Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Cougars S-ball

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.

10 comments:

Wicks said...

At least this wasn't about golf.

luke said...

modified fastpitch? is that like supermodified shovel racing?

parinella said...

Modified fast-pitch = fast-pitch without windmilling. Also, 10 players, not 9. And no stealing. Some of the guys in the A Division can bring it, less so in B and not at all in C.

Edward Lee said...

So what's a good BA for this league? .600? .750? Same question for OBP and SLG.

luke said...

so does moving up to the b league make this the miracle of sommerville di mass?

parinella said...

Only if we win B next year and continue up to A, playing before packed stadiums of screaming insane fans.

parinella said...

Team averaged .404/.466/.540 in 2004, when we scored about 11 RPG. I don't have the averages for this year, but they are higher.

My Runs Created estimator probably isn't accurate for this league, as it uses one of Bill James' formulae designed for about a 5 RPG environment with not that many errors. Perhaps I'll use one of the linear weights estimates instead to get a better one.

My line from 2003: 0.536/0.567/1.000, creating about 20 RPG, which led the team. (I only played 2 games in 2004.)

sometallskinnykid said...

what was your ops?

parinella said...

Batting lines above are BA/OBP/SLG, so my OPS is .425 + .684 = 1.109. That would have been 4th last year and 6th the year before, probably worse than that this year.

I only drew one walk this year (and that one was reluctantly). One fellow drew 13 of them somehow (a good hitter no less). I don't consider myself a hack up there, as I generally will take a first strike, and will even pass by a second strike if I don't think it's a hittable pitch (take a look at this image from Ted Williams' "The Science of Hitting", a must read for anyone serious about his hitting). But I don't play enough (and didn't get to a cage this year) to feel comfortable placing the ball near the lines or deliberately fouling off borderline 2-strike pitches, so a higher % of my batted balls went into play than did others. That's my theory, at least.

Anonymous said...

Edward -- team avg was (is?) about .460, and this is the highest scoring team (but, oddly, probably one of the lower slugging) in the entire league (A, B, C). My guess is that the league avgs are probably in the neighborhood of .440-.450, OBP near .500, and slugging probably .610 or so. We were (are?) .462, .514, .570. Jim was (is?) .421, .435, .684. Team leaders were (are?) at .705, .729, and .971. Jim's OPS was seventh best on the team, I believe.

Coach