Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Zog: Team MVPs

The voting is closed, congratulations to the worthy winners.

And now, your 2010 Zog Fall League MVPs:

Friday, November 5, 2010

Hounds Music Selections

There's something for everybody...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Zog: Team Picture

front row (L to R): Kyle #18(R), Push #25, Jessie #27, Amy #12, Juiena #23, Cindy #24, Camille #4
back row (L to R): Mike #8, Jason #11, Wink #2, George #9, Karim #10, Buddah #34(R)

not pictured: Dave #99, Diana #15, Iain #3, Pat #6

Monday, November 1, 2010

Zog: Hounds Crash Out

Having put in a solid 5-1 record in the regular season, it was time for the Hounds to face the best the division had to offer in the single-elimination, two round playoffs. The location was DeWitt Clinton Field and a Winter chill coated the fall air. In the semi-final game, the opponent was The Sunday Hops. They were a fun-loving, scrappy bunch that would give us one of our biggest challenges of the year.

Juiena was our starting pitcher and she took the mound in the top of the 1st. She got into some trouble, with Sunday Hops scoring two runs. Their offensive formula was consistent throughout the game: hit bleeps and bloops and occasionally get aided by Hounds' miscues. We got on the board in the bottom of the 1st, with Iain hitting an RBI single. But we would only score one more run in the next four innings. Sunday Hops' pitcher, a lanky fellow, gave our hitters fits with his high-arc spinner. We entered the bottom of the 6th down 2-4 and knowing we didn't have much time to turn this one around. 

Then the bottom of the order came up big, with Cindy getting on through a fielder's choice, then Pat driving in C-Rod with a double. Next it was D.Lo's turn to bat and she calmly stroked a single past the third baseman to score Kyle who was running for Pat. Our dugout was jubilant as we sensed a turning point had just occurred. Unfortunately, the rally was killed with an inning-ending double play. However, we had tied the score and we still liked our chances as we entered the last inning. 

What happened next was a perfect storm of bleeps, bloops, walks, and errors that culminated in Sunday Hops scoring 6 runs in the top of the 7th to put us in a serious hole as we entered our last licks. We put up a valiant fight, with the heart of the order putting up 3 runs. But ultimately, it was not enough. The rally fell short, and just like that, our season is over. We were all a bit shocked that it ended at this stage. Final Score: Hounds 7, Sunday Hops 10.

We have to give a lot of credit to Sunday Hops. They made the most of their opportunities and were deserving winners. They were the better team tonight, but they are a team we should be able to beat when we are at our best. It makes it even tougher to swallow but this game can be very humbling sometimes. Many thanks to all of you for another successful Hounds season, even if we didn't take home the big prize this time around. They haven't heard the last of the Hounds yet.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Zog: Final Regular Season Stats

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Zog: Hounds Close Out Strong

Having not been able to play an official game for the past couple of weekends, the Hounds returned to DeWitt Clinton Field to close out the regular season. It was an unseasonably warm fall evening and the Lousy Shirts team awaited in the opposing dugout. We knew the game carried importance as playoff seedings were in play. After a brief pre-game exchange regarding the bases in which we were able to steal away home field advantage, it was time to play ball.

Juiena took the mound and set the tone for us by pitching a 1-2-3 top of the 1st. Now it was our turn up to bat and we quickly got on the board, MikePa singling and scoring on a base hit by Iain. However, Lousy Shirts scored 3 in the top of the 2nd, and the game would become a slugfest. Let's give credit to Lousy Shirts, they are a solid ballclub top to bottom and made some fine plays to keep themselves in the game. We tied it at 3-3 in the bottom of the 2nd, only for our opponents to take the lead again in the top of the 3rd. Entering the bottom of the 4th, we were down 4-6 and we knew it was just a matter of time before we could turn this one around. Jason T, Juiena, and The Cap all got on base to start the inning, setting up a bases loaded opportunity for Dave. Coming off a long layoff, he showed why he is the straw that stirs the Schlink by proceeding to hit a frozen rope in the gap for a grand slam home run. It was part of a 3 for 3, 5 RBI night for the Big Fella. 

After re-taking taking the lead, we would never look back. Juiena continued to battle and our defense put in an A- defensive performance. There were a couple of minor miscues, but they did not cost us too much. We would add 3 runs in the 5th and one run in the 6th, MikePa hitting a solo homer. Lousy Shirts tacked on 2 in the 6th but were unable to make it any closer. Juice closed them out after a brief scare in the 7th to secure the complete game victory. Final Score: Hounds 12, Lousy Shirts 8.

This was a great way to head into the playoffs. I'm proud of the way we kept our heads in the game despite being down for a couple of innings. Our offense was clicking well– we scored a run every inning. But we still need to work on our baserunning decisions both as baserunners and base coaches as we got burned again(twice) on baserunning plays. 

We head into the playoffs having put in one of our most complete performances of the season. I am confident we can do well if we have a full compliment of players available. We must stay humble and hungry though if we are to reached the promised land.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Zog: Team Stats thru 4 games

The Stats have been compiled thru the first 4 games and there are many Hounds that are having outstanding seasons. Of course Iain has taken his usual place among the stat leaders, but the big surprise is MikePa, who is team leader in batting average and runs scored. Mike is hitting a perfect 1.000. It is literally impossible to do better than that. Rookies Kyle and Will(Buddah) are distinguishing themselves, hitting .800 and .700 respectively.

Among the ladies, Juiena leads in batting average with Push and Camille right behind her. Juice is also having a dominant season on the mound, posting a minuscule 1.40 ERA. That has to make her one of if not the best pitcher in the league. Way to go, Juice and the defense behind her deserves credit for that too.
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Zog: Hounds Stomp on The Other Team

Coming off a two-game winning streak, the Hounds headed back to DeWitt Clinton Field to solidify their status as legitimate championship contenders. As the game was about to commence, a beautiful scarlet and purple sunset blanketed the sky. Our opponent had a name befitting any Hounds opponent: The Other Team. They seemed very focused and determined to get their first win of the season, so we thought we could be in for a challenge. Oh, how wrong we would be.

As the home team, we took the field first with our ace Juiena on the mound, having just returned from her nuptials. She showed no signs of rust as she closed out TOT 1-2-3 in the 1st. Then it was our turn to bat, and we quickly put up a 5-spot. MikePa earned a 4-pitch walk which allowed Juiena to also walk, setting the stage for Mr. Clutch Iain to hit one of his patented opposite-field home runs. The Cap then broke out of a 1 for 7 slump by stroking a clean single to left. Jason T. then stepped up and drilled a two-run homer, putting us up 5-0 after the first inning. Juiena continued to roll along, and we would add 3 runs in the 2nd.

The 3rd inning was a killer for TOT. They were only down 8-0 and had us down to our final out in the bottom of the frame. With Jason T. on 3rd base, Diana hit a grounder to the shortstop which seemed destined to be an out. D.Lo never gave up on the play though, hustling all the way. The shortstop's throw was bobbled by the first baseman, allowing D.Lo to be safe and JT to score. That error opened the floodgates, and by the time the inning was over, Mike, Iain, and Pat had all homered, putting us up 15-0. It just goes to show that this game can change on one play and good things happen when we hustle.

Another highlight that has to be mentioned is Camille's 3-run home run in the 4th inning. It was a laser shot to left which had our dugout going crazy. There was a bit of bad blood between the two teams, but it was quickly squashed by the umpire(Swayze). All in all, it was a solid offensive performance from the Hounds, I saw a lot of well-hit balls that would have been hits against any team. The standouts on the evening were MikePa(2-2, 2 BB, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 4 RS), Juiena(3-3, BB, 4 RS), Iain(4-4, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 3 RS), Pat(3-4, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 2 RS), Jason T.(3-3, HR, 3 RBI, 2 RS), and Camille(2-2, BB, HR, 3 RBI, 3 RS).

Unfortunately, the lights were mysteriously cut off in the middle of the top of the 5th. With the game well in hand, and TOT looking shell-shocked, we felt it was only right to call it a day and end their suffering. Final Score: Hounds 23, The Other Team 0.

As this season has played out, it's pretty clear that there are 1 or 2 other teams that we need to be concerned about come playoff time. One is Never Been to Third, who we lost to on opening day, the other is the team we face this Sunday. As of this posting, they are undefeated and in first place. Let's see how well they measure up to the Hounds.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Zog: Hounds Make it Two in a Row

It was a cloudy early fall afternoon with the faint hint of summer still lingering in the air. A light sprinkle fell from the sky as the Hounds took the field on Roosevelt Island. Although short handed(9 players), they were full of confidence and ready to get interim manager Wink his first victory. The opponent, CYANide (who were also short handed), scored 2 runs in the first inning after a couple of bloop hits and some miscues. Then the Hounds came up to bat and quickly erased the deficit with 5 runs of their own. They continued to bring in runs in multiple innings always keeping the pressure on CYANide who had to play catch up the whole game. The Hounds defense settled in and although we gave up 10 runs we also made timely defensive plays that halted CYANide’s momentum and were huge rally killers. Highlights in the field were Camille(unassisted double play), Buddah(throwing out a runner at home), Amy(doubling up a runner tagging too early), Jason T.( an outfield assist to 2nd), and Amanda(catching 2 foul balls hit straight back behind the plate). The offensive standouts were Kyle (4 for 4, 3 RBI, 2 RS), Buddah (3 for 4, 2 RBI, 1RS), Wink (2 for 4, HR, 3 RBI, RS) and Amy (2 for 3, BB). In the end, the Hounds were the more focused team and knew what it took to win. Final Score: Hounds 14 , CYANide 10.

Kudos to Wink and everybody else for getting the job done. It doesn't matter how you do it, the 'W' in the standings is all that matters. This is a critical win that puts us in control of our own destiny as we march towards the playoffs. Nice work, team.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Zog: Hounds Bounce Back Big-Time

Having lost a nailbiter on opening day, it was time for the Hounds to get back on the field and return to our winning ways. It was another trip to DeWitt Clinton, and it was a perfect evening for softball. In the opposing dugout were the City Slickers, a team we knew nothing about, other than that they had won on opening day. With only 6 games in the regular season, it was imperative that we get the win in this game. We took the field focused and determined.

As the away team, we came up to bat first, and we got off to a flying start. MikePa got us going again, leading off the game with a double, and scoring from 2nd on a simple 6-3 by Juiena. Wink then came up and stroked a solo homer, and the next 7 hitters proceeded to hit safely. Let's be honest, City Slickers definitely butchered a lot of balls, but we made the most of their mistakes. After the top of the first was over they were down 9-0 and there could be little doubt we would prevail.

Juiena got the ball as starting pitcher and she was in a nice groove from the start. Her high arc pitch was confounding City Slickers, and the defense behind her was outstanding. Most of the action for us on the defensive side occurred in the infield. Iain and the Cap were a strong left side of the infield combo, and new Hound Kyle played a solid first base. Meanwhile, our offense continued to roll along. The production was spread around, but the standouts were Mike(3-3, 2 RS, RBI), Wink(3-4, 2 HR, 4 RS, 3 RBI), Iain(5-5, 2 HR, 5 RS, 4 RBI), Push(4-5, 2 RS, 3 RBI), Buddah(4-4, HR, 3 RS, 3 RBI), and Kyle(4-4, 2 HR, 3 RS, 5 RBI). WIth the score at 17-0, Amy was brought in to get some relief work. She pitched well for the first couple of innings but got into some trouble in the bottom of the 5th. George then came in to get the final 7 outs of the game and he closed out City Slickers with relative ease. Let's give them credit for taking the beating in stride and let's give credit to the ump(Swayze) for letting us get the whole game in despite going over the time limit by a lot. Final Score: Hounds 27, City Slickers 7.

Even though we came through with a solid performance tonight, I must caution that our opponents were pretty awful and we shouldn't read too much into this blowout win. There are better teams ahead of us, although we also have the team that lost to City Slickers ahead on our schedule. That should be interesting. For next week, several key players will be away. Who is going to step up and carry us to victory?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Zog: Hounds Lose a Tough One

After basking in the glory of our all-conquering summer, it was time to return to action in the Zog Fall League. It was a brisk September evening in New York, and a steady sheet of rain blanketed the city. We showed up to the field a bit surprised that the game hadn't been called, but nevertheless ready to get down to Hounds business. The location was DeWitt Clinton Field in Hell's Kitchen, and our opponents were a team called Never Been to Third. They had also won their division in the previous season, so a close, well played game was to be expected. Just how close nobody could have anticipated.

Juiena got the ball as the now undisputed ace of the pitching staff. She pitched masterfully all night, giving us a chance to win the game. The first couple of innings went by with neither team being able to score. NBT also had a very good pitcher on the mound, and he stifled us with his very high-arc spinner. Finally, in the top of the third, NBT put up a run on the board, through a couple of clean hits and a miscue. Juiena escaped the inning without any further damage, and she battled her way out of trouble on several occasions. We then responded with a run of our own in the bottom of the third. MikePa stroked a single, then hustled his way to 2nd on a grounder from Jessie. He then scored from 2nd on a fielder's choice, getting new Hound Kyle his first ever RBI. It was all hustle, and our dugout was now fired up.

From there, the game was played on a razor's edge. Our defense did make a couple of mistakes, but there were also some fine plays made by Push, Mike, and Juiena, among others. The 1-1 scoreline held until the bottom of the 6th, when MikePa again hustled his way home after a single, fielder's choice, and a throwing error. Jessie picked up the RBI on that occasion. We were now up 2-1 going into NBT's last licks.  We felt good about our chances of locking up the win, but fate would not be on our side. A swinging bunt got the rally going for them, a dropped fly ball in the outfield assisted, and a clean base hit to right drove in the go-ahead run. In the bottom of the 7th, we went out 1-2-3, and we couldn't help but feel we let one slip away. Final Score: Hounds 2, NBT 3.

As unfortunate as it is to lose our first game(first Hounds loss in an opening game– ever), I don't think it's time to panic. We wanted to move up a division and we were always expecting a greater challenge. Now we know what we need to do in order to succeed at this level. We need to make some improvements, and I am confident we will. Our next game now takes on added importance as starting the season 0-2 could put a serious damper on our playoff chances. We can accept nothing less than victory next Sunday.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Gotham City: Team MVPs Announced

The voting is closed and the MVPs for the Gotham City Sports League have been selected. The winners are very deserving of the honor. So without further ado, here are the winners:

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Zog: Hounds Switch Uniforms

Since our team's founding in 2008, we have always worn Navy blue jerseys in the Zog league. We forged countless memorable moments in those Navy and Orange t-shirts. But time goes on and progress is inevitable. Starting in the Fall 2010 campaign, The Hounds are switching to the Gray jerseys that served us so well in the Gotham City league. The Grays are just a much better quality garment and are a look more befitting a team of our caliber. 

Who knows, perhaps if there is another jersey order in our future we'll have a chance to update the Navy Blues. But for now, we're going Gray.

Home and Away style guides available on the home page

Monday, August 30, 2010

Gotham City: Playoff Stats

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Gotham City: Hounds Win the Whole Damn Thing

Having been tested to our very limit in the double elimination tournament of the previous weekend, it was finally time for the championship finale. A best of three series to determine who is the best co-ed team in Central Park. The weather was ideal for softball and the stands were packed with spectators. The grass was thick and very wet and there were two good defensive teams squaring off. We knew home runs would be at a minimum. We came into this series off a 12 and 2 regular season record and as top overall seed, but we knew records were meaningless coming into this one. Besides, the team we were up against– Grass Stains, had already beaten us pretty soundly to put us on the brink of elimination last week. Their regular season record was 9 and 5 but they had knocked out some good teams on their way to this World Series. We came in expecting a close series and we were very eager to redeem ourselves after the heartbreak of last season. There was a bit of pre-game controversy before the series started as to who had home field advantage, but fortunately Hounds management was prepared with all the necessary documentation and Grass Stains' feeble attempt at gamesmanship was quickly squelched. After the lineups were exchanged, it was time to play ball.

For Game 1 we gave our ace pitcher Margaret the ball and boy, did she deliver. We noticed Grass Stains' lineup was different and frankly, a bit weaker than in our last encounter, and we quickly closed them out with 1-2-3 first. Now it was our turn to bat and we put together a nice 2-out rally to put two runs on the board. Iain, Pat and Dave had three consecutive hits. Margaret continued to put zeroes on the board as she masterfully got out of a couple of jams. Our defense and concentration were in full championship mode, while our opponents didn't seem quite as locked in to the moment. We would add three in the 2nd behind a 2-run blast from Jason T, and another four in the 3rd, Wink with a 2-run triple. We were now up 9-0 and the game was quickly getting out of reach for Grass Stains. The threat of a victory by mercy loomed and the Hounds went after it like bloodthirsty sharks. In the bottom of the 4th, the top of the order was up and Jason T, Amy, Iain, and Dave strung together some hits to put another two on the board and the mercy threshold had been reached. The umps gave Grass Stains the dignity of playing out the inning. Final Score: Hounds 11, Grass Stains 0.

For Game 2, Margaret once again got the ball and continued to dominate Grass Stains' hitters. They were only able to get one extra base hit all game. Our defense was spectacular, with Pat and Iain making a number of solid plays. The outfield was also very strong, with Cardillo, Jason T, Cindy, and Wink shutting down anything hit their way. Meanwhile, the offense continued to put runs on the board. In the top of the 2nd the bottom of the order sparked a 4-run rally. George, Wink, Cardillo, and Margaret got consecutive hits and Iain had a sac fly. We were up 5-0 and the game became a defensive battle for the next few innings, although we did manage to score a run in the 5th and the 6th. We could feel we were getting closer to the promised land but we kept our composure and the dugout atmosphere was very encouraging. Margaret continued to close down Grass Stains and there were many innings in which she couldn't have thrown more than 5-6 pitches. Soon it was the top of the 7th and we entered up 7-0. Again the mercy rule loomed, and we would put up 2 runs to make it a distinct possibility. Karim was the winning run at 2nd, and Jason T stroked a single. With two outs and such a big lead, there was no thought of holding Karim as he made the turn at third base. This would be the most exciting play of the game, and would provide the only drama of the series. Would Karim score? Unfortunately, Grass Stains made a nice relay throw and gunned out Karim at the plate to maintain their dignity. However, they came up in their last licks and were quickly down to their last out. The final play was a 6-3 from Iain to Dave and it was finally time to celebrate. Final Score: Hounds 9, Grass Stains 0.

We are the champs! We were the best team in the league all season and we proved it in the playoffs. The end was a bit anticlimactic but we suffered plenty the previous weekend. That happens a lot in the bigs, where the LCS is the classic and the World Series turns out to be a sweep. To shut out an opponent twice in a championship series is quite an impressive feat. Clearly, Grass Stains might have been missing a player or two, but the truth is we were missing people too and we would have beaten any team with the way we played out there. That one loss in the playoffs was a wake-up call, and we have exorcised the demons from last season. We have a tremendously balanced squad and if we can keep the core together, we could be talking D word here. Nice season, Hounds!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Zog: Team MVPs

The voting is closed and the people have spoken. The Hounds MVPs for the Zog 2010 Spring/Summer league have been chosen. The winners are definitely worthy of the honor. So without further adieu, the winners are:

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Gotham City: Hounds Survive the Crucible

After another solid regular season, it was time for the Hounds to get back on the field and pursue the ultimate goal. Following a bye week, the playoffs were upon us and we knew we had to say goodbye to the blowout victories. All the teams remaining looked pretty solid, and the double elimination format provided for much suspense. The weather was perfect and the fields were pristine, and we showed up focused. Our plan was to sweep our first two games which would take us directly to the World Series the following weekend. After lineups were exchanged, it was time to play ball.

For Game 1, we were facing a team called America's Most Wanted. The name was fitting because a couple of their guys definitely looked like they had a conviction or two. But all in all, they were a classy and scrappy team that conducted themselves well throughout. They were away team and up to bat first. Our starting pitcher was our ace, Margaret, so we knew we would have a chance to win the game. In the top of the first, AMW put 1 run on the board assisted by a couple of Hounds errors. The inning could have been a lot worse though, so at least we contained the damage. In the bottom of the first, the top of the order got us on the board with three quick runs– Iain, Dave, and Karim with the RBIs. From there, we shut out AMW, with Margaret working out of a couple of jams. 3 runs is all we would need but we continued to pour it on offensively. Iain was again the horse, going 3 for 3 with 3 RBIs. Entering the bottom of the 5th, we were up 9-1 and were feeling very good about our chances. Jason T. and Iain singled then Dave stepped up to the plate and hit a 3-run bomb that would end the game on mercy rule. AMW looked a little shell shocked. Final Score: Hounds 12, AMW 1. 

That victory took us to Game 2 which was a showdown with the other team in the winner's bracket, Grass Stains. They were a team that we didn't get to face this season, but they beat us fair and square once last season, so we knew they must have a pretty good team. Again we were the home team, and the manager saw no need to change much from the previous game. Margaret again got the ball and in the first, Grass Stains were able to string together some hits and score some runs. Let's give them credit, they made some solid contact, nothing more to it. We entered the bottom of the first down 0-4. In the bottom of the inning, we countered with 2 runs, Schimmy and Dave driving them in. We could have scored more in the inning, but Grass Stains made some nifty defensive plays on some well-hit balls. Unfortunately, our bats went silent in this game after the 1st and we were blanked in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, & 5th. Meanwhile, Margaret and the defense kept us in the game, making this one a very tense affair. We would tack on a run in the 6th, and we entered our last licks down 3-7. The first two hitters of the inning flew out but then Iain singled and Dave walked. We had something going, and Alan then stepped up and stroked a clutch single. Unfortunately, the Big Fella took a gamble that didn't pay off, and was called out trying to go 1st to 3rd on a single. Despite the protests from some quarters, it was the correct call and our rally and the game were both over. Now we were the ones shell-shocked and we knew next game was do-or-die. Final Score: Hounds 4, Grass Stains 7.

That loss took us to a re-match in Game 3 with AMW that will go down as a classic game in Hounds history. One game in which the winner advances to the championship, and the loser goes home. Both teams were feeling the effects of being out all day in the sun. We felt good coming in having mercied AMW just hours earlier. However, they were full of fighting spirit and would give us everything we could handle. Margaret again took the ball, and continued her consistent form. AMW scored 2 in the 1st off a long home run. We were quiet in the 1st and 2nd, and mustered a scoring threat that was squelched in the 3rd. Again we went out quietly in the bottom of the 4th, and in the top of the 5th, AMW would add on two runs. Now we were down 0-4, and showing no signs of life. Things began to look a little bleak. But we never got too down on ourselves and we knew all we needed was for a thing or two to go our way and we could be right back in this thing. Our fans and bench were providing raucous support, and that pulled us from of the depths of despair. In the bottom of the 5th, MikePa drove in Pat to finally put us on the board, and we could sense some momentum building. We closed out AMW 1-2-3 in the top of the 6th, and we knew we were running out of chances. Iain led off the frame with a single, and Dave followed with a walk. Jason T. then stroked a single but Iain was thrown out at the plate. Now, we had runners on 2nd and 3rd with only one out. Schimmy then followed with a single to score Dave. Pat followed up with an RBI single, and all of a sudden we were in very good shape. Then the key play might have been a walk that Wink drew which allowed Margaret to also walk and drove in 2 runs. AMW's pitcher lost his composure a bit and Mike and Cindy also got on through BBs. At the end of the inning, we were up 7-4 and had a chance to close them out in the next inning. AMW would score a meaningless run in the 7th to make it close, but a fly ball to left ended the game. We were all happy but we were also mentally and physically drained after the roller coaster ride of emotions. Final Score: Hounds 7, AMW 5.

Let's give credit to our team, we showed tons of heart in pulling this one out. Our players put egos aside and drew the important walks that gave us the grip on this ballgame. We are very much alive after being on life support for a very brief period. We have a tall order next week, but I am confident we will give it our all and I like our chances.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Zog: Vote for Team MVPs

We're still soaking up the glory of our dominating championship performance, and it's a good time to select the team MVPs. There are a lot of candidates to choose from, a testament to the balance of our squad. Here is a look at the final regular season stats if you need some help making a decision. Please vote for one male and one female Hound. And remember, this for Zog League only. Winners get a nifty piece of Hounds swag.

Team MVPs(1 Male, 1 Female)
Jason C.
Wink free polls

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Zog: Hounds Repeat

The finale of the Zog Spring/Summer 2010 season brought us to Riverbank State Park and a championship showdown with Who's On First. These were the last two division champs squaring off in what was expected to be a close game. WOF had beaten us the last two times we played them, but we knew there were circumstances which prevented us from being at our best on those occasions. Our opponents came into the game very confident, one might even say cocky. But what they didn't know is that the Hounds were confident too, it was just a quiet confidence that we exuded. The setting was Riverbank State Park, also known as Hounds Field. The weather was perfect after threats of rain. After some pre-game gamesmanship by your humble Captain, it was time to play ball.

WOF was the away team and as such were up to bat first. Our starting pitcher was Juiena, who had been rock solid for us all season long and was coming off a strong performance in the semi. In the first, we were a bit jittery and committed a couple of miscues that allowed WOF to put two runs on the board. We controlled the damage though and got out of a potentially big inning. Now it was our turn to bat and the offense got right to work. MikePa drew a walk before Iain drove him in with a triple. Dave followed with an RBI double, and just like that, the score was tied. Next, WOF gifted Mega the dreaded 4 pitch walk which allowed Juiena to also walk. The Cap then stroked a 2-RBI single before being called out on a questionable baserunning decision. Wink drove in a run too and now we were up 5-2 after the first. After an uneventful 2nd inning, we blew the game open with some fantastic hitting. We would score 11 in the 3rd, with the entire lineup getting in on the fun. Pretty much everyone had a good offensive game but some of the standouts were MikePa(2-3, 2 BB, RBI, 3 RS) Cindy(3-4, BB, RBI, 3 RS), Iain(4-5, 4 RBI, 4 RS), Dave(4-4, 5 RBI, 3 RS), Juiena(2-3, BB, 2 RBI, 3 RS), and WInk(4-4, 3 RBI, 2 RS). 

Once we took the big lead, WOF started to come apart at the seams. We kept our focus though and followed up with multiple runs in the 4th and the 5th, and all the while Juiena maintained dominance over the opponents' hitters. Her high-arc stuff was working really well and her command was impeccable. WOF had little answer for her but did have one nice little moment when one of their ladies hit a solo homer. But the game was well in hand at that point and it would hardly matter. We could sense that victory was imminent and our dugout became quite boisterous aided by some wonderful support from our fans. Our defensive highlights had to be Murph and Dave turning a 5-5-3 double play, MikePa making some nice grabs in the outfield, and Iain & Cindy working the solid middle infield combo. 

In the final inning, WOF was able to muster nothing as they appeared like they just wanted the game over with. And who could blame them as it was a dominating performance from start to finish from the Hounds. The game ended on a simple 5-3 putout from Iain to Dave, and for the second season in a row, we were the last team standing. Final Score: Hounds 24, Who's On First 5.

Needless to say, the victory was exhilarating and some raucous celebration ensued. More on that in a minute. But now is a good time to reflect on what we have accomplished. We have won two championships back-to-back in dominating fashion. Hard to believe it, but we were only 3-2 at one point this season. We closed the season out with a 9-game winning streak, with almost all of those victories coming by double digits. We have put yet another rivalry to bed, as there can be no rivalry with a team that one beats by 19 runs– in a championship game, no less. We faced down a pitcher who gave us trouble in the regular season only to come out and throttle him in the playoffs, a la ZooMass last season. OK, WOF made a couple of errors, but the reality is, we hit really well all night and pretty much the entire second half of the season. We should all be very proud of ourselves because Lord knows we put a lot of hard work into this. We are a formidable opponent for anybody right now and it's time to start thinking about bumping up a division. We have proven everything we can prove in Casual Division. This Fall, prepare for a new challenge.

After the game, The Hounds entourage headed over to Dinosaur BBQ for the championship celebration. The food was plenty and the beverages flowed as we enjoyed the spoils of victory. It was a memorable night for all.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Zog Semi Final: Hounds Lay Down the Gauntlet

The 2nd season has arrived and the Zog single-elimination tournament is always a gut-wrenching affair. The Hounds had finished the season in first place and we earned a bye straight into the semi-final round. Awaiting us in the opposing dugout were the Maroons, upset winners in the wild card round, but a team we have had little difficulty with in the past. The turnout was fantastic and we had nearly our entire squad present. The location was DeWitt Clinton Field, a place where we have always played well. The weather was near perfect even if the night air was a bit thick. After the two captains exchanged pre-game pleasantries, it was time to play ball.

Juiena got the ball as starting pitcher and she closed down the Maroons 1-2-3 in the top of the first. Now it was our turn to bat and we were feeling very confident. Maroons gifted a four-pitch walk to MikePa to start the inning, which allowed Cindy to also walk. Iain then followed up with a 2-RBI triple. The Cap got lucky on a fly to right and turned it into a 3-run homer. We were up 6-0 and we were off to the races. In the 3rd we would add 5 more runs to really put Maroons in a deep hole. The heart of the order came up very big in the game with Iain(2-4, HR, 3 RBI), Dave(2-4, RBI, 2 RS), Mega(3-4, HR, 2 RBI, 3 RS), Juiena(3-3, BB, 4 RS), George(3-4, HR, 5 RBI, 3 RS), Wink(2-4, HR, 6 RBI, 2 RS) and Push(2-3, RBI) all either scoring or driving in at least one run. Meanwhile, Juiena was cruising and Maroons were having much difficulty stringing together hits. In the later innings, we switched things up somewhat defensively and unfortunately, there were some miscues. That allowed Maroons to tack on some runs but the result was never really in question. Juiena closed them out in the 7th to make it yet another Hounds blowout victory. Final Score: Hounds 18, Maroons 5.

I like the aggressiveness we showed today. We are playing excellent ball but we still have one more hurdle to climb. We must stay hungry and focused heading into this last game. It won't be easy but I know we can do it.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Gotham City: Final Regular Season Player Stats

The final player stats have been compiled and it was a solid all-around season for the Hounds. Iain won the batting title for the 2nd season in a row, hitting an unreal .862. He also set new Central Park Hounds records in Home Runs and RBIs to also win the triple crown. MikePa gave him a run for his money in the Batting Average department, hitting an impressive .810. Pat was having a monster season until it was derailed a bit by absence, but he still finished among the team leaders in the triple crown categories.

For the ladies, Schimmy had the highest average but did not have enough ABs to qualify. Cindy and Jessie hit over .400, but the batting average leader was Camille at .472. She also scored 8 runs and had a very solid On Base Percentage of .591. 

On the pitching side, Margaret dominated, posting an unbelievable 1.94 ERA. That's unreal for this type of softball. Whether it was starting or relieving, she was money in the bank. Amy had an impressive outing, perhaps something to watch for in the future. Pat and Wink stepped up to pitch and did admirably.

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Gotham City: Hounds Sweep Their Way to First

It was a glorious day in Central Park as the Hounds headed over to Heckscher Field to close out the regular season. The league re-arranged the schedule so that in the final week of the season, teams with similar records were facing off with one another. That was a much welcome change as we were somewhat tired of pounding our opponents into submission. In the opposing dugout was the first-place, sole undefeated team remaining in the league, I'd Hit That. 

In Game 1, Margaret took the ball and she delivered her usual ace performance. She closed down IHT in a scoreless top of the first. Next, we were up to bat, and Jason T. led off the game with a walk. Cindy followed with a single, and Iain drove them both in with a double. Dave had an RBI triple in the inning as well, and we were off to a good start. Let's give credit to IHT, they were actually a pretty solid ballclub. They fought back with two in the 2nd, then MikePa answered with a two-run homer. That made the score 5-2 and IHT would never get closer. We played brilliant defense, looking like a well-oiled machine out there. Margaret continued to throw strikes, so much so that the umpires were even singing her praises. We also exposed the weak spots in IHT's defense, and capitalized on their mistakes. They tacked on a meaningless run in the final inning before we closed the game out. Final Score: Hounds 9, I'd Hit That 4.

For Game 2, we came up to bat first. MikePa led off with a triple, and George drove him in on a 6-3. Camille then stroked a single before Iain stepped up and hit a 2-run homer. Wink took the ball looking to build on his previous outing, and he was effective, keeping the ball in the strike zone for the most part, and putting us in a position to win the game. IHT did have a big inning in the top of the first, but that was not entirely the Winkster's doing. We did have some defensive slip-ups which gave IHT extra outs and kept the inning going. We would tie the game in the 3rd, with the top of the order again doing most of the damage. After a quiet 4th, the game was tied 7-7 entering the top of the 5th. Diana led off the inning, and she calmly hit a clutch single to left. The dugout was going nuts and everyone was on the edge of their seats as we all knew how important this game was for us. MikePa followed with a single, and next the Captain drew a walk which drove in the go-ahead run. We were primed for a big inning, and that's exactly what happened. Iain, Dave, Jason C, and Push each had RBIs, with the highlight of the inning being Dave tagging up and scoring on a weak flare that was caught on the lip of the left field grass. Nice hustle, big fella. With that, we were up 12-7, and Margaret came in to relieve Wink who was in line for his 2nd victory of the season. There was little doubt that she would close the door, and for the last out, the ball fittingly passed through the Cy Young winner's(Margaret) and the MVP's(Iain) hands before settling into Dave's glove to close out the game. Final Score: Hounds 12, I'd Hit That 7.

Lots of good news after these games, as sweeping I'd Hit That means that we have finished the season in first place and have clinched a first round playoff bye. So no Gotham City until August 21st which will be the championship round. I am told it will be a double-elimination style tournament. We head into the playoffs playing our best ball of the season and I am confident we can progress very far. Please keep in mind that while we have been fortunate in not having any rain-outs so far, rain could still delay the August 21 championship round so please try to keep the following weekends open as well for now just in case. We are going to need our full-stregth squad to win this thing. Onward to Glory, Hounds.


It would be a long day of softball for some Hounds as Iain, Cindy, Amy, Dave and The Cap took part in the first annual Gotham City All-Star Game. Teams were split up with no particular rhyme or reason, but that hardly mattered, although there was some inevitable pre-game drama. Certain teams didn't want to be paired up with others, but after cooler heads prevailed, a fun and harmonious time was had by all. The Hounds were part of the West All-Stars and we were in full-force as Jason C, MikePa, Diana, Push, and Camille all stayed to support their teammates and provide some much-needed libations. As the refreshments were plentiful, exact details of the game are cloudy, but both 7-inning games were well-played, low scoring affairs. Amy was starting pitcher of the 2nd game, and she did quite well, holding the East All-Stars to only one run. The East and West All-Stars would split the two games, and afterwards everyone was softballed-out and ready to call it a day. 

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Gotham City: Hounds Sweep

With our playoff possibilities firmly locked up, it was time to return to Heckscher Field and return to our sweeping ways. The weather was finally something other than stifling hot, and that was a much welcome change. In the opposing dugout was a scrappy and fun-loving team called We Slap Ballz. 

In Game 1, Margaret was our starting pitcher. As the away team, we came up to bat first. MikePa, Wink, & Camille proceeded to hit back-to-back-to-back singles, and Dave followed with a 3-run home run, his first of two in the game. We would score 5 in the first, and Margaret held WSB to just one homer off a clean shot by their leadoff hitter. There is nothing you can do but tip your cap to the guy, it was a well hit ball. At least it was only a solo shot, and we still had plenty of time to impose our will. We added 1 in the second, 1 in the third, and 2 in the 4th, all the while playing magnificent defense. Cardillo and Jessie had some nice plays in the outfield, and the rest of the team looked really good too. In the 5th, we blew the game open with another big inning, Wink ending it on mercy rule with a 3-run blast. Final Score: Hounds 16, WSB 1.

For Game 2, Wink made his first start for the Hounds after some campaigning, and he backed up his self-confidence with a solid outing. This time, we were home team and we entered the bottom of the first down 0-2. The captain set the table and ledoff with a lucky shot that turned into a solo homer. We scored a quick 5 in the first and would never look back. MikePa hit a solo homer and had a spectacular catch in center, and Diana scored her first run of the season. But the game stayed close throughout, and with the score at 7-5, Margaret came in to pitch the last two innings and sew up the victory. We added to our lead in the top of the 5th, with Iain hitting a 3-run homer. Wink's first victory as a pitcher means we are 10-2 and in great shape heading into the final week of the regular season. Final Score: Hounds 10, WSB 5. Afterwards, we celebrated at our annual team bbq.

I think this was our most solid all-around performance of the season. The defense was really stellar and our hitting was also very good. We are clicking like a well-oiled machine. Let's keep the momentum going into the final week of the regular season. Reliable sources tell me we will be playing one of the top-ranked teams in the league next week.

Zog: Final Regular Season Stats

The final regular season stats have been compiled and it must be said we had a very strong offensive season. All the Hounds single-season records came crashing down. Iain took the triple crown, hitting .844 with 10 Homers and 32 RBIs. Wink set new marks in At Bats and Hits, a testament to his exemplary attendance and consistency. Juiena closed out the season as team leader in Wins, and she won the ladies batting title with a .486 average, almost .200 points higher than her average last spring/summer.

We have to put the regular season behind us now. None of what happened then will count towards what happens next. The two teams that beat us this season lay ahead of us in the playoffs. I have no doubt we are up for the challenge, but we must stay humble, hungry, and smart in order to pull it off.

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Zog: Hounds Annihilate Sporting Wood

The regular season finale brought us to DeWitt Clinton Field in Hell's Kitchen on a warm Summer night. It was a rematch with Sporting Wood, a team we had already dominated earlier in the season. We were primed and pumped to close out the season strongly and head into the playoffs on a high note. We also had playoff positioning at stake, with a victory clinching the top spot in the division and homefield advantage throughout. Sporting Wood is quite frankly, a team that can't hit, run, throw, field or pitch. To top it off they came to the game short-handed, only being able to field a team of eight players. After a brief negotiation, we decided that we would not lend them a player due to the importance of the game for our side. Finally, it was time to play ball.

As the away team, we came to bat first. Sporting Wood's pitcher was not able to find the strike zone, and when he did, he got pounded. Iain, Dave, Mega and Wink all went yard in the first, and we put 10 on the board in that opening frame. The game was pretty much over at that point, as starting pitcher Juiena had given up 10 runs in a game only once this season. She pitched a scoreless first, and in the 2nd we scored another 12 runs to really put the result beyond question. The highlight of the 2nd inning had to be Camille's monster 3-run home was a shot any of the fellas would have been happy to have. The bench went crazy and after that point our motivation became padding our stats and shooting for the Hounds all-time single-game scoring record(27). We then did offer a player to Sporting Wood to stop the bleeding a bit, but their manager stubbornly refused before his team convinced him to accept. By then though, it was too late. We pulled our offer and decided to really step on their throats.

There are too many other offensive highlights to list, but some that come to mind are Iain hitting two homers; one a grand slam, the other a 3-run shot. Dave hit for the cycle, although he could have at least fake-tripped on the turn at first to make his "single" more believable. Mega had two dingers and drove in 4, Camille drove in 5 and Amy had a hustle home run and drove in 4. The record fell in the top of the third, and who knows how much we would have scored if the game hadn't been called due to time limit. Wink came in to relieve Juiena in the 4th, and threw two shutout innings. When the game was over both teams were relieved, but for different reasons. Final Score: Hounds 33, Sporting Wood 1.

Let's give credit to Sporting Wood for mostly being good sports and taking the beating in stride. Sure, there was that one chatty fellow, but we felt too sorry for him to even reply to his banter. 

Now the playoffs are upon us. We have a first-round bye and most likely won't be playing for at least another week. Please bear in mind that playoff games could be scheduled any day in the coming few weeks, we need all hands on deck for the title push. I am very confident we can defend the crown.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Gotham City: Hounds Split

Following a strong performance in our last outing, it was time to measure ourselves against the undefeated, first-place team. The setting was the Great Lawn, and the city was embroiled in a stifling heat wave. Thankfully, a big tree provided shelter from the sun, and the field was in immaculate condition. In the opposing dugout were The Big Cocks, and by the time the day was over, they would demonstrate that they are aptly-named.

For Game 1, Margaret took to the hill and she did what she always does, pitch very well. The Cocks went out 1-2-3 in the first, then it was our turn up to bat. The Cocks made a curious choice for starting pitcher, as the lad was unable to come close to the strike zone. We gladly took the walks and sprinkled some hits in between. Iain, Jason T. & Justin each had 2 RBIs. A 6-run first inning boded well for our chances of winning this one. The Cocks would change pitcher, but by then, the damage had already been done. Meanwhile, Margaret continued to make pitches, and our defense was solid even if there were a couple of miscues. We were up big entering the top of the 5th, and Margaret closed them out to end the game on mercy rule. We realized that The Cocks did not get on base through a clean base hit, giving Margaret her first no-hitter as a Hound. Final Score: Hounds 11, Cocks 0.

For Game 2, George took the ball and pitched decently. He did have a few walks though and the Cocks were able to finally get some base hits. Early in the game, we pointed out that The Cocks' male-to-female ratio in the batting order was too high. The umpired agreed with us but unfortunately, that ruling brought out the worst in our opponents. They became very talkative and obnoxious, but they held the lead and we were unable to silence them with our play. Unbelievably, they gifted us 8 walks but somehow we were not able to fully capitalize. We hit a combined .222 in this game, which won't get us very far in any league. We also had a couple of rally-killing bonehead baserunning plays, with 2 runners getting called out for leading too early. We can't have that kind of stuff happening, guys. We did mount a rally in our last licks, but were only able to get one run on the board before the game ended on a 5-5-3 double play. There was a brief confrontation between the two teams at the end of the game before cooler heads prevailed. Final Score: Hounds 4, Cocks 6.

It was very tough to split against this team, but at least we had a look at the team that was in first up to this point. It's safe to say that we do not have too much to worry about if we have to play them in the future. I am very proud that we were able to just keep playing the game and leave the talking up to them. I know we are going to rebound strongly after this loss.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Gotham City: Stats thru First Half

We're already more than halfway through our Gotham City season and it's time to take a look at the stats. Across the board, averages are lower than on our Zog team, I would chalk that up to better competition and the fact that Central Park plays more true than a lot of the Zog fields.

Props have to go to Iain and Pat, who are having monster run-producing seasons. J-Hizzle is quietly hitting .750, while Alan and Amelia have been strong in their limited opportunities. Rookies Mike and Jessie are distinguishing themselves as well.

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Gotham City: Hounds Shut Down the Mafia

Having gotten off to a flying 6-1 start, the Hounds were back at Heckscher on a steamy Saturday afternoon to keep the winning streak going. Our opponents were a team called Brooklyn Mafia, a team run by a tempestuous young fellow who was out to cut every possible corner. We had previously known this team by another name, and in the previous season we had some testy encounters with them. Thankfully, most of the other guys that had made our encounters so nasty were no longer around. After making it clear we WOULD NOT be willing to share the shaded dugout with them, it was time to play ball.

For Game 1, Margaret took to the mound and she did not back down from the challenge. Mafia had many lefties in their lineup, for some teams this might have caused some difficulty. But not for a team as well-balanced as the Hounds. We played excellent defense and Mafia played right into our hands by hitting several easy fly balls to the outfield. They did score some runs, but we were able to match them and then some. Iain was in full Eliot Ness mode, doing damage to the Mafia by hitting 2 home runs and driving in 4. Pat also had a homer, going back-to-back with Iain in the 5th. Justin(J-Hizzle) also had a nice game, going 3 for 3 with 2 RBIs. The game was tainted by Mafia's dirty tricks, which included lineup chicanery and courtesy runners for players that were not even injured. It made them look all the more stupid when their tricks didn't work. They mounted a brief threat in the last inning before Margaret closed them out. Final Score: Hounds 9, Brooklyn Mafia 4.

For Game 2, we really put them to the sword. Amy stepped up and took the ball this time around, and she pitched very well. Mafia's hitters had no answer for her stuff, and their pitcher continued to serve up meatballs. We were happy to pounce on her, and we were scoring pretty much at will. Iain had another monster game, going 3 for 3, with a homer and 6 RBIs, giving him 10 RBIs total on the day. Dave, Wink, Alan, Claudia, and J-Hizzle all batted 1.000 in this game. Amelia made her return to the lineup by going 2 for 3 with two runs scored and making 3 nifty plays in rapid succession at third base. Before we knew it, a victory by mercy-rule became a distinct and delicious possibility. All we needed was one run to do it, and Iain stepped up to the plate with no out and the bases loaded. He proceeded to hit one of his trademark shots in the rightfield gap to send all the runners home. The league's scorebook may say 11-1, but I have it as Final Score: Hounds 14, Brooklyn Mafia 1.

With this series sweep we have officially put this "rivalry" to bed. There can't be a rivalry when one team dominates the other. Let's save "rival" status for classy teams that can actually play the game, not for opponents who only know how to run their mouths. Nice work, team.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Zog: Stats at the Home Stretch

With only one game left in the regular season, I thought it would be interesting to look at the stats.

Iain has a clear lock on the batting title and home run king, but ol' Wink is blocking his path to the triple crown by one RBI. 

Among the ladies, Juiena has gone on a tear as of late to overtake Push at the top of the batting leaders.

Should be an interesting finish to the season...

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Monday, July 12, 2010

Gotham: Hounds Block Gamma Rays

Having dominated our opponents in our previous Gotham City outing, we headed over to the Great Lawn on a beautiful, hot morning to further cement our status as serious contenders for the trophy. Seems like a lot of Hounds were away this weekend, as the squad was down to only 12 players available. Fortunately, those 12 showed up ready to handle business. In the opposing dugout was Gamma Rays, an Incredible Hulk-inspired team. By the end of the series, we would have them feeling more like Bruce Banner.

For Game 1, Margaret got the call and she answered with her usual dominance. Truth be told, Gamma Rays only had 3 good players, maybe 4. But they were a scrappy if inexperienced bunch that gave us a decent fight in the first game. 

Another truth is that the book is kind of a mess from that game and I was a bit too shall-we-say hungover to remember what exactly happened to sort it all out. What we do know is that Pat & Iain(twice) both went yard, and Margaret was her usual self with both her pitching and her glove. The game was close but never really in doubt. Final Score: Hounds 9, Gamma Rays 3.

Game 2 was different in that we jumped out to a big early lead and never looked back. Margaret was once again the pitcher and Gamma Rays had no answer for her. She also came through with a 2-RBI single. Iain and Pat carried our offense, going a combined 7-8 with 8 RBIs. Jessie had a big game, going 3 for 3 with her first run scored as a Hound. Our defense was solid and the only question was would the game end by mercy rule. We had a couple of opportunities to end it early, but let's give credit to Gamma for not succumbing and keeping their honor intact. Final Score: Hounds 11, Gamma Rays 2.

We are looking good out there. We will definitely be facing tougher opponents in the coming weeks, and that will actually be a good thing. We need a challenge to build our character. Let's keep working hard, Hounds.

Zog: Hounds Batter Rams

Having already clinched a playoff spot, the Hounds headed over to idyllic Heckscher Field in Central Park to face the Rams, a Fordham alumni team that we have faced(and beaten–albeit with some controversy) before. For us, the remainder of the season is about fine tuning our ballclub and building momentum as we enter the playoffs. The Rams came in holding on to the slightest glimmer of hope to make the post-season. The conditions were perfect and the stands were packed with spectators wanting to see some good ball. We would not disappoint.

We were home team for this game, and Margaret got the ball making her 2nd consecutive start. Rams would score 2 runs in the top of the first, and we promptly answered with 3 runs of our own in the bottom of the frame. Wink was the catalyst, hitting a laser in the gap for a 3-run dinger, part of a 5-RBI day for him. The game stayed close for a few innings and we entered the bottom of the 4th with the score tied at 4-4. We thought we were in for a tough finish.

As has been our M.O. in recent games, we put the pedal to the metal in the later innings. MikePa had a 3-run homer of his own in the 4th. Dave & Iain went back-to-back in the 5th. Then in the 6th we really poured it on, scoring 6 runs to put the result beyond doubt. The ladies really stepped up at the plate, going a combined 10-15. Cindy went 2-4, Juiena went 3-4, Claudia smoked a single to left, Amy had a 2-RBI base hit, and Margaret went 3-3. Let's not forget Mr. Clutch Iain who continued his assault on the triple crown by going 4-4 and hitting 2 homers. All the while Margaret shut the opponent down aided by some bend-but-don't-break defense. Rams were demoralized by the time their last at-bat came up and went out meekly to end the game. Final Score: Hounds 17, Rams 4. Protest That!

We are on a roll and the timing could not be better. We have a bit of a long break until our next game (July 28th) and I do not want us to lose our momentum. It may be wise to have a practice soon. Stay Tuned.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Zog: Hounds Show Grit & Clinch a Playoff Spot

Our Zog season finally brought us to one of our favorite fields to play at in Central Park's Great Lawn. The grass was thick and the weather was beautiful. We were fortunate to bump into a catering truck which supplied some much-appreciated libations. After a brief delay waiting for the umpire to appear, the game was set to start. Our opponents were the Hardballers, a cellar-dwelling but scrappy team that was hungry for their first win. 

Margaret was our starting pitcher and as always, she pitched very well. She held Hardballers to 3 runs over 7 innings. Our defense gave up a bit, but mostly took away. Our opponents had a very crafty pitcher too though, and his work combined with some decent defense held us to no runs through the first 3 innings. We were down 0-3 entering our turn at-bat in the bottom of the 4th. We knew we were on the verge of turning this thing around.

The top of the order then came up in the 4th and sparked the turnaround. Alan, Cindy, and George got 3 hits in a row, then Iain stepped up and hit a 3-run home run. Just like that we had overturned the 0-3 deficit to a 4-3 lead. After that, we were off to the races. 10 Hounds had a multiple-hit game, including Murph who went 4-4 and had a ton of action at third base. We scored 9 in the 4th and 6 in the 5th to blow the game open. We continued to make the plays we needed to on defense and closed them out with a 1-2-3 7th. Final Score: Hounds 16, Harballers 3.

With this win we have clinched a playoff berth. I won't congratulate anybody because we have bigger things on our mind and making the playoffs was always a foregone conclusion, at least in my mind. We must continue to build on our momentum as we head into the 2nd season. Our final 2 opponents are in the lower half of the standings, but they both have an outside chance of making the playoffs so you know they will be playing hard. Let's be the dream-crushers.