Saturday, April 30, 2011

YSA: Hounds Show True Grit

The third game of the YSA season brought us to Central Park's Great Lawn. An overcast sky with threats of rain was the setting, and we knew with the late start time, it would be tricky to get all 7 innings in. Our opponents were the Bombers and they came ready for a fight. We had a phenomenal turnout though and came into the game playing some very solid softball.

As the away team yet again, we came up to bat first. The Bombers' pitcher was erratic as she would be throughout the game. She walked 4 batters in the inning but we were unable to score more than one run, a bases loaded opportunity being squandered. Our ace Juiena was our starting pitcher and she asserted her command early with a scoreless 1st. As the game proceeded, it was clear that this would be a tight encounter. The Bombers lived up to their name by hitting a couple of deep home runs, while we played small ball and grinded out our runs. Both teams exchanged blows and we entered the top of the 5th tied at 6-6. There was tension in the air as the clubs had exchanged some mild words throughout the course of the game. The umpire made it be known that this would be the last inning, as visibility was near zero. It was the appropriate call. Fortunately, we chose that last inning to score 4 big runs. Clutch hits were made by Pat, JT, Jessie, and Dave. Now we were up 10-6 and had to like our chances with our ace still firmly in control. Sure enough, Juice closed out the Bombers in the bottom of the 5th for the complete-game victory. Final Score: Hounds 10, Bombers 6. The night was capped with some libations at Soldier McGee's.

This was one of the best Hounds wins ever. This Bombers team had a stacked lineup, it was almost like we were playing co-ed versus all dudes. I am proud of the way we hung in there and fought our way to victory. Also, we showed we have a balanced attack and can beat teams in many different ways. We won this game tonight with our defense and heads-up baserunning, plain and simple. Our momentum is clearly building, and we are a difficult opponent for any team right now. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

YSA: Hounds Double Up E & Y

After a strong start to the regular season, the Hounds headed over to familiar DeWitt Clinton Field to try to keep the momentum going. It was a grey evening in New York, with droplets raining down on the city all day. We knew that games don't usually get called at DeWitt unless there is lightning, so we showed up expecting to play some ball & hoping for a bigger challenge than on Opening Day. Our opponents were the number crunchers from E & Y, and let's give them credit for being a good team. They had good pitching, fielding, and hitting. I wouldn't be surprised if we see them again in the playoffs. They were short one player though and would have to take an out every 10 batters, which proved to be critical.

As the road team, we came up to bat first. Cindy got on base and was driven in on a triple by Pat. The Bopper probably should have had a home run on the play, but we let him down by not having anyone over at third to coach him in. Our bad on that one, Pat. We were held to one run in the 1st and now it was time to see what E & Y could do. They actually had a good, albeit top-heavy lineup. Our starting pitcher was Juiena and E & Y were able to put up two quick runs in the bottom of the 1st. Now we were down 1-2 and that's the way it would stay until the top of the 3rd. Emergency replacement Angel singled to bring up the top of the order. Wink and C-Rod came through with singles to load the bases. After a fly out, Pat was up and again he launched the ball into the stratosphere. He cleared the bases but was robbed of a home run on a good play at the plate by E & Y. Our big inning was the 4th, when we scored 5 runs to blow the game open. Big offensive games were had by C-Rod(4-5, 4 RS), Pat(4-4, 6 RBI, RS), and Angel(3-3, HR, 2 RBI, 3 RS). 

Meanwhile, Juiena would allow only  one more run for the rest of her outing, a very solid 5 innings. Our defense did some stellar work, led by Wink, who made some spectacular catches in the outfield to rob E & Y's big hitters of at least extra base hits. There was also a great play at the plate involving a fantastic relay from Cindy, Mano, and Pat. Cap came in to pitch the last two innings and although he was a bit shaky, he was able to button up the win for Juice. The game was a lot closer than the final score would indicate. Final Score: Hounds 12, E & Y 6.

We should feel very happy to be 2-0, but more importantly, we played a solid fundamental game today. We just need to be more focused in the early innings so we avoid some of the mistakes we have been making. I feel very good about this team though and I know with some hard work, we are destined for big things this season.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

YSA: Hounds Ain't Playin'

With the new season finally upon us, it was time to take the field and measure up against the new competition in the Yorkville league. Old Man Winter relinquished his grasp on the city unexpectedly, and the stage was set with a pristine turf field and a sunny 75 degree day. One could not have asked for a better day for the occasion. In the opposing dugout were the L'OXSTARS, representing a chain of make-up and candle stores. Needless to say, the need to beat the team from the make-up and candle store was imperative.

As the road team, we came up to bat first. L'OX pitcher was erratic to start the game and he proceeded to walk the first three batters he faced. That set the table for Iain who hit a 3-run triple. Another walk was followed by a 2-run double from new Hound Mano. We took a 5-0 lead into the bottom of the first and we knew we had this team. 

Juiena got the ball as starting pitcher and asserted her command early. L'OX scored one run in the 1st, but the game would never be closer. We scored another 8 in the 2nd, highlighted by home runs from Pat, JT, and rookie Jane. The game was now out of hand and it became about getting good work in and making sure nobody got hurt. Amy came in to pitch in the 3rd and put in two solid innings. Meanwhile, our offense continued to roll. Everybody scored or drove in a run, some standouts were Mike(3-4, BB, HR, 4 RS, 3 RBI), Cindy(2-3, BB, 3 RS), Iain(4-4, 4 RS, 7 RBI), Pat (3-3, BB, 2 HR, 4 RS, 5 RBI), and Amy (3-4, RS, RBI). Big props also to the two Hounds making their debuts, Mano (2-4, 2 RBI, fine outfield assist at home) and Jane (2-2, 2 BB, 2 HR, 3 RS, 3 RBI). The best moments of the game had to be both of Jane's home runs, which were not cheap by any stretch, and Pat's 2nd dinger which was a tape-measure bomb. Cap came in to pitch the last inning and struck out the last two batters to end the game. The game was over and we continued our streak of winning on Opening Day going back to the beginning of the Hounds over 3 years and about 9 seasons ago. Final Score: Hounds 26, L'OXSTARS 3.

While we should definitely be happy to start the season on an extremely positive note, we can't expect it to be this easy all the time. The L'OXSTARS, God bless 'em, were pretty terrible. We're 1-0 but the season will hopefully really start next week.