The Bushwhackers softball team finished the regular season 2-1, gaining a playoff berth in the winner’s bracket. Prior to their third game of the regular season, the Bushwhackers maintained a 1-1 record after a disappointing 1-run loss in their second game. They were determined to reach the playoffs but one team stood in their way—Where’s My Pitches At (WMPA). WMPA were undefeated, having outscored their opponent 51 to 15 over the course of two games. The Bushwhackers were ready to challenge WMPA’s dominance.
It was a crisp October night when the Bushwhackers stepped up to the plate for a 9:45pm game. All other intramural games had finished, leaving Penberthy Field 3 the only fully lit field in the entire complex. There was a buzz of excitement for the Bushwhackers when Michael Kramer picked up his bat to leadoff for the team. After 3 wild pitches delivered by WMPA’s pitcher, Kramer took first base with a solid walk. The next three batters experienced similar batting fates as WMPA’s pitcher struggled to find the strike zone. Although WMPA was quick to call up a new pitcher to the mound, momentum had already swung in favor of the Bushwhackers and they ended the top of the 1st with a 9 run advantage.
The Bushwhackers started strong but knew they would have to play tight defense to keep the big hitters on WMPA from chipping away at the lead. Unfortunately, they underestimated the hitting capabilities of their opponent and gave up 7 runs in the bottom of the 1st inning. The team committed a few defensive eras but also failed to play their outfield far enough back to keep any long drives from sailing over the outfielders’ heads. After finally getting out of the 1st, the team captain called a quick meeting to rally the troops and change their defensive scheme. Outfielders Michael Kramer, Tyler Hosford, Julia Swensen, and Kendelle Porter discussed their positioning and decided to play deeper so that no balls would get past them. With the outfield playing deep, infielders Vina Rodriguez, Quinton Jones, Grace Norman, and Drew Comstock knew that they would need to play aggressive defense to get the outs that the team would need.
By the time the 5th inning rolled around, The Bushwhackers’ bats had completely stalled. The score was 16-15 in favor of the Bushwhackers but the team had failed to extend their lead and went 3-and-out in the top of the 5th. This was especially concerning because WMPA was back at the top of their lineup. With their leadoff batter at the plate, pitcher Mark Niegelsky delivered a pitch right down the middle. CRACK. The ball flew over second base and was going deep. Center fielder Michael Kramer was backpedaling but somehow managed to come up with the ball in his glove. 1 out. The second batter soared the ball towards right field where Kendelle Porter, the outfield rover, managed to run it down and secure the out. With two outs on the board, WMPA’s biggest hitter stepped up to the plate. Niegelsky delivered the pitch in the top left corner of the plate. The batter chased it and got off a solid hit, sending it towards the centerfield fence. Luckily, Kramer had positioned himself perfectly and followed the ball directly into his glove. GAME OVER. The Bushwhackers walked away with the win and secured their well-deserved spot in the playoffs.
The Bushwhackers played with amazing drive and determination. They cheered and supported each other every step of the way. In just 3 games, the team managed to grow close and play like a team. They cannot wait to reunite in the spring for spring ball and encourage anyone else to come out and join in as they make another push towards softball success.
Notable plays: In the 4th inning, with one man on base, Julia Swenson came away with the final out of the inning when she caught a fly ball in right field that would have certainly given WMPA the lead in the game.