MONTANA STATE CHAMPIONS, +40, 2015
We shall remain eternally grateful to the Softball Gods, for the 2015 Montana + 40 State Championship Tournament they attended with us last weekend in Anaconda MT. They encouraged us to play to the limits of our God-Given abilities, and like well-mannered guests, we took them up their kind offer.
It is fun to wonder if the Coin Toss Angels got into the action by providing the divine intervention that allowed us to be Home Team in every game of the tournament. Thank you to any and all who were a part of this good fortune. I suspect the Lords of Luck were controlling the rotations of the Umpires Coin, and like a late breaking curve ball, adding an extra half-rotation somewhere mid-flight, to ensure a head or a tail, depending on the call of the coin-toss.
Perhaps had the team we were playing on Sunday, been drinking Church Wine Saturday night, rather than Moonshine, and perhaps had they heard my Grandmother’s wise words, “It is the sleep you get before midnight that counts the most,’” Sunday morning may have been a bit more of a welcome awakening to a blessed day. The Hangover Hours begin at midnight. Sunday morning knows a Saturday night partier and Sunday mornings can be so very judgmental.
Hey now!! That’s not a lecture, it is just a little good natured humor with some friends, and there is no sin in that. I do recall being on the receiving end of some good-natured banter from their dugout as I crossed the line of demarcation, approached their dugout to ask for the lineup. Even though I am half-deaf, the language I can hear clearly is body language, mischievous smiles, and fading friendly taunts as I retreated to our dugout.
The goal, as always is to stay out of the loser’s bracket as long as possible. We accomplished this by winning our first two games Saturday; against The Depot and then Old Chicago from Billings.
These wins provided the peace of mind that comes with an undefeated Saturday. Conversely, Old Chicago, after losing to us, had to take the field for two more elimination games Saturday afternoon, just to get into Sunday. Kudos to the Billings crew for getting that done. Had we lost to Old Chicago, it would have been us playing those additional games.
Teams were playing good ball. We were playing our best ball of the season. Our defense was as good as any defense I have seen on a softball field. I would say that out loud. The unofficial “Double-Play’s-we-turned,” count is 14. Nothing helps a coaches’ sore old back like watching the infield play like meat-eating-carnivores. There were no plant eaters in the infield this weekend. Ground balls and line drive were snared like prey in a prehistoric feeding ground. That’s right, no exaggeration, our infielders were in a fielding frenzy.
I was asked to keep the “Official Game Book” for both teams, so I was unable to make my usual notes, reminders, pink marks, etc. in our scorebook. For instance I do not have all the home runs circled, pink violations documented, etc. So, in keeping with team tradition, If/when I don’t know what the details were, I will make up something humble, and possibly t your expense. You know, truth-based revisionist Senior Softball history. Mixed with a sprinkle of early-mentia.
1ST game vs The Depot: We won 18-6:
1st game at State 40 was against “The Depot,” a good group of Butte ballplayers. Geritol and The Depot drew each other in our Thompson/Corr Senior Games, this past June. They are a fun team to play. Good spirits and always competitive.
This morning, the Depot’s bats were sleepy and our defense was on alert. A lot of hard hits ended up in the web of a fielder’s glove. In seven innings, The Depot sent 26 batters to the plate. That is fewer than 4 batters per inning. The Double Play Parade began in this game and remained in full force the length of the tournament.
Every infielder was in on a double play. Alex turned them both ways, from third to first and from third to second to first. Tracy and Michael Fuchs made it look easy and they turned a very high number of not only double plays, but inning-ending, rally-killing double plays. Then we threw in “Hands” Thompson. Hands, Fuchsie, and Alex rotated, each playing two innings,and sitting one. It worked great. We used this exact rotation when we won the St Regis Tournament, July 3-4. Teammates, team players, team wins and team losses.
Now, all of these ramblings are my ramblings, you each get to have your own ramblings. You get to write your own story. I suspect our stories would differ yet mirror one another. Our team story and what has led us to Barnstorm to Anaconda for a State Tournament is as personal to us as individuals and it is personal to us as a team and as teammates. (on an aside…I just realized I like the word teammates to be one word. I want it to reflect us. I have seen it hypen-ated, I have seen is as twowords. Separated of sorts.TeamGeritol is oneword. United. Man, this tournament really has me writing some corny stuff. I wish I had more details, here is what I know:
David Thompson earned the Pink Hat….maybe.
This game ended under very different circumstances but identical
score as the Championship game,18-6.
The team was 27-43, which is a fine .627 team batting average.
It also shows that we had one more hit in the game, than The Depot, had, “At Bats,” in this game.
David T. earned a pink shirt to give him a striking pink shirt and hat ensemble. David made two outs in our 8 run second inning. He made the first and the third outs of the inning.
Alex earned a pink shirt by hitting a strike three foul ball. Being the team player Alex is, he wanted to make sure we documented David T’s feat of two out pinkness.
Everyone on the team got a hit.
Patrick had two home runs in the game
It took a little while for us to adjust to the 1-1 count. We did not use it during the season. James paid of a long-simmering, getcha-gotcha debt, by telling everyone on the team, except Alex about the 1-1 count. I amsure many of you remember the State Tournament in Butte, where James earned his first pink poodle-kisser shirt by showing up at the Sunday morning game in the wrong color jersey. His excuse echoed Alex’s lament, in that Alex says James did not tell him. James openly agrees that he had made the announcement when Alex was away. James had his game face on. No concessions, take no prisoners, settle old scores, and punk him if you have the opportunity. One more old debt paid off. Clint Eastwood-Stokes carves another notch in the composite bat.
SECOND GAME: VS OLD CHICAGO:
We won 17-12.
Tough game. Old Chicago scored 6 runs in the top of the first. We scored 6 runs in the bottom of the first. Old Chicago scored 3 in the second and we came back with five runs to take an 11-9 lead, which we held onto for a 17-12 win that felt like a upset win to us in that this was the first time we have beaten Old Chicago. They are an excellent and seasoned team. Any tournament they enter, you expect them to be playing late Sunday afternoon. They beat us two years go in Bozeman; aided by a series of bizarre events in the final inning that left me feeling like the Softball Gods were sitting in Old Chicago’s dugout.
Patrick and Alex hit home runs in this game. The book also says that David T. earned the pink hat again this game. Not sure if that is true but it makes for good press, and if I post this on the internet, it will magically become the truth. Just ask Mike Fuchs about his top secret hernia surgery. The truth is hard to hide. Especially if you can make it up.
In this game, we were 26-44 for a team batting average of .591. Again everyone in our lineup got at least one hit in this game.
By this game, we were gaining momentum which would carry over to tomorrow’s games. Our defense was in synch. The execution was nearly flawless. Playing a full season in league paid huge dividends. It was a Williamsport win for us. We were a very happy bunch of grown up kids. Defense can win games in softball as well as football. Halftime……I need a break, More to come…… I will also post some team photos from the tourney