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.