Monday, September 26, 2011

YSA: Hounds Fall Again; Season on the Brink

After losing on opening night, it was time to get back on the field and get back to our winning ways. The location was DeWitt Clinton and it was a very humid night in the city. Our opponents were the cityknights, a team made up of some of the members of last season's overall league champs, the citywolves. We knew we would be in for a tough battle and that is exactly what we would get. 

As the away team, we came up to bat first. Cityknights' pitcher is a very crafty fellow, changing speeds, location, and working very quickly. We were able to scratch out a couple of runs in the top of the 1st, MikePa driving in JT with a single, and Pat driving in MikePa with a sac fly. Juiena was our starting pitcher , and she gave it her all out there. cityknights are just a good offensive team and are going to put up runs against anybody. It didn't help that our D wasn't particularly sharp. There was a mixture of nice solid plays and questionable blunders. We got into deep trouble, falling behind 8-2 and in danger of getting blown out. But we fought back gallantly, lead by Juiena, who was a Houdini in the middle innings, getting us out of jam after jam. We put up 2 in the 3rd on RBI base hits from Iain and Pat. Another 2 scored in the 4th on JT's double. Now we were down only 8-6 and finally showing signs of life.  Unfortunately, the comeback would end there. We were able to hold cityknights scoreless for a few innings, but in the bottom of the 6th they put up another 5 spot in what can only be described as a debacle of an inning. We turned a bloop RBI single from one of their bottom of the order hitters into a 3-run home run with our defensive butchery. It was ugly out there, there is no need to sugarcoat it. In the top of the 7th we went out 1-2-3. Final Score: Hounds 6, cityknights 13.

Our record now stands at 0-2 and I think it's time for all of us to ask ourselves some questions. Are we going to continue to play like this? Are we willing to do what it takes to improve? Do we want to come to the ballfield for shits and giggles or do we want to actually win some games? There are some clear remedies from the outset. On the defensive side, we need to be a lot more communicative, and we also have to be smarter out there. There were many throws that should have never been made last night. We really need to think about risk/reward before making some of these throws. We need to accept that these are all good offenses and they are going to put up runs regardless. I know people are just trying to make a play, but sometimes, putting the ball in your pocket IS the best play to make. I am confident that with some adjustments, we can turn around the defense. More troubling is what is happening on the offensive side. We are making it too easy for the opposing defenses. There were two 1-2-3 innings and 2 innings were only 4 batters came to bat this last game. Too many pop ups and easy outs. We have to face the fact that the umpires are allowing these fast pitches and we have to adjust. The only way to improve our hitting right now is to get our timing down, and the only way do that is to go to the batting cages. We have almost two weeks until our next game. I am going to organize something in the Bronx during this break, most likely on Saturday, October 1 late morning/early afternoon. Be there, or go to the cages on your own. We all owe it to ourselves to do this.

Friday, September 16, 2011

YSA: Hounds Lose on Opening Night

WIth the summer firmly in the rear-view mirror, an autumn chill blanketed the city on this Opening Night of the Yorkville Fall Season. Sheets of drizzly rain were intermittently falling throughout the day. The turf fields of DeWitt Clinton were the location, so we knew that the game would not be called unless the rain became torrential. It never did, so we showed up to the field ready to start the new season. As fate would have it, our opponents were the folks from Amalgamated Bank, who we swept in the summer on our way to the title. We knew they would be eager to beat us, and sure enough, they have re-tooled from last season and have brought in some new blood. After the pleasantries were exchanged between the two managers, it was time to play ball.

As the away team, we came up to bat first, and were able to scratch out a run, Mike driving in JT with an RBI double. That was all we would get though, and Amalgamated put a 4-spot up in the bottom of the frame. It did not help that we gave them some extra outs to play with, yours truly being at the forefront of that. However, we battled back with 4 runs of our own in the top of the 2nd. The bottom of the order came up big, with Karim, Amy, and Margaret all getting RBIs. Mano also had an sac fly in the inning. Now we were up 5-4, but we were never able to take control of the game. Pat and JT each had solo home runs in the middle innings, but that was all the scoring we would get. Our bats struggled to put together rallies, and let's give credit to Amalgamated for making most of the plays they needed to make. Meanwhile, they did big damage to us with a couple of 3-run home runs, both of which were legit shots that you can only tip your cap to. We also made some nice defensive plays to keep us close– Mike with a nice assist to first base, and Amy with a heads-up catch behind home plate. Amalgamated had an 8-7 lead heading into the bottom of the 6th, and they were able to pad their lead with two big insurance runs. In our last licks, we were only able to muster a single before we were closed out to end the game. Final Score: Hounds 7, Amalgamated 10.

It's been a long time since any Hounds team has been 0-1. In fact, it's never happened. But, there is a first time for everything, and there is no reason to get hung up on trivial matters. It won't matter that we started 0-1 if we go on to win the championship. But, we are going to have to improve our play if we are to be contenders. Right now, I see our biggest deficiency as being on the offensive side. We are in a bit of a hitting slump as a team. Maybe it's time to hit up the cages.