Thursday, June 24, 2010

Know Mercy holds heads high after double loss

The end result might have been the usual, but Know Mercy sure looked and felt better after Wednesday’s double-header loss.

With heavy hearts and without some of the team’s top guns, Know Mercy battled Glory Days in the opener, coming behind to claim the lead then watching it slip away — but scored a season-high 10 runs.

The team stayed to close to Norman Family Dentist before a late-inning collapse put the contest out of reach, but the game included some of Know Mercy’s best defense of the year.

Michael Mulligan was able to shake his frustrating slump. He worked out a walk in the first game — with Steve Cairns coming around to score in his place — and after ripping a shot just foul in the second game he launched one over the shortstop’s head for his first hit. Michael also was sharp in the field.

Niki Ferguson made the most spectacular play of the year. Smothering a tough grounder at second, Niki, while on her belly, backhanded a throw to Jamie Norris at first base to nail a runner. Niki had a big day at the plate, too, going three for three with a run scored in the opener as the lady leadoff hitter.

The scoop was one of several tough plays executed by Jamie, who went a perfect four-for-four at the plate.

Mike Gillis was perfect on the day with four Schnitzes and a walk, plus two runs.

Chad Zollman was finally cleared to play after his knee injury and picked up right where he left off with a Schnitz and stellar play at shortstop. Chad + playoffs = Good things for Know Mercy!

Steve Korb made some outstanding plays running down deep drives in left field.
Halle Ulerich had a bit hit with a run scored in the opener and was flawless in left-center. Big sister Hannah was masterful at third base.

Amy Bonjour worked out a key walk and came around to score, sharing catching duties with Venta Norris, who also reached base.

Steve Cairns drove in two big runs to tie the opener, and came around to score the only run against Norman, who desperately wanted a shutout.

The Chipper Skipper had his best day at the plate with a double Schnitz and two regular Schnitzes with two runs scored in the opener, and drove in Steve Cairns in the bottom of the seventh in the finale after announcing to all that Know Mercy would NOT be shut out.

The Schnitz Ada Grill Game Ball went to Michael Mulligan for his big day at the plate.

The Schnitz Ada Grill Collector’s Card is of the Chipper Skipper, who needs to get some shots of other players to complete the set.

Special thanks to our largest fan section of the year, with Pastor Sarah and Pete Stobie — with Lucy and Amy — and Gayle Gillis, Joni Korb and Niki’s Mom, who keeps an eye on the little ones so Niki can show off her skills on the field.

Remember to keep Casey and her family in your thoughts and prayers.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Know Mercy looks for bright side after rough game against Victory Club 1

On the bright side, no one was hurt. And Know Mercy is done with teams named Victory Club for a while.

The team was held to one run on five hits in a 15-1 mercy defeat at the hands of Victory Club 1, which simply hit and fielded better than our intrepid squad.

The game started on a bright note, with Halle Ulerich reaching base in her Know Mercy debut. She moved over when Nick Rodammer smacked a Schnitz, followed by Niki Ferguson doing the same.

That loaded the bases for Steve Korb, who drove in Halle in a fielder’s choice.

Sadly, a Schnitz from the Chipper Skipper in the third inning was the only other Know Mercy hit, as the team meekly went 1-2-3 in the second, fourth and fifth innings.

The score could have been worse if not for some nice defense. Mike Light made several nice catches – and one spectacular one – in left field.
Nick had a sweet diving stop on a tough infield shot.
Amy Bonjour raced out from behind the plate to grab a pop-up.
Mike Gillis was his usual mound magician, walking no one and striking out three.

Now Know Mercy can shake it off and head into next week’s doubleheader with a chance to add some victories and head into the playoffs on a high note.

Schnitz Ada Grill Game Ball: Went to Halle for making her debut in style, landing the team’s first hit of the game and scoring the only run.

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.