Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Loan Sharks Walk All Over Jah Energy, 13-12

Another warm, sunny evening for softball at Shattuck as the wily Loan Sharks led for most of the game, lost the lead in the top of the 7th, came back to tie it in the bottom of the seventh, and then, in bottom of the 8th, patiently allowed Jah Energy reliever Ronnie to walk home the winning run, giving the Sharks a 13-12 victory. It was their second victory in two days, both by one-run margins, and the Sharks improved to 3-4 on the season. The scribes in the press box were unanimous: the Sharks are now clearly the hottest team in the league, going two-for-June so far.

The Sharks jumped out to an early 8-1 lead after two innings via productive at-bats up and down the lineup, including a 2-run homer by Matt Henzy in the first. The Shark bats fell silent, however, in innings 3 and 4, as Jah crept back into the game, tying it 8-8 after four and a half innings.

Then, for some reason, Jah manager Seth replaced his pitcher Dewey with Ronnie, who normally plays in the outfield when he’s not causing havoc on the basepaths. Immediately, the Shark bench noted Ronnie’s control problems. He tried to throw the cutter, the slider, the curve, the slurve, the changeup, the circle-change. He featured the 4-seamer, the 2-seamer — and once in a while, the 3-seamer. But he could not find the plate. Three walks in the fifth to the bottom of the order led to two Shark runs and a 10-8 lead.

But Jah came back with one run in the 6th and three more in the 7th to move in front, 12-10. In the bottom of the seventh, the bottom-of-the-order Shark batters again kept their bats on their shoulders as Ronnie’s control problems resurfaced. The Sharks drew three more walks, setting the table for Stewart Wolfe's dramatic bases-loaded, two-out, two-run, game-tying single that sailed just over the shortstop's glove into left field. On to extra innings with the game tied at 12...

After holding Jah scoreless in the top of the 8th, the Sharks remained patient at the plate. With one out in the bottom of the 8th, Peter Holladay walked. Jess Rousselle followed with a hard single up the middle that tied up the Jah fielders, allowing Holladay to advance to third. With the winning run at third and one out, the Jah bench spied Catfish Hartman loading up his bat with pine-tar and opted to intentionally walk him to load the bases, rather than give him the opportunity — for the first and possibly the last time in his Walter Mitty existence — to hit a glorious walk-off game-winning RBI. No matter. With the bases loaded, Naomi Shelton strode to the box and expertly appraised six of Ronnie’s pitches: a ball, a ball, a called strike, a ball, a called strike...and another ball. Ballgame.

Jah Energy 104 031 30 12 19 3
Loan Sharks 440 020 21 13 15 3

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