Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Clutch hitting, tight defense and pitching leads to Know Mercy victory over Forest Hills Foods

Too bad Jason Stevenson didn’t know we’re a superstitious group before he signed on for Know Mercy softball.

Jason spent his weekend running a marathon in Traverse City. Four days later, he delivers for Know Mercy in the clutch, driving a bases-loaded double Schnitz in the sixth inning to cement the team’s first victory of the season, a 6-3 battle against Forest Hills Foods..

We can’t prove that running 26 miles among the cherry trees was responsible for Jason’s performance. But we’re going to have to keep the routine going for a couple games.

Wednesday was a must-win for Know Mercy after dropping the first three games to tough teams and then playing to an 8-8, eight-inning tie against an improved St. Matthews team in Game 4.

The team also came with a score to settle. It was Forest Hills Foods that pushed Know Mercy out of the playoffs last season in a disputed forfeit despite not having any bats to use.

And FHF arrived Wednesday down a player, forcing the umpires to grant a concession, switching which team took the field first.

After giving FHF a run in the top of the first, Know Mercy battled back with Nick “Schnitzilla” Rodammer leading off with a double Schnitz.

He was followed by Casey Munger, a day after celebrating a birthday, who drove him home with a Schnitz. Then Hannah Ulerich smacked her first Schnitz,

Mike Gillis drove in Casey, and Niki Ferguson drove in Hannah with a double Schnitz.

Forest Hills added a run in the third inning and another in the fourth for a 3-3 tie.

That set the stage for drama in the bottom of the frame, when Steve Kutz led off with a Schmitz, He moved to third when the pitcher wanted no part of the Schnitzilla, and walked him. Niki came up huge again, with a productive out that pushed Steve across with the go-ahead run.

But Know Mercy needed some insurance.

Mike Gillis strode to the plate with one out and accepted a walk. Then after another out, Jamie Norris also worked the count for a walk, pushing Mike to third. Jamie Linari accepted her free pass.

That set the stage for her sidekick Jason, still sore from his performance in the Bayshore Marathon. He finished 34th in his age group, with an incredible time of 3 hours, 37 minutes and 7 seconds. Impressive.

In his first at-bat Jason skied one so far in the heavens that flights from Ford Airport were diverted – but it landed in the glove of a speedy FHF outfielder.

That wasn’t going to happen a second time, as Jason launched an absolute laser, bringing home Mike and Jamie Norris.

With some breathing room, Mike Gillis’ masterful pitching and Know Mercy’s tight defense shut down FHF for the final two frames to cement the first victory of the year.

The Schnitz Ada Grill Game Ball was awarded to Jason for his super clutch hitting and performance in the marathon. Now that we have a proven formula for success, Jason’s going to have to find a race this weekend. We’ve got a streak!

In other highlights:

Amy Bonjour launched her first hit of the season, a great whack into the outfield.

Rebecca Kutz made her Know Mercy debut, and legged out a hit in her first-ever at-bat.

Andrew Murray worked out his second walk, and is tied for the team lead. Next week he walks across the Rockford High stage to accept his diploma.

To celebrate the big win, we present three collector cards, featuring Jamie Norris, Rebecca and Michael Mulligan.

No comments: