Mighty Drake, Inc.

Softball - Whipping Boys - Fall '99

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Manager: Rosy

Useful info

Date Time Team Score
Sep 20 6:30 Sandbaggers Loss 22-14
Sep 27 8:30 NLCF Loss Run-ruled 21-2
Oct 4 7:30 Greenville Ave Panthers Win 14-13
Oct 11 7:30 Razzoo's Loss 24-22
Oct 18 9:30 Who Dunnits Rainout
Oct 25 8:30 Central Net Win Forfeit
Nov 1 9:30 Aligent Technology Rainout
Nov 8 8:30 Who Dunnits Win 17-13
Nov 15 9:30 Aligent Technology Loss 29-7
Greenville Ave Panthers
Who Dunnits
Central Net
Aligent Technology

September 20 - Sandbaggers - Loss 22-14

42 Drake Christensen 1st
0 Scott O'Neal 2nd
4 James Bonney Right
45 Jay Owens 3rd
5 Brian Bonney Left
99 Mike Robinson Short
9 Ken Bonney Catcher
00 Greg Rodenroth Left-center
1 Todd Miller Pitcher
33 Jacob Wild Catcher
65 Mike (Rosy's friend) DH
16 Ross Miller Right-center
Fan turnout:
Amy, Debbie, Hanlon, Sylvia.

A rough beginning to the season.  Scott Warren was out of town, and Bruce, Jacob and Kevin had some company thing to go to.  So Rosy had to dig up three ringers for the game.  And of course, Scoo and Greg waited until the last instant to show up.

This is one of the worst trophy hound displays we've seen in years.  This team went undefeated last season.  One of their players said it's all new people, but I recognized several.  They even had one player who hit two in a row, opposite field over the fence, by accident.  The first was foul, the second gave them an out, plus gave us one run for the base runner they had at the time.  Right.  Like a lot of E league hitters go out of the park by accident.

The game wasn't anywhere near as close as the score suggests.  We held them to a couple in the first inning, but then they opened it up in the second.  I think by the third they had us 19-3.  After that they just farted around and we got a bunch of extra bases and runs because someone bobbled a throw and then just walked to pick up the ball.

Our outfield had a couple of mistakes, but mostly did a good job.  We're on a new field, and the outfield is in horrible shape.  Lots of depressions and cracks that make grounders really treacherous.  Greg had one bounce over his head.  Greg and Brian had one land between them, deep.  Rosy dropped one that he should have had, and then when he hurried his throw and didn't hit his cutoff man.

Our infield had a lot more trouble.

Mike Robinson was our short stop, and he did a decent job on the balls hit at him.   Especially considering that it has apparently been three years since he last played.  He laid out twice in the first inning trying to reach grounders.  He did knock down a few.  One or two he threw to second, but they didn't hit Scoo's glove hard enough to stick.

Both Mike and Scoo missed a lot of throws from the outfield.  I had to scoop four or five out of the middle of the infield.

Jay had two or three line drives hit his glove and go right on through.

On one throw in from the outfield, I yelled at Mike to hold the ball because I didn't think he'd catch the runner headed for home.  He made the throw, anyway.  The runner at first took the opportunity to go for second.  I yelled at Ken to run to third.  He made the throw to second, anyway.  Luckily that one got caught.   But we had a few poor decisions like that.

I only had one throw to me at first.  It was off-target to my left.  With more practice at judging throws I might have been able to stretch and get it.  But I came off the bag to make sure I caught it.  It was a fast runner, so I wasn't able to tag him on the way by.  I had one popup a little behind first.   Fortunately, I've seen enough infield flies the last few games that I set myself up well for the catch.

That was a third out, and I stayed to coach first.  The runner on first made quip about why didn't I let him get to second.  I wasn't in the mood to joke with those guys, so I just ignored what he said.

Our overall hitting was generally pathetic.  Like I said above, only three runs in the first few innings.  Near the end some of us were hitting up the middle.  But those were mostly with two outs.  If the other team had put any effort into it we never would have gotten those at-bats.  Our next to last at-bat I noticed that they were playing us incredibly short in the outfield.  I told everyone to just go ahead and try to crush it.  It would have been a small victory to put one over their heads.   It didn't happen, though.

I went zero for three, though the first one was a walk.  Scoo hit into a fielder's choice to the pitcher.  He started to throw to second and I was thinking about what I could do to break up the throw to first.  Then the pitcher pulled up and tagged me instead.  I don't know why.  I'm certainly not fast enough to have dodged away from it.

Anyway, my other two hits felt like nice line drives off the bat, but both were right at someone.  First to right-center, then to the second baseman.  On that one, Rosy was on first and he almost got caught.  The throw from the second baseman was real close to quick enough, but the first baseman's foot was on the orange bag.  The home plate ump saw that and called it.

Overall, it was incredibly annoying to play a game where the other team had absolutely zero respect for us.  At one point their second pitcher pitched one behind his back.   Yeah, that's sportsmanship.

September 27 - NLCF - Loss Run-ruled 21-2

4 James Bonney DH
16 Ross Miller Right-center
1 Todd Miller Pitcher
99 Bruce Allsop Short
00 Greg Rodenroth Left-center
33 Jacob Wild Catcher
5 Brian Bonney Left/Right
41 Scott Warren 1st
45 Jay Owens 3rd
42 Drake Christensen 2nd
2 Kevin Spaeth Right/Left
9 Ken Bonney Sub
Fan turnout:
Andy, Betzi, Christy, Kevin's girlfriend(?), Sydney

Well, that sucked.

First, we had four sick or injured players.  Scoo didn't show up because of a back problem.  Mo, Brian and I all have colds.  Ken wouldn't commit to playing.   "Only if absolutely necessary."  After moving around some I was feeling better, so I decided to play the entire game.  Kevin showed up at the last instant.  Mo was complaining about having to play, so I suggested that Kevin play in the field and Mo take DH.

Unfortunately, that gave Mo time to stew in between at bats.  In the third inning he pulled a really crappy move.  Brian asked that Mo take his place in left field.   We all looked to the dugout and Mo wasn't there.  He had taken off without telling anyone.  Maybe he told Ken, but that was never made clear.

On to the game.  Man, we hit horrible.  Lots and lots of popups.  They were playing us incredibly short, and nobody could put it over their heads.

The ump was calling pretty inconsistently.  Early on, he was calling most of Toad's pitches too high.  Later, he opened the strike zone quite a bit.  I think Toad only walked one or two.  Their pitcher wasn't very good.  Most of his first several pitches landed in front of the plate.

Mo got walked his first time up.  After watching us fumble around in the field he went to the plate pissed off the second time.  He had one called a strike that he didn't think was and it looked like it really got to him.  Then he popped out.

Rosy hit one to left-center.  As they threw it in, it looked like the outfielder was throwing to third to get the leading runner, and it turned out he was throwing to the shortstop who was standing in an odd spot.  Rosy ended up having to make a dive into second, and he made it due to a late tag down on his back.

When we got people on base they ran smart.  We got a couple of extra bases when their outfielders bobbled the ball.

Jay managed to punch one through to the fence and he turned that into a triple.

I went zero for one.  By the time I got up they were playing us really short.   I really would have liked to put one over their heads.  Instead I went for one that was probably too low and popped up to the right center fielder.  So I left Jay stranded on third.

Our fielding sucked nearly as bad.  We gave them about half of their runs.   But the other half was their incredible hitting.  They had more than their share of good hitters.  At least half the team could put it wherever they wanted.   Our hitting never really tested their defense, but I'd say their hitting should put them at average to slightly below average D league.

They hit at least three or four behind our outfielders.  The balls were really carrying.  Plus another three or four precisely between two outfielders, way deep.   I think we only had one or two throws off-target from the outfield.

Early in the game Greg commented when I didn't yell at Brian for holding the ball too long one time.  Brian usually is pretty quick to get the ball in, and this time it was clear that there wasn't going to be a runner.  My point with Greg is that if he always runs it in the other team is going to key on that and force him to make a throw.   What would have been a throw that was clearly in time to hold the runner will become a close play.  And since Greg makes clumsy throws while still running there's a good chance that it's going to be off-target.  I want him to get in the habit of hitting his cutoff man, instead of risking the throw on the run.  Later in the game Scott got impatient when Brian didn't throw the ball in to the infield so the umps could call time.

Late in the game Brian let one under his glove.  I don't know if he just misjudged it, or didn't have the energy to make a good charge.  I think part of it was he expected it to carry like everything else had tonight.

Our infield had a horrible game.

Jay had two go through his glove, again.

Scott caught one popup that was behind Toad but way in front of me.  He told me I could have called him off, but he had a much better angle than I did.  It was right at me, so I really couldn't judge how deep it was.

Bruce had one Sportscenter catch.  It was behind me, in shallow right-center.   He got a good jump on it, but he said he completely lost it and just stuck his glove out.  The ball fell in and he held it.  He did have some trouble with grounders, though.  He let one under his glove.  Two throws to Scott at first were low.  One Scott let by and the other he got, but it was late.

Jacob had a bad game at catcher.  On at least three throws he reached to the side to try to get the ball instead of getting in front of it.  He missed every time.   One one play, our outfield made the play at home, but it was late.  There was another runner on second.  I yelled at Jacob to run the ball to third.  He ran about halfway and then threw it over Jay's and Toad's heads, letting the runner get to third.

I had a few to me.  Early in the game, Bruce knocked two down when there was a runner on first.  One we connected on, but the other was a bit late.  Our outfield thought we got robbed on that call, but I could tell the throw was late.  I think I knocked down two and got them to Bruce.  I dove for one that I probably should have had, but it went just over my glove.  We had one potential run-down between third and home.  I moved to cover third, but before I got there I think we threw the ball away and let the guy in.

At the end of the game one of the other players was saying, "God bless you," to everyone.  I responded with, "No, not that, please!"  Hopefully I got to him :-)

October 4 - 7:30 - Greenville Ave Panthers Win 14-13

42 Drake Christensen 2nd
45 Jay Owens 3rd
1 Todd Miller Pitcher
99 Bruce Allsop Short
16 Ross Miller Right-center
00 Greg Rodenroth Left-center
33 Jacob Wild Catcher
5 Brian Bonney Left/Right
41 Scott Warren 1st
4 James Bonney Right/Left
Fan turnout:
Amy, Christy, Sydney

A great game with a real E league team.  Lots of back and forth.  The close ones are lots of fun.

Rosy emailed everyone asking for confirmation that they'd be at the game.  Scoo and Kevin never responded.

I saw a couple of their team warming up, and their throws were really popping into their gloves.  One of them was their catcher, usually a spot for lesser players.   And their first few batters really looked like they should be able to hit, so our outfielders played them pretty far back.  A lot of hits landed short.  As Greg and Mo put it, it appeared that they were hitting smart early in the game.   Eventually, we figured out that's as deep as most of them could hit.  We've gotten very used to playing people we out of our league, so we were gun shy when facing these guys.  They did have several fast runners, though.  They turned several singles into a doubles.

Our fielding tonight was about average.  A few minor mistakes, but no long runs of errors.

Due to the short hits, our outfielders were charging a lot.  Greg had one Sportscenter catch, about waist high off to the side in an awkward position.  He said later that he felt it hit his glove but wasn't sure if he had held onto it until he saw Bruce celebrating.  At other points in the game, Greg did let one or two grounders past.  But they were slow enough that they didn't get very far and only cost us a base or two.  One ball between Brian and Greg, both were calling for it.  It was a little closer to Brian and he was set up for it when Greg continued to call for it and tried to catch it on the run.  That distracted Brian enough that neither got it.   Greg recognized that it was his bad.

Late in the game Brian was slow to judge one and made a sloppy play for it while he was charging.  Apparently it hit his finger and jammed it pretty bad.  He and Mo changed sides, though they were hitting nearly as many to right as they were to left.

We need to move our outfielders around more often.  Mo hasn't had a lot of balls hit to him since getting stuck in right and the lack of practice is evident.  One of the first balls hit to him in left was short, and he misjudged it badly.  If he had gotten a good jump on it he probably would have gotten to it easily.  As it was, he misjudged the hop and it got past him.  It was way over by the line, so Greg wasn't really able to back him up.  After missing the ball, Mo gave up on it for a couple of seconds.  When he realized that Greg wasn't there to back him up he scrambled to get to it.  I think the batter turned that one into a triple and knocked in two runs.   Other than that I think Mo had a decent game.

Bruce said that his injury was still bothering him, so there were a few hits that he could have dove for, but didn't.  I don't think he got any runners at first.  He threw one away, and I think one of their fast runners beat another.  He also had one attempt at a ball in short left during the first inning.  He wasn't able to pull off the no-look catch this time, though.

Toad had a pretty good game pitching.  I don't remember him walking any.   Plus, they had a couple of players who obviously haven't had much batting practice.   There were three or four strikeouts.  Plus, one guy dinked one right into the ground with the bases full.  I was expecting  Toad to get to the ball and then turn for the throw to first.  But Toad thought quickly and called for Jacob to be ready for the throw and they connected to get the player forced to home.  Earlier in the game he blundered on a play at second.  Since he turns to his left on fielding a grounder he sees me first.  I had made my first step towards second, but had remembered in time to move to back up Bruce (I used to always steal those throws.)   Toad saw me and lobbed the toss over Bruce's head pretty much toward me.  We need to teach him to make a firmer throw to second base where Bruce can be set up for the try for the double play.

I had a pretty busy game at second.  I think four of their first five batters hit everything to our side of the field.  After seeing that the first inning I cheated a couple of steps toward Scott.  That put me in position for a couple of plays.  I had one hit to me in the first inning that I bobbled a little bit but managed to flip it to Bruce in time.  Remembering the underhand toss on those short throws really saves a lot of time.  The second time their lefty was up he hit a medium speed ball to my left which made for a nice-looking scoop and throw to first.  I think I took my eye off of that one at the last second, because I was a little surprised that it was still in my glove.  Late in the game I should have had one to my left, but I took my eye off of it.  Luckily it hit my ankle and stayed in the infield.  I think those were the only grounders that I handled.  Everything else I missed because of the crazy bounces.  One medium speed was rolling on the ground and I was set up for it, when it suddenly hopped into the air and went past my head.  On another, I was set up way over for their lefty and the ball went to my right.  As I was making the dive it hopped four feet off the ground and out of my reach.  I just hate that infield.   There was also a popup behind Scott that I called for.  He ended up setting up for it before I got there and called me off.  I might have gotten it, but it would have been on the run, which I don't have any practice at.

Our hitting was better than normal.  We started out with a bunch of popups but later on we settled down and hit a lot of nice line shots up the middle.

After the first inning they were playing us super short.  I was really surprised that nobody put one over their heads.  Even Bruce never really got ahold of it.   Maybe part of the problem was we were letting a lot of balls go by.  Their pitchers weren't very good.  Their first pitcher pitched them really high and the ump kept telling him to bring it down.  I think they walked at least a half dozen.

Their outfielders also gave us a few.  Especially early on, they dropped at least three or four that they were in position for.  A couple of our players got caught between bases when that happened.  The catch was going to be so short that they were headed back to their original bag.  When it was dropped they really had to scramble to get to the next bag in time.  On one in particular, Scott Warren and maybe the base coach missed the drop.  So the batter was standing on first and Scott was trying to figure out where to go.  The other team finally threw the ball to second.

Greg got robbed on one 3-2 pitch.  Everyone could see that the pitch was tall and deep.  As Scott put it, if he had gone for it he would have looked like a tennis player.

I think I hit three for four.  My first was a weak popup into no-man's land behind second.  Jay got walked, putting me on second.  The next hit took the pitcher in the direction of third.  I expected him to try for the double play.  Instead, he went for the tag on me.  I did a pretty good job dodging, but his glove brushed me.   I'm fairly certain he had the ball in his right hand and not in his glove.   But the plate ump upheld the call out.  On my second at-bat I noticed a huge hole in left field.  I pulled a nice grounder through the infield gap in that direction.  My third time up the left-center fielder was playing so short he was within five feet of the infield.  Man, I wanted to put a line drive over his head.   I think I ended up hitting into a fielder's choice on that one.  My last at-bat I hit a nice line drive, except that it was right at the right-center fielder.

Toad continues to improve as a runner.  He's getting very bold.  On at least one hit I was watching from the dugout and was thinking he should hold up.  The good part is that once he makes his decision he sticks with it and charges.  I think that gained him second base once or twice tonight.

Toad ended up with the winning run by charging.  Scott had thought we started our last at-bat tied.  We took our time and made them pitch to us.  By our third or fourth batter we got a run in and then time expired.  We asked the ump whether that was the game and then we learned that we had started one down.  So we needed one more run to win.  I can't remember where the throw came from, but Toad had made it to third and the throw to second was off-target.  Greg noticed that everyone was standing there looking at the ball lying between first and second and he sent Toad home.   If the throw had been on target it was plenty early enough to have gotten Toad.   But it was off to the right and Toad made it in.  Since there was only one out at that point and this is E league, that was probably a good call by Greg.

In the third inning we were down by five.  But we could tell by that point that we were in this game.  It was either that inning or the next that we batted around.

October 11 - Razzoo's - Loss 24-22

41 Scott Warren 1st/Left
42 Drake Christensen DH/3rd/1st
45 Jay Owens 3rd/DH/3rd
99 Bruce Allsop Short
16 Ross Miller Right-center
4 James Bonney Right
1 Todd Miller Pitcher
0 Scott O'Neal 2nd
2 Kevin Spaeth Left/Left-Center
33 Jacob Wild Catcher
00 Greg Rodenroth Left-center/DH
Fan turnout:
Amy, Andy, Christy, Kevin's girlfriend, Sydney

Well, that was embarrassing.  We always seem to pull out our worst games when we're playing the worst teams.  There's no question that we gave them the game.

The first couple of innings were what the game should have been like.  They got one run.  We got two.  They got two.  We got zero or a couple.  Then we fell apart and they batted around.

One of the first problems came when their hit one that hit the fence about a foot off the ground.  Later in the game he hit one over the fence.  Unfortunately, nobody was on at the time, so it was just the out.  They had another one or two that split the gap way deep.  Plus one or two more simply over our heads.  There were also a couple of drops on what should have been fairly sure catches.  Also a couple of grounders.  It was hard to tell, but it didn't look from the dugout as though the bumpy outfield caused those.

Apparently Greg threw out his arm yesterday playing football.  So his normally-hurried throws were even wilder than usual.  One time, he missed a grounder that made it to the fence.  He and Rosy ran after it and Greg won the footrace.   Rosy was standing about 30 feet away and Greg unexpectedly threw the ball to him.   Rosy wasn't ready for it.

Kevin's starting a bad habit of holding the ball, I guess daring the runner.  With our team, we need to stick with the sure thing and not try to get ourselves into the situation of forcing a close play.

Late in the game, when Greg went to DH and Scott went to left, Scott had one hit to him.  He completely misjudged it off the bat.  He said later he thought it was headed to right field.  He started to move that way and then nearly made it back to the ball, but it tipped off of his glove.

All of the infield was having trouble with grounders.

Bruce had three or four bounce up and hit him in the chest.  He had another opportunity for a catch in short-right, but it was just out of reach.

Scoo had one grounder that he was sure was headed at his left foot and ended up missing his glove and hitting his right shin.  He had one line driver that he nearly caught.   He did have one blunder where he nabbed a grounder and tossed it to Bruce, except that there wasn't a runner headed to second.  Though he and Bruce did connect on a couple early in the game.  They looked like very close calls from the dugout, but the field ump was giving us most of them.

Toad had one mental error.  He got a grounder and when he turned to make the throw it went to Scoo twenty feet too far to the right.  Same sort of thing as last week.   He threw to the first guy he saw.  Another time he made a throw to second when there was a runner headed to third.  I don't know if Bruce told him to throw to second for the double play chance, or if Toad forgot about the lead runner.  Toad did pitch very well, though.  The ump really liked the high pitches.

Jacob only had one real play at home, I think.  He backed up into the baseline and he and the runner collided, knocking the ball loose.  I was backing him up and I caught the ball.  The runner had gone on through, and I tagged him just in case he had missed the plate.  But the ump said he touched it.

At the beginning of the game I had asked Jay if I could take third for part of the game, just because I wanted a change of pace, and because I couldn't remember the last time he sat out.  I had one grounder between me and the bag.  I snagged it (didn't get in front of it like I should have) and ran to make the force at third.  I pulled the ball from my glove, but then hesitated.  Bruce says I should have made the throw to first.  What distracted me was the runner to second was a long way from the bag.  If Scoo had been on the bag I would have tried the throw.  But I think he was still moving.  So I ended up holding the ball.  I think the only play I had at first was the backup attempt.

Their pitching was so bad it's hard to remember the hitting.  There were so many players in between any two hits.  They switched pitchers partway through, and the new guy was even worse.  I think he walked four or five in a row.  Mo really got to the guy.  At one point Mo said in response to a question from somebody, "I'd hit it if he gave me a strike." while he was looking directly at the pitcher.   Later, on first base, Mo warned Scoo I guess it was that the guy pitched wild, and then he put one so high it was over the umpire's head.

They were playing us with a rover.  That's tough for us.  We hit right at the outfielder's so much that often our only hope is to drop it in front of them.  The rover really cuts out a lot of the field that we can hit to.  Though, their infield was having nearly as much trouble with grounders as we were.  And we were running pretty smart when we got on base.  We had lots of extra bases on bobbles and overthrows.

Bruce managed to crank one to the left center gap for a home run.

Greg got on base with good hustle once.  Then, I think in the same at-bat, they had an easy throw from second to short that the short dropped.  Greg had hustled and set up for the slide, so he made it.  I pointed that out to Jacob, who has made the mistake of overrunning second before.

Jacob made it home once and his slide came up short (due to the astroturf around the plate.)  He managed to touch the plate before the tag, but it looked like he thought he already had.

They had a huge gap in right-center that I was aiming for.  But I haven't been to the cages enough recently, so I couldn't place it consistently.  I hit one foul to the right, which is uncharacteristic of me.  I hit another that curved and had the right fielder tracking pretty fast, but it hung up forever.  I think I had three walks.  And my first at-bat was a fielder's choice to the short stop.  On that one, when Bruce got up he hit it to left and the guy dropped it.  I could see as I approached second that he didn't get a handle on it quickly, so I decided to go for third.   About that time I heard Jay telling me to hold up.  It was a decent throw, but I was there in time.

With their bad pitching, we got within a couple of runs.  Then Jacob flyed out.   Then I think they walked another.  We had been at no outs for so long, Bruce and Jay forgot about Jacob's out.  So when they got one runner on a fielder's choice and then bobbled the ball on a double play try, Bruce sent Jay home.  Apparently he was counting on an errant throw, plus he figered we still had an out to give.  Jay didn't have a good lead off of third, so the throw was in plenty of time and was on target.  So that was the last out.

Even without the pitching, we should have at least been able to keep these guys down to our level.  We had a monumental number of blunders that cost us at least eight   or ten runs.

October 18 - Rainout

October 25 - Central Net - Win Forfeit

Excuse for not going to the cages
41 Scott Warren Would have if I had called him
42 Drake Christensen Went.  Four times.
45 Jay Owens Too offended at Mo's nipples
99 Bruce Allsop Already batting clean-up
16 Ross Miller Went a coupla times last season.  Does that count?
4 James Bonney Already the best hitter in the league
1 Todd Miller He tried
0 Scott O'Neal Took time off to work on his commentator career
2 Kevin Spaeth Never read the email to learn that there were cages
33 Jacob Wild Huh?
00 Greg Rodenroth He's working on an excuse
5 Brian Bonney Can't spare an hour a week
Catherine, Christy, Debbie, Debbie & Scoo's dog, Sylvia

Apparently this team forfeited last week, too.  And apparently there's a $25 charge before they're allowed to play again.  It looked like only about five showed up this game.  When they learned about the charge, one guy completely blew up.   Started yelling about not wanting to pay $25 to play.  As they were stomping off, a girl/young woman that came with him said something that pissed him off and he slapped her.  She backed away and when she approached him he slapped her again.   I think if our team hadn't been scattered around the field warming up we might have had the courage to intervene as a group.  About half of us saw it going on.   OTOH, we might have simply made things worse.  Still, that kind of behavior is criminal.

So, we hung around to practice.  I tried to get them to work on fundamentals, but everyone just wanted to bat.  Brian was saying this would be the only batting practice he would get.  I'm sorry, but even for couch potatoe league, one hour a week at the cages isn't too much to ask.  I think it was nearly a complete waste of time.   Everyone got, what?  15 or 20 pitches?  About one token's worth.   Wow.  That'll help.  Not.  I figure I've hit at least 250 pitches at the cages the last two weeks.  And I've probably taken about 3000 more pitches than anyone else on the team this year.  Jay was trying to say it wasn't that lopsided, because he was playing on two teams for awhile.  Even then, he probaby got a total of 10 or 15 pitches a week.  I get 60 to 75 pitches per cage session, and I sometimes get two sessions per week.

I can't hit real deep, especially since all our bats are dead.  But I demonstrated placement tonight.  I hit a bunch up the middle.  Then a bunch to right.   Then a bunch to left.  Then up the middle again.  And so on.  Sure I popped a few up.  Especially my first few tries to right.  I'm not very good.   But I think my consistency at placement is going to be worth a lot in the coming seasons.  I'd like to see the rest of the team become as consistent at placement as me, or more so.

The "fielding practice" was a joke.  As usual, you spend most of your time running down the previous hit, and then you're out of position for the next one.   Rosy wanted to practice fielding and throwing at shortstop, but the first baseman was almost always out of position, so he only got about a half dozen throws.  Also, I wanted to give Toad practice on his throws.  He only got about two throws to first and none to practice a double play.  Kevin managed to stop a few while he was at short.  Again, he only had about three throws to first, and a couple of those were off target.  I would have liked to see if he can throw on target consistently.   He may be our best choice for short.

In addition to being out of position, I'm still hurting from my ankle injury from hockey practice a week and a half ago.  When I stretched for a catch and let my left toe drag on the ground there was enough leverage to cause quite a bit of pain.  For me, it was probably a good thing we didn't play.  There's a good chance I would have aggravated my injury.

November 1 -

November 8 - Who Dunnits - Win 17-13

42 Drake Christensen 1st
45 Jay Owens 3rd
5 Brian Bonney Left
0 Scott O'Neal 2nd
16 Ross Miller Short
4 James Bonney Right
1 Todd Miller Pitcher
33 Jacob Wild Catcher
41 Scott Warren Right-center
00 Greg Rodenroth Left-center
99 Bruce Allsop DH
Fan turnout:

Another close-fought back and forth game.  It was pretty satisfying to win this one.  Though the other pitcher did give us four or five runs on walks.

They played us incredibly short in the outfield.  But nobody really got ahold of it and put it over their heads.  I really need to get a new bat.  All of the current bats are dead.  Also, they left a pretty big gap in center.  I was really hoping me or Toad could crank one of our signature line drives up the middle, but that didn't happen.

They had a really good shortstop.  He wasn't afraid of getting in front of the ball, and even the ones he didn't handle cleanly he was able to fire off very quickly.   Their second baseman did bobble a few, though.  We had three or four people who hustled to second on a grounder that made it because of those bobbles.  That's really paying off for us.  Similarly, on a grounder to third, Scoo didnt' give up on it and the ball managed to squirt through the third baseman's legs.  If Scoo had not been hustling they probably would have gotten him at third.

Our hitting was pretty good.  But I think it was the walks that kept us in the game.  We'd get one hit.  Then the pitcher would walk one or two.  Then a couple of hits would score a few.  Without all those walks, many of our hits would have simply been people that were left on the bases.  Rosy was saying he thought our pop-up percentage was lower, but I think we simply didn't have many opportunities to pop up.

Late in the game I was on second base when Scoo came up.  He nailed a sweet line drive that came right for my head.  I took off thinking what a great hit it was.   Then I heard the pop of hit hitting someone's glove.  I have no idea who caught it.  But it looked like a sure thing to me.  That was for a third out, otherwise they would have gotten me easily back at second.

My hitting was okay.  I think I went 2 for 3 plus one walk.  The first was a low pitch that I shouldn't have gone for.  It was a weak grounder to short that beat me by only a foot.  My second was a sort-of line drive to left-center.  It hung up a little too long, but it was right to the guy so it didn't really matter.  Then I pulled one between third and short on purpose.

We did get hosed on a couple of calls, including one at second.  The ball clearly popped out of the guys glove quickly, but the ump said he had it but lost it when he tried to change hands for the throw.  The plate ump had a wildly variable strike zone.   We had a couple of people strike out looking.  So did the other team.

I don't remember any really bad errors on defense.  Probably because these guys can't hit it much harder than us.

Toad had two or three that he should have had, but couldn't get a handle on in time.   One, after bobbling it he went ahead and attempted the throw to second.  I didn't get a chance to point out that if there's any hitch in handling the ball he should go right to first.  I think he and I did connect for one.

In addition, the other team hit at least three swinging bunts down the third base line that nobody could handle.  Bruce thinks one guy was doing it on purpose.  Bruce was thinking about asking the ump whether that was legal.  In any case, that's happening to us often enough that we need to be more prepared for it.

Rosy had an okay game at short, considering he's only been there a few times before.   In the first inning his first throw to me was high and wide, but I managed to catch it.  But I had to jump, so it pulled me off the bag.  That might have been our only play.  He did manage to stop a couple of other grounders, but he couldn't catch his balance enough to attempt a throw.

Scoo had one infield popup behind him.  I could see pretty quickly that he was set up six feet short, but I wasn't quick enough to help him adjust.  He and I talked about that afterwards, and if I get a chance I'm going to yell, "Six feet!" next time he gets a popup.  Hopefully after a couple more popups he'll learn like I did how to judge these infield flies.

We did have one wild throw to first, I think from Jay.  But only three or four throws altogether.  Our outfield is still missing their cutoff man.  At least three times tonight.  They're just throwing it in the general direction of the infield, instead of at a person.

One grounder that Jay got had him moving toward second.  But he had a really hard time getting the ball out of his glove.  Scoo was waiting on second for the throw and he said it felt like it took 45 minutes.  Jay ended up making the throw and Scoo caught it.  Then the runner ran into Scoo and jarred the ball loose.  But there are no crash plays in softball, so the out stood.

I handled one grounder myself.  I think it was to my left and when I went down to one knee to get it the leverage from my toe put enough stress on my ankle to really bother me for a minute.  I did make the play, though.  Toad was slow to move and wouldn't have been in time to take the throw had I needed him.  He recognized that.   Hopefully we'll improve enough to get him practice doing that in the future.

November 15 - Aligent Technology - Loss 29-7

42 Drake Christensen 3rd
45 Jay Owens 1st
5 Brian Bonney Left
99 Bruce Allsop Left-center
0 Scott O'Neal 2nd
16 Ross Miller Short
1 Todd Miller Pitcher
33 Jacob Wild Catcher
41 Scott Warren Right-center
00 Greg Rodenroth Right
2 Kevin Spaeth DH
Fan turnout:
Amy, Christy, Kevin's girlfriend, Sydney

Well, that was a spanking we didn't deserve. (Except for Greg, of course.)  They blew Satan. Either that or their game ball was made of flubber.

I think only a few got behind our outfielders.  Bruce let at least two over his head. They were deceptive line drives, very like what I catch every once in awhile. They just kept carrying forever.

Greg let one grounder past him. I don't remember it well enough to say whether it was caused by the crappy outfield or if he just muffed it. Luckily, Scott was backing him up and it didn't cost us anything. There was another that looked like it was going over Greg's head, but he whipped out a shotgun and knocked it down. He must have loaded his own ammo, because it was incredibly loud. From my position I could see everyone on the field jump when it went off. It didn't do as much damage to the ball as you would expect.

Almost all of the outs came from the few pop flies. One in particular was fouled way off to right, over the fence. Greg charged through the fence and got to it in time. As he trotted back he pulled the fence back to close the gap he had ripped open. It fit surprisingly well. You could barely tell from a distance where he went through.

The outfielders did a good job of hitting their targets tonite. I think there was only one off-target throw from them. Except Greg. He turned and threw one out into the parking lot. I think he was trying to hit my car, but didn't manage to spot it. In the infield, Jacob tried to throw behind a runner headed back to me at third and nearly threw it away. I had to come off third by about four feet and jump to get it.

I had a busy and frustrating game at third. I had about 7 hit close enough to me that I was able to make a try for them. At least three I should have had. One was to my right, and I reached down to try to backhand it instead of getting in front of it. I took my eye off of it and it caromed off the side of my glove, up my chest and off my cheek. Not hard enough to hurt, but I also didn't get to attempt a throw. On another, the ball took an early bounce and I had forever to track it. There was no excuse due to any funny bounces in the infield. Again, I took my eye off of it three feet before it got to my glove and it went on by. I think there was one other that I should have had. Basically, I didn't catch anything that was hit to me.

Since they were hitting so well there were several throws to me from the outfield. Most were too late. One was in time and we got their runner with 10 feet to spare, and the guy just kept coming so he was an easy out. On another, the throw to me was not in time, but the runner took off for home. It should have been an easy throw, but I must have gotten distracted. The throw was on target and was rolling to me smoothly. I must have taken my eye off of the ball because when I came up I didn't have it in my glove. When I reached down to pick it up I was too busy looking for my target and I simply couldn't get a handle on the ball. So where we should have gotten the guy out easily he ended up scoring. For some reason I held my clumsiness against the other team and had the irrational thought that I should have gone ahead and thrown the ball at the guy's back even though it wasn't in time. I don't usually contemplate stuff like that. I let my frustration take control.

In all I'm very disgusted with my consistent mistakes when fielding. Every single grounder hit to me this season, I took my eye off the ball. I simply don't get enough grounders to actively work on that problem. I think with just a little practice I could improve my fielding by a lot.

On offense, we were about average. Since the other team was hitting so well we didn't get many chances. So it felt like we weren't doing well. But seven runs in three innings is probably what we usually do. Though not as wel as we need to do.

When we did get a hit we ran pretty well. We got lots of extra bases because their throws were rarely quick, nor were they exactly on target. Though I do remember a few people hesitating as they rounded first. They wanted to take the extra base, but didn't quite have the guts to go through with it. They'd dare the throw even though by that time they had no intention of going.

Part of that is the first base coach not giving clear instructions early enough. I guess we need to differentiate between taking your turn in case they bobble, and taking your turn and going for it if you feel brave.

Jacob hit one grounder to the infield. The throw went to second. Jacob let up just before reaching first. If they had tried for the double play it would have been close, and him letting up like that probably would have cost him.

I think I went two for two, though one was a gift. The first was a nice line drive to left-center, right where I wanted it. I think it was Jay who hit next to left. As I approached second I could tell they were taking their time getting to the ball so I charged for third and made it on that play. My other at-bat I blooped it to no-man's land just behind third. I can't remember what was my clue, but I was able to get to second on that one. It was real close, but I did make it and the ump called it correctly.

So, Mo retains the lone distinction of managing to our only winning season.  We ended up fifth in runs scored, but worst in runs against 84 and 121.  Everyone was getting annoyed at my emails detailing my trips to the cages.  Scoo says that he's going to be just as bad next season as manager.  I'm looking forward to it.

Useful info:
Softball Mailing List
Current season at Sports Standings
KXAS weather radar
WFAA weather radar
Commentary for previous seasons:
Summer '00 3-4 Scott Warren came so close
Spring '00 5-2 I'm the greatest manager this team has ever seen! *
Winter/Spring '00 1-6 Scoo's "run-producing clusters" were no match for the sandbaggers
Fall '99 3-4 Rosy couldn't match Mo's record
Summer/Fall '99 4-3 Our first winning season!
Spring/Summer '99 3-4 The Golden Boy debacle
Spring '99 2-5 The season of taglines
Fall '98 0-7 Toad probably won't manage again
Summer '98 1-6 Couldn't put the Sharks away

* Okay, maybe not

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