Sunday, July 24, 2011

Gotham City: Hounds Crash the Swingers' Party

After 4 weeks of dominating all of our competition in the watered-down Gotham City League, the league was shuffled around to do away with all the bad teams, and what we are left in is a much stronger division comprising all of the strong teams. We welcomed the greater challenge, even if the change was a bit sudden and unexpected. With dangerously high triple digit temperatures in the forecast, we knew the task ahead would be difficult. Fortunately, there was a lot of cloud cover, which provided much needed respite from the sun. In the opposing dugout were the Swingers, an outfit that has been around for a while, and whom we dispatched pretty easily back in '09. Now is a different time though and we did not know what to expect. 

For Game 1, we were the away team and came to bat first. We scratched out a run, with Iain driving in Cardillo with a single. We would only get one though, and it was time for our ace Margaret to take the mound. She was her dominant, efficient self, but the Swingers are a much better opponent than we have been playing, and did not make many defensive errors. The game was a low-scoring affair, as our defense was also up to the task. The game was tied at 1 after the 2nd, tied at 2 after 3, and in the 4th, we grabbed a one-run lead. Swingers' pitcher made a critical walk to JT which allowed for Amy to also walk, and JT was driven in by Cardillo. We should have had more but the Swingers held strong and got out of the inning with minimal damage. In the top of the 5th, Iain and Dave led off with base hits, and were driven in on a single by Cap to make it a 5-2 Hounds lead. The Swingers fought back valiantly in the bottom of the frame and scored 2 runs of their own. Cardillo got us a vital insurance run in the top of the 6th with a solo home run, his 3rd of the season. We came out for the bottom of the 6th with a 2-run lead and three outs from victory, and with Margaret still working, we knew had a great chance to win. The Swingers again fought back and were able to get runners on 1st and 2nd with two out. However, their rally would go nowhere as Margaret induced an easy 5-5 put out to end the game. Final Score: Hounds 6, Swingers 4.

For Game 2, Cap saw no need to change the winning formula and Margaret again took to the hill. We had an ugly 1st inning and the Swingers were able to get 4 quick runs on the board. However, we have been in these situations so much by now that we knew we were hardly out of it. We proceeded to put up 4 runs of our own in the bottom of the 1st, as we patched together a magnificent small-ball rally. After Margaret held the Swingers scoreless in the 2nd, we then proceeded to show the power aspect of our game, with Dave launching a big three-run home run deep into the leftfield gap. We scored 5 in the 2nd, we were up 9-4, and here is where our superior conditioning played a major factor. The Swingers were showing signs of fatigue while we continued to play strongly. We added 1 in the 3rd and 3 in the 5th, Iain with a 2-run blast. There was little doubt victory was at hand, and Margaret closed out the Swingers with an easy top of the 6th. Final Score: Hounds 13, Swingers 4.

These were two great victories and we are now on our way in this newly re-shuffled division. There are only 2 weekends left in the regular season, and both series will be against difficult opponents. We have little room for a let down.