My modified fastpitch softball team, the Astros, have been playing in the United Church League for 7 years. We made the playoffs back in 2003, but it had been a 3-year hiatus until we went back last year. Unfortunately, we lost in our first play-in game as the #6 seed, and that was that.
This year we finished the season as the #5 seed with a 14-6 record. This meant that in order to get to the semi-finals (which are a best of 3 series) we needed to win 2 play-in games.
First we played the #6 seeded Living Hope team. This is the first year that I’ve been our primary pitcher, and pitching almost every game has helped me improve a lot. My arm felt great for this game and we jumped out to an early lead. Living Hope was flat, and we ended up beating them 10-0 by order of the mercy rule. I was pretty stoked to pitch a shutout in the playoffs…that doesn’t happen often in softball.
Our second play-in game was against the #4 seed, the Dove Angels. We split our season series with them 1-1, which included a 15-14 defeat of them in our last regular season game. They got out to an early 4-1 lead, but we closed the gap to 5-4 heading in to the 5th inning. With 2 on and 2 out in the 5th, our first baseman Doug hit a blast to left-center to give us a 7-5 lead. I scored on a busted safety squeeze play in the 6th to increase our cushion to 8-5. In the bottom of the 7th, we got two quick outs before they loaded the bases. I started to feel the pressure out there a little bit on the mound. I didn’t want to let the rest of the team, or our cheering crowd, down. I got the next guy to ground out to third, ending the game. We won 8-5, and we were headed to the semi-finals!
Last night was our first semi-final game against the #1 seed Royals. They won the League in 2003 and have finished as runner-ups the last 4 years. They’ve also beaten us 10 games in a row, dating back to 2002. The semis are a best out of 3 series format, and we were hoping to jump out early and steal Game 1. They seemed a bit flat all game, and we jumped out to an early 3-0 lead. I gave up a HR in the 4th to make it 3-1, but we tacked on 4 more in the 5th to jump out 7-1. They scraped together 3 runs in the 5th to make it 7-4, and that was the score heading in to the bottom of the 7th. We got one quick out and then gave up a double on an 0-2 pitch. The next batter bunted, but Scott our 3rd baseman made an amazing play to get him at first. Their next batter singled to make it 7-5, but that was as close as they got. I got their next batter to ground out to short, and we did it. We won Game 1!
On Monday night we play game 2. If we can win, we’ll advance to the finals against the Warriors. If we lose, we play again immediately in game 3. Not sure how i’ll fare pitching both games of a doubleheader, so hopefully we can do it again in game 2. No matter what happens though, this has been a lot of fun. After years of not going anywhere in the post-season, we’re finally making it happen. I’ll update you next week!