Sunday, June 28, 2009

By Invitation Only

In what has now become an annual event, the Raiders held an invitational tournament for D comp teams, as an opportunity for the less experienced or talented among us to get vital match-play practice and sharpen our skills against sides of our own level. It's an extremely friendly, relaxed affair, but it's still a proper competitive day of playing. They field several sides of their own, and invite entries from the more clubbable lower division teams. Such as the Loan Wolves. This time it was being held as a fund-raiser for the GB Women's softball team ahead of the European Championships. So our entry fees went to this good cause, there was a raffle, and they had T shirts for sale. I can't resist a good T shirt, so am now the proud owner of a Great Britain Softball shirt.
The tournament takes place at Wandsworth Common. Each team had four games, which for us fell as two set of back-to-back matches with a break. Rules were slightly more relaxed than in the league, and there was the quirky "buy back" rule in effect. Each team gets one opportunity per game to buy the umpire a beer in exchange for rewinding and undoing a play which has just happened - a catch isn't dropped, a batter hasn't struck out or whatever after all. But the player who's got the reprieve does have to wear comedy bunny ears for the rest of the inning...
We were a bit short-handed, but we had Mark from the Homers joining us for the day plus a stray female player from one of the other teams each game. First up we took on the Meteors (heavily fortified with spare Raiders), and won. Then we came up against one of the Raiders sides and didn't do so well. After our hour off, we faced another Raiders team. This time we came up with the goods, even with a lot of us playing in unfamiliar positions. This was the game where Gabi got hit by a nasty one to the knee. She was moved to Catcher, to give her a chance to recover out of the line of fire, but was almost immediately hit in the face by a ricochet off the bat.
The final game was against the Tornadoes. The game went our way, as we batted ourselves into a strong position. The final inning saw them with three minutes to overturn a sixteen-point lead, and as a heavy shower started to fall the game came to an end.
We headed over the road to Dexter's, where negotiating the service and getting our two-for-one deal vouchers honoured was a bit of a trial, but we tucked in to our pub food and bottled beer happily as we discussed the day's play. We fielded and pitched well, but more importantly our batting was consistent throughout the team all day - that was probably the heart of our success.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Loan Wolves 11 - 36 Base Jumpers

A couple of plays missed by the umpires maybe did us no favours last night, but I think Kevin was right when he said we were mainly undone by not having played a game in three weeks. We didn't manage to capitalise enough on a sterling pitching performace from Kate, Wolf batting wasn't strong enough overall to keep us in contention, and the Jumpers' lead crept up inning by inning. By the time the seventh inning came around, and the Finsbury Park mosquitoes came out to feast on us in the twilight, it was too late for us to rally.
Still, we aren't even halfway through the season and we can take what we've learned from this to help ourselves prepare for the games to come. There's a Raiders' Invitational tourney on sunday, which should be a good opportunity to clean the rust off and take a whetstone to our competitive edge. There's a lot of the summer ahead of us, and a a lot more games to look forward to, before season's end.

Base Jumpers 36 vs Loan Wolves 11 - Highs/Lows/Lessons Learned

While we wait for Andy's match report....

Low Point: Loads of big high hits in right field which went way over my head. Not much I could do about those, except run faster to get to the ball.It was that one line drive that went past Donnacha that I'm really gutted about though. Clearly in the right position and right place....but it dribbled between my feet. Pooh!

High Point: Managing to get to base on every hit (Kate pointed this one out to me whilst in the pub, thanks Katie). Also my line drive which went somewhere towards 3rd base...obviously I wasn't looking ;)

Lessons Learned: Back up, back up, back up!!!!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Training day

We had a really good training session last night. It's a week with no match for us, so we got together with some friends from the Meteors, and Mark and Paul of the Homers, for a training session. Excellent coaching from Ian and Dan of the Meteors' highest level team, and a good atmosphere as we spent several hours throwing, catching, batting and doing lots of running round. Which, obviously, raised a bit of a thirst. So we went to the pub for a cold beer or two afterwards. I found myself talking wiith tigger and Julian about the restructuring at work. It's ironic that the only remaining Wolves in the library are at risk in this restructuring when the team's done more than any management initiative to foster inter-site communication and staff team bonding.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Raiders Red 26 Loan Wolves 2 - Highs/Lows/Lessons Learned

Raiders Red are a good side, as they ought to be when they're top of the table with six straight wins. Their infield is very tight but we never got to see how the outfield played and I think their hitting was smart and consistent rather than big. Still....they'll beat every other team they play, some by a greater margin than last night.

Lows: not a great game at SS. If throws aren't caught, it's probably my fault.
Highs: an outfield catch, realising the hit was too shallow to be taken by Joel/Libs.
Lessons Learned: my batting has been atrocious since the Tecumshes match. An obsession with RF perhaps? How many foul hits have I done in the last few weeks? I need to take my batting back to basics and start from scratch.

Monday, June 01, 2009

St Urbain's Horsemen 11 - 7 Loan Wolves

Blinded by the light

Last week's match was a bright and sunny occasion. No, literally. The sun defined how this game went. We were on that dreaded Primrose Hill pitch again, and the clear, hot evening meant that the setting sun was right in our faces all night.
the Horsemen played their home advantage wisely, setting an unorthodox outfield to intercept runaway downhill hits, and a couple of Wolf slips in the field let them build a small lead in the first inning. We tightened our grip in the field, but we kept finding ourselves undone at bat by the ball falling unseen out of a blinding red sun. Anythign you could hit, you couldn't see. anything you could see, you couldn't hit. We made runs somehow, including Kevin riding his luck around the bases on a series of overthrows, but couldn't quite score enough to get ahead.
Still, it was no doubt a character-building experience, and we're all looking forward to the rematch at Finsbury.

[Sorry I didn't post this earlier - was away from a computer till today][