Friday, April 30, 2010

Zog: Hounds Sign Up Lisa

The Hounds today signed up Lisa from Brooklyn. She's a cool girl that knows how to play the game. She will be a great addition to our ballclub. Step up and introduce yourself when you see her, show her how friendly Hounds can be...

Zog: Hounds lose Schimmy

It is my sad duty to report that the Zog Hounds have lost Schimmy for the season. She's movin' on up in the world and her new duties will prevent her from making any of the remaining games. Schimmy was an integral part of our Fall '09 championship, and she will be missed not only for her playing ability, but also her leadership and her laid-back Cali style in the clubhouse. I will also miss riding in her SUV to the games. That was always an adventure. Continued success Schimmy! Your #10 jersey is retired, the door is always open for you to come back...

Monday, April 19, 2010

Zog: Team Stats After 3 Games

Here are the stats through the first 3 games. Sure, it is still very early in the season, but then again, a quarter of the season is already behind us. There are way too many zeros in this stat sheet. Props to Mike, Wink, Dave, and Mega, who have been carrying our offense. The rest of us need to step it up.
(click to enlarge)

Zog: Hounds Cough One Up

For our 3rd game of the young season, it was over to the brand-new fields of Randall's Island. We had never played there before, so we were not sure what to expect. Luckily, the fields were in great shape and the weather was beautiful even if it was a bit windy. We came into this game riding high after two blowout victories to start the season. In the opposing dugout was an outfit called Empty Pitchers, all decked out in New York Yankees replica jerseys. We had already played(and lost) to them once before, so we knew we would be in for a tough game.

As the away team , we came up to bat first. Wink and Mike set the table, and we strung a bunch of hits together to jump out to a quick 6-0 lead. Juiena was once again our starting pitcher and she continued her dominance in the early innings. Our defense was in bend-don't-break mode, and we were able to hold off Empty Pitchers through the first 4 innings. After the top of the 5th, we were up 8-1, and it seemed like we were going to cruise to victory.

In the bottom of the 5th, things took a turn for the worse. Empty Pitcher's  hitters' started to make better contact with the ball, and our defense reverted back to keystone cops mode, stumblin' and bumblin' all over the field. By the time the 5th inning was over, the game was tied 8-8, and the momentum had swung over to the other side. Our offense was a bit anemic in the later innings, and we were only able to add on one more run. E.P. scored 4 in the bottom of the 6th, and we entered our last licks down by 3. We proceeded to meekly hit 3 easy ground balls to go out 1-2-3 and end the game. Final Score: Empty Pitchers 12, Hounds 9.

As I reflect on this game, I see good news and bad news. The bad news is that there is no way we are going to win the championship if we play the way we did yesterday. The competition this season is just too good. The good news is it is still very early in the season, and I know we can make adjustments and improve. But it's going to take some work. On defense, we need to do a better job of communicating with one another. So far our offense has been carried by a handful of people, we need to step it up and spread the production around. It's actually a good thing that we have a two week break. We now have some time to work on some things before our next game.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Zog: Hounds Make it Two in a Row

For our second game of the season, it was over to Roosevelt Island's Pony Field. We wanted to keep our momentum going from opening day, and we also knew that the tougher games on our schedule lay on the horizon. Our team showed up to the field nice and early, which is always good. We were able to take some B.P. and by the time the ump said "play ball", we were fired up and ready to kick some tail. A big shout-out to Camille and Cindy for coming out this game and helping us make up our numbers. Without them, we would have been short two ladies and we would have been at a significant disadvantage.

Once again our starting pitcher was Juiena, and she was again masterful throughout. She walked no one and her high-arc stuff was very effective. She was able to keep our opponents' leadoff hitter at bay, and that set the tone for the rest of the evening. The defense behind her was generally solid even if we did have a couple of miscues. On offense, the production was spread around evenly, but the standouts were Dave and Wink. The Big Fella went 4 for 4 with 4 RBIs and 3 runs scored, and the Winkster also went 4 for 4 with 4 RBIs and a run scored. Actually neither team had a home run in this game, which is pretty unusual. 

The game was pretty tight for the first couple of innings. With the score tied at 2-2 in the bottom of the 3rd, we batted around and exploded for 10 runs. The highlight of that inning had to be Camille's well-hit triple that drove in two. After that, we would never look back. Juiena continued her streak of striking out at least one batter a game, and after a meaningless run scored in the 7th, the final out of the game was fittingly a comebacker to the pitcher. Final Score: Hounds 18, Hogs 6.

We should feel really good about our strong start. However, let's not get cocky. I know for a fact that we have tougher opponents ahead of us. Also, while we have generally been very strong, I still see areas where we can improve. Namely, our defense needs to get tighter(I'm saying this for myself as much as anybody) and we also have to make sure we don't get out-hustled by any other teams. That and line-drive hitting will be the path to another title. Let's get back at it again this Sunday(fingers crossed).

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Hounds Tonic

On gameday, I'm always looking for a way to get an edge and give my body that extra boost. I used to drink a Red Bull an hour before the game, but that stuff gives you a jittery energy that wears off very quickly, and the crash that follows makes you more tired than before you drank it. I recently discovered an all-natural drink that gives me tons of energy almost immediately after I drink it with no bad after-effects. It is now part of my pre-game ritual. I call it the Hounds Tonic.

Hounds Tonic
1. Equal Parts:

2. A handful of Parsley (this is critical)

3. About 2 tablespoons of lemon juice

Pass ingredients 1 & 2 through a juicer. Add the lemon juice and you have yourselves a Hounds Tonic. Also available at most good juice bars.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Zog: Opening Night: Hounds Mean Business

After weeks of anticipation, Opening Day was finally upon us. It was a crisp Friday night in the big city, and the Hounds headed over to DeWitt Clinton Field in Midtown hoping to start the season off on the right foot. It was our first game since last season's championship victory, and after the banner was raised, it was time to play ball. In the opposing dugout was a team called Greatest Hits, a squad we have played(and beaten) a few times before. They looked hungry though so we knew we were in for a challenge.

Juiena was our starting pitcher after having come off a strong Spring Training. She pitched masterfully the whole night, not giving up a single walk, and even recording multiple strikeouts. In the first inning, we had some defensive mishaps, and Greatest Hits were able to capitalize and jump out to a quick 3-0 lead. We knew that would be easy to overcome, and sure enough, over the next couple of innings we turned that deficit into a two-run lead. The first four hitters in the lineup (George, Mike, Push, Dave) did their jobs, going a combined 9 for 10 with 6 runs scored. It was also Amy's first game back after her long injury layoff, and she played like she hadn't lost a step, going 1 for 2 with a walk and two runs scored.

In the second half of the game, we blew it open. The catalyst was a 4 pitch walk to Wink which allowed Amy to also walk and brought our reigning World Series M.V.P. Mega up to the plate. As cool as can be, he promptly hit one of his trademark fly balls to right field. Once it bounced over the rightfielders' head, we knew that was the first Hounds home run of the season. We tacked on a couple more in the 5th, and in the 6th, Wink stepped up and hit another 3-run bomb. Our defense settled down after the early jitters, and Juiena closed the game out in the 7th to get the complete game victory. Final Score: Hounds 16, Greatest Hits 5.

Solid. Team. Win. Let's give a lot of credit to Greatest Hits, they hustled their butts off all night and made some great defensive plays to keep themselves in the game. Our lineup was just much deeper than theirs, and that proved to be the difference on the night. Sure, we made a couple of errors, but considering that it was the first game of the season, I think we played very well. It's great to start the season off with a 'W'. Let's keep it going, guys.