May 20, 2018 - - We’ll start this week with my opinion on the new rules instituted for bases and “stealing”. The 70’ basepaths should remain. However, the passed ball or “stealing” rule in the “A” division needs to go.
The best reason for removal of this rule is that it is too easy for runners to move up. Out of the many instances where the rule has come into play, only one runner has been put out while I’d estimate 90+ have advanced. This is a hitter’s league already. Putting more pressure on pitchers and catchers isn’t what is needed. While the idea has produced one very exciting finish (see Thursday), the overall effect hasn’t been beneficial. Even pitchers who show good control have seen advances that take force plays and possible double plays out of action, thus lengthening innings and adding runs. If this league was still pitcher-dominant, the rule would be worth having. As it stands, though, hitters don’t need more ammunition.
And that brings us to the 70-foot rule. It isn’t the way most fast-pitch leagues set them (even modified leagues, like ours) but it’s accomplishing what it was designed to do - cut down on the number of runs. That IS in the best interests of the league, Way too many games last year were in football-score territory and shortened due to time limits. With the 70-foot bases, runs are down already in “B” games, and I expect the same will begin to happen in “A” if we get rid of “stealing”.
Those are my opinions. Your mileage may vary and you can voice your opinion in the "Talkback" section of our website.
On to this week’s recaps.
We finally had a Monday that wasn’t cold, wet and raw. It was a nice night for ball and Playwright started the evening by besting VMT, 18 - 4. Glenn Peterson and Mark Lopez homered, with Lopez driving in seven. Jonny Brooks takes the win with another good outing on the rubber. Big Ballers recorded their first win of the season, over Smoke Shop BBQ, 13 – 7. Four RBI from Cam O’Leary (two in the second when trailing, two in the seventh for insurance) were clutch. Smoke Shop had a home run from Matt Consiglio and some outstanding SS play from Jamil Moquette (former Orioles farmhand) in the loss. Backyard Betty’s got their act together with the bats and put a hurting on Banshee, 23 – 6. Four home runs for Betty’s – Dylan Morris, Mike Butterfield, Andrew Grant and Phil Allen – while pitcher Brett Handell helped his cause with a 5-for-5 night that included a double and a triple. Banshee received a 3-for-3 from Robbie Dorgan, including a home run, but this was easily Betty’s night.
On Tuesday, the rains poured. We all got to stay home and watch Marcus Smart get in J. R. Smith’s face.
Wednesday’s play was moved to the N Street diamond since the M Street field still had excess water on the mound and in the righthand batters box. Our first shutout of the season occurred in game one, with the Broadway Bombers besting Colt Recycling, 12 – 0, in 5 innings. Tom Powers tossed the shutout, while Josh Turini drove in three with an absolute bomb that carried, on the roll, to left field foul territory on our usual diamond. Punk & Poet Bulldogs were 13 – 5 victors against Village Pizza. Antonio Corbia, Sean Higgins, coach Steve Folan and Tom Moody homered for the Bulldogs. Mike Hughes had three hits for Pizza. Final game of the evening saw Handdukies remain undefeated (4-0) as they bested the Silkworms, 15 – 11. A very rough second inning did in Silkworms, and starting pitcher Jason Atton, as The Dukies put up 12 runs on a combination of errors, bad throws and timely hitting. Jake Federico and Chris Burns both had three-run homers in the inning (and Burns put up a stellar 4-for-4 performance overall.) Corey Livingston came on in relief for Silkworms and did a good job, holding Dukies scoreless over their final four innings, but pitcher Brian Walsh (making a very quick return from varicose vein leg surgery) also held Silkworms scoreless over the 5th, 6th, and 7th to secure the win.
Play on Thursday started with Roza Lyons and the Pat Simpson Club squaring off in a low-scoring defensive battle. After a scoreless first, Roza got on the board via a Connor Hayes single that scored Joe Zanca, 1 – 0, with men now on first and third, one out. Barrett O’Neill lined out to Simpsons pitcher Gerry Sarro, who turned it into an inning-ending double play. Bottom of the third saw Simpsons take the lead, 2 – 1, on a Brian Goodman homer, Brian Hurld triple, and Scotty Simpson RBI single. Back came Roza Lyons in the fourth. With one out, Steve Connell singled. Chris Warren doubled him home to tie the game, then Rob Caggiano’s double scored Warren for the lead. A passed ball allowed Caggiano to go to third, from which he then scored on Dillon Gonzalez’s sac fly, 4 – 2 Roza (the new “passed ball” rule affected this game more than any other I’ve seen – wait for it…) A 6-4-3 double play – second of the night for Roza – ended a fourth inning Simpsons threat. Roza went one-two-three in the top of the fifth, then Brian Goodman led off the bottom with his second home run of the night, now just 4 – 3 Roza Lyons. Brian Hurld made a fine catch in left off of Brendan Collins’s bid for a hit in the sixth, and Simpsons were kept quiet in their half by pitcher Joe Zanca. Top of the seventh started with two men on for Roza, as Nick Malatos and Steve Connell both singled, but a fielders choice erased Malatos at third, Caggiano flied out, and Gonzalez grounded to 1B. On to the bottom of the seventh, with a 4 – 3 score for Roza Lyons. The red hot Brian Goodman doubled to start things. Brian Hurld followed with a sharp grounder that had hit written all over it, but a great pick at 3B, and subsequent throw to first, erased Hurld. Scotty Simpson (4-for-4) singled, moving Goodman to third, with the hustling Simpson taking second base on a throw. After a ground out left the two men on with two outs, Patrick Triggs stepped to the plate. Triggs walked, loading the bases with two out. And then, with Mike Garland at the plate, a wild pitch from Joe Zanca brought Brian Goodman racing home. He slid, the toss to try to nail him hit him in the head, and he was safe! Tie Game! Then, right on Goodman’s heels, as the Roza pitcher and catcher were trying to collect themselves, Scotty Simpson raced home for the winning run! A double steal of home ends it in Pat Simpson Club’s favor, 5 – 4! Tough way to lose a game for Roza Lyons, but they once again showed they very much belong in the “A” division. Lost in the shuffle a bit was a fine outing by Simpson’s pitcher Gerry Sarro. Outside of Roza’s 4th inning, he allowed just one run on five hits, and he walked no one all night. Simpsons actually doubled up Roza on legit runners (hits, walks) 16 to 8.
OK, that wouldn’t be topped by the next two games on Thursday. Although MB Club got out to a lead, 7 – 5, after three complete, Lincoln Tavern scored the next 13 runs and both teams remained as they were coming into the game: Lincoln undefeated and MB Club still looking for their first win. The final was 18 – 9. Marshall Chick – in a rare leadoff role - had a home run and six RBI, but was topped by Taylor Ferguson’s TWO home runs and seven RBI from the three hole. Batting between them was Mike Briggs, making a return to MSSL action with a perfect 3-for-3 and a walk. Finale was a routine win by Southside Tavern, 21 – 11, against Berkshire-Hathaway. Tim Santilli of B-H hit an impressive home run to right center, while Miguel “Lenky” Dupree and Pat Dolbeare launched four-baggers to left field for Southside.
Friday brought the first forfeit of the season when VMT was unable to field a full team and Big Ballers thus reached their first ever .500 record (2-2) as a result. In action that actually took place, the match between undefeateds in the “B” division was decided early. City Tap got off to an 11 – 1 lead and held on for a 19 – 6 mercy over PGH (Pitches Get Hit) in 6 innings. Tap received one stretch of back-to-back-to-back home runs from Chris Boyd, Will Brennan and Bryan Craig. Boyd got his fourth win (with his incoming 0.82 ERA going to a still-impressive 2.44, but he notched his 9th K to keep his league lead in that category.) The final game of the week saw Backyard Betty’s blow a three-run lead in the top of the seventh, via four runs and a Fat Baby lead of 10 – 9, but scoring two in the bottom of the seventh to walk off with the win, 11 – 10. Fat Baby received a 4-for-4 effort – and some fine defense – from Derek Coderre; a home run from Ross Fino; and three RBI, including two in the top of the seventh rally, from Tim Cheney. Betty’s had a home run from Andrew Grant; a 4-for-4, and a score of the winning run, from Alberto Vasquez; and three RBI from Nick Sours that included knocking in Vasquez with the winner (it was a blast scored a single because of the winning run crossing the plate, but it could easily have been scored for extra bases in another situation.)
That will do it for this week. See you at the ballpark!
Important reminders from your commissioner:
Parking - guys please leave your cars at home as the available parking spaces around the field is VERY, VERY limited. Most spaces are Resident only so unless you are a South Boston resident then you will most likely get a $40 ticket that the league cannot cover. We are told that some parking relief (Thomas Butler Park on First Street will have 1200 parking spaces) is on the way but isn't complete. If possible, car pool, take the MBTA/City Point bus, or bike/walk to the park and save yourself the headache.
Umpire/Scorekeeper fee - please pay the umpire $25 and pay $5 to "Sully" the official scorekeeper BEFORE the game begins.
Forfeits - forfeits are not acceptable in the M Street Softball League as they cost the league money and waste everyone's time. With that said, if you know there is a scheduled game that is going to be a problem then let me know ASAP and I will work with you in finding additional players and/or cancelling the game all together.
Inclement weather/rain outs - the league will usually make a decision by 5pm on whether or not the game is on or off. Once the decision is made then the league will reach out to the coaches - we will not leave you without word. The league website (sbsports.com) will also be updated within minutes of a cancellation.
Bats - just a reminder that composite bats are illegal...however, bats that have a composite handle and metal barrel are OK. DeMarini Steel is a very popular bat in our league as is the Anderson RocketTech. There was talk about banning doublewall bats and going with single wall bats moving forward. Since we told teams that double walled bats were legal last season and plenty were purchased we feel that we cannot change the rule at this time. However, starting in 2019 the league will move to single walled bats only.
Equipment - the league will provide bases and also has a catcher's mask that your catcher can borrow (ask Sully) on a nightly basis.
Pitching rules - we are using the same rules as we implemented last year...that's strict modified pitching - no sling, no windmill, and no arc. It's pretty much straight back with the arm, a forward step to the plate, and deliver the ball. A great source on the "Classic Style" with videos can be found here 10manmodified.com/pitching-rules/videos-of-modified-styles/
Starting lineups - reminder, we use four outfielders, P, C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS and if you want (optional) you can use a DH and an EH for a total of 12 players. The EH can take the field and substitute for any defensive player while the DH cannot take the field (unless injury).
Playoffs - 16 teams will be eligible for the playoffs.
Playoff eligibility - although the rosters are open there is minimum number of plate appearances or innings pitched (25) a player must meet to qualify for the playoffs.
Stats, news, etc... - please check the league website for all the latest news, standings, stats, and more.
Schedule - we tried to evenly spread out the amount of start times for each team...it's not an easy or exact science. The regular season will run from May to mid August followed by the start of the playoffs.
Wishing you and your players a great season of softball at M Street.
M Street Softball League