Burford Slo-Pitch: Fighting the rain again
By Jesse Ferguson, 4BRANT
This title is reminiscent of Staind’s song “Mudshovel” but yet, kinda different.
Amidst wet conditions, some towns’ ignored the wet field and some didn’t… again (pictured below). Among the former group was the Burford Men’s Slo-Pitch League. The right batter box was in poor conditions (featured picture, “the mudpuddle”) but other than that, the field looked in good shape.
Despite the roars coming from the girls’ soccer one field over at Burford Arena complex, Tota’s Farms battled Davis Fuels in an early contest. Tota’s thinks they are right on the verge… and have underachieved with the wins and loss total (two one-run loss games does hurt).
Tota’s started the game on a tear going ten batters deep, scoring eight runs before Davis Fuels could open their gas caps. Among the early action, Landen Giles was quick to point out that he hit a homer. Dan Moore also went deep as the tenth batter. Tota’s didn’t leave themselves much room for many other dingers as they reached the quota quickly (actually they used all their homers in the first inning, which could hamper them later in the game).
Vern Tipping stated Davis Fuels faced an uphill battle against the umpires as well as the Tota squad. His comments seemed unfounded against the umpires… and one must wonder if Tipping is just looking for his name in the press and papers.
As the main picture shows, the right-handed batters box was a mess. But umpire Jeff Jefferson must be a handyman as he took the board at home plate and raked it over the box, garnering temporary relief.
Davis put the heat on later, loading the bases. But Fueller Dallas Boakes couldn’t capitalize, weakly grounding out to Tota shortstop Daniel Moore. That was not his worst at-bat of the night though, unfortunately for him…
There is a rule stipulating that the tenth batter can hit a homerun even if the team is over their quantity of homeruns. Levi Smith of Tota’s used this rule to his full advantage and this shot sealed the deal for Tota’s.
However, the good news for Davis Fuels was Dallas Boakes did make up for his earlier performance at the plate (kinda) with a three-run shot later. But like football fans know, even Jay Cutler can put up good numbers in garbagetime.
Tota’s pumps Davis Fuels, 25-12. A nine-run seventh to go alongside the eight-run first sure helps matters. Smith and Moore scored four times each. Now Tota’s Farms finds itself tied with five wins along with Bre Haul as their record climbs to .500.
Sadly, Davis’ numbers were unreported… but other than a five-run seventh, there wasn’t too much good to report. Unluckily for Davis, they have allowed the most runs in the league… and it’s not even close.
The second-ranked Cement Heads then took on Ackland’s Insurance. In the slight rain, I decided to stay put on Diamond A in my dry seat than venture over to Diamond B, and get my shoes and seat wet. With a win and a Bon Lane loss, the Heads would takeover first place. So this game should be compelling enough with Ackland’s also having a shot at .500 with a win.
The Cement Heads were also short with nine players, surely giving Ackland’s a more than fair shot at the upset.
Both teams stalled out of the gate, perhaps unable to get accustomed to the field. It took two full innings for either team to score. Mark Malecki spent the first inning in centrefield making a few highlight catches for Ackland’s.
But the Cement Heads had an answer in the form of Jeff Thompson, best known as Gin (unlike the drink, pronounced with a hard G). He stood taller than he actually is making several sparkling plays at second base.
The Ackland’s team was wondering why Ginny was wasted in the outfield all this time. Thompson shrugged it off, but the Cement Heads would be wise throwing Thompson back in the infield for the time to come.
Gary Zylstra arrived for this game and it is his quote of the right-handed batters box, calling it a “mudpuddle” and that has earned the title of this week’s article. Good work, Gary.
Then Brandon Webster took the reigns in the field for Ackland’s ending one Cement Heads inning almost by himself!
In the third inning, both teams finally decided to get on the board. Steve Pedley scored the first of four consecutive runs.
Then Ackland’s Ryan Nechelput scored Ackland’s first run of the game… which, personally, was his first of three runs in a row he scored. Both teams scored zero runs in the first and second innings, then both scored four in the third.
Ackland’s looked to find its groove midway through as they scored atleast three runs in the third, fourth, and fifth (by eleven batters… spreading the love). This put their total to 11, leading the Cement Heads by five runs!
Unfortunately this may have burnt them out, as in the remaining four innings, they could only score two runs. Would that be enough?
The Heads survived only nine fielders for eight innings, only allowing 12 runs. In the ninth, the Cement Heads decided to empty the tank and go for it! In the inning, they scored 66 percent of their lineup! Suddenly, the Cement Heads found the lead for the first time since the third, 14-12!
This game started as a tight affair and was getting close at the end, too. Matt Lehmann (pictured below) made it even tighter in the bottom of the ninth by delivering a spite shot to bring Ackland within one. But the top of Ackland’s order let them down.
Cement Heads rally and stake a big comeback, winning 14-13. The hero of the game was the ninth inning for the Cement Heads. They’re now 8-2.
“One bad inning killed us,” was heard from the Ackland bench just before the handshake line. And it’s true. Also hurting Ackland’s was the top six batters scored in just ONE INNING… and just four runs total. That’s not going to get the job done.
Across Optimist Fields on Diamond B, somehow, we had another one-run game! The #Crunchers (which is not a hashtag. It’s an old-school number sign! So, number crunchers… cleverly enough) were facing Bre Haul.
And it was the 6-4 team going to 7-4… and that was the Crunchers! They edge Bre Haul in an exciting one, 26-25. And Bre Haul falls below .500 for the first time in memory.
Next week, game of the week pits the two teams who won by a single run Wednesday, the hottest team in the league, the #Crunchers face the other hottest team in the league, the 8-2 Cement Heads!
For last week’s article, click here.
For a look at the schedule and scores, click here.
For an update on the standings, click here.
For my other articles on 4BRANT, click here.