Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Swingers Softball Recap (8/8/05)

The Swingers returned to the win column on Monday night, posting a 19 - 10 drubbing of Master Batters in a late night contest. The story of the evening was the breakout performance by Erik "K" Gutierrez, who blasted a two run homer to the deepest part of the park and tacked on 3 more RBI's after having gone 0 for his first 7 at bats of the season. Gutierrez, noticeably larger since his last appearance, refused to answer questions about steroids in the post game news conference. However, manager Christine Aylward did have this to say, "We hired a team of chemists, and it paid off big time tonight." Gutierrez was not tested after the game.
The Red Devils struggled to find their stroke through the first two innings, plating just one run on 5 hits. Fortunately for the visiting team starting pitcher Eric "ER" Ridenhour posted zeroes in both innings to keep the Swingers in the game. Then in the third inning, the bats woke up. Second Basewoman Melanie Ureta - Granger led the inning off by reaching on an error and advancing to second base. Jamaal Granger followed with a single to push Ureta to third, and Katie Stemmler notched her second RBI of the season with a ground out to the right side of the infield which forced out Granger at second. Gutierrez then followed with his first hit of the season, breaking out of his slump in a big way. "K's" blast traveled an estimated 487 feet to straight away center field, and the Swingers were ahead 4-0. They would score 8 more times in the frame, with RBI base hits by Christine Aylward, "ER" Ridenhour, and Jamaal Granger leading to another big hit by Gutierrez. "K" crushed a first pitch fastball to the gap in left centerfield that reached the wall, driving in two more runs. Unfortunately for the Swingers, Gutierrez was thrown out trying to score on the play. "He ran through my stop sign," said third base coach "ER" Ridenhour, "I don't know what he was thinking." When asked for comment, Gutierrez had this to say: "Apparently the juice doesn't make you any faster." After going down in order in both the 4th and 5th innings, the Swingers erupted again in their half of the 6th. The big hits of the inning were 2 RBI singles notched by Adam "Chuckie" Tsacoumangos and short shortstop Dan Higa. Ron Sturm and Christine Aylward both posted excellent games at the plate, with Sturm going 2-2 including a double, and Aylward going 2-4, scoring a run and driving in 2.
Eric "ER" Ridenhour posted a solid starting performance after a shaky outting last week to earn his 4th win of the season, and push his record over .500 at 4-3. He struck out two batters while walking just one and surrendering 5 runs. Coming on in relief Jason Brunick also performed well, also allowing 5 runs while striking out one and walking 3 in his 3 innings of work. Defensively it was a Jekyl and Hide night for the swingers, who made several sparkling plays, but also managed to look clueless on certain occasions. The big play of the evening was "ER" Ridenhour's catch of a scorching line drive up the middle in the second inning. With the bases loaded and one out, Ridenhour managed to stab the blistering liner, which would otherwise have ended up in centerfield and scoring at least two runs. "That was a game saving play early in the game," Commented J-Rod Ross, "If "ER" doesn't make that play, we're down early, it changes the whole complection of the game." Ridenhour was asked for comment after the game and said only, "It hurt like hell!" On the other end of the spectrum short shortstop Dan Higa commited his second error in as many games on would should have been a routine ground ball that skipped past him in the 4th inning. Also at fault was third basewoman Lynsey Winkler, who for the second consecutive game forgot what to do with the ball after she caught it. In the bottom of the sixth inning with the Swingers an out away from victory, Winkler fielded a sharp ground ball, but instead of throwing to first to end the game, she threw an errant ball home. "I get confused," said Winkler afterwards. "She has a talent for understatement," added catcher Bobbi "The General" Closser. Winkler redeemed herself on the next play however, when she snagged another grounder and threw to second to record the force out and seal the win.
After the game the Swingers announced that Winkler would be leaving the team on Thursday to join A.C. Milan of the Italian Serie A soccer league. Winkler's departure to European soccer had been rumored for weeks, and became a reality when Milan made it's final offer of $75 million for 4 years. "I'm pleased that they decided to pay me what I'm worth," said Winkler in a seperate news conference, "My time with the Swingers will be remembered fondly, but it's time for me to move up to better things." Manager Christine Aylward had this to say, "Lynsey helped us quite a bit down the home stretch. We'd like to keep her on, but our offer of $5, a Target gift card, and a six pack of root beer couldn't compare with what Milan could afford to spend."
The Swingers will rap up the season with two makeup games, the first of which is scheduled for 8:30pm next Monday night against Office Average. Good seats still remain, call the Swinger's ticket office today!

- Dan Higa

Swingers season statistics.

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