Week Three – Winners Lose, Losers Win, Ancient Catcher Squats Again
Coaches from the newer teams keep asking me about rules they are unclear on, so we’ll get to the recaps after a short discussion about substitutions - re-entry, the EH/DH, and courtesy runners.
Here’s the scoop on re-entry. You can substitute for any player with a fresh (not yet entered into the game) player. If you later wish to re-enter the original player into the game, you can – provided he re-enters for his substitute. At that point, the substitute is out of the game permanently and no longer eligible to play. And if you find you want to substitute again for the original player, he will then be permanently out of the game. The same player cannot re-enter more than once.
EH and DH are hitters, of course. The DH is a player who ONLY BATS for a player playing a defensive position who DOES NOT BAT. Most often, the DH is used as a substitute batter for a pitcher, but there’s no rule that says you can’t use him for another position player. The EH is an ADDED batter (the 11 th batter, when a team starts with a full complement of players.) The EH is eligible to enter the game as a defensive player, but a DH is not. Once a player has been designated a DH, he cannot play the field in that game (except in an emergency situation when injuries to your team would leave you without enough fielders.)
In reality, in regular season games, most teams won’t make a stink about the distinction between your EH and DH and you might interchange them without anyone complaining. Once we reach the playoffs, though, these rules take on more import and will be enforced if a manager brings it to the attention of the umpire or other league official, so it’s probably best to play things correctly now and get used to it.
Finally, the rule on courtesy runners is simple enough. One spot in your lineup can be run for every time he reaches base. Our league does not care what base he has reached before the courtesy runner is employed. The courtesy runner will be the man who made the last out. Keep in mind that a courtesy runner is NOT a pinch runner. A pinch runner is an actual substitution and subject to the same rules concerning entry and re-entry as any other substitute. OK, that’s enough of that (probably way too much of that, actually.) Let’s get to the games!
Monday, May 23, was a night of upsets. It began with the previously undefeated Lincoln Tavern going down to defeat at the hands of previously winless VMT, 12 – 10. Lincoln was cruising along, up 10 – 1 entering the bottom of the fifth, when VMT came up with five straight hits and scored four, making it 10 – 5. After Lincoln went without incident in the sixth, VMT roared again in their half of the frame, with most of the damage coming after two outs had been recorded. VMT got it to 10 – 8, bases loaded, and then Andrew Peabody delivered a grand slam that put VMT ahead, 12 – 10. Lincoln was shell-shocked
and went 1 – 2 – 3 in the seventh, at the hands of very effective relief pitching from winner Dave Wasylak (3 IP, 3 hits, 1 run). Not to be outdone, Handdukies then gained their first win of the season, also over an undefeated squad. The Dukies took a 12 – 4 lead into the sixth, withstood a five-run rally by Local 149, and won their first of the season. Local now had a loss to go with their three wins and a tie. Niall Murphy and Pat O’Sullivan each provided three hits for Handdukies, while Kevin Moran had a three-run homer. Finally, on this night of surprises, STATS Sluggers got their first win, too, but the opposition was The Kavanagh Club and both teams hadn’t won a game yet, so somebody was likely to do so (Calm down, Kavanaghs. I’m not dissing you. I know you tied Local 149 and later this week you got YOUR first win.) STATS took this contest, 12 – 4, with Cody Hill pitching a six-hitter. Steve Pesapane and (longest name in the league) Dalton Baxter-Collins each drove in three.
Tuesday did not hold such bad news for undefeated teams. The Loco Tacqueria Pirates remained without a loss, taking a good clean 7 – 1 victory from the always scrappy Village Pizza. Brian Pacheco picked up his fourth win of the season, with Wally Preble pitching two innings of scoreless relief. Chris “Killer” Kowalski provided all the punch that would be needed via a first-inning three-run homer. For Pizza, T. K. Skendarian went 3-for- 3 and played an admirable third base, but it wasn’t enough. The middle game found Magix Box in a very entertaining battle with Harp & Bard, but Box also remained unbeaten, 11 – 7. Harp put a scare into the Box by plating all seven of their runs in the fifth, making a 9 – 0 game 9 – 7, but Box scored singletons in the sixth and seventh, while Stevie Lannon reasserted himself and held H & B hitless the rest of the way. Miguel Dupree was monstrous, clouting two no-doubt- from-the-moment- they-left- the-bat home runs. Finally, The Kekambas and Playwright had a back-and- forth ballgame in the closer, with The Kekambas prevailing, 9 – 6. Sean Kaukas went 4-for- 4 for the greensleeves.
Wednesday saw The Spot take on Super Tours in the opener. Super Tours got off early, plating six runs in the first, but The Spot held them scoreless over the next five innings and scored eight of their own for the 8 – 6 lead. Top of the seventh saw Super Tours finally get on the board again with two runs that tied the game. In the bottom of the seventh, though, The Spot loaded the bases on the first three batters and Brian Hurld stroked a walk-off single. The Kavanagh Club (See? I told you I’d mention you again!) then engaged Dorset Club in a high-scoring affair, prevailing 18 – 10. Tyler Byrne and Kris Kavanagh both had four hits, while Jeff Walch had four RBI. For Dorset, “Fast” Freddie Goodman went a perfect 4-for- 4. The nightcap saw Jack Atton improve to 2 – 0 since joining The Banshee, with his team on the right end of a 14 – 11 score. The Banshee allowed STATS Sluggers to score 10 runs in the first three innings, but Jack shut them down over the final four frames, allowing only one run on three hits. That’s what a solid
veteran hurler brings to the table for you. Ryan Stoler, Steve Cassis and Mike Manson all had four RBI for The Banshee.
Finally, Thursday saw a return to action for yours truly in the opening game. With Harp & Bard short players, I was pressed into action behind the plate (I’m still on Harp’s roster, although I wasn’t expecting to play this year.) I’m very happy to report that my 59-year- old bones didn’t crumble in my three innings of squatting – I left the game when other Harp players arrived - and I only short-hopped the return throw to my pitcher five or six times. I also went 2-for- 2 and drove in three runs, including the game-winner, in Harp’s 7 – 1 victory over Local 149. I will now enjoy retiring with a 1.000 batting average for my final season in the league (unless Brian Pacheco has something to say about it – see “News & Notes” below.) Now, despite the fun I’ve had bragging, pitcher Johnny Brooks deserves the lion’s share of the credit for the victory, as he scattered seven hits (no walks) to get the win. The 7:30 game found Elevated Realty remaining undefeated via a 16 – 15 victory over a very tough VMT squad. Lots of hitting in this
one. Galen Farrar and Luke Palma had home runs for VMT, with Shea O’Neill gathering four hits. Elevated had round-trippers from Chris Williams, Dave “Funky” Blandino, Bret Belcastro and Mike Talarico. And to close out the week, there was perhaps the most exciting game of the season thus far. Handdukies and Loco Pirates battled hard all the way, with the defending champs pulling out a 9 – 8 victory by coming from behind (down 8 – 3 after 5 ½ innings) scoring three runs in the sixth and then another three in the bottom of the seventh. Charlie Connors threw two innings of scoreless relief to get
the victory, while Chris Armstrong provided four RBI on two homers and a bases-loaded walk. For the Dukies, Mike Durant and Niall Murphy both homered and they combined for all eight runs batted in.
News & Notes from around the league
Some guys just have no luck. Last week, we wrote about Greg Bosse’s eye being impaled. He came back from that, thank God. But now his finger has exploded. I’m serious; that’s exactly how he phrased it and, after seeing the photos, I agree. I won’t go into the details of how it happened at his place of work, but yeah, his finger was split open the same way a hot dog looks when you leave it on the grill too long… It took 20 stitches to close it up… Of course, guys take care of their teammates when they’re injured. Someone was giving Bosse a hard time the other night and Charlie Conners came to his defense, saying, “Hey! Give the guy a break! He’s got only one eye and nine fingers!”… As for me and Brian Pacheco, well, I have a perfect batting mark against Cheeks. I’ve faced him exactly once, going 1-for- 1 in a game in 2013. As I recall, I took the first four pitches, for a 2 – 2 count, and then he threw me a change-up on the outside corner that I took back up the middle for a single. I believe his exact statement when I did so was, “Shit!” After that, I had the great pleasure of being his catcher for a full season in 2014 in a Sunday league and we won a championship together. I loved being behind the plate for him. I could have caught almost the entire season in a rocking chair, his control was so good. Anyway, he thinks I should give him a chance at revenge and I’m willing to be fair about it for a good buddy. So, if the game situation is such that Harp manager Robby Costello feels it’s OK to send me up for an AB against Cheeks in this Wednesday’s 9:00 Pirates-Harp contest, I’m game. I’m not thrilled putting TWO perfect batting averages on the line all at once, but if it will put asses in the seats…
Games are played 6:00, 7:30 and 9:00, Monday through Thursday. Hope to see you at the park!
[Jim Sullivan is an op-ed writer for the Boston Herald and sportswriter for multiple GateHouse Media publications. He is also the official league scorekeeper. His latest Herald column can be read here (scroll down and look for "Sullivan"): Sullivan]