Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Loan Sharks Chomp Woodpeckers, 22-15

The Sharks avenged their opening-day drubbing at the hands of the Noisy Birds with an assured 22-15 triumph on Tuesday at Shattuck Memorial Coliseum. Kenji Foster’s two-out moon-shot triple to left in the top of the first plated two of the inning’s three runs and got the Sharks off to the proverbial “good start.” Veteran twirler Steve “The Monk” Schnapp gave up 5 runs (3 earned) in the bottom of the 1st, but then settled down and held the Woodpeckers scoreless in the 2nd and 4th, allowing the Sharks to build up what would prove to be an insurmountable lead.

The Sharks’ canny patience at the plate — they drew seven walks — served them well all evening. Rachel Carlson worked a crucial lead-off walk to begin the second. Two batters later, a Kevin Whalen round-tripper knotted the score at 5. Then, with two outs, a walk to Joe Lieber was followed by a quartet of singles from David Spack, Foster, Schnapp, and Mack McNamara that scored two and put the Sharks up 7-5. In the bottom of the second, The Monk’s diving sinkerball and the Sharks’ airtight infield defense kept the Hammerbeaks off the scoreboard while stranding two of their runners at first and third.

In the top of the third the Usurers capitalized on a throwing error by the Woodpecker shortstop to push across three unearned runs, making the score 10-5. The Woodpeckers struck back in the bottom of the frame, scoring four quick runs to draw within one, 10-9. But the Avian rally was snuffed out when “Kenny,” trying to stretch a double into a triple, was gunned down at third by the old reliable 8-1-6-5 relay from centerfield to third via the pitcher and the shortstop. The baroque put-out was followed by a Woodpecker double which was rendered harmless when the next batter grounded to third for the final out of the inning.

In the fourth frame, the Sharks conjured up a two-out, four-run rally, powered by Matt Henzy’s RBI double and David Spack’s three-run homer that rolled all the way to the tunnel in left field. In the bottom of the fourth, with the score 14-9, The Monk calmly set the Woodpeckers down in order to preserve the 5-run bulge.

In the top of the 5th, the Sharks displayed their depth as a phalanx of so-called “subs” entered the game and then hung the crookedest number of the night on the scoreboard. Jonathan Spack got things started with a leadoff walk and one batter later Naomi Shelton followed suit. A grounder through the third-baseman’s 5-hole loaded the bases for Tim Sullivan, who obliged with a single, and Maz Ali, who cracked a double. Dave Hinchen later contributed a single and when the dust had settled, the Sharks had added five runs to make the score 19-9.

In the bottom of the fifth, “Tim” hit a solo home run for the Woodpeckers, and then their cleanup hitter launched a towering shot into the trees. A Shark outfielder tracked it down and fired it to shortstop Ali, who whirled an threw an absolute bullet to third-bagger Rich Cowen, who was in position and ready to tag out an extremely surprised cleanup hitter chugging into third. The crisp throw-relay-catch-and-tag pinched a Woodpecker rally and the Winged Ones would manage only one more run that inning to make the score 19-11.

The sixth inning saw yet another two-out Shark rally, as Mike Whalen launched a two-run tater to left. Sullivan followed up with a single, and then Ali laced a hard shot up the middle. As Sullivan rounded second and cruised into third, the throw from center hit him squarely in the back of the head, the ball ricocheting into the Shark dugout. Apparently none the worse for wear, Sullivan was awarded home for the Sharks’ 22nd run of the evening.

Down 22-11 in the bottom of the sixth, the Feather Patrol refused to fly away quietly. They assembled a two-out, five-run rally, complete with Grand Slam™, that made the score 22-16 and tightened collars a bit on the Shark bench. But after failing to score in the top of the seventh, the Shark defense clamped down to focus on getting three outs in the final inning, doing so while allowing a solitary run to score via a smattering of singles and fielders’ choices.

Loan Sharks 343 453 0 22 22 3
Woodpeckers 504 025 1 17 20 3

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just got back from Toronto, and boy did I miss a lot. I had no idea the softball season had started.

I love your summaries -- very old-timey. Especially the crazy names for the opponents. I am sure Ack-Attack is reading them from the old grandstand in the sky, laughing while he exhorts the 'Sharks to keep up the intensity.

I found some synonyms you can use for the Loansharks: usurers, loan floaters, lenders, loan officers (!), moneymongers, money brokers, pawnbrokers, vigorish-collectors, moneylenders, and shylocks.

I would stay away from that last one though, as some people find Shakespeare references offensive.


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