Thursday, July 31, 2008

KM-2: Team takes third place in consolation round with 10-4 victory

Maybe they saved the best for last. Know Mercy 2 earned an impressive 10-4 victory over Johnston Home Lawncare in its final game to take third place in the consolation round, good for a fine plaque.

Aaron Dunham pitched a beautiful game, notching at least five strikeouts – we stopped counting to be polite – and reached base twice in two at-bats.

Sidekick Casey Munger went 4-for-5 with three runs scored, benefitting from the slugging of Dave Fox, batting behind her and going 3-for-3.

Other offensive highlights were Dan Eby launching an epic blast that somehow stayed in the park but landed him on third base, and Steve Kutz ripping two line drive hits and scoring twice.

Amy Fox, manning third, flashed some fine leather by scooping an ankle-high screamer.

KM-2 finished with a 6-6 record, and those losses include two one-run games against very good teams, including the epic two-part battle with the vile O’Brien’s Market.

The winning side of the ledger shows two dramatic come-from-behind victories, a mercy win and a hard-fought game with friendly rivals Know Mercy 1.

The team gets a plaque that might get displayed in the church -- when the coach is done showing it off – but everybody gets some hardware:

Most Valuable Ram: Marvelous Casey Munger led team in hits and tapped her Rolodex to recruit subs when needed. Throws lavish parties. Has a goldfish named in her honor.

Best Streak Award: Jamie Norris reached base in eight straight at-bats, an awesome run he takes into next season. Visits China in the off-season.

Multiple Streaks Award: First-sacker Rob Mirque had a five at-bat streak and a three at-bat streak, played one game in extreme back pain to give us enough guys. Knows how to make exotic drinks.

Yes We Can Award: Amy Fox reached base five times in the mercy win against CTL-ALT-DEL. Can honestly say Barack Obama kept her from playing in one game.

You Drove From WHERE? Award: Spectacular shortstop Dan Eby routinely raced from Traverse City to get to Ada by game time. Hit monster blast in final game.

Fashion Sense Award: Jim Boles wore real stirrup socks – not the sewed-in kind – started making sweet basket catches like Wllie Mays when he started wearing San Francisco Giants cap. Certain to get two hits in every game.

Lightening Legs Award. The Amazing Venta Norris is so fast, she doesn’t even need to hit the ball far to get on first. Reached base three times in four at-bats in playoff game. Discovered she works with a teammate.

Rookie of the Year: Cindy Saum played softball for the first time and performed admirably behind the plate, notched her first hit and scored her second run in the big playoff game against the landscapers. Keeps Masons’ house in order.

Most Improved Hitter: Anne Marie Bessette turned heads in practice by ramping up her offense and never looked back. Was clutch in first game against rival Know Mercy 1 with two doubles. Speaks at least two languages and understands city bureaucrats.

Most Improved Player: Steve Kutz struggled at first to translate his rugby skills to softball, but at the end of the season was solid and consistent at the plate and ran back to snag a deep fly against O’Brien’s. Has massive dog. At least I think it’s a dog. It’s really big.

Bronx Bomber Award. New Yorker Dave Fox went 4 for 5 in glorious come-from-behind win over Norman Family Dentistry. Played four positions. Knows tall people. Has famous wife.

Long Distance Operator Award: Aaron Dunham hit an over-the-fence grand slam, but one foul ball went deep into the Ada 2 parking lot. Kept pitching prowess a secret until last game. Has cool cars and huge white cooler.

Super Sub Award: Angie Bond-Patton launched a two-run walk-off homer for big victory over Norman Family Dentistry, a very tough team. Two-sport athlete.

Pretty in Pink Award: Stacie Rylance was running down flies and scoring runs for KM2 before being lured to the hooligan-infested world of soccer, where she was attacked by a malicious goaltender resulting in an injury prompting biggest cast ever. Looks just like Natalie Portman.

Abracadabra Award: Mike Gillis joined team in mid-season, unleashed his bag of tricks on mound, really pissed off O’Brien’s goons. Last seen sporting a brace that’s nearly as big as Stacie’s cast.

Send Him to Wrigley Award: Cub fan Rob Ferguson went 3-for-3 with three runs scored in C-A-D rout. Partially responsible for wife Nikki being on disabled list. Designs green buildings.

Put Him on Second, Nail Him at the Plate Award: The Chipper Skipper led the team in walks with five — and was tagged out at the plate a team-high three times, too. A little too fond of his bat. Buys chocolate chips in bulk.

Darn, That Hurt Award: Mary Kovac subbed in what was known as “Greatest Game Ever,” took a throw to the head that allowed important run to score. Looking for Sunday School teachers.

See What You Missed Award: Nikki Weber was traded to KM1 before first game, came back in final game and got two big hits and shined at second. Likes Spartans.

One and Done Award: Eric Larson reached base in his first base in his first KM2 game, then was drafted by KM1, leaving with perfect 1.000 on-base percentage.

International Women of Mystery Award: Player X. Saved the day then disappeared. Nothing is known about her. Looks just like Tina Schmitz.

Know Mercy 1 and 2 were not the only folks sporting sweet hardware. Alumni Brian Cunningham came to the final night to show off his medal earned in the Iron Man competition in Lake Placid.

Here's a closer look at the fruit of Brian's labor. Biking, running and swimming are good skills for softball. Maybe we can coax Brian back next season.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

KM1 beats KM2 in tough playoff action (Version 1)

Posted by Brian Vigna:

I'm still blown away by what we accomplished yesterday. Unbelievable team effort. We could have easily folded the tent against such a good team.

When I got home last night it was time to tuck the kids in bed--and their bed time story went a little something like this:

Once about a time, at a far away softball field in a small little town played a group of boys and irls who always gave there best, but often times throughout their season came up a little short.

But something was different about this day--for on most game days it would rain, but not this day. The faith of this team was never lost, but had been rattled over the course of a long and grueling season.

Like the little steam engine that could -- so did they.

The game was played without their fearless leader Bo who was kidnapped by the evil powers that be--as too was another player by the name of Eric. The boys and girls didn't know where to play in the field but calmly got things figured out before the mighty umpires started to unleash their power.

As the game began, the boys and girls found themselves down by 4 runs in the first inning, and that's when something magical happened. One of the boys named T.O.Double D decided to sacrifice his body for the ball to make diving play after diving play.

Fearless Bill the Pitcher glided strike after strike to the opponents with only one walk throughout the game.

Nothing got by Jo, Niki or JJ , and as their opponent continually worked left field, one of the boys by the name of Korb always found himself in the right place to make play after play.

As the game wore on power hitting became the catalist--not only from the boys BUT FROM THE GIRLS. Jen, Jill, Tina, Niki, JJ and Jo all hit the ball HARD (with a chip on their shoulders) to find the base path.

Steve, John, Bill, Todd, Korb and your Daddy provided solid play with powerful hits--netting crucial RBI.

By the games end this team found itself up by 5 runs--holding their oppenent to only 1 run over the NEXT 6 INNINGS (that's unheard of in softball).

The moral: Believe in Yourself and Never Ever Give Up!

The kids slept soundly last night -- either I bored them to sleep or they had the sweetest of dreams : )

The End.

KM1 beats KM 2 in tough playoff action (Version 2)

Posted by Nikki Webber:

Mason and I thought we would try to do the game recap of our BIG win last night, so Bo could get a feel of all the action.

They won't be as good as his, but we'll try.

After getting down early, morale was in the dumps on our team. A lot of us were thinking, "Here we go again."

At that point, we gathered around and asked ourselves, "W.W.B.D." Yes, what would Bo do. We got into a huddle and decided to go out there and have fun.

I am trying to think of what point we got started. I am going to guess the power hit by J.J. Yes, we all remember.

The hit between the catcher and the pitcher, and the pitcher wouldn't touch it because he was hoping it would roll foul. Well it didn't, and we finally got someone on base.

Even though J.J. wasn't happy with it, (possibly an un-church word or two ;) ) it was what we needed to get started.

Here are some other highlights.

Steve "The Vacuum" Korb, he sucked but in a good way. He snatched everything in the air in left field and sucked up all the grounders there limiting advancing runners. There were at least two innings that he was responsible for two outs. Great catches! Solid hitting as always, too.

Another solid hitter as always was Bill. He had great base running and great hitting. He was great on the mound too. While the other team had to switch pitchers because we were wearing them out, Bill made it through the whole game. You will be greatly missed next week!

John was our great, do anything, play anywhere guy. He even filled in at second for the team. I would say his highlight was his tag at second. We already had two outs and bases were juiced. The ball was hit to Todd, who dished to John. There was a slight bobble of the ball so to secure the out, John tagged the runner. He may not have thought it was high on style points, but saved us from them scoring.

Steve Cairns also was very consistent in the outfield. There were a lot of big hitters that we stopped because of great outfield play. He was also hitting some fast grounders and deep low flys to right field to get on base and help to advance runners.

Viggy got the "rob" of the game, or should I say two "robs." The first was when he had a great hit to right field, center right, and was running to third. He slid into third and his "iron man" body forced the pitcher who was covering to drop the ball.

Two bad things came from that. Viggy was called out! Second, the pitcher was sent packing for the rest of the game and probably season. Great effort though.

The other was when there was a grounder to third and Jo fired it over to him where he so gracefully stretched his 6'2" fame to nab the runner. Unfortunately, the ump didn't see it that way and called the runner safe.

That reminds me, I apologize to all for my dad yelling at the umps from the bench. He is more competitive than I am!

Todd "that is gonna leave a mark" had an outstanding game. Yes, I know I am biased. He even amazed the other team, though. He had a couple of leaping catches that reminded me of something from angels in the outfield. I don't know how he caught those!

And finally, the Weber duo found there bats :) After struggling all season or being inconsistent, we both finally managed to connect with the ball and have some solid hits to advance runners and score. Hopefully we can do the same next week. I know my pre-game strategy will be the same.

Jo was solid at third as usual. You are going to be greatly missed next week. Highlight of the game, or at least funniest part was when Jim was up to bat and she ordered him to drill it to her, and he did!

She responded with the quick scoop and fast throw to Viggy, but blurry vision of a certain ump hindered that play. She also added with great hitting and solid base running.

Jen was also a hitting machine. I think we are on to something for our pre-game warm ups ;) The stress wasn't there and she connected to advance runners and get on base. Great work behind the plate too. Luckily, we didn't have too many plays there because of awesome D all the way around.

Jill had a very good night at the plate. She used her great eye to get on with a walk then followed that up with what would arguably be her best hit of the season to shallow outfield between first and second. Unfortunately the second baseman nabbed it, but I call for a steroid test! No hits to right field this game, but she was ready.

Tina was ready to win it. She had great speed as always on both offense and defense. She closed down the outfield by not letting any balls get passed her. Well, maybe one that went over not only our fence, but the other fence too. I don't think you could've gotten that even if you climbed the fence and reached for it. Great job!

J.J. as highlighted earlier with her early rally to start getting our players on base. J.J. was typical J.J. Always consistent and solid on both O and D. She had good hits, base running, and great defense to lock down the infield.

Not sure if I missed any highlights, but it was a great game.

I hope everyone had as much fun as we did. Also, Todd and I are going to practice at E.K. high school on either Monday or Tuesday, probably around 6:30. I need to practice pitching and he is going to take some cuts. We would love if anyone else can make it. We are flexible on dates and time. Please email me if interested and we can figure something out. If not, see you next week! Go Team!

Friday, July 18, 2008


Yes, that is KM2's center fielder, Stacie Rylance, sporting what might be the largest cast in the entire world!

Ouch! Stacie was injured playing soccer, a sport known to be rife with hooligans who are probably responsible for this injury.

I have not been able to prove that thugs from O'Brien's Market spread some cash around the hooligan underground to make this happen.

Naturally we wish Stacie a speedy recovery. And we should chip in to buy her some pink shirts to match that massive cast.

Our disabled list.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

KM2: PLAYoffs Round 2: It's not over until we say it's over!

Know Mercy 2 did something no other team in the Ada league has done, and that’s emerge from a game against the vile – and getting even more vile – O’Brien’s Market without a loss.

Of course, they didn’t emerge with a win, either. But that could come next week when league bosses figure out how to sort out the six-inning, 7-7 tie.

There’s a lot on the line, as the winner moves on to the semi-finals and loser becomes the favorite in the consolation bracket.
It was clear that these cocky hooligans thought that Know Mercy was going to be just an orange-and-white speedbump on their road to the championship.

But we served notice early, posting a run in the first then pushing over four in the second with a combination of patience leading to walks followed by clutch hitting.

O’Brien’s picked up two runs in the second, and KM2 responded with two more, led by the white-hot hitting of Jamie Norris and Rob Mirque, both of whom were two-for-two with two runs scored.

But the treacherous Marketers tacked on one in the fourth inning, two in the fifth and two more in the bottom of the sixth to tie things up as lightening flickered and umpires frankly lost control over what was going on.

While there were a couple yips in the field in that last inning, the game was close because of a number of stellar plays.

We nailed two runners at the plate. One came after an absolute laser of a throw from Casey Munger to Dan Eby to Mike Gillis, and another to end the sixth – and save the game – when Dan Eby screamed one in as the O’Brien’s captain tried some kind of bellyflop slide on Mike.

All kidding aside, there is a difference between gamesmanship and being a poor sport. And there were numerous incidents of poor sportsmanship coming from players from the other dugout.

That included a runner crashing into the first baseman attempting to dislodge the ball instead of heading to the runner’s base to the third base coach getting in Angie’s way as she attempted to field a foul.

I’m proud that KM2 didn’t respond in kind. We’re a classy group that plays hard without resorting to such things.

We battled hard, showed patience at the plate and some aggressiveness on the basepaths that paid off – most of the time.

And next week, we’ll go out there and play that last inning and hold our heads high no matter how things turn out.

Now for some highlights!

-- Dan was two-for-three including a sweet double and was his usual impressive self at shortstop.

-- Steve Kutz had a 6:15 job interview and still made it to the game in time to contribute a base hit.

-- Angie Bond-Patton had two big hits and was flawless in the field.

-- Aaron Dunham raced to the game from a far-flung assignment just in time to step to the plate – cleats still untied – to hit a double in the big rally.

-- Amy Fox made some outstanding plays at second, getting force-outs as O’Brien’s goons came thundering her way.

-- Jim Boles is practically automatic. You can pencil him in for a big hit in every game, and this one came in the first inning.

-- Cindy Saum is getting better and better behind the plate, coming close to making a spectacular play on a short pop.

-- Mound magician Mike Gillis was three-for-three at the plate. Oh, and how sweet was it to see him strike out the O’Brien pitcher in the last inning?

-- The Marketers thought about testing the Amazing Venta Norris as she patrolled right field, but game up after one shot. Clearly she intimidates!

-- The Chipper Skipper added to his team lead in walks by taking one in the big second-inning rally then Nitroed a rocket in the fourth inning. Yes, Nitro is now a verb. That bat is capable of anything.

We’ll soon find out what happens when the game is resumed. If we win, we move on the face Norman Family Dentistry, who beat Know Mercy 1. If we lose, we play our KM1 friends in the consolation bracket. Both of those sound like fun.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

KM2 playoffs round 1: Family reunion rewarded with 10-3 victory

Good things happen when the Know Mercy 2 family gets together.

The team kicked off the 2008 playoff run with a tight 10-3 beating of a friendly Forest Hills Foods, showing off some timely hitting, great pitching and solid defense.

After several weeks of rain, an unmentionable occurrence, and outside obligations, nearly the entire team was together by the end of the game. We should have taken a group photo!

KM2 burst out of the box with seven of the first nine batters scoring, with big hits by Jim Boles, Jamie Norris and Anne Marie Bessette.

Forest Hills scored its first run in the third, and added two more in the next frame through a rare walk and error before KM2 took a collective deep breath and shut the door.

Insurance came in the bottom of the sixth when the suddenly very Chipper Skipper punched a double, moved to third on an Amy Fox dribbler and scored when Steve Kutz made his only at-bat count.

Then Steve and Stacie Rylance came home when Dan Eby, Angie Bond-Patton and Casey Munger came through with clutch hits.

After a quick top of the seventh, FHF moved to the consolation round and KM2 advanced to face the dreaded and undefeated O’Brien’s Market goon squad.

How about some highlights?

Angie was able to play softball after her soccer game was canceled and went three-for-three with a run scored. There is no proof that the Skipper had a hand in getting that game canceled.

Jamie took home the game ball by climbing back on the hill and performing to near perfection. Jamie also was two-for-two with a run scored.

It’s gotta be the stirrup socks and the Giants cap! Fashion plate Jim “Say Hey” Boles recalled Willie Mays with a sweet basket catch in the second.

And how nice was it to see Casey’s beautiful smile again? Casey reached first three times and scored. And her defense at third and behind the plate was flawless. Plus, she and Aaron Dunham brought their new puppies, which did not eat any kids. This week, anyway.

Dan made it all the way from Traverse City by game time, and was two-for-three and played a solid shortstop, even nicely recovering from a bobble to nail a fleet FHF batter.

Sidekick Stacie also was on the road, speeding up from Kalamazoo – don’t ask how or where she changed – and went right to the batter’s box. Stacie had a hit, a run and a fine grab in centerfield.
The Foxes – Amy and David – were solid on defense, with D-Fox showing his versatility and A-Fox making some big plays at second base.

Mound magician Mike Gillis fooled FHF batters with his array of pitches and worked out a key walk in the first.

Mike’s wife, Gayle, played for the first time in four years, and you don’t know how much that warmed the Chipper’s heart. Gayle hasn’t played since an outfield collision with the aforementioned Skipper when they played for a Grand Rapids Press coed team, where she suffered a knee injury that required surgery and long rehabilitation. She came ready to play in case we were short players again, and boldly took some hacks.

Rob Mirque was perfect at first base and at the plate, and his better half, Cindy Suam is our very dependable catcher.

Anne Marie continues to swing a hot bat, reaching base twice and scoring a run.

Special thanks to KM1 members Bo and Tina Schmitz and Steve Korb, who came to cheer us on when their team had a bye week. It's nice to know the KM1 has our back!

I'm so proud of this team. A lot of people traveled great distances and overcame obstacles including a call to the locksmith to get to yet another early start. It's apppreciated.

It was a big win, a convincing win and sets us up perfectly for the epic battle with O’Brien’s next week!