Monday, April 22, 2013

YSA: Hounds Pull Out a Gutsy Win

Looking to build on the momentum of our previous win, the Hounds took to the field at Harlem River Park. It was a crisp day more appropriate for fall league, but the sun was out in full force. The opponents were the Furies, a classy ballclub that edged out a close one against us last fall.

As the home team, we took the field first behind Iain, our starting pitcher. Ol' Mr. Clutch was masterful, consistently staying in the zone and containing the Furies hard-hitting offense. They put a run on the board in the 1st off two clean hits. We responded though with three of our own. From there it was a closely-contested ball game, with each team taking turns with the lead. Our defense was in bend but don't break mode– we made a couple of blunders and positioning mistakes, but we made the plays we needed to and kept the game within reach. Rookie Teresa had some nice plays in the outfield and Karim was nimble over at 1st base. Mike had another big day going 3 for 3 with 2RBIs and a run scored, while Iain also went 3 for 3 including a solo homer and the tie-breaking hit in the bottom of the 6th. We took a one run lead into the top of the 7th, and were able to close out Furies with a strong 1-2-3 inning. Final Score: Hounds 8, Furies 7.

What. A. Gutsy. Win. This Furies team had some fantastic hitters and we were able to contain them. Give yourselves a lot of credit for that. We may not have been firing on all cylinders (especially offensively) in this one, but we stilled pulled out the win. Winning when you don't play your best is the hallmark of a good team. We have now won two in a row and are a danger to any team that crosses our path right now. There's no reason we can't go on one of our long winning streaks. The Hounds have been unleashed. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

YSA: Hounds Bounce Back

After a tough loss on Opening Day, the Hounds took the field looking to bounce back. The location was Riverside Park, and the opponents were the team from Paragon Sports. After the usual pleasantries were exchanged between the two managers, it was time to play ball.

 As the home team, we took the field first behind Wink, who was making his first start of the season. A nice 5-5-3 double play set the tone early that this we would be a different defensive performance than last week. Paragon was still able to score a run but that is all they would get in the top of the 1st. As we came to bat in the bottom of the frame, it was evident that Paragon was short-handed and only had 8 fielders out on the field. We were quick to capitalize, scoring 7 runs in the 1st. Mike set the tone, hitting a leadoff solo home run, part of a huge day for MIkePa (4-4, 3 HR, 4 RBI, 4 RS). Paragon eventually had some more people show up and were able to field a complete team. They scored 3 runs in the 3rd, but we also kept putting numbers on the board. We brought an 11-4 lead into the bottom of the 5th, and then we really exploded offensively to put the game to bed. 11 runs were scored in the inning. Every Hound made a contribution, but some of the standouts were Pat (3-3, RBI, RS), Paige (2-2, RBI, RS) and Sam (3-3, 3 RBI, 3 RS). Wink also helped his own cause by going 1-2 with a SAC and 3 RBIs. The umpire finally and mercifully ended the game after Iain's 2-RBI triple. Final Score: Hounds 22, Paragon 4. (mercy) 

This was a great win, Hounds. I was particularly impressed with the way we kept up the intensity even though we had a big lead throughout. There weren't very many cheap hits in that 5th inning. Our defense was also much stronger than last game, although there is always room for improvement. If we play like this all the time, we will be a difficult opponent for anybody. Keep up the good work, team.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

YSA: Hounds Fall on Opening Day

There was much excitement as the Hounds gathered at DeWitt Clinton Park for Opening Day 2013. We could not have asked for better conditions: the weather was perfect for softball, mid 70's with a late afternoon sun blanketing the field. The field itself had also clearly undergone some repair work and was in good shape. Our opponents were The Headliners, a solid yet somewhat mouthy ballclub. Their mouthiness made the end result of this game that much more difficult to swallow...

Our starting pitcher was Juiena, and as she usually does, she threw strikes and gave no one a free pass. As the home team, we took the field first, and there were some early warning signs in the top of the 1st. Headliners got 3 runs aided by some defensive miscues. We were able to get one back in the bottom of the frame on rookie Angel's RBI double. However, things got ugly in the top of the 2nd, as our defense really struggled and our opponents made us pay. They put up a 7-spot and all of a sudden we were down 10-1. Things were looking bleak, but I was encouraged by the fact that we did not give up. We battled back to get the game as close as 11-8, but that is as close as we would get. Wink came on in relief of Juice and did an admirable job of keeping us within striking distance. There were some nice moments for us, Pat hit one of his tape-measure shots for a two-run home run, Mano had a solo jack, rookie Andy went 3-3 with 2 RBIs in his Hounds debut, and Mike made some nice plays in the outfield. Unfortunately, we did not do enough on this day and our opponents were able to get the win comfortably. Final Score: Hounds 9, Headliners 16.

I said it at the field but it bears repeating: the defensive effort we put in today is not going to get it done in this division. If we continue to play like that, it will be a long and frustrating season. The team we played was good, but they have weaknesses and I still believe we are better top to bottom. We just butchered way too many routine plays. We are better than this, team. We have got to get our act together– our next game is just in a few days.