Friday, April 15, 2011

Returning to the Softball Diamond

With all of the difficulties in the last 6 weeks combined with some much needed rain, has put my attempts to start playing softball on the backburner.

In January, I passed the physical and a few weeks ago I played my first game. I was blown away when I arrived at the field. It was the same one that used to host the IBL. The field was impressive with grass, dirt infield, properly drawn foul lines, foul poles, permanent bases and an outfield fence. They even had two umpires. They also had rules I never heard of for this level of play, such as a designated field and a DH (who could play the field).

The team we played against was really talented. Playing in Spanish, with real baseball names like Rodriguez and Ramirez added to the intimidation factor. I soon discovered that I might be out of my league with the skill of some of my team mates. They stuck me in RF where I had trouble tracking down fly balls (which has always been a problem for me). At the plate where I normally redeem myself, I was hit by a pitch, grounded out, then struck out. We lost but managed to not invoke the mercy rule (down by 15 after 3 innings ends the game). I wasn't 100% sure if I wanted to go back.

The week before Pesach was hard to get guys out especially with two games on the schedule. Last night we had only 9 guys. They stuck me out at my preferred position of 2B. The coach was playing SS. Based on the way we were covering plays, it was clear I did not have his full confidence.

In the 2nd inning there was a hard hit ball to my left. As I tried to get the ball, in fell out of my glove and I ended up making picking up the ball while lying on the field. From my position I could only manage a weak throw and to make things worse I through it into the ground. The ball slowing trickled to the first basemen with enough time to get out the runner.

A few plays later, there was an attempted steal of second base. I ran to the bag and the throw was low and off to my left. Instead of sliding, the runner deciding to go into 2nd standing up. I caught him and the ball at the same time. I took a knee my head as I fell over but as I we untangled I was able to show that I still had the ball and the runner was out. When I first stood up, I was worried because my head hurt and I couldn't see anything. Someone pointing out my glasses had fallen off solved that problem.

From that point on I had the full confidence of the coach. He gave me first choice on handling certain plays. Later in the game, I picked up another assist as the runner fell and didn't get up after rounding second base. As the cut off man, I was able to get the ball in, with plenty of time to get him out.

At the plate most of the team was poping out. Even the catcher caught two foul balls. I managed to hit the ball hard on the ground into a 4-6-3 double play. We lost 19-1 after 4 innings, finishing the game almost an hour early.

This was more of they type of game I wanted to play (minus the lack of offence and losing) and am once again looking forward to the next game.

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