Mels Burger Bar. Friday 9/27 at 7pm.
Although we fell short of our overall goal, we did accomplish big things this year. Join the team one more time for revelry and merriment.
That empty feeling still lingers…
Is there something to be said about fate on this September afternoon? The afternoon after the day labeled Friday the 13th - a day long associated with unlucky superstitions. 24 hours later, perhaps all one can say of fate today is that it is not always on your side. Things don’t always work out the way you plan. It is a perpetual truth that both disappoints and invigorates you at the same time. The brethren of athletes among us know all too well the burden - the weight - carried through every seasonal campaign, and those cut too short.
Just as most horror films start, this Friday the 13th started out a gorgeously calm day. The temperature has dipped right into the perfect condition for a ballgame. The rain from the night before had cleared up the mugginess that had stuck to the city the days before, and helped soften the dirt on the Great Lawn. As the sun began to set, the calm serenity that led up to the game gave way to a tempest brewing ahead. After a perfect season with perfect attendance, the Bashers found themselves in the unusual position being down two females. We averted the dreaded automatic out with the help of some last minute arrivals, but it seemed as though any aversion was just that - prolonging a sentence no one saw coming. The Burger Bashers took the field for a matchup against the 2011 League Champions, Dark Horse. The irony of the missing females was that they would wind up being the the strongest cards of the team’s hand.
She was out for a jog. Just a routine run on a routine day. But this run would be anything but routine. Little did she know she was not only jogging (I believe its pronounced yogging) to support her beloved husband, but running the the aid of an ailing team. She had arrived with a mitt of destiny. And playing in her first game of the year, she anchored the Brew Crew defense from first base. Her name is Laura Walrath. And on this night she would also be named Player of the Game. She would be yet another aversion tactic the team would apply during a long night of softball.
The game began as many of the team’s wins had - a quick 1-2-3 inning to start the top frame. The Bashers struggled to find their hitting stride the first few at-bats. It would be a struggle that lasted all night. In the top of the 2nd inning, Dark Horse had a runner on 2nd and hit a ball into the outfield. As the runner raced around third to score the relay man, Dylan Marshall, threw the ball home, where Brad King had instinctively gone to protect the plate. Everyone could see the play unfold in their minds. The runner was too slow and would be easily called out as Brad applied the tag. But on the night of the 13th, your mind can play tricks on you. In reality, baseball is a game of inches. As Brad went to apply the tag, he realized the ball hadn’t made it into his glove. It was rolling away behind the plate. The Bashers escaped the inning after that, but the damage had been done. 1-0 Dark Horse.
It would remain a one-run game for six innings. During those six innings however, Dark Horse would continue to threaten, putting runners on base and coming close many times. The aversion tactics continued for the Bashers. Stellar defense by the entire team kept the game close. Dylan Marshall would convert on even double play balls. At second base Tomas Jimenez would contribute to the defense on his hands and knees, literally. Jackie Fields made a tremendous catch in right field to thwart a serious Dark Horse rally. The 2013 Burger Bashers played and have always performed with the force and grit of team tested. There was once a television show that made contestants go through athletic trials and tribulations, through pain and panic, through obstacles to test the body and the mind. It is entitled with the same name of what is at the heart of this Burger Bashers team - Guts.
After only mustering 3 hits in the first five innings, the Mel’s squad finally got something going in the 6th. The team’s most consistent player and Playoffs MVP, Dylan Murphy led off with a single. Lefty Laura Walrath came up next and hit an ingenious single - perfectly swinging light enough to have the ball die in between the pitcher and the catcher but hard enough not to be deemed a bunt. The Crew now had runners on 1st and 2nd with no one out. But it was the opponent’s turn to apply aversion tactics. They managed to get two quick outs, and it seemed as though the Bashers would come up short once again. Enter the 2013 Most Improved Basher, Erica Russo. She was already a team heroine for sweating through Central Park to make it to the game and save the girl count. When she came up with runners on, she hit a slow bouncer in front of the plate and took off like a bolt of lighting. As she raced to first the pitcher became so rattled that he threw the ball over the first baseman’s head. Erica was now on 2nd base with an RBI and the game was tied, 1-1. Was this the winds of change blowing in Central Park, or just another breeze of aversion?
It was now the 7th inning, and the Bashers had earned the rights of the home team. A right that was sweat over fifteen regular season games. But even could not alleviate the team’s hitting woes. The last inning ended, and an entire softball game had gone by with the bewilderingly strange softball score of 1-1. It was time for the intensity to pick up. It was time for extra innings.
The 8th inning went by quickly with both teams having routine 1-2-3 innings. The 9th inning would be anything but routine. With two outs and a runner aboard 1st, the SS Burger Basher was about to endure rough waters. A grounder up the middle went to shortstop Dylan Marshall, who turned and threw to Tomas at second base. But the ball had no intention of reaching its destination. It was as if the softball gods had seen enough of a tight game, and wanted to open Pandora’s Box. The next Dark Horse hit a line drive into shallow center field. No man’s land. And the away team had a one-run lead. But the storm was not over, and a dark veil began to shroud the field. One more run scored and then came the insult to the injury. Dark Horse struck their last blow on a 3-run home run. And the Dark Side lead 6-1.
The Burger Bashers had one more chance at redemption in the bottom of the 9th inning. But it seemed as though there was no wind in the sails and no more aversion tricks in the bag. The Bashers were unceremoniously retired 1-2-3 in the bottom frame, and Dark Horse would win 6-1. And in so doing, handed the Mel’s team their first and only loss of the 2013 season. Leaving the squad only with the frustrating thoughts of what-if, and the empty feeling of childhood when someone takes one of your toys away. Something you expected was yours, but did not have a happy ending. This ending is one we did not expect, but some stories don’t end the way we want them to. Sometimes one must fail in order to succeed.
1st loss of the season. 6-1 Final.