I like to think HYD is one of the funnest teams in the league to play against. See, we play mid-level softball but understand we are all past our prime and are now just playing for fun. Sure, it is fun to win, but we like to hang out with each other before and after the game so much the play itself becomes somewhat secondary.
Anyway, after the infamous “Halo game” where I lost a ground ball in the sun and got thrown out of the Championship game for twice hitting “Halo rule” violations, I really wanted to play well. And hit well…
I usually do hit well. It is slow-pitch softball, I am an athlete…there is not a lot of challenge in blasting a slow-moving ball as hard as I want in any direction I choose. I am what is known as a free-swinger. If the ball is somewhere between my ankles and shoulders in height and anywhere from 6” to 4’ in front of me, the bat is moving and the ball is reversing direction. I do not “wait for my pitch” or hit selectively…I am up there blasting away at everything.
And by the way…I usually hit pretty smurfing well. Prior to the back-to-back “Halo” shots I had been on base every plate appearance this season. So it is not as if my take-a-hack-at-everything approach has cost me. I even have a couple home runs this year, both of the inside the park variety.
Well, coming off my bad news dental appointment and knowing this would be my last athletic endeavor for a couple weeks, I felt a bit of pressure to play well. And my hitting was back…a single and double in my first two plate appearances (with a combined 2 pitches seen, I might add…neither of which were “strikes”…) and had fielded the only chance I had cleanly, making the easy throw to first.
However, as a team we were struggling to bat well…in fact, we had just 6 runs after 5 innings. Three times we went down 1-2-3, including back to back innings with the bottom and top of the order. So the game was close…6-4.
We got two quick outs, but then one of their power hitters stepped to the plate. The outfielders backed well up. The infield was playing deep. He took a mighty cut…got under it and hit a towering shot behind the second basemen.
With the outfield so deep, there was no chance they would get to it even though they were both running in. Our first basemen, Nick, has bad knees and it was a tough angle. He was not going to get it. It was a super tough angle and long run for Emy, our second basemen.
Here comes Mighty Mouth, the shortstop, AKA me. It is going to be a tough play and I am keeping my eye on the ball. Unsure if I am going to interfere with someone with a better shot, I unleash a shout that has most likely never before been heard on a baseball (or softball) diamond.
“I may…or may not…have it!”
Nobody calls me off so I dive for it...later I am told I am about 2’ short of it. Anyway, my momentum rolls me over the ball. I see the runner head towards second. I cannot recover to throw it so elect to throw it to Emy, who I had seen approaching so she can relay it to the infield.
Unfortunately, upon hearing my “call” of the ball, she collapsed in laughter, and my toss to her became a projectile to nowhere, sailing past her laying on the ground laughing, past the startled Nick and in the general direction of nobody. Adam, the right-center fielder, picks up the ball and starts to run it in, oddly electing to hide it…so the hitter breaks for home, the throw sails past the catcher and my idiotic call turns a Texas-Leaguer into a round trip run scored.
They go on to tie the game in the top of the 7th. I am leading off the bottom half…and we only play 7.
The umpire comments on my…rather unusual way of calling off other fielders and we have a good laugh.
The first pitch is so far inside even I cannot swing. I yell out to the pitcher, “If I have to charge the mound, I am bringing the bat with me!” This is greeted by another wave of laughter and he responds by “throwing at me”…the pitch is actually behind me.
No big deal…the count is now 3-1 (you start with a ball and a strike) but I will be driving the next pitch anyway. He just has given me literally nothing to hit.
Except his next pitch is a good 3’ outside the strike zone. I cannot reach it. I did not think quick enough to swing to get another pitch, so…I walk. And my team rightly boos me for it. We are NOT a walking team…we like to swing the bat.
Gina then hits a falling liner…I cannot tell if the guy will catch it or not so go half way…looks like he will catch it, I start back to the bag…no, it drops, but I have no chance to advance.
As Phil steps to the plate Eric is ALREADY waving me to make the turn…regardless of what is hit, Eric intends me to score. I intend the same thing. And Phil, first pitch swinging, drives it to right field, I score before the ball gets back to the infield…and my team boos me. Hannah wanted to bat and with no outs, we would have had the bases loaded…
So lets sum up my last two games.
I lost a ground ball in the sun, went 0-2 and got thrown out of the championship game for Halo rule violations, waited to weeks to be the first person in the history of baseball to pre-call not getting it, walk for the first time in years and get boos from my own team for scoring the winning run…
I love softball the way we play it!