Unable to overcome their 9-run deficit from the bottom of the first inning in a game called for rain last week (see story here), the Sluggers lose to the Batpak, 13-18.
Game Notables: Pat (3-4, triple, double, RBI); Ian (3-4, RBI); Fan (2-4, RBI).
With 2 outs and Sluggers P Pat Reddy at the plate, C John Edwards on 1B, and the top of the order lurking, the Sluggers were poised to rally in the top of the 7th and reel in the Batpak after falling behind by 9 runs one week earlier in a rain-soaked game suspended in the top of the 4th inning. A big swing and a hot, diving line drive didn't find the dirt of 2Pak Park and instead landed in the webbing of Batpak SS Ben Emerson's glove as he dove to make the game-winning snare.
And that was 'all she wrote'.
Also gone are the Sluggers' hopes of finishing the 2012 season at .500, as they've dropped to 4-8 with only two games left on the 14-game schedule.
Down by 9 after 3 completed innings (5-14), the Sluggers had a mountain to climb in the resumed game; and for most of the day, it looked like this one might not get played either. "It was a miserable day, raining off and on, mostly on, all day," said Sluggers C John Edwards, who is particularly averse to playing in even the slightest hint of rain. "I'm a big wuss when it comes to playing softball in the rain. Maybe if we could use umbrellas in the field I'd be happier, but I doubt it."
Sparking the Sluggers comeback was a lift in offense, as Pat Reddy continued his improvement in batting, going 3-4 with a triple and a double. Along with Sluggers veteran 1B Wouter Schotsman's RBI triple in the top of the 7th, the Sluggers batters were hitting the ball harder and leaving fewer runners on base.
The Batpak weren't able to come close to repeating their 9-run first inning performance - or more accurately, the Sluggers defense was not repeating their first inning error-strewn performance, as they were clearly back on track in the absence of precipitation. Only one "I got it, no I got it" moment occurred between Sluggers OFs Junichiro Aoki and Laura Hoey, neither one yielding to the other until it came time to make the catch. But that was the only misstep, as RC Chris Rouland aggressively attacked to make short work of an equally short line-drive, and a quick toss to SS Ian Priestley doubled up an unwary Batpak runner off 2B to keep the Sluggers DP-per-game ratio close to one for the season.
Unfortunately for the Sluggers, the Batpak's defense was strong enough to protect their 9-run lead. From the pitching plate, Batpak P Jon Barry encouraged the Sluggers to swing the bat, issuing no walks; and with Batpak OFs Julie Walsh and Dave Pepper finding the range of everything hit their way and holding runners from advancing, runs would be hard to come by as the game quickly drew to a close. The long grass in the field was, however, working more for the Sluggers in the 5th and 6th innings, as singles and ground-balls weren't converted to outs and innings could be extended. The Sluggers scored consistently, but not enough, to bridge the gap on the scoreboard.
The game wasn't free from controversy. In the bottom of the 5th inning, Sluggers C John Edwards received an on-target throw to home from SS Ian Priestley, a step ahead of an advancing runner from 3B, and appeared to have easily made the tag on the runner, prior to the runner sliding into home. But a safe call meant not only a scored run, but the inning continued and the Batpak made the most of the opportunity, hitting well and scoring 4. Earlier in the game, another controversial call went the Sluggers way, as Batpak OF John O'Flynn was called out on a fielder's choice at 2B, electing not to slide given the sticky conditions in the infield. "There's nothing we can do about judgement calls," said Edwards. "I didn't see the call at 2B, I was looking through Pat and couldn't see it. It was close. I do think I got the out at home. But hey, that's how it goes sometimes. At least it's not raining tonight."
Game notes: Sluggers Shaun Shuck (C) and Michiyo Hogan (2B) were healthy scratches due to family commitments; Pat Reddy (P) gave up no walks and was a HR away from hitting for the cycle.
The Sluggers' (4-8) next game is August 14 against the relegated Renegades (1-11), 7pm at Marlay Park. The Sluggers will finish their season against the Marlay Mayhem the following week, August 21, again at Marlay Park, 7pm.