Notes for Game 07|
By Andrew Wolan / WRCS
Game date: Aug 8, 2011
Coach’s Game Analysis:
Radar images of the two storms that hit the area before game time. (twc.com / wbztv.com)
Big THANKS to everyone who came out to attend "Mud Bowl". (See below.) It's unfortunate that a rain storm soaked the field shortly before the start of the game, but we made the most of it. The game will go down as one of the more memorable games in team history.
A "thank-you" is also in order for everyone who helped remove the rain water and mud from the infield. At the end of the day, no one slipped or fell running around the infield. (Except for me, but I always fall regardless of field conditions.)
Final score: 17-3. Jeff Woo would like to remind Bob Safner that we scored 2 more runs than in our last game.
The Mud Bowl:
About 3 hours before game time, the area was doused by a passing storm. Though the rain was heavy, dumping as much as ¾ of an inch of rain in 10-15 minutes (WBZtv.com), it was short lived. The playing field was expected to dry up by game time. But with 30 minutes to go before game time, a second passing shower hit the area. With almost no time to dry out, matters were not looking favorable.
At game time, the team captains of both teams inspected the field. The infield had patches of mud, with areas of concentrated rainwater near home plate and the pitching circle. The outfield grass was wet, but not soggy. The clouds had cleared, bringing in plenty of sunshine. The area was expected to be rain-free for the rest of the evening. In all, the field was not perfect, but not as bad as some had expected.
With both teams at full attendance for this game, neither was enthusiastic about postponing the game. Instead, both teams agreed to try and salvage the game by making the field as playable as possible. If the teams could not make the field playable after a reasonable amount of time, the game would be called off.
Rakes and shovels were obtained from the maintenance shed to remove standing water and mud, and to rake-in any standing water. (Photo on right.) To ensure that both the infield and outfield had time to dry, the captains delayed the game to 6:40pm. By that time, the only area that could not be addressed was an area in
front of home plate and in the pitching circle. To address these concerns, the teams dropped back home plate by about 8 feet. This move allowed the pitcher and batter to stand out of the mud zone. It also allowed a batter running to first base to avoid stepping in the soft mud in front of the original home plate, and instead run on firm ground directly behind the soft area.
Both teams worked hard to make the field playable, and to avoid a PPD. (Bhatia)
To ensure a runner trying to score did not have to step in the mud, the teams placed a second “scoring” home plate adjacent to the “batting” home plate, about 8 feet toward the left side of the plate. Outs were to be made at that “scoring” plate while batting was limited to the “batting” home plate.
Finally, to ensure no fielder had to step in the mud, a circle was drawn around the mud near home plate. Any ball landing in this area was considered “dead” and would demand a re-pitch.
- Originally, I had planned for Naren to appear before Ajeet in the batting line-up. However, Ajeet made an at-bat before Naren did, so their order was reversed. Since Ajeet is not fast on the base pads, it makes sense to have him hit last in a string of batters near the bottom of the line-up. Doing so would take advantage of his strong batting average in situations where there are likely to be base runners, while ensuring he is not followed by someone who is quick.
- Most of the women on the opposing team could hit well. This observation is complicated with the observation of many questionable swings made by these players in the 4th. (See comment below.)
- The presence of Morley at 1B helped anchor the infield unit. The infield starters did pretty well considering the muddy conditions and the lack of practice.
- In the fourth inning, many of the women batters on the opposing team were intentionally making light contact with the ball, causing it to land somewhere near the pitching circle. Having a FIF to field those balls would have forced the women to return towards hitting the ball normally. In addition, coach did not do a good job in directing the infielders when to move in.
In addition, I should have considered putting Ajeet at FI
F instead of FOF, where the presence of multiple outfielders only created confusion for Eno and Pete.
- The M’s 3B was very active, and snagged some hard line-drives out of the air. Try not to hit the ball towards him.
- The M’s appeared to have a new coach, with the team being led by a group of women on the team. In general, their team appeared to have some turn-over from seasons past, as there were many unfamiliar faces.
- Late in the game, the point I was trying to make with the opposing team was the height in which the pitches were being thrown. In a normal slow-pitch league, (and in accordance with the ASA,) the minimum arc of a pitched ball in flight must be 6 feet high; otherwise the pitch is “illegal”. This rule is enforced by an umpire at the game.
In our “self-officiating” league, I personally don’t bother enforcing this rule as long as a pitched ball does not look “flat”, or if special considerations are being made to a batter that has trouble hitting. As pitcher, it is usually wise not to deliver a “flat” pitch because the end result is a low, hard line-drive back to the pitcher or infielder. This can sometimes be a safety issue for fielders. (Ask me about what happened in 2007.)
However, our league does not recognize a minimum pitch arc. According to Game Rule #12:
12. A ball must be pitched underhand at slow speed.
The rule does not say anything about pitch arc height, meaning a team can pitch the ball as high or low as they want. This means I was wrong to raise the issue, and that my point is moot. I apologize for any commotion I had caused.
- For the first three innings of the game, most of the M’s women batters were hitting the ball well. When hit, the ball would travel to the edge of the infield, or beyond.
In the fourth inning, many of the women batters were intentionally making light contact with the ball, causing it to land somewhere near the pitching circle. When compared to their previous at-bats, their swings were half-hearted and deliberate, with sole intention of tapping the ball so it could not travel far.
Verdasys tried to counter their hitting by putting someone in. But when they did, the M’s women batters would revert to swinging with full contact and hit the ball over the infielders’ heads. When Verdasys infielders resorted back to their original positions, the women would return to their “tap” like hitting.
In a normal baseball game, their strategy would be considered clever; Force the infielders in with a bunt, and follow it with a hit over their heads. But according to Game Rule #14: “No bunts will be allowed”. Is it possible that their hitting was illegal?
Wikipedia defines a bunt as when “the batter loosely holds the bat in front of the plate and intentionally taps the ball into play.” Slow-pitch softball in general discourages bunts because of the amateur nature of the game. However, it is not uncommon for someone to take a legitimate swing at a pitch, and only see it travel a few feet from home plate. These types of hits, though short, are not classified as “bunts” because the batter’s intension was to hit the ball as hard as they could.
Technically speaking, the women batters on the M’s were not holding the bat over the plate, and were swinging the bat, if half-heartedly. However, their intent was obvious, and that was to tap the ball short.
It is unclear if they were in violation of the rule or not. But when you consider that (1) they were intentionally “tap” hitting the ball, and (2) the women batters on that team can hit well, then it’s clear that they were trying to “bunt” the ball to where there were no fielders.
| - ||Game was the Verdasys Softball debut for Katie Crislip and Ms. S.B.|
| - ||Despite the muddy fielding conditions, no one fell!|
| - ||After making a running catch of a Pete infield-flair, the M’s third baseman made a “big splash” by running through a mud-puddle near the pitching circle. (2nd)|
| - ||After scoring his first career run, Kaveesh hung around home plate and waved to the fans. “Alright Kaveesh, you can come-in now,” commented A-WOL a short time afterwards. Kaveesh continued waving to everyone as he returned to the dug-out. (4th) The fan club thought that this was the best part of the game.|
|Naren:||Running catch of a ball in foul territory near 3B. (2nd)|
|Verdasys:||Held the M’s to 1 run over the first 2 innings. This accomplishment was thanks in part to a 1-2-3 inning in the 2nd, the first for the Verdasys Softball defense this season. (K, F5 by Naren, 6-4 by A-WOL / Morley)|
|M’s 3B:||Line-drive snag of a ball hit towards 3B to rob Mark of at least an RBI. (3rd)|
|Kristen:||Kicked a grounder headed towards 2B to A-WOL at SS. A-WOL scooped it up for the force out at 2B. Was a nice soccer-like pass. (3rd)|
|A-WOL:||Had a line-drive hit shin-high to him at SS. Ball defected out of his glove and toward Kristen at SS, who then made the force-out at 2B. (4th)|
|M’s 3B:||Leaping line-drive snag of a ball hit towards 3B to rob Mark of at least an RBI. (3rd)|
|M’s:||Double play (5th)|
|Ajeet:||3 for 3 with 1 RBI.|
|Pete:||2 for 3 (3B) with an RBI and 1 run scored.|
|Eno:|| 2 for 3 with an RBI and 1 run scored.|
|Katie:|| 1 for 1 (SAC).|
Game was attended and photographed by A-WOOF, with the club president, Ms. S.B., participating in the game. A-WOL was quite dirty after the game. (See photo.)
Started at SS. 2 put-out, 2 assists. A few botched plays or no opportunities.
| - ||Leaped at a high line drive into LF. Ball nipped top of glove. (1st)|
| - ||Botched catching a force-out at 2B because I was trying to avoid base runner.|
| - ||F6 (behind mound) |
| - ||6-4 to Morley to end second.|
| - ||On a ball hit into LF, Eno threw ball to me near 2B. I was not able to find the base with my foot to make the force-out because my back was toward the base. In a desperate attempt to locate the base, I turned around and did a kazachok in the direction of the base. I missed the base, so the base runner was safe. (3rd)|
| - ||Kristen kicked (passed) a grounder to me for the force-out at 2B. (3rd)|
| - ||Had a line-drive hit shin-high to me at SS. Ball defected out of my glove and toward Kristen at SS, who then made the force-out at 2B. (4th)|
| - ||On a short grounder to SS, with runner on 2B only, Naren mistakenly told me to toss ball to him. Play resulted in a botched pickle attempt.|
| - ||On a short grounder to SS, with runner on 1B only, I mistakenly threw ball to Naren at 3B. This time, I mistook Ajeet as a base runner at 2B.|
| - ||Gave-up on fielding a hard grounder to SS near end of game to avoid risk injury, and because the game was pretty-much over by that point.|
2 for 3. Ended 2-game no-hit streak. For the first two ABs, was trying to pull ball into RF. Bat was “flat” when swung. For 3rd AB, I tried to pull ball down the line into LF.
| - ||Hit ball over Pete’s head, up the middle and over 2B bag for a hit.|
| - ||Blooper into shallow RF for a hit.|
| - ||Hit into LF, but LF made running grab for fly out, then made strike to 2B to double-up Ajeet.|
Andy Wolan is a reporter and photographer for Verdasys Softball. This story was not subject to the approval of the league or its clubs.