Dog Days of Summer

We lost both our softball games on Sunday.

Going onto the field, I felt we had a good chance at winning both games. We’ve been playing better even though we’ve lost our heaviest hitter. However, our shortstop, took the day off to watch the World Cup soccer finals. The team gave him a hard time about it, but it’s not like we’re paying him to be there.

Our first game against Team Oasis had all the makings of a trouncing. They scored five runs in their first inning and we weren’t hitting as well as we could have. I was called out on a single at first that I felt I deserved, but there was no sense in arguing it. We were able to narrow the score in the fifth inning with a five run inning.

“You guys really needed that,” the umpire said as I was taking my place behind home plate.

“We’re not the best team in the league,” I told him, “But we usually manage to come back late in the game.”

“By nine runs?”

“I’m not saying we can pull it off,” I said. “But it’s been known to happen.”

Sure as sunshine, we came back nine runs at the top of the last inning. Unfortunately we were the “Away” team so Oasis only needed to score one run to win the game, which they did handily.

Coach was alternating players to give us a break from the sun, so I wasn’t back catching after our come back, but if I had, I would have totally rubbed it in the umpire’s face.

I thought I was going to collapse from being in the sun all day. I had washed my jersey the day before but it stank to high heaven after the top of the first inning of the game. At one point, Coach and I were trying to figure out who smelled worse.

I don’t do well in hot weather in general, I tend to move as little as possible and try not expend energy if I don’t have to. I kept trying rise to the challenge but it was a real slog. I didn’t make any huge errors, but I had to work at keeping my head in the game.

There was a two hour break between our first and second game so the team did what it does best: enjoy each other’s company. Coach was telling us that Team Score beat Team Celebrities in the same fashion we beat Team Numbers on Tuesday—a come from behind in the open inning.

“You never know with the playoffs,” he said. “The teams that place the poorest going into the tournament often come out ahead.”

I think if anyone could pull it off we could. All the elements are there: we know our positions, Coach knows how to move his players around, and we’re not intimidated by stronger teams. We’ve had a few blowouts against us, but I’ve never seen a teammate have a hissy, or give up in defeat. Between the twelve of us we have all the skills we need to win.

Offensively our biggest obstacle is trying not to load the bases. There is usually one or two home runs in every game, the key is trying to minimize the damage. We could score better against the heavy-hitting teams if we could just kept their weaker hitters off base.

The thing I’ve discovered from being back catcher is that a lot of the home runs in D Division wouldn’t be a home run in a more advanced league. What often happens (and this for teams across the league not just ours) is that a batter will get a solid hit, and the ball will go further down field due to an error in the outfield. There’s not much you can do about that, it’s physics—or inertia—something like that.

Our second game against Sotheby’s was a disaster. They won the game 11-3. I have no idea what happened. I guess it was just the usual home run to bases loaded ratio—they had them and we didn’t. Our outfield was playing great the second half of the game, we just didn’t have the bats to come from behind.

We had a team picnic after our games. We discussed the virtues of playing for a losing team versus a winning team. The consensus seemed to be that liking your teammates is always nice, but winning takes the cake.

Coach sent us our schedule for the playoffs this afternoon. We have to be at the field for 7am on Saturday and it’s supposed to rain. Our second game is against Team Celebrities. I don’t care how far we get in the playoffs, it would be so nice if we could beat that team once during the season. And I mean that in the nicest possible way.

About garpinbc

Author of the forthcoming "Same Love" published by Lorimer, as well as the memoir "Foodsluts at Doll & Penny's Cafe", and the YA short, "Haters Gotta Hate".
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