On the Diamond: On the ball | AspenTimes.com

On the Diamond: On the ball

Jon MaletzAspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN Just three girls showed up Monday for The Aspen Times’ rec softball game – one came to the field in designer jeans and bright red stilettos, and another wore flip-flops.Had it not been for our gracious opposition, which lent us a fourth female, we would’ve been forced to forfeit. Her knowledge of the game was rudimentary – she ran to first carrying the bat (needless to say, we didn’t delve into the intricacies of first-and-third defenses), but she sure bailed us out.Emotions were high and the anticipation palpable before the first pitch of the much-anticipated “Battle of the Basement.” Both we and the Pigs were reeling after 0-3 starts. Our fearless leader, Tim Kurnos, vacated his managerial post last week (he blamed knee problems on the move, but I’m sure the team’s minus 42 run differential was the real culprit). Things were so grim that teammates chose me to take the helm. I wasn’t sure I’d be much help – I can’t even hit the ball out of the infield. But something changed during that one hour. OK, we still couldn’t catch a fly ball (Kate, who patrolled left field in bare feet after taking off the heels, let out a scream and backed away from a fly ball in the second). Nate Peterson is still dropping his back elbow at the plate, and I forgot the beer. That’s unforgivable.But things started to click. Our batters, who routinely look as confused at home plate as Arnold Schwarzenegger in a fifth-grade English class, were calm and confident. We overcame an early two-run deficit with some timely hits and aggressive baserunning. In the middle innings, the time I typically scour the dugout looking for car keys, a cleat or the scorer’s pencil to gouge my eyes, we stretched our lead to as many as 10. Our 14 runs nearly doubled our season’s offensive output. Our defense was similarly stellar. Joel Stonington stopped lollygagging on the mound and backed up a base. Our middle infielders covered second at least 40 percent of the time. I managed not to injure one of my teammates – a few close calls don’t count, do they? After three mercy-rule losses, we recorded one of our own. It felt terrific. There were fist-pumps, gloves tossed in the air, and a mock cheer broke out during a few celebratory postgame libations at Zane’s.And Rick, I apologize for the ass tap.


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