Scorpio 16U: Welcome
Welcome to the Scorpio 16U Girls Fastpitch Website
To the dedicated player who wants to improve her skills, practice is its own reward; it’s not penance for the privilege of playing on Sundays.
A different way (to do a task) is not always a better way, but a better way is always a different way.
Coach P.J. Grijalva welcomes everyone to the Scorpio 16U Girls fastpitch softball team. Scorpio 16U is a team of dedicated softball players who want to improve their skills, practice & play hard and – of course – have fun.
To get information regarding upcoming practices, tournaments etc. not covered on this site, please contact PJ directly at 623-707-9211.
Due to Eteamz’ format for this website; I (Miles Crawford) am limited in my ability to modify the category tabs along the left side of this page; therefore I have added much of the pertinent information under the tab marked “Handouts”.
Interested spectators will find that the ‘Handouts’ tab contains information such as team rosters, general softball information and other material. Also under the ‘Handouts’ tab is some information ‘From the Scorekeeper’ on how game statistics are compiled.
Also included under the ‘Handouts’ tab are the game statistics. I’ve chosen to forego the restrictive Eteamz format of posting stats and have nerd-herded the numbers onto live Excel spreadsheets. Using Excel allows interested parties to view, download, re-sort and otherwise re-format the data to meet each individual need and circumstance.
Links to additional softball related sites (ASA, USSSA, and TCS among others) are located under the 'Links' tab on the left.
Email to the webmaster regarding the team or this website should be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org
October 19th & 20th TCS San Diego Monster Mash
After four weeks of (hopefully) error-elimination practice sessions and also after forgoing tournament play for the same time period, Coach P.J. Grijalva was satisfied that the team was adequacy prepared to resume competition, thus the Scorpio 16U World Order loaded up air-based and land-based modes of transportation to embark on another quixotic journey, this time making the trek to the San Diego area for the TCS 16U Monster Mash over the October 19th & 20th weekend. PJ hoped that the month of abstaining from tournaments would allow the student-athletes to work through the excess of errors that have been committed (62 errors and passed balls in just 16 games: almost 4 per game) to date.
The goal was to practice until not only the student-athletes could field and throw the ball correctly but could not field the sphere incorrectly. As one observer opined “Practice until it’s impossible to do it wrong”.
Because the team’s Junior Assistant Coach’s On-Field Play Historian & Junior Assistant Coach’s Associate Scorebook Scribe was not on-site in California (where it’s said that they have it all: riots, fires, mud slides, sushi in the malls, water bars, brontosaurs and shake & bake lives because of the earthquakes) various other SWO representatives who were on-site were tasked with collecting any relevant data concerning the team’s excursion for inclusion in this recap. This was completed primarily with descriptions which had little resemblance to the scorebook’s recount of actual tournament events. So here I sit, in a leather chair which is shaped like a softball glove into which a sun-brushed geezer has fallen as if a soft pop fly taking up space in front of a computer while recapulating the weekend’s play for posterity by utilizing other’s data and information.
After spending Friday at various Southern California attractions, theme parks and beaches, the Scorpio World Order convened in Santee, California at 2:35 PM to face 3rd Degree from El Cajon in their first game of the event.
3rd Degree pitching held Scorpio to just one hit, but what a hit it was! With a vigorous and athletic display, Jordan Nunez came to bat in the 2nd inning and broke up the perfect game, the no hitter and the shut-out with a Monster Mash blast which, when last seen, had cleared the outfield fence and was heading toward Palm Springs. The sound of her bat meeting the ball as Jordan whacked the outside riseball for the home run resounded like a plunked cello before the sphere vaulted over the horizon. The rival outfielder jumped, got a foothold, clambered up and then dropped; not as fluidly as those words imply but with enough thrashing and elbow-knocking to prove without doubt that she couldn’t have descended from graceful primates.
The numbers for the first game were nine runs for 3rd Degree to just the one for Scorpio. The four weeks of practice was definitely not effective in eliminating mistakes by the defense as seven errors were committed which allowed three unearned runs to score.
3rd Degree ultimately finished in 2nd place in the tournament after losing in the Championship Game on Sunday.
The 5:30 game’s opponent was Lil Rebels, who hale from Las Vegas, Nevada. Julia Bueno was the pitcher and she allowed just two hits and no runs as the defense committed just one error. The offense scored four runs on five hits - Kaysci Thank, who started at shortstop while Julia Bueno moved to the circle, had one of the Scorpio hits and also stole three bases in the victory.
The last game of the day, against Black Ice from Alsio Virgo, California was played as a half-moon rose – with its dark half a pocket of gray night – and bounced and hid and flashed from out of the branches along the horizon. It seemed to have shot from the ground and to be climbing the sky on some invisible jet of energy.
There were several issues with the umpiring during this game; the officiating two-some seemed to have been recruited from the San Diego School for the Blind as they were about as reliable as a Realtor's photograph - several of their calls were indifferent to the conventional standards of umpires’ personal responsibility and professionalism. The events and the images of the next innings were kaleidoscopic in nature and seemed to lack causality, coherence or rational sequence.
The space around the strike zone seemed to clear, as though some vibration on a barely perceptible wavelength had ceased, or rather, been damped down so that pitcher Rachel Burkland couldn’t get a consistent strike called by the plate umpire, who also missed two potential Scorpio scoring plays at home.
On the first of these blunders, Jordan Nunez, who by most accounts had clearly slid under a tag at home yet was called out and on a separate play, Rachel Burkland was called out after the catcher completely missed tagging her as she crossed the plate. Also, the field umpire, who didn’t want to feel left out in the butchered call department, missed a call on Ciana Camacho when she was called out after the 1st baseman both pulled her foot off of the base and then dropped a potential put-out throw.
However, the umpires didn’t miss the call on Jordan Nenez’ spectator catch of a sinking line drive that was hit to the general vicinity of her centerfield position. Jordan covered more area than does 50,000 watt blowtorch KTAR after sundown as she ran toward the ball and made a diving catch to squelch a Black Ice rally in the 3rd inning. Spectators sat stunned and speechless with their mouths agape and their eyes slitted for moments before revisiting the effort in their mind’s eye and bursting into wild cheers. This author was told that the highlight of this dynamic and nimble display was available for viewing on You Tube after being captured and posted by a San Diego area TV station but that story is one of those which was provided by an alternative on-site correspondent - I have found no evidence of this clip’s actual existence.
The umpires informed Coach PJ after the game that the sickening feeling in his stomach from the loss that the game officials had handed Scorpio was insignificant and would dissipate by Sunday morning; that he’d feel as “Content as a 14 year-old Labrador in front of a blazing fireplace”. This was not the case as Coach was still distressed by their unprofessional and arrogant attitude at least as late as Tuesday evening.
In full disclosure, had the defense not committed three errors and allowed four unearned runs, the umpiring mis-calls would have not been relevant to the final Black Ice 7, Scorpio 5 loss.
The Scorpio Nation reconvened at 9:10 AM on Sunday, hoping that peace and error-free play can be found even in a chaotic and tumultuous world, perhaps as a sign of, if not actual divine intervention, then at least some kind of cosmic approbation. The first bracket play game in the single elimination tournament’s opponent was the OC Kaos, for which no explanation for the “OC” was made available. This team from Rancho Santa Margarita, California chooses to spell its Kaos name with lower case letters unlike the Arizona based KAOS teams.
The game started entertainingly with Scorpio lead-off hitter Alex Lamphere putting the ball in play on the un-level and extremely under-maintained diamond. As she scampered toward 1st base, Alex tripped while attempting to hurdle a fault which is slightly smaller than is the San Andreas and fell forward as though lassoed from behind by an unseen cowboy, hitting the ground face-first like a Taser victim while still short of the bag and recording the first out of the contest. Thankfully she was unhurt but for a slight ankle sprain in the humorous misadventure. ‘Picking her up’, pitcher Julia Bueno, Jordan Jefferson, Rachel Burkland and newly returned Larrissa Moiza all singled while Kaysci Thank and Ciana Camacho both hit the first of each of their two doubles of the game which combined scored four runs in the first inning and put the game out of reach to Kaos. Rachel Burkland also hit a double later in the game as the lineup combined for fourteen hits and ten runs. The defense committed two more errors and allowed one of the five Kaos runs to be unearned.
The next game was against the Fury Loa (again, no explanation for the “Loa” was made available) who call Wildomar, California home. Fury was gracious enough to wait until the second inning to begin scoring the first of their runs in what turned out to be a 10-0 shutout of our favorite student-athletes. Scorpio was able to produce just four hits while the defense, taking another opportunity to extend a helping hand to fellow tournament journeyers, committed three errors and allowed five more unearned runs to be scored.
The weekend defense was its usual three-ring circus of semi-choreographed chaos as Scorpio recorded 2 wins and 3 losses during the five game – two day event. The team committed 16 errors compared to the total of just 3 errors committed by their opponents. Scorpio scored 20 runs and allowed 31, 13 of which were caused directly by the 16 errors and were thus unearned – in other words, only 18 of the opponents’ runs were earned runs. Scorpio players and their opponents both totaled 28 hits over the 5 games.
The team’s record after the twenty-one games since the Fall/Winter season began is 7-14, which makes their winning percentage .333.
September 21st & 22nd at Rose Mofford Sports Complex
The Scorpio World Order met at Rose Mofford Sports Complex on Saturday, September 21 hoping to continue the winning tradition that was started during the most recent TCS tournament where the 16U team played up to and in the championship game. Many of the players, coaches and interested observers held the position that, like money, winning won’t buy happiness, but like poverty, losing won’t buy anything.
The weather was the type we have been enduring the endless Arizona summer in anticipation of; clear skies, a light zephyr and a day where the sun has risen above a torn ridge of clouds, bleaching the ballfields in lustrous sunshine and making a mockery if all that is dark in life.
The air was ripe with the sweet aroma of freshly cut grass with sunlight glistening off of the Field # 2 bleachers as Scorpio took to the diamond to start the day playing the Lil Saints 14U team in USSSA’s ‘The Ribbon’ round robin event. But since sports are a world of right or wrong, success or failure and black or white, Scorpio came out of the game failing to win and if not physically black and blue, at least with damaged confidence as they finished on the wrong side of the 11-0 final score.
The Scorpio offense was able to get but four hits and was not able to avoid being shutout while the defense committed five errors and three passed balls and allowed three unearned runs to score. A team with more errors than hits will most always end up on the losing side and this game proved that premise to continue to be true. Both Sierra Mendez and Rachel Burkland pitched in the game while both Alex Lamphere and Jazman Chauarris took a turn behind the plate before the timer stopped the game after just 3 innings.
The second Saturday game was also against a 14U club, this one Team Xtreme from Queen Creek. Rachel Burkland pitched this 5 inning game giving up four hits while striking out four batters. However, the defense committed three errors / passed balls while the Scorpio bats were unable to produce even a single hit. The only Scorpio runs were a product of two walks and a comically defended sacrifice bunt in the first inning where Xtreme used most of their tools of folly to allow two runs to score. The game’s final score was 3-2 for the bad guys.
The 16U Sluggers from Scottsdale were the opponents in the third and final Saturday game in which regular shortstop Julia Bueno moved to the circle - where she struckout two Sluggers - and was replaced at short by Kaysci Thank – who played errorlessly. However, in an uncertain world, where any tomorrow can bring tragedy, heartbreak or a winning lottery ticket, the opportunity of knowing anything of the future, even if it’s that there will be Scorpio errors, is to be embraced. The team committed three more and allowed three more unearned runs to score while the offense scrapped together seven hits – including two singles and a stolen base by catcher Alex Lamphere, who was also flawless behind the plate by allowing no passed balls.
After losing 10 – 3 in the third defeat of the day, Coach PJ’s talk included the hypothesis that ‘It's never too late to make a brand new start’ – and who was aware that many players had social events planned for the evening – thus admonished the team not overdo their Homecoming festivities and to ‘watch their step’ at the wishing well - before everyone quickly departed the premises.
Sunday morning found us back at Rose Mofford Sports Complex - too early for some Scorpio players who labored on the diamond while huge hawks were circling in lazy predatory arcs above the fields, hoping to pick from the carcasses of softball players who had not yet fully learned the adverse relationship between Saturday night parties and Sunday morning ballgames. Those who did offer earnest Sunday morning prayers knew that they were not so much a show of devotion but instead the covering of bets.
The 9:30 opponents were the 18U Lil Saints team - which was coached by the USSSA tournament organizers. The first inning reminded us that while optimism may be hereditary, it’s unfortunately not contagious as Rachel Burkland shutdown the Saints on only one hit and, in the home half of the inning, leadoff hitter Julia Bueno quickly singled and scored on Ciano Camacho’s single. But Scorpio was unable to do further damage in the first and second innings as they made the third out with the bases loaded both times. The Scorpio scoring was curtailed until Kaysci Thank came to bat in the third inning with the right centerfield gap yawning in front of her and promptly hit a three bagger, chasing home Ciano Camacho and scoring herself on Adrianna Calabras’ sacrifice. In the meanwhile, the Lil Saints had scored four of their eventual six runs (one unearned) and the game was lost to Scorpio 6 - 3. Julia and Kaysci were both two for two with Kaysci’s hits being a double and the aforementioned RBI triple.
The weekend tsunami of disaster was completed against Force 18U – Mattson in the concluding game of the event – a sense of tragedy on par with final, rending moments of a Greek play. In spite of Julia Bueno once again starting the Scorpio home half of the first inning with a single and once again scoring a run, this time on a Jordan Nunez triple, our favorite student-athletes were able to produce only two more hits and only two more runs; losing the game 9-3 and making the weekend’s record 0 - 5.
In the weekend’s winless games, Scorpio was outscored 38 to 11; out-hit 46 to 23 and committed 21 errors to just five errors for the combined five opponents. As the team has more problems that many saints have blessings, Coach PJ announced that there will be no tournament play until the October 19th & 20th San Diego trip, that practices would intensify and the following week’s practices would also act as tryouts where each Scorpio team member would be re-trying out for her place on the team.
At tournaments where the opponents are confidently swimming in the ocean while Scorpio is barely paddling in a pool (speaking metaphorically), the complete character of a team tends to emerge, its subtleties, hazards, warts and enchantments exposed for all to see. While some Scorpio players seem to view themselves as a victim of softball’s vast conspiracy to ruin their day; who are never the cause of her own conditions and always the prey of someone else’s actions; others are truly upset and offended by the attitudes and actions of their teammates.
To be successful, Scorpio must eliminate the former outlooks and those offended by these shortcomings in moral character must step into a leadership role to help rid the team of the cancerous mindsets carried by the ne'er-do-wells or Scorpio 16U’s future will remain forever in the future.
September 7 -12 Rose Mofford & Papaco Park
The Scorpio World Order (SWO) - 16U Division gathered with 13 other softball teams – including Scorpio-Ayala 14U; each team complete with secret rites, bizarre ceremonies and fantastic costumes for the TCS Fun in the Sun / Rain event at Rose Mofford Sports Complex on September 7 with Saturday’s games played in the ‘Sun’ portion of the billing. The team was playing without Serena Villalpando, who retired after discovering that her fire for softball was now dead and cold, with no more hunger in her soul to wear the ‘tools of ignorance’ behind the plate. The team will miss you Serena!
The first game of the event matched SWO against a Kaos team which had made the trip up the 10 from Casa Grande. Rachel Burkland took to the circle to allow only one earned run on five hits and a strikeout while Jazman Chauarris replaced Serena as Rachel’s batterymate. Julia Bueno’s 1.000 batting average, which included a triple, lead the way as the offense had seven hits which resulted in six runs. The defense contributed four errors and allowed an unearned run.
The second Saturday game matched our favorite student-athletes against Phoenix Hammer – Coleman who easily won the contest 11 to 4 with three of their runs being unearned. The first game shortstop, Julia Bueno, pitched and continued her perfect streak at the plate – going three for three with a double. New team member Ciana Camacho – hitting in the clean-up position in the line-up - went two for three. The defense contributed - negatively at times – by trumping their 4 error performance in the first game by committing 5 errors in this contest.
The third and last Saturday game was played on Field 4, the worst sun field at Rose Mofford for catchers, as the sun, most of the way down to the horizon, made a farewell appearance above the trees to create a fiery point of light which drilled directly into the catchers’ eyes. The visiting Phoenix Heat – Black 14U batters were not similarly affected at the plate as they pounded out six runs on eight hits in their half of the first inning nor were the home team hitters as they answered with four runs on four hits in the bottom of the same first inning as eight blue & red clad Scorpios came to the plate. Both the Heat pitcher and our own Rachel Burkland regained control and allowed only three runs each for the remainder of the game, but the two extra runs scored by the hated Heat team in the first inning turned out to be the difference in the game. The three runs not scored in the first inning by Heat were all unearned and charged to the six errors that the butter-fingered defense allowed rather than being charged to Rachel. Offensively, Julia Bueno slumped only slightly by going just two for three with her last at bat a line drive to leftfield on which the outfielder made a nice play to end her almost perfect day. Julia was seven for eight with a double and a triple for the day – great job Julia!
After the EOD speech by Coach PJ where he threatened to turn the head coaching responsibilities to Coach Emeritus Manny in order to instill discipline and a greater spirit de corps and allow him to sleep restfully throughout the night, the team departed Rose Mofford without further adieu.
As Scorpio gathered on Rose Mofford Field 6 for the 8:30 AM Sunday game verses the Lady Vipers from Gilbert, we watched a curtain of rain hanging above the southern horizon as though unsure whether to spoil the day. The decision was made to start the game as in the distance thunder sounded, the clouds clearing their throats and a light rain falling.
Rachel Burkland was again the pitcher as the defense got off to a quick start by allowing the third Viper batter to score the first of two unearned runs of the game on an error. Scorpio was unable to score in the first inning and thus when the game was delayed due to lightning, our favorite student-athletes were behind two to nothing.
While the team huddled under a canopy to avoid the raindrops, both Jordan Nunez’ and Micheala Bonner’s mother Gina’s anniversary of their dates of birth were acknowledged with an unharmonious rendition of “Happy Birthday”. The insufferable squealing and shrieking of screaming adolescents created a cacophony reminiscent of loose fan belts and unlubricated bearings on an under-maintained engine in a decade old animal-control-truck overloaded with feral cats. Several of us scattered back into the rain as our ears demanded a sabbatical from the inane racket.
Soon afterward, with the lightening now gone and only the light rain representing the ‘Fun in the Rain’ portion of the TCS event, the teams were re-summoned to the field and play was resumed. Fortunately, Field 6 rids itself of water better than do the original Fields 1-4 so footing was not quite as treacherous as it might have been.
Scorpio sent fourteen batters to the dish in the second inning, ten of which scored before an out was recorded. Although the outcome of the game was pretty much established by the 10 – 3 score, the Lady Vipers were the home team and would be allowed to have the last at bat. During the home half of the third inning, the umpire decided that since the players’ hair was glistening in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze, all participants were wet enough and the game was called due to the conditions. The final score was recorded as 14 to 3.
Birthday girl Jordan Nunez was two for two with a triple. Julia was again 1.000 at the plate, including her second triple of the weekend - her weekend batting average was .900 with two triples and a double. Ciana Camacho and Alexis Lamphere each had two hits, including Ciana’s double in the third inning.
The remainder of the tournament was postponed due to the rain and the subsequent wet fields.
The team paused for a short post-play meeting where Coach PJ’s message was “If you really want to do something, you'll find a way; if you don't, you'll find an excuse” and a proxy of the players addressed Coach PJ and asked him not to resign his post. Being that Scorpio had just won the game, PJ’s response was more positive than those after the previous day’s series of remorseless reiterations of letdowns.
With little notice, the team was informed that the tournament would be continued Wednesday evening at 6:30 at Papaco Park. Players and parents from last year’s Scorpio team were concerned as the team played in 2K12 on the under-maintained Papaco fields which were reminiscent of the field conditions seen in horse and hog barns. However, the maintenance crews had manicured the fields and especially the pitchers circles to very acceptable levels.
The opponents for Wednesday were the Beasts from Prescott who went down in defeat 15-2 to the Scorpio lineup largely because their pitchers’ illustrated that their knowledge of the strike zone was under developed.
Sometimes the brightest blazes are kindled by unexpected sparks and in this game, that spark was provided by pitcher Rachel Burkland. She allowed only two hits as she struck out six in the win. Both of the runs scored by the Beasts were caused by errors and thus unearned. Offensively, leadoff hitter Micheala Bonner went two for two with two walks as was number three hitter Jordan Nunez whose hits included a double.
Thursday’s first opponent was Soul, who hale from Tempe and feature ex-Scorpio ace pitcher Alex Dickey who left Scorpio because the distance to practices was too great for her. Alex took the circle and shut down the Scorpio lineup 1-2-3 in the first three innings with five strikeouts before Micheala Bonner got the first hit of the game and the first of the two she would eventually hit off of Alex. After Micheala broke the seal, the rest of the lineup scorched Alex for nine hits and seven runs as Soul scored their lone run in the sixth inning as their dreams lay broken and empty beneath the ruin of their early optimism.
The defense committed one error which didn’t cause an unearned run. Rachel Burkland got the win, making 73 pitches, 57 of them in the strike zone while moving Scorpio to the championship game.
The championship game was played at 8:15 PM on a school night against the 14U Vendetta team from Gilbert who survived the top side of the bracket with a win over Phoenix Heat. Despite the six hits – including Jorden Jefferson’s third inning double – the defense allowed two unearned runs to be scored in the sixth inning which were the difference in the 3 to 2 loss. Rachel Burkland made 92 pitches, 57 of which were strikes in the game for a total of 165/114 for the evening.
Due to the lateness of the hour, the TCS award ritual took the place of the traditional post day talk by Coach PJ but most everyone present were pleased with the team’s performance and we departed Papaco Park without farther ceremony or celebration.
August 24th & 25th at Rose Mofford Sports Complex
The newest version of the Scorpio 16U team met at Rose Mofford Sports Complex after shedding some players and acquiring several protégé student-athletes. The occasion was the first tournament of the Fall Season; the Nationals in California marking the end of the 2K13 Summer schedule.
Coach PJ Grijalva and Coach-Emeritus Manny Elias hoped to clear away all the fragments and false starts, buried bones and broken hearts of the Summer season and to re-dig the team’s foundations, laying them true and straight and deep.
Joining the team are Ardianna Calabras, Jazman Chauarris, Julia Olibarria and Sierra Mendez. Welcome aboard and welcome to each of the returning student-athletes.
Also joining the coaching staff is pitching coach Megan Corey. Assistant Coach Montez Jefferson was unable to attend the weekend’s festivities due to an unavoidable scheduling conflict. His proxies at 1st base, Coach Manny or Coach Megan provided adequate instructions to baserunners on where to find 2nd base when it was required.
The early morning Saturday hours featured a monsoon storm accompanied by lightning and ominous sounding thunder; the thunder sounding much like the sound of the thin sheet of metal being shaken backstage during the storm scene in ‘The Wizard of Oz’. The rain made the fields unplayable for the morning pool games which were then cancelled; the morning teams forfeiting their places in Sunday’s bracket play.
As the Scorpio games were scheduled in the afternoon’s pool, other than relocating to Field 5, the team was not inconvenienced by the aftereffects of the precipitation.
Before the first Saturday game began against a traveling Kaos team from Las Vegas, the atmosphere was an excited marriage of expectation and apprehension. Coaches, players and interested spectators all were anxiously waiting to take the pulse of the team, to learn of the talents of the newest members of the Scorpio World Order, to re-measure the cohesiveness of the team and to determine how much or how little the departed players would be missed.
Against Kaos, Scorpio base hits were fitted together as closely as are a TV news anchor’s capped teeth as each starter had at least one hit to contribute to the thirteen hit, thirteen run drubbing of the Nevada team. Micheala Bonner was 3 for 3 at the dish and Rachel Burkland also hit 1.000 for the game. Rachel also pitched a one-hitter, walking just two and allowing only one opposing run to be scored. The defense played well, committing zero errors.
After the game, the Scorpio Nation was collectively smiling like an acre of sunflowers as we relaxed during a game break extended by the quick run-rule victory where only eleven plate appearances were made by Kaos players. We enjoyed delicious sandwiches generously provided by 2nd basemen Kaysci Thank’s parents, Lisa and Sean. Thanks again to the Thanks.
Had Chuck Dickens been among the spectators watching Scorpio 16U this weekend, perhaps his classic epic ‘Tale of Two Cities’ would have began: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was the weekend for 29 timely hits, it was the weekend for 12 inopportune errors; they were the games of sunscreen, they were the innings of rain; there was a Scorpio run-rule victory, there was a one-and-done Sunday; it was the Spring of hope, it was the Winter of despair; Scorpio had everything before them – yet there was nothing before them.
Game 2 injected some reality into our daydreams as the team lost a heart-breaker to the Phoenix Monsters two runs to just one for Scorpio. The team’s errorless streak was halted after just one game as four errors were committed – fortunately the Monsters were awarded no unearned runs in spite of the largess of the defense. Julia Bueno pitched a six hitter, regrettably Scorpio batters scratched out only four hits, new third baseman Ardrianna Calabras getting the only Scorpio RBI of the contest.
In spite of losing the game, spirits remained high because of the closeness of the score; most astute observers realized victory was just a few timely hits away and the team was ‘still in the game’ until the last out was recorded.
Game 3 featured eventual tournament champion Force – Doran as the opponent. Scorpio stored two runs during the top of the first inning as seven batters took their turn at the plate; however, in the Force half of the inning, the first batter walked and scored after two subsequent walks and a wild pitch. (Did you know that when a batter is “awarded” [or, if she is a Scorpio player, has “earned”] first base on a walk, that on average she will score during that inning 60% of the time? Baserunners who have lead off an inning by hitting a single will score 55% of the time.)
The number four Force hitter then hit a no-doubt three run homerun which further highlighted the problems that pitcher Rachel Burkland was having with her snap while throwing her fastball. Rachel exited for Sierra Mendez, who came into the game in a relief role during which the defense allowed four unearned runs to score. Rachel spent the time not on the bench embraced by self pity but instead working on her snap and her release point to later re-enter the contest to finish the game in the circle.
In coach PJ’s after-party speech, he acknowledged that, while the team was only one and two for the day, they had not just-given-up nor threw-in-the-towel quickly after getting behind to both the Monsters and to Force. This in itself was an important improvement over past history, but that the team must do more than just not give up, it needs to go beyond losing-with-heart to start consistently winning-with-heart.
With the speech completed, the team departed the venue to ice sore body parts and prepare for Sunday’s 9:10 AM game against a yet undetermined opponent.
During the first, last and only game on Sunday, things turned apocalyptic quickly as an error was committed on the very first play of the game – the lead-off Lady Dragon batter subsequently coming around to score the first of the fourteen runs with which they would litter the Scorpio scorebook. At this point – the top of the first inning – the evidence suggested that for Scorpio, the present is the past traveling under a pseudonym. While our favorite student-athletes did fight back to tie the game momentarily in the home half of the 3rd inning, the LD’s quickly responded by scoring six more runs during the top of the 4th inning which killed whatever remained of the Scorpio spirit to fight back.
The blue clad team’s slapstick style of defensive play appeared to have been assembled by Barnum & Bailey to entertain sick children by encouraging the urchins to giggle at the antics. Ubiquitous errors and passed balls littered the playing field; six errors were committed and three unearned were generously gifted to the Dragonettes, who added them to the eleven earned runs that they amassed during the carnage.
There were positive aspects of this contest which included pitcher Rachel Burkland’s stellar performance which incorporated two strikeouts among her approximately 89 pitches as well as both Julia Bueno and newbie Julia Oilbarria’s 2 for 3 contributions at the plate.
However, the team had generally psyched itself out of the game as negativity consumed the dugout like would the Yarnell forest fire. Many players acted as if they saw themselves as victims of softball’s vast conspiracy to ruin their day, that they were powerless to influence their own attitude.
Based on the backward progression from the first game on Saturday to Sunday’s catastrophe, several coaches later theorized that some, if not many Scorpio team members could not resist the easy comforts of complacency and the narcotic paralysis of self-satisfaction. Plans are being formulated to destroy this attitude, however, coaches can not play the game; the players must always be an active participant in any improvement process. There is heavy lifting that only the players can do. Successful players on successful teams have learned that practice and games are the only real counselors; that wisdom unfiltered through personal experience does not become part of a player’s moral fiber.
We’ve all heard the term “one thing leads to another”; but the mediocre player knows that most often “everything leads to the same thing”. Too many have been living without self discipline and with stunted improvement for so long that finally digging herself out of their low expectations of success is indeed a steep upward climb.
Time will tell of these Scorpio players can do it.
Dr. John Take Me Out to the Ballgame