The Cougars rebounded last night with an oddly uninspired and uninspiring 19-7 victory in Game 2 of the best of 3 finals of the Sudbury Men’s Modified Fast-Pitch Softball C Division. We had lost 5-2 in Game 1 last Friday, after sweeping the semifinals earlier in the week.
We had already earned promotion to the B Division by winning the regular season title with a 12-4 record. I was our late game SS for most of the season, manning the leftwardmost position on the defensive spectrum for our 8:15 games while another fellow played there for the 6:45 games (I generally don’t go to games before the boy goes to sleep, while the other fellow works late shift). I’ve got good range and a very strong arm, but had trouble getting comfortable fielding grounders this year, while the other fellow doesn’t make as many plays but is surer with the glove. Economically, it’s probably close to a wash, but perhaps there’s a greater psychological cost to an error than the psychological gain from an outstanding play. Or maybe it’s the other way around, but in any event, I was playing the outfield in the playoffs, where my arm and range should still be strengths while I didn’t have to worry about any bad hops.
The outlook wasn’t good for a while. We didn’t score in the first, while their leadoff hitter beat out a bunt, then hustled to second because no one was covering the base, where he scored on a hit. Again we were scoreless in the second (I hit a rope right at the LCF), and they pushed across another. Again no runs in the third (and we had averaged 14.5 runs per game in the regular season), while they got 2. At this point we had scored only 2 runs in 10 innings in the series.
The home plate ump seemed bipolar this game, varying the strike zone depending on whether the hitter or the batting team was ahead or behind. We benefited from this in the top of the 4th, as our leadoff hitter took a 2 strike pitch that should have rung him up but was called a ball, then went on to draw a walk that started an 8 run rally (I had an E-5 or infield single in there). I came up again in the 6th with a runner on first and no outs, and hit my first homer of the season (and oddly only the third of the season for the team that went over the fence, while we were serving up at least 1 per game to our opponents), a fly ball down the line that just carried the fence. We added another run that inning, then scored another 8 runs in the last inning with 2 outs, making the final three outs as anti-climactic as they could be.
Unfortunately, the other team will not be able to field a team for the scheduled finale on Friday, and we can’t field a team next week, and our pitcher will be gone the week after, so we’ll probably just be declared co-champs or co-participants.
I had a disappointing year at the plate, hitting .421/.425/.684, creating about 11 runs per game. I was struggling with my mechanics in the middle of the season, as I think I was dropping my shoulder and hitting it into the air too much. (I attribute the start of the slump to being told to relax out there, as I generally just try to hit the ball very hard every time and so went to the plate with a glare.) I refuse to bunt, and every time I’ve tried to go to right field I’ve hit the ball feebly. Perhaps I’ll spend some time at the batting cage before next season to work on the latter. Oh, well. All in all, it’s better to win the C Division than to lose it.