. But, alas, ‘twas not, as the Bangers still had something left in the tank. Especially when the umpires declared that, due to time constraints, the sixth inning would be the last inning.

The Bangers swung back at ZUNI with nearly everyone getting hits and/or scoring runs.

Base hits from Weil and Hensley put two on for an RBI single by Culley and another crushing fence-clearing shot by Carey. Adam scored another banger with an RBI triple and then the old schoolers finished off the late-game rally. Adrienne tapped an RBI single, VanMarter an RBI double and then Mikey a two-run ITPHR for a 25-17 lead that would hold for the Banger’s win.

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