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Softball Report, August » Nightcrawlers v. Nutcan.com

Submitted by Editor on August 10, 2010 – 10:00 pm | Print or Email »One Comment

Nightcrawlers Lose a Pitchers’ Duel

by Joe Thielen, manager | Strong defense once again carried the day in the Mediterranean League, as the Nightcrawlers faced Nutcan for the 3rd and possibly final time of the season, barring a meeting in the playoffs.

The highlight of the game was an astounding three double-plays by a strong Nightcrawler infield.  With Phil Garvey at first, Kelly Frasier at second, Doug Loechner at shortstop, and Kris Lyberg at third, the infield was as formidable as any group the Eastside Hill team has fielded all year.  This included a 1-6-3, a 6-4-3, and a 5-4 double-play, where Kris Lyberg was able to snag a line-drive and quickly get it to Kelly for the inning-ending out.

Perhaps the most amazing play was on a grounder that led to only one out.  Doug Loechner, playing deep in the shortstop position, dove to his backhand side for a ball. The hard-hit grounder skipped off his glove, but Doug persisted, rose to his feet, and drilled a laser to Phil Garvey at first. Garvey kept his glove down and scooped a difficult short-hop throw.

Another double-play nearly happened at the end of the 6th inning. With two outs and a runner on second, Kris Lyberg tossed a throw to Phil on a ground ball.  The runner was called “safe” on a very close play. Garvey, misremembering the number of outs, threw a bullet to third to tag an advancing runner.  Lyberg slapped the tag on the player, and the inning was over. Garvey, retreating to the dugout, beamed at what he considered another fantastic double play. While Garvey’s efforts were indeed amazing, he was chargined at the news that the umpire had called the batter “safe,” but pleased that his strong throw had in fact ended the inning.  The Nightcrawler defense would go on to hold Nutcan.com to only three runs.

Sadly, Nightcrawler bats were essentially silent all game, hitting grounder after grounder to third base. Manager Joe Thielen scored the team’s only run. Though the typically weak-hitting manager managed to go 2-for-3 in the game, Thielen was disappointed. “I’m the weakest hitter on the team. Any time I’m the team’s only offense, we’re gonna have some problems out there,” lamented Thielen. Indeed, after a long season plagued with injuries, the Nightcrawlers can only hope now that the typical playoff mojo kicks in again.

The Nightcrawlers do have one more regular season game against Scheels’ Sports, but are now locked in to the 4th seed for the playoffs. The Eastside Hill will face the Bronx Bombers to start off the round on August 3rd.  Thielen was optimistic. “I know we can pull it out. We have some key hitters coming off the DL in the next few weeks. Our defense is really picking up steam.  As a team we are as cohesive as we’ve ever been.  Plus I’m pretty sure the Yankees have to throw the playoffs in order to remain in our league next year, so we might get some slight satisfaction out of the deal.”

Joe Thielen already knows how this ends, but you’re going to have to wait a couple of days to find out for sure.

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