June 17, 2018 - my job each night is to bring the bases and balls; keep score; enter statistics on the website when I get home; call rainouts, if needed; pass your questions and concerns along to commissioner Mark Senna; and occasionally umpire games. When I umpire, and another scorer isn’t available, both teams need to keep their own book.
If you’ve ever wondered why I charge you the scoring fee on a night when you keep your own book, it’s because I still need to decipher what you wrote down once I get home. If the book is clean and I have no questions, I’m happy to refund the $5. So far, this has happened once this year (and when I tried to give back the $5, that team refused to take it. I thought very kindly of them while I was chowing down my Mickey D’s that night after the games.)
A good case in point about why I still take the money happened this week. I won’t name anyone; I umped four games last week, so it could be any one of 8 teams. Anyway, when I got home and started to tabulate the stats, I found that every batter went 3-for-5 or 4-for-5. Fair enough. It was a high-scoring game. However, I distinctly remembered at least six errors by the other team, but only one AB was marked as an error. OK, we can certainly have a difference of opinion on what’s an error and what’s a hit, but if bases are loaded and a guy grounds to the pitcher, then the pitcher’s throw home for a force play goes wide and hits the backstop, that’s not a hit and the run scored is not an RBI. When a book is recorded to reflect all hits during an inning such as that, I then need to take my best guess at reconstructing things to figure out how many real hits and actual earned runs to charge against the pitcher. So, while I say this with all due love and respect, sometimes it’s more work for me, not less, when you guys keep the book. And that’s why I still pocket the five bucks.
*** And now here’s a plug for a state rep candidate in Southie. On Thursday night, a home run to left field took out a car window. When you park your car near a ballfield, sometimes bad stuff happens to your car. The reason this is a plug for DAVE BIELE FOR STATE REP is because the guy who owned the car is a friend of Dave’s who was attending an affair for Dave’s campaign. Dave’s friend was a sweetheart. He understood completely about the risks of where he had parked. After we talked for a couple of minutes, he stayed and watched the end of the game. You couldn’t ask for a nicer guy who just had his window busted. So, I figure if this guy is such a good sport and so understanding, DAVE BIELE is probably a sweet guy, too. If you live in Southie or get to vote in the 4th Suffolk race (which, aside from Southie, includes some parts of Winthrop, Dorchester and the South End) you know what to do! Vote DAVE BIELE FOR STATE REP ***
On to this week’s recaps.
Monday began with something we try to avoid, but sometimes it’s unavoidable – a tie. Handdukies (6 – 1 entering the contest) had a hard-fought come-from-behind draw against Smoke Shop BBQ (0 – 4 – 1 coming in). The two pitchers (Josh Lopez for Smoke Shop, Brian Walsh for the Dukies) combined for five strikeouts (Walsh three, Lopez two) and worked out of jams nicely. Walsh left the bases loaded in the second inning by striking out the final two batters. He also preserved the tie by inducing a force at the plate with bases loaded and two out in the bottom of the seventh. Lopez left 8 Dukies on-base overall. Smoke Shop led 7 – 4 into the sixth, but a Pat O’Sullivan homer closed the gap to two runs, then the Dukies plated two more in the top of the seventh to tie the game (Double by Kevin “Snake” Durant; “K-Mo” Kevin Moran reached on an error, with Durant scoring, Moran to second as the ball went into the dugout area; Billy Kiley moved Moran to third on a fly ball; and Marcus “Hank” Egan’s sac fly scored Moran for the tie.) Bottom of the seventh, Walsh got the first two Smoke Shop batters, but Jamil Moquette singled, Chris Fowler walked, and Matt Consiglio walked to load the bases. Brian Dupree hit a hard grounder to third, knocked down but rolling past the third base line into foul territory. Unable to get back to third in time for the force, a throw went to the plate and Mike Ball stepped on the dish before the runner from third arrived, still a tie. Time was 7:23, too late to start an extra inning, so that was all.
Had we known what was going to happen in the second game, we would have given the first game an extra inning – or maybe two, if needed. Backyard Betty’s made quick work of Broadway Bombers, 15 – 2, in 4-1/2 innings. Betty’s received a home run from Andrew Grant and TWO from Nick Sours. Paul Iasiello and John Goglia went 3-for-3, while Brett Handell struck out two on the way to his fifth victory. The Bombers lost Lane Kirshe in the bottom of the first (and thus played shorthanded the rest of the way) when a mishap in the outfield resulted in Kirshe being struck in the face by the ball. He left the park to go to the hospital for stitches on his mouth. Here’s hoping he’s back soon. The 9:00 game was broken open by City Tap in the fifth inning. Holding a 6 – 2 lead entering the frame, they scored 9 times. They had a chance to close out a mercy in both the bottom of the fifth and the sixth, but Silkworms showed their usual guts and kept it going. However, the final was 20 – 9, City Tap. With Handdukies only able to secure the tie earlier, Tap takes sole possession of first in the “B”. Jack Cella had a home run for Silkworms, while Tap’s Will Brennan had a perfect evening comprised of three doubles and a home run, as well as a walk.
Tuesday began with Southside Tavern scoring four in the bottom of the first, then pretty much trading runs with Roza Lyons thereafter. The result was a win for Southside, 10 – 5. Joe Eule and Joe Zanca homered for Roza Lyons, while Pat Dolbeare and Miguel Dupree took it over the fence for Southside. The middle game saw a come-from-behind win for Lincoln Tavern. Trailing Berkshire-Hathaway, 11 – 5, entering the bottom of the sixth, Lincoln plated four in the sixth and another three in their last call, to take the win, 12 – 11. Dan Fratus homered for Berskshire (a very hot batter; he went 4-for-5 overall to raise his average to .714). Max Vigliotti, Conor Gleason, and Dan Kemp circled the bases for Lincoln, with Kemp’s double in the bottom of the seventh responsible for Jake Yagjian scoring the walk-off. In the finale, MB Club found out it’s very tough to come back from an 11-run first-inning deficit. Loco Pirates sent 16 men to the plate, 11 of them scored, and it was 11 – 0 after one-half of an inning. Credit to MB Club for a good effort after that – the final was 16 – 13 for the Pirates. MB rallied furiously in the fifth and sixth to close the gap to only three. Had there been time enough for a seventh inning, they might have pulled even. Unfortunately for them, time wasn’t on their side. The decision had to be made to call it after six innings because of concerns about the lights going out. Gregg Bosse had a home run and his second straight three RBI game for Loco, while Chris Armstrong was a perfect 4-for-4 (double, triple, four RBI). Mike Bulman (who may be the fastest man in the league) doubled and had two home runs for MB, driving in five.
Big Ballers raised their win percentage to .600 with a win over Punk & Poet Bulldogs, 12 – 11. Sean McCann and Jimmy MaGrath both drove in three, with McCann’s two-RBI single in the top of the seventh proving to be the difference. Bulldogs led, 9 – 5, after five innings (two home runs by Sean Higgins, and solo shots by Tom Moody, Matt Aucoin and Mike Blackman) but the Ballers came back to take it. Winless Colt Recycling had the strong Southside B squad early, but Southside B did all the late damage to take the victory, 9 – 3. Colt led, 3 – 2, after 4th inning back-to-back solo home runs by Jake Farrell and Ben Morse, but Southside’s Glenn Peterson wasn’t to be denied on this night. He had THREE home runs and six driven in. Billy McDougal added a home run of his own. The boys in the sporty new gray SST shirts also flashed some leather tonight, behind Jonny Brooks, as they ran their record to 5 and 1. The nightcap was a seriously odd game. It was the tale of two halves. VMT owned the first four innings behind Luke Palma’s no-hit pitching. They held a 3 – 0 lead against what had been season-long anemic Fat Baby bats. Apparently, Fat Baby was saving it all up for one stretch of three innings. They exploded for 11 runs in the top of the fifth, 20 overall in the last three innings, and took a 20 – 9 decision over VMT. It was a death of many cuts for Palma and VMT. Fat Baby had two home runs (Ross Fino and Tim Gazard) but most of the damage came via smaller hits. After not getting a hit through the first 4-1/3, Fat Baby had 20 over the final 2-2/3. Fine night for VMT’s Forrest Kimball (2 home runs and 5 RBI) but not enough to offset Fat Baby in this contest.
Thursday started with a Chris Flaherty leadoff home run. However, Lincoln Tavern took control of the game after that and defeated the Pat Simpson Club, 16 – 9. Aside from Flaherty’s homer, Brian Goodman had one (a grand slam, late) to continue his torrid hitting. Lincoln got round-trippers from Mike Kent (5 RBI) and Marshall Chick (4 RBI). Since entering the league in 2016, STATS Sluggers have been known for taking down other teams that were favorites coming in. They did it again tonight against the only undefeated team remaining in the league, The Kekambas, by a count of 17 – 13. STATS led all the way and didn’t look particularly challenged at any point. The Greensleeves came out flat and had uncharacteristic defensive miscues. They did have one huge high point – Andrew Moynihan went 4-for-4, with a double, 3 home runs and 9 RBI. For the winners, four-baggers came from Kevin Miller (4-for-5), Cody Hill (5 RBI), and Tad Gold. Last game on Thursday saw Miguel Dupree and Willie Lugo combine for 8 strikeouts (4 each) in a 10 – 1 Southside Tavern win over Elevated Realty. Only three hits were allowed by the duo from Southside. Runs were mostly provided by Sam MacDonald (double, home run) and Mike Selig (two home runs), both with 4 RBI.
Of three games originally scheduled for Friday, only one was played. The Village Pizza – Locker Room Talk contest was rescheduled. Roza Lyons forfeited to Berkshire-Hathaway.
(A word of explanation for those wondering why one was rescheduled but the other ended as a forfeit: If we receive a request to reschedule early enough, we will attempt to do so. Village Pizza asked us about the possibility earlier in the week. That gives us enough time to try to make it work by moving a game from one start time to another (securing an OK for that from two teams affected, as well as canceling out the lights for a game and saving that fee); and it also gives us time to notify an umpire who was already expecting to work, as well as not screwing an opponent who might prefer the opportunity to make other plans for an evening if they know they won’t be playing. However, if we are asked to reschedule on the day of the game itself, it will never happen. There’s no guarantee of it happening if we receive word early, either, but we’ll at least be able to make the effort for you.)
In the game that did play, it was a rare instance this year of an “A” team vs. a “B” team (due to scheduling problems, we had to plug in just a couple of these crossovers.) And Banshee (“B”) took the measure of MB Club (“A”) by the score of 20 – 7. MB Club had a 2 – 1 lead after one inning, but Banshee scored 8 in the top of the second and never trailed after that. MB Club was shorthanded – their regular pitchers did not show, so usual catcher Brad Morrill had to toe the rubber; and their 10th man was Steve “Superfan” Reynolds, coming out of the stands to fill in for (if my memory is correct) his fourth different team this season (and he went 1-for-3 with an RBI) – but let none of that distract from the fact that Banshee just owned this game. Eight different players had multiple runs batted in. All ten Banshee players scored. And pitcher Rob Ryan allowed only 7 hits to an “A” team. Home runs: MB Club – newcomer Matt Savage; Banshee – Ryan, Stoller, Cassis and Sweeney.
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 some residential spaces available) 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