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Exciting plays and crazy delays…

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The Tonya Putnam Memorial Co-Ed Softball Tournament doesn’t disappoint

By Cary Ihme and Orrin Snyder

Last Thursday marked the start of the annual Tonya Putnam Memorial Co-Ed Softball Tournament held at Weber Field. The tournament was full of entertaining moments from beginning to end.

Exciting Plays

In the fourth game of the tourney between the #4 seeded Eldora Ski Area and the #5 seeded Mean Machine, the game was tied at 16 after seven innings of play. Eldora had scored nine runs in their second inning to counter the nine runs Mean Machine had scored after their at bats in the first two innings. It was a see-saw battle from then on. The game started at 7 p.m. and due to waning daylight, after seven complete innings, the umpiring crew decided to use the “tie-breaker” rule whereby a runner is placed on second base to start the top of the eighth inning. Each subsequent batter is pitched just one pitch to put into play, or take a ball for a walk, or take a called strike for a strike-out. It’s “do or die” under these circumstances. In Mean Machines top of the eighth, Krystal Meyer, was put on second base and the batter Chase Chandler hit a double into the outfield, Krystal was held at third by her third base coach. The next batter, Greg Keller, drove a long fly ball into left field that looked like it would carry over Eldora’s left fielder. Both Krystal and Chase broke for home plate. The Eldora left fielder surprised the runners by making the catch for the first out, throwing to second for the second out, and then the second baseman threw to third to complete a triple play to end the inning. Eldora won the game with their first at-bat when Amy Wells hit safely into the outfield to score Chris Bohan, their runner placed on second.

Every season has its moments that I personally look forward to.  Some of my favorite moments are when the ladies smack the ball over the heads of the guys that are playing up on them. Amy from Eldora and Kate from the Players gave me two of those moments during the tournament. Gentlemen, when are you going to learn?

Crazy Delays

The tournament sure had its share of delays. There was an injury delay, rain and wind delays, fog delays and a dog on the field delay. The only delay that seemed to be missing was a random crazy fan running onto the field drunk and naked.

Saturday morning the tournament started off with nice weather. The first delay was due to an injury to Tristan Stephens from 1st St. Pub & Grill. The game had just started and as Tristan stepped onto first base, his ankle rolled. He hopped around a bit before he went down. As a spectator, and also as someone who has dealt with the same type of injury, I immediately cringed. Tristan, however, was quite the trooper. After being helped off the field by his teammates, he left the field and went to the hospital. To my surprise, he later returned to the field with a cast and crutches.

As the day wore on, the weather began to change and the next delay was set in motion. A storm blew in with a torrential down pour and hurricane force winds. If ever there were an argument as to why we need some covered picnic areas at the fields, this was it. Some teams scrambled under the canopy tents they had set up. Others ducked into the storage shed and some took cover in their vehicles.

If that wasn’t enough, then the fog rolled in. The game between the Acer’s and Eldora Ski Area came to a screeching halt when the fog was so thick the umpires called both teams in because you couldn’t see the outfield. Luckily, that delay only lasted a few minutes and the teams were able to take the field again and finish out the game with #4 seeded Eldora taking its first win over #2 seeded Acer’s for the upset. This sent the Acer’s into the loser’s bracket where they would begin their long battle on Sunday at 9 a.m.

The final game on Saturday was between Players and Bobtail Cornerstore. The umpires called this game in the third inning with Bobtail up 8 to Players 3. The fog was too thick and the daylight was almost gone. Both teams would have to pick up where they left off at 10 a.m. on Sunday. Lights sure would have come in handy at this point.

On Sunday, #1 seeded Bobtail Cornerstore handed #3 seeded Players their first loss. The #2 seeded Acer’s handed The Players their second loss to knock them out of the tournament. After battling all day, the Acer’s made their way through the loser’s bracket beating Savages, Eldora, Players, and Bobtail. This was the first loss for Bobtail Cornerstore, so the two teams would immediately have to play again for the championship.

As the Acer’s prepared for the final game, a sense of déjà vu fell upon them. The exact same scenario had unfolded two years before. The team had high hopes that this year they would be able to pull out the victory. However, playing five games began to take its toll and a couple of errors proved to be their demise. Unfortunately, they had to settle for second place. Bobtail Cornerstore won the game and became the 2013 champs, but only after the final delay of the tournament…a dog on the field.

As another season comes to an end, I can’t help but comment on the camaraderie amongst teams. Every season has its share of drama, but this year the friendship and encouragement of each other was stronger than I have ever seen.

I am hoping that we will be able to see some additional improvements made to the fields in the next few years. Lights, covered picnic tables, perhaps another nice restroom building…those would all be nice.

Ms. Pat Putnam, mother of Tonya Putnam, and her family were able to take in a few games and were there to congratulate the winners. Congratulations Bobtail Cornerstore! You rocked it!

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