Thursday, June 30, 2011

YSA: Hounds Shut Down the Bank

Our 8th game of the regular season brought us to DeWitt Clinton Park on a beautiful summer evening. We have played some of our best ball at DeWitt, and tonight would be no different. We entered this game with a record of 7-0 and showing no signs of slowing down our rampage through the Yorkville league. In the opposing dugout was a team representing a bank. After the pleasantries were exchanged between the two managers, it was time to play ball.

As the home team, we took the field first behind George, who was making his 3rd start of the season. As in his previous outing against the Misfits, his command of the strike zone was off. Many unnecessary walks were issued, but fortunately the Hounds defense was superb on the balls that were in play. Iain in particular had a flashy game with the leather, while Cindy continued to distinguish herself at 3rd base. The outfield of Wink, Mike, JT, and Push also made all the plays and frustrated the heck out of the Bank's hitters. In the 1st, George gave up one run, but the damage could have been a lot worse. Now it was our turn to bat and we promptly proceeded to put a 6-spot on the board. Dave and MikePa both went yard, each hitting a 3-run blast. George was able to hold the Bank at bay for the most part, with the Hounds defense starring front and center. Meanwhile, our offense continued to score in every inning but one. The standouts were JT (4-4, 4 RS, RBI), Cindy (3-4, RBI, RS), Iain (4-4, 2 RBI, RS), Dave (2-4, HR, 4 RBI, RS), and Mike (3-3, 6 RBI, 2 RS, 2 HR). 

We built a 14-4 lead heading into the last inning, but George got into a bit of trouble, giving up a 3-run home run and allowing some extra baserunners. With one out, the decision was made to bring Wink on in relief. The Winkster was just what the doctor ordered, as he proceeded to induce the next two batters into outs. Final Score: Hounds 14, Bank 7.

That was a good team we beat out there tonight. We are firing on all cylinders and soon our ace Juiena will be returning from her brief hiatus. We are looking very good right now but we must continue to remember that these regular season wins will count for nothing unless we win the ultimate prize.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Gotham City: Hounds Roll On; Record Now 4-0

Having dominated on Opening Day, it was time for the Hounds to test themselves against a more experienced team. Where the Pitches At is a team that has been around for 3 seasons, albeit with a mediocre record. The few days leading up to this series were sprinkled with showers, but the skies parted just in time for us to get our games in.

For Game 1, we were the road team and came up to bat first. As we did last week, we opened with a big inning, scoring 6 runs. JT had the big hit, a 3-run home run, our only dinger of the day. George took to the mound hoping to build on his previous good outing, and he was effective. The Hounds defense was also firing on all cylinders. Iain and Cindy flashed the leather on the left side of the infield, and the outfield play was solid as well. WPA did not get on base the entire game except for a couple of base on balls. Meanwhile, our offense was quiet in the 2nd and 3rd inning before exploding for another 6 runs in the 4th. The game was called early after WPA could not muster anything in the bottom of the frame. Final Score: Hounds 12, WPA 0. The one downer coming out of this one was that rookie Marguerite tweaked a thigh muscle while on the bases and had to come out of the game. Hope you feel better and can get back out there soon, Marguerite.

For Game 2, we were now the home team, and Cap put the ball in Push's hand. She was making her pitching debut, and she did a good job of keeping us in the game. This game was much closer than the first one, but we never felt like there was any danger of losing it. WPA scored 3 in the 1st, but we countered with 4 in the bottom of the inning. By the end of the 3rd, we had an 11-4 lead. The offense was led by Iain (3-3, 3 RBI, RS), Pat (3-3, RBI), Alan (3-3, RBI, 2 RS), and Mike (2-3, 2 RBI, 2 RS). However, in the later innings our offense was kind of quiet and WPA valiantly fought to make the game close. George came on in relief and he pitched a scoreless 5th before getting into serious trouble in the 6th. WPA had closed the gap to only 2 runs and they had the bases loaded with two outs. However, their rally would go no further as their hitter grounded out to Cindy who made a solid play at 3rd. Push was a winner on her debut, and we let out a big sigh of relief as this one was a bit too close for comfort. Final Score: Hounds 12, WPA 10.

We are on our way, Hounds. We are probably not going to face a top tier team until the latter stages of the season. We just have to make sure we don't get complacent and continue to get better from week to week while we beat up on these mediocre teams.

Friday, June 24, 2011

YSA: Vote for Your Hounds All-Stars

The Yorkville League All-Star Game will be taking place July 26th (make up date July 28th) at DeWitt Clinton Park. The game will be at either 6 or 7 PM. Each team will have two representatives, 1 male, 1 female. Please take a moment to vote for your Hounds All-Stars. Voting closes Friday, July 1st.

YSA: All-Star Nominees (1 male, 1 female)
Jason T.
Wink free polls

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Gotham City: Hounds Lock Up the Bandits

After months of anticipation during a long, cold winter, it was finally time for Opening Day in the Gotham City League. The weather was ideal and the field was in pristine condition. As defending champs, we arrived to the field knowing we would finally see our championship trophy. After a brief moment to enjoy the ultimate prize, we focused on the task at hand, which is repeating as champions. The first step in that mission took place on this glorious day against a gutsy yet disorganized outfit called the Bandits.

In Game 1, we were the away team and came up to bat first. We proceeded to have a huge inning, scoring 8 runs in the frame. The highlight of the inning was a monster 3-run home run by Dave. It was a statement to our opponents that we were not playing around. George took the mound and he pitched solidly, the Bandits were held at bay by some magnificent team defense. In the 2nd we tacked on another 3 runs and we knew a victory by mercy rule would be inevitable. The Bandits continued to give us extra outs and we certainly took advantage. Meanwhile, their offense remained silent. It all ended in the bottom of the 4th. Final Score: Hounds 14, Bandits 0.

For Game 2, we were now the home team and Amy took to the hill. She pitched a solid 2 innings, giving up 4 runs, but escaping out of much greater danger. She kept her team in a position to win the game. Our offense continued to grind it out, pretty much every Hound either scored or drove in a run. Pat came in and pitched two strong innings of relief. Rookie J. Black then came on to close out the game and ensure the sweep. Final Score: Hounds 14, Bandits 4.

What can I say Hounds, we were relentless out there today. Sure, the Bandits weren't very good at this early stage of the season, but we played very well ourselves both offensively and defensively. I have no doubt we are destined for big things again this season. It's going to be tougher– mainly because we have a big target on our backs. The key is whether we are hungry and humble enough to do the small things we need to do to repeat. I believe we are.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

YSA: Hounds Pull Out a Tough One

With the season halfway behind us, it was time to measure ourselves against the 2nd place team in the division. The Misfits had a good record entering this one so we expected a tight game. It was an early start time and we were left somewhat scrambling for bodies again. Once the game started though we had a complete squad of 10 plus a couple of DHs.

George was the starting pitcher and he struggled a bit out there. The Misfits scored 4 in the top of the 1st to put us in a quick hole. We came back with 2 in the bottom of the 1st, Iain and Pat with RBI hits. Let's give credit to the Misfits, on paper, they are a team we should dominate. But softball is not played on paper. They were well-coordinated, and they had a crafty pitcher on the hill. Save for a couple of Hounds, we weren't really getting great swings on her pitches.

George got through the 2nd before falling into trouble again in the 3rd inning. His command was just not there and Cap made the decision to make a change. Wink came on in relief and he immediately threw water on a kindling fire. We got 1 in the bottom of the 3rd before taking the lead in the bottom of the 5th, Karim and Mano with RBIs. We added another in the 6th and would have had more if not for an inexplicably bad call by the umpire on a play at the plate. It was the culmination of a series of bad calls he had made throughout the game, and Cap let his frustration get the best of him. He chewed the ump out a bit before being warned into silence.

We took a 7-4 lead into the top of the 7th, but that lead would not last. The Misfits put 3 on the board aided by some Hounds' miscues. However, we were able to contain the damage and the game went into the bottom of the last inning tied at 7-7. JT, WInk, and Karim hit back-to-back-to-back singles, setting up bases loaded and no outs. Our dugout was buzzing with anticipation but the next two batters were not able to advance the winning run. Now it was all up to MikePa who came to bat with two outs and a chance to be the hero. He calmly stroked a base hit up the middle to drive in JT with the winning run. Best.Win.of.The.Season. Final Score: Hounds 8, Misfits 7.

We have now built a well-deserved two-game lead in the standings. Hopefully having that cushion will allow us to continue to play loose as we prepare for the 2nd season. No, I do not think it is too early to start mentioning the "P" word.

Friday, June 3, 2011

YSA: Stats thru 6 games

The Midway point of the season is always a good time to look at the stats. Unfortunately, we had that one forfeit game, so no stats for that one, but everyone who showed up that day is getting credit for being there. Who knows, decisions about playing time down the road could be based off attendance among other factors.

We're putting up some solid numbers in the batting average department. I gotta give massive props to Jane for being tied for the home run lead at this stage of the season.

(click to enlarge, team leaders in bold)

YSA: Hounds Streak at 6

After a lengthy break away from the game we love, it was time to take the field again and continue our winning streak. Coming in to this showdown with Polo Ralph Lauren, we had put 5 straight wins up and were looking unbeatable. The stage was Central Park's North Meadow on a plush field of Kentucky Bluegrass. Our opponents arrived earlier than us, an unusual situation for the Hounds. The early start time had us scrambling to get enough people there but fortunately the umpire was late and that bought us some time. After the pleasantries were exchanged between the two managers, it was time to play ball.

Juiena got the ball as starting pitcher and she continued her recent run of solid outings. She was efficient out there and we provided her with solid defensive cover for the most part. The top of the 1st was a rough start for us, as PRL were able to put 3 quick runs on the board. At least two of those runs could have been avoided, but we shook it off as we knew it was still early. In the bottom of the 1st, we clawed our way on the board through hustle from MikePa and a sac fly from Pat. We held PRL scoreless in the top of the 2nd, and in the bottom of the frame, we took a lead we would never relinquish. Dave had the big blow of the inning, a long 2-run home run. In the 3rd we would really blow the game open with an explosive 11 runs. PRL contributed mightily to their own demise with some defensive butchery. You can't give the Hounds extra outs, folks. Pretty much everybody in the lineup had a solid day at the plate thanks to the generosity of PRL.

Meanwhile, Juiena continued to cruise, and with a mercy rule victory looming, Cap decided to rest the ace as PRL had clearly had enough. He came in to pitch the last two innings and was able to do a respectable job. The ump called it in the middle of the 5th. Final Score: Hounds 18, Polo 8.

Today was a fun win and we should be happy with the way we played for the most part. I hate to focus on the negative, and I'm not, but I do have to point out that we were a bit sloppy defensively. Against a better team, it could have cost us dearly. I think a lot of it boils down to communication...we need to be loud & vocal with one another out there, and not be shy about talking with each other in between innings too.