Sunday, November 22, 2009

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Team MVPs

Time to announce the team MVPs for Fall 2009. It was a close vote and in the end there ended up being ties on both the guys and the gals side. First, the ladies:

Camille - Camille had subbed for us before, but only until this season was she a full-time Hound. And what an addition she was. She came through with clutch hits coupled with solid fielding mostly behind the plate, but also at 2B and RF. Who will ever forget her huge RBI triple at the end of the final to seal our victory.

Margaret - What can we say about our Cy Young winner that hasn't already been said. Whenever she is pitching, we have a very good chance to win. Solid fielding, timely hitting, and overall leadership round it all out. She is a complete player. Went 3 for 3 in the championship and sparked the game-winning rally.

And now, the guys:

Iain - Mr. Clutch as I like to call him was a stellar performer all season long and through the playoffs. He looked like he was hurtin' at times out there, all the more reason to respect what he was doing. His batting average was an unbelievable .846.

Jason - This guy was our silent assassin, our T-1000. Whether at the top of the order or the middle, he did tons of damage to opposing pitching. None of his hits were cheap. In the field he was a shutdown outfielder who you didn't want to hit it anywhere near to. Led the team in hits(tied), home runs, RBIs, and runs scored.

So there you have your MVPs, team. However there were also other Hounds receiving votes:

Amelia - Due to scheduling conflicts Schimmy didn't really get going for us until the 2nd half of the season. When she did finally play, she brought an added dimension to our lineup. It's no coincidence that after she started showing up, we became an offensive juggernaut.

Cindy - All C-Rod did was come to every single game and play solid fundamental ball for us. She was our most disciplined hitter, I don't recall her swinging at a bad pitch all season. Hit a solid .438 in the regular season.

Diana - D.Lo made huge strides this season and distinguished herself at Catcher and 2nd base. She is a prospect to watch in upcoming seasons. She also supported the team loudly and unconditionally.

Juiena - Juice emerged as a reliable No.2 starter for us in the 2nd half of the season. She seemed to perform better with each start, and we were victorious in every game she pitched. She is also one to watch for next season.

Mega - Our reigning MVP's numbers weren't quite what they were last season, but Mega's hits always seemed to come at critical moments. He really elevated his game in the playoffs, capped by his 2 home run performance in the final. He has my vote for World Series MVP.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Zog: Hounds Take the Title

It was a quick 1-day turnaround from the semi to the final. One game in which two teams enter and only one could emerge as champions. We were back at Riverbank State Park, a place where we have experienced both triumph and tragedy. The breeze was crisp coming off the Hudson River, and we were eager to take the field and keep the momentum from our previous outing. Our opponents were a club called Balls of Steel, a tough opponent that held their own against us on opening day. We knew a challenge lay ahead, and this game proved to be a fitting final.

Margaret once again took the mound for us and pitched a great ballgame. No walks as usual. Let's tip our caps to Balls of Steel, they are a hard-hitting team and were basically able to score two runs an inning against our ace pitcher. Our defense was generally good, even if we did have some mishaps from time to time. There were some defensive highlights though, including Amelia's nifty catch of a sinking liner, Camille bailing out yours truly with a heads-up play at the plate, and Jason's near over-the-wall catch which would have been the play of the decade let alone the game.

Our offense also consistently put runs on the board throughout the game. Mega was the star of the show, hitting two big home runs for us. Iain, Jason,Camille and Alan continued to rake, but Balls of Steel stayed with us step for step. Soon it was the top of the 3rd and they were only down by a couple.

I never thought a positive turning point for us could be an opponent's home run, but that proved to be the case tonight. One of their boppers(#22) got a hold of one and hit a solo home run over the wall to cut our lead to one run. It was a nice little moment for him, but he took it too far and proceeded to act like a complete jerk as he rounded the bases. It was a Bush league move which motivated us and couldn't have been good for his softball karma.

In the top of the 4th, we blew the game open. Margaret(3 for 3) started the rally and the top of the order kept it going. Camille came up to bat and hit a hard shot over #22's head in leftfield. Iain then hit one down the 3rd base line that also got past him, making it back-to-back RBI triples. It was fitting retribution for us, and ol' #22 learned quickly how humbling this game can be. Mega cemented the rally with his 2nd homer of the night, a two-run shot.

We were now up 16-11, and Margaret protected the lead beautifully for us. They were able to get two across in the top of the 7th, but the final out was fittingly a comebacker to the pitcher that was handled with no problem. With that, the game was over and the celebration could begin. Hounds are Champions. Final Score: Hounds 16, Balls of Steel 11.

We had an outstanding season. Save for one fluke game, we dominated this division. If we can keep our group together, we have a good chance of being a dynasty. Thanks to all of you for being a part of the magic. It may be a cliche, but a manager really is only as good as his players. And I had the best, most dedicated players in the league. I hope you all join me again in defending the title come Spring 2010.

Yo Hounds, We did It!! What a great way to head into the long, softball-less winter months... 'til next season, everybody!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Zog Semi-Final: Hounds Humiliate ZooMass; One Win Away from the 'Chip

The playoffs are once again here and we came into this game with a single-minded determination. Having stumbled the last two Zog seasons at the semi-final hurdle, we Hounds were eager to exorcise the ghosts of post-seasons past. It was a gorgeous fall Sunday night and we were at DeWitt Clinton Field, a good ballfield with a nice playing surface. In the opposing dugout was a team called ZooMass, the team which had handed us our one loss in the regular season. In the back of my mind, I knew that loss was a fluke and that we would have the upper hand this time around. Just how much of an upper hand, even I was surprised to see.

Margaret was our starting pitcher and she once again showed why she is our staff ace. She pitched a 1-2-3 top of the 1st, and soon it was time for us to bat. After a hit and two walks loaded the bases, Iain stepped up and hit a grand-slam home run. That home run set the table for the entire evening. After the 1st was over, we were up 6-0 and ZooMass already looked defeated. They made their first of several protests throughout the game. After a brief delay to reference the rules, their protest was shot down. That seemed to make us even more motivated to stomp them, and our offense continued the scoring barrage inning after inning. Every Hound had a part to play, but some standouts were Jason T, who had a monster 4 for 4, 2 home-run game, the aforementioned Iain(4 for 4), Amelia(2 for 3, 3 RS), Mega(3 for 4, HR), Wink(3 for 3, 3 RS), Alan(3 for 3), and Camille(2 for 3).

ZooMass continued to stop play every inning to protest(what exactly I don't know), but we just continued to focus on our business.They were able to ruin Margaret's shutout with a clean home run, but soon it was the last inning and they were down by more than 20 runs. We closed the game out with a nifty 6-6-3 double play. Final Score: Hounds 23, ZooMass 2.

To say we were impressive tonight would be a massive understatement. However, we haven't won anything yet. We have a big game tomorrow night against what I am sure will be a very good team. Let's bring the same focus we brought tonight, and we will be very difficult to beat.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Zog: Final Regular Season Player Stats

Here are the final regular season player stats. Once again, thanks to everybody that stepped up and helped score our games.

(click to enlarge)

Zog: Hounds Squash the Spiders

Our final regular season game was set for a brisk Monday night at Riverbank State Park. We came into this game knowing a playoff berth was secure, but also knowing that we needed to head into the playoffs with a solid effort. Our opponents were the Spiders, a team that needed to win to have any chance of making the playoffs. After the pre-game pleasantries were exchanged, it was time to play ball.

Juiena was once again our starting pitcher, and she was a battler all night. As the home team we took the field first, and we were quickly behind the 8-ball. A series of defensive blunders exascerbated what could have been a fairly easy inning, and by the time the top of the 1st was over, we were down 5-0. Soon it was 8-2, and some of the Spiders started getting cocky. What they didn't know is that we were just getting the started. The bottom of the order sparked a furious rally in the 2nd inning, highlighted by Alan's 3-run home run, his first as a Hound. Another highlight was Kim, who filled in beautifully for us, getting on base twice and scoring two runs. We took the lead 9-8 and we would never look back. Our defense settled down nicely, and a small-ball rally in the 5th padded our lead. Juiena closed them out in the 6th after a brief scare for the complete-game victory, crushing the Spiders' playoff hopes for this season. FInal Score: Hounds 14, Spiders 12.

This comeback victory was a great way to head into the playoffs. Let's keep the eye of the tiger as we head into the post-season.