Friday, May 29, 2009

St Urbain's Horseman 11 Loan Wolves 7 - Lessons Learned

Whilst we're waiting for Andy's match report......

Lows: the female shortstop dinked a hit high, to the side, which maybe I should have dived for, just in case any amateur photographers were around. If I'd missed it, and I probably would've done, it would have been a home run hit.

Highs: bit embarrassed about the home run, I assumed I was only getting 2nd from a dead ball. But they threw it and the gloves were off so to speak. Couple of reasonable outfield catches.

Lessons learned: we'll beat these guys at Finsbury easily, if we'd fielded as we could have all game, it'd have been hard for them to have scored all game. It's not sour grapes either, but something has to be done on that pitch when the sun's up - can't they switch it round and have a makeshift diamond?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Silver for the Black and Gold

Yesterday was the annual Superball softball tournament. Split into two parallel tourneys, for A and B competition (the top end) and C and D comp (teams like us). Early start at Richmond Old Deer Park, as the lower-grade competition starts early and is mostly over by the time the hgher division teams start. I got up early, packed my bag, dashed into Sainsbury's to buy whatever random snack food was on special offer on my way to the station and set off. Getting as far as Streatham Hill before train delays put an extra half an hour on the journey.
I got there just in time for the first game, aganst a combined Meteors team. We had a great start, and won it 11 - 4. It was fun and set us up for the day. All the teams we played were stronger than us, on paper at least. Some of them were defnitely out of our league. In both senses. But we did OK, punching at least at our own weight. The group stage is followed by a semi-final - for the Cup or the Plate, depending on if you finished in the top or bottom of the draw. We faced off against the Squares for the Plate semi, and worked together for a deserved victory. We were in our first ever final in a tournament. Vs the Mets again, as it happened. The Homers (who wear black and orange to our orange and black) were in the Cup final. Paul from the Homers said: "let's make it an orange and black clean sweep!". Which basically put the mockers on the thing, as we both lost. But still, we were in a final. Admittedly we had a couple of ringers from the Mob, playing in some games. But still, at least 80% of the team in every game was Wolf. And we were filling in the fund-raising quiz that our ex-Wolf friend Ben had put together throughout the day, which was a bit of fun. More so when we were told that we'd got 100% right and won first prize of a new softball bat. We may be D comp on the field, but we're A comp when it comes to trivia.
It was a fun day with lovely sunny weather, a beautiful setting, lots of laughs. I think we tired by the end of the day - we haven't had to reserve our strength for a final before, though. Sadly, Matt took another visit to Purple Heart Corner, needing stitches in his hand after getting hit in his ungloved hand going for an outfield catch. He made it back from A&E to cheer us on in the final, though.
Some of the team stayed around to watch the A comp final, but I made my way over to my friends' place for a meal and a DVD. A very civilised and much appreciated end to a day which made a good break after last week at work.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Team picture

After last night's game:
Loan Wolves after home game vs Intellect, 20/5/09 (2)

Loan Wolves vs Intellect; Highs, Lows, Lessons Learned

Lows: awful, awful batting. The worst I can remember. Didn't hit past the infield once, surprised I never got out more than once, though I think I got others out.

Highs: first catch of the game. It was pretty simple though. Also, anticipating a deflection from Joel to pick up an infield hit, then throw it hard to Vic. Thumping their runner going to 2nd on the head for a tag was neat too.

Lessons Learned: The positional changes worked; the infield just need to calm it down. Usually there's plenty of time to make the throw with the forced runner.

Loan Wolves 15 - 10 Intellect

At lunchtime today, one of my colleagues was going out to the shops and asked if I wanted anything from Marks and Spencer. I remembered that they do some rather nice up-market wine gums, and asked for a packet. Figured that the team would appreciate them this evening.
The Loan Wolves' relationship with wine gums goes back to our first ever league win. They've been our favourite sugar-fix pick-me-up and morale booster ever since. M&S ones are especially good as they have that extra colour, the grape flavoured white ones.
Anyway, on to the game.
Intellect, a new side, turned out to have some big hitters, and their fielding was of a very high standard for an inexperienced team. Their pitcher did them credit too. But we were able to use the three years' experience we've picked up to take the win, scoring consistently and making the outs when we needed them. We had the confidence that came from having a good pitcher - Kate did a great job.
After not the best start to a week at work, I really enjoyed being on the field in the sun and batting. And eating wine gums.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Base Jumpers versus Loan Wolves May 12 2009

Low Point: My batting - not choosing the right one to hit

High Point: Some strikeouts and throws to first

What I have learned: Try not to lose heart. Make sure I go for the pitch that is right for me

Highs/Lows/Lessons Learned - Loan Wolves vs Base Jumpers

Low: coming up to bat once, hits straight off the top of the bat. I get to 1 but Olivia's out at 2.

High: simple outfield catch, a 'cat and mouse' game with 2nd base that apparently got our runner to 1 - I don't remember the second part of this.

Lessons Learned: we need to shrug this one off, put it down as a bad day at the office. But there's plenty to improve - batting, in particular. Maybe we're not doing something right with the order, I don't know.

Base Jumpers 21 - Loan Wolves 4

Some days are better than others

We were away to the Base Jumpers, a new but not inexperienced team, at Primrose Hill. It's a pitch we've done badly on before, slanting away downhill and with the setting sun in the batters' eyes. Sunglasses don't help - they just make everything that isn't the sun look darker.
And it was a dark evening for the Wolves. We didn't manage to read the pitcher's deliveries, and time and time again we didn't manage to parlay base hits into runs. Fair play to a Jumpers fielding side which made five double plays over the course of the game, but I think we all felt we'd not done our best work last night.
There were still some positives - sterling commitment by Julian, pitching in adversity, some good hits to keep morale up and keep us in the game. And there was a nice moment when a little dog wandered up and Kevin threw a ball for it to fetch.
It's easy to blame the "unlucky" pitch, but I must admit when I saw carrion crows pecking around the outfield after the match it summed the whole thing up for me.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

More Wolves good news...

Mike and I got engaged whilst we were on holiday in Spain!! Expect a very bouncy Vic at the next match.


Loan Wolves vs Tecumsehs - Highs and Lows

Can't think of another game where as a team we had so many highs. Everyone played really well, everyone contributed.

Low: attempting to beat their left-hander to first with the ball in hand; not realising he was lightning quick.

High: the winning hit. Talk about pressure! Though I have to thank Andy/Manjiv for getting on base in the first place.

Loan Wolves 15 - 13 Tecumsehs

"Winning is the most fun you can have in sports!". Kevin, after the match.

Was at a management course today. Brought my kit and bat with me, and attempted to nonchalantly stow it in a corner.
Changed into softball gear and headed to Finsbury Park afterwards for our match against the Tecumsehs. We warmed up and practised for a bit beforehand, and prepared for the game.
And it was quite a game. Close, low-scoring start, with us building a reasonable lead. Good fielding and steady, effective batting did that for us. Then the dreaded One Bad Inning saw the Tecumsehs score seven and take the lead, due in part to our fumbles. Then we had a 'mare of an inning - three up, three down, no more runs scored. Short Stop Kevin rallied us, though, and we returned the favour next inning. But we still couldn't claw the lead back from them in our turn at bat. Another tense defensive inning ensued. Another shut out. So it came to our turn at bat again. Nail-biting tension as we lost two outs. Manjiv kept her head and batted her way onto base. Then Kevin came up to bat. And did us proud with a big hit bringing two base runners home with him and ending the match.
A great team performance, with Julian's pitching at its heart. I think we all played up to our abilities and, though we sometimes fumbled, we didn't make many tactical errors. For myself, fielding at Third I didn't have an outstanding game - I let myself be wrong-footed by the shorter distance to the batter than at Second, and misjudged a couple of balls. On the other hand, I batted 1.000 and made three runs - so that went pretty well. Looking forward to tomorrow's e-access meeting at the main library - news of a Loan Wolves win always seems to spread fast...