Today was the LL Softball game and much fun was had by all.
SoftbaLL! pic.twitter.com/ySzqk1UlPi— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) June 23, 2018
Because we didn’t have anyone on staff who wasn’t either going to the game or had a previous engagement, we decided to group-recap the game from Park Pub, where we retired post-softball for some beer and food and chats. The folks at Park were wonderful to us, and didn’t blink an eye at twenty-odd people making a lot of noise over a baseball game (in fact, they almost seemed to find it endearing). If you couldn’t make it this time, we’ll do another one August 11, with the same post-game location. It’s kid-friendly and dog-friendly, so come on out and join us next time!
First Inning: (Kate)
I had not yet arrived at Park Pub, which was nice enough to host our post-softbaLL gathering, but listened to Dee Gordon get on base, extending his hitting streak to 11 games. Mitch Haniger then doubled to bring Dee home all the way from first, causing me to slam my steering wheel and shout MITCH!!! Apologies to the neighbors of Phinney Ridge enjoying a sleepy, sunny Saturday. But let me say again: MITCH!!!!
Mike Leake got into a little bit of trouble in the second, but was bailed out by Rafael Devers swinging at a ball that literally hit him on the foot. There was much shouting and cheering when Leake got out of it as Devers grounded out, much to the surprise of the other denizens of the Park Pub, but who cares. MIKE LEAKE FOREVER.
Second inning: (Isabelle)
The boos echoed throughout Park Pub (#sponsored) as Ben Gamel was thoroughly thumped in the shoulder by Eduardo Rodriguez. Once a Yankee, always a Yankee. Speaking of Yankees, thanks Fox for that gratuitous cut to the NYY on the Fenway Park scoreboard - they got shut out by the Rays, not that the broadcast acknowledged that at all.
With Gamel aboard, Heredia worked a full count but continued to show a frustrating inability to handle pitches in the upper half of the zone. Chris Herrrrrrmmmmannnn picked up the backup catcher OBP mantle, but an Andrew Romine Special (an infield pop out slower off the bat than most metropolitan highway speed limits) and a Dee Gordon fly out that was somehow too hard hit ended the scoring opportunity.
Mike Leake allowed no hits, no runs, and some reasonably frightening contact.
Third inning: (John)
Hamstrings. You might think “they can’t be that important, they just connect your knees to your butt, actually that sounds pretty vital, never mind,” and you’d be right, eventually. Nelson Cruz famously has a tendency to power through pain whenever possible, but much as we saw Jean Segura struggle last year following multiple hamstring/lower body injuries, Nellie wasn’t right.
At long last, after fluky dugout step capers and multiple times down the line coming up limp, today we saw how fortunate the M’s are to have a healthy Nellie in Canó’s absence. An easy double followed by scoring from second on a grounder to left field - something he could hardly have managed in April - granted Seattle a 2-0 lead. Leake managed to limit the baserunners in the bottom of the third to just one and escape with no runs. The third out came on a crucial held tag by Seager on an ill-advised steal attempt by JD Martinez.
Fourth inning: (Connor)
Andrew Romine has an actual hitting streak. Wild. After a walk to Chris Herrmann, he blooped a single into center field, prompting an impromptu “AN-DREW RO-MINE” chant from our gathering. Mitch would drive both of them in with a ringing double off of the Monster, and Rodriguez’s belly glowed yellow after intentionally walking Neli. Kyle Seager showed off some wheels after a long battle at the plate, legging out an infield hit to first base (!!!). Haniger would come around to score from second, showing fantastic awareness with two down. Sadly, RyON pounded the first pitch he saw to short, and the runs stopped there.
Bottom of the fourth: Kate
Connor sadly had to peace out to go work so I am back at the helm. The Park Pub patrons and staff continue to be bemused by our presence, but they seem to be happy that we’re happy. After all, happy people eat and drink more, right? Anyway, no lead is safe in the child’s diorama known as Fenway Park, so even with a 5-0 lead, I am watching this game with some trepidation. Luckily, Brock Holt grounded out to NEW LL HERO Andrew Romine, Mitch Moreland grounded out on two pitches, and then Devers struck out swinging, for a twelve-pitch, no-stress inning for Leake.
Fifth inning: (Mario)
This is my first recap while being situated in the city of Seattle, where grown-up ballparks exist. The weather is exquisite and reminiscent of home despite Ben “Too Much Good Stuff” Gamel grounding out to start the inning. Luckily enough, Guillermo Heredia took a 3-1 count and scribbled in a basehit to left field in his at bat, effectively eliminating whatever negative streak was imposed on him, against a right-handed pitcher no less. After Heredia’s base hit, Chris Herrmann found his way into the batters box, and quickly found his way into the dugout after flying out to Jackie Bradley Jr. Andrew Romine, believe it or not, met the same fate, ending the inning by hitting a 90 mph fastball up-and-away high and into the glove of Andrew Benintendi off of the Green Monster.
Mike Leake made his way back to work in the bottom of the fifth, starting with a first pitch called strike to Eduardo Núñez, and a second pitch that resulted in a long flyball to Mitch Haniger for the first out. He made quick work of Christian Vázquez as well, causing him to ground out on two pitches. Set into a rhythm, Leake pitched to Jackie Bradley Jr.. After a called balled on an outside changeup, a low changeup resulted in the third out of the inning; a simple flyout to Guillermo Heredia.
Sixth Inning: (Kate)
After both Dee and Haniger made quick outs, Cruz hit the heck out of a ball, resulting in just a single because #Fenway, and then Seager also hit the heck out of a ball for a double, resulting in a very loud cheer throughout Park Pub. Ryon allllllmost laced a ball down the LF line, but Devers made an excellent pick and throw; however, Mitch Moreland mishandled the ball. When the yellow “HIT” sign appeared on the broadcast there was a collective groan, even though that means Ryon is credited with a hit, which is theoretically a win for our team. That’s what truly loving baseball means, folks. Ben Gamel grounded out up the middle to end the inning, but not before the Mariners collected yet another run.
The Red Sox made a little noise right away when Tzu-Wei Lin reached on an error by Ryon (oh RyON), making Zach Gottschalk feel better for the Red Sox’ babby shortstop but making the rest of us feel bad for Ryon. Benintendi and JD Martinez then grounded out, advancing Lin to third, but Mitch Moreland then flew out harmlessly to left. Lately I’ve gotten really into cooperative games, and every game at Fenway feels like a cooperative game: the odds are stacked against your brave band, but every successful inning feels like a huge win/escape/oh thank god the island didn’t sink on my turn.
Seventh Inning: (Eric)
Hello, and welcome to the seventh inning. The Mariners are cruising and it feels good. An end to the losing streak is within grasp. Heredia lead off the inning with a single to left field. Herrmann checked in with a single, as well, and Guillermo scampered over the to third, setting the table for our boy Andrew Romine, on his own lil’ vengeance tour of the AL East. He struck out on a 2-2 pitch in the dirt. So it goes.
Dee Gordon came up and scored another run with a fielder’s choice, to put the Mariners up 7-0. Mitch Haniger popped up to left field for the third out.
Mike Leake, continuing his shutout, came in to pitch the bottom of the seventh. He got two ground outs and then Devers almost killed himself with a foul ball of his back leg. Leake then ended the inning with a strike out looking on Vasquez. Good Mike!
Eighth Inning: (Matthew)
Nelson Cruz led off the eighth inning with a solid single up the middle, which paired nicely with my beer and overall good feeling. Even when Kyle Seager and Ryon Healy struck out, my mellow has un-harshed. Seeing Ben Gamel toomgis a line drive the other way was an encouraging bit of hard contact, even if it settled in Benintendi’s glove. Having a touchdown-sized lead, delicious alcohol, and a sunny day cast a blind eye on any eighth inning badness.
There wasn’t much badness to be had. Leake whiffed Jackie Bradley to kick off the bottom half, then retired Tzu-Wei Lin and Benintendi consecutively. This put Leake in a great position to go for the complete game shutout, and me in a great position to get drunker and pass the responsibilities of this recap to my co-workers.
Ninth Inning: (Joe)
Ed. note: with various staff members having flaked off to so-called family responsibilities and myself flagging from multiple-inning recap capsules, we called on closer Joe Veyera. He was wearing a Fernando Rodney jersey, so it seemed appropriate.
Did you know Chris Herrman was on this roster? Because he has yet to mentally register on mine. But his one-out walk further etched his presence on his 2-for-3 night. Backup catchers who can play more than catcher, who knew? Versatility!
But that was the lone bright spot in the top half, following a Guillermo K, and followed by a Romine pop-out and Gordon fly-out.
Cue the pump-up fusion that signals the entrance of Edwin Diaz!
Wait. No. Hold on.
With Leake nearing 100 pitches and Diaz having ample — ample — rest over the past week, the flamethrower was tabbed to pitch the ninth, offering up a single to J.D. Martinez and a triple (yes, dumb ballpark) to Mitch Moreland to erase the shutout.
He settled in after with a pair of good-for-the-soul strikeouts of Brock Holt (!) and Blake Swihart, but another single from Eduardo Nunez brought in Boston’s second run. A Christian Vazquez groundout officially ended the five-game skid. Hallelujah.