“I have a cunning plan….”
The last two games against Tullamore Tigers have produced two hospitalisations and a further two bad injuries to the Titans. The neutral reader may think that these games have been hard, nasty affairs. Whilst they have been tough games against the Tigers, they have always been played in great spirits and there is a lot of mutual respect. Having said that the Titans lost to Tullamore in week 2 of the season and wanted to even-up the scores. Tullamore maybe Tigers but would it be the Titans that roared?
“The best laid plans…….” Meant that we lost dependable Su and our ever reliable Short-Stop JC a few hours before the game so the normal roster and 7&5 plan was hastily re-organised to accommodate 4 girls and 8 guys. The line-up was:
- SS – Ricardo “Honestly Captain you can trust me as lead-off!”
- 2nd – Johanna “If we go any further West I’ll be back in Caracas”
- CL – Alan “Did somebody say ‘Revenge’?”
- RF – Asho “Bellyflops count right?”
- P – Paul “Where the f**k is Offaly?”
- CR – Jeannette “No, I never lose my temper me. Never. Not once.”
- 3rd – Dave “Remind me, how do I play 3rd?”
- 1st – Elaine “It’s a woman’s prerogative to be late.”
- C – Conor “Focus.Focus.Focus. I am the ball. The ball is me. Be the ball.”
- LF – Darragh “I think I’m going to move to Offaly. I love it here. I really do.”
James – “It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to…”
Luke – “Use the Force Luke!”
“I have a cunning plan….”
Pre-Game we knew that Tullamore have some great batters in Mark, Nick and that little Irish fella whose name I can never remember, and between them they really can rack up the runs. So we knew we’d need to do something special to neutralise the oppositions strengths. The conversation between The Captain and JC was not unlike the one between Blackadder and Baldrick.
Captain: “JC, I have a very, very cunning plan.”
JC: “Is it as cunning as a fox what used to be Professor of Cunning at Oxford University but has moved on and is now working for the U.N. at the High Commission of International Cunning Planning?”
Capitan: “Yes it is.”
JC: “Hmm…that is cunning.”
And so it was that ‘Operation Salty Truncheon’ was born. A very Top-Secret cunning plan to use Tullamores own strength against themselves. The legendary Chinese General Sun-Tzu who wrote The Art Of War would have been proud of the Captain and the Titans. Clearly I can’t divulge such a precious Top Secret plan here. Let’s just say that the Titans were pleased with its results.
So how did the game go? Well in reality it went in a flash. And your scribe was too busy pitching, batting, captaining and putting the cunning plan into action to remember every bit of the game. At the end of the first innings the score was 3-2 to Tullamore. At the end of the seventh innings it was 5-5. That’s how tight and close the game was. However, as always, there were some stand out plays. I have probably forgotten lots of them so please excuse me.
The Captain and Jeannette managed to score RBI’s by bringing home Johanna and Asho for our two runs. This was Asho’s second run of the season. At her first one against the Oddsox Asho decided to flash us all with her six pack as she crossed the home plate. This time she decided to hit Home plate in her own inimitable style. Was it a Force slide? Was it a bellyflop? Was it a swan like dive? Who cares – the run scored! However she managed to damage her left thumb and then played on for the rest of the game in increasing pain as we had no female subs. Fair play to her, she gave her all for the cause. Thumbs up to Asho!
You’ll have to allow your scribe one piece of smug self-satisfaction. In his defence it was only brought to our attention by the oppositions pitcher and captain. In all their years of playing they couldn’t remember seeing anyone deliver a 4 pitch innings. Namely all 3 outs were gained on only 4 pitches. Clearly your scribe wants to be able to say that he always pitches like that and had planned it all along. Alas the reality is that there was a healthy dose of luck involved however at least we knew that Operation Salty Truncheon was working!
The Captain scored a lovely RF Home Run whilst also bringing Alan home to make the score at Top of 3 as 4-3 Titans.
Defensively the Outfield of Darragh, Alan, JB & Asho had been working well and making some great catches and holding their big hitters. Their pitcher Nick made a great big hit, brought in an RBI and was on his way from 3rd to scoring a Home Run…or that’s what he thought. In a great piece of fielding, the outfield collected the ball, sent it to Ricardo who fired it into the Captain who turned and performed the sort of dive Arjen Robben would be proud of to tag Nick and make the final out as he tried to cross home-plate. Bottom of three and the score is now 4-4.
Dave Bob made a lovely 2nd base hit. Then with some good running he was able to turn that into a run off Johanna and Alan’s hitting. Top of 4 and the score is now 5-4 Titans.
This defensive innings was saved by the teenagers! Namely Darragh and Conor. Playing at LF and C they both had good games but this was the ‘piece de resistance’. With Tigers having already scored one and with bases loaded they made a big hit towards CL. The ball hopped past Alan (it was a dreadful pitch to play on it must be said) however Darragh was covering, scooped up the ball and then fired it into Conor at Catcher to collect and tag-out the runner. A great play that shut down the innings. What a way for those two boys to complete their game. They were replaced by Luke and James respectively for the remaining 3 innings. Bottom of 4 and the score is 5-5.
The 5th, 6th & 7th innings flew by without either team being able to turn their plays into runs. On the infield our new look pairing of Dave Bob at 3 and Ricardo at SS took a few innings to work out how to communicate but from the 5th it came together. Dave Bob made a much needed double play by tagging the runner to 3 before lobbing the ball to Johanna to get the second after the runner over ran 2nd. Along with Elaine they made some great catches and some great plays. Allied with a planned Operation Salty Truncheon switch between CL & CR meant that JB made a great catch to add to the ones that Darragh. Alan and Luke had been making.
So scores tied 5-5 at the end of the 7th. Once again the Titans on an away trip against a top team take them to an 8th innings. How would the Titans fare this time?
A little pep-talk from the Captain and we were off. The Captain led off with another big hit to RF which scored a triple. (Had I been 15 years younger and 30 kilos lighter it would have been a home-run!) Nevertheless it was the start the Titans needed. There then followed probably the Titans best batting innings. And what a time for the bats to come good! Dave Bob scored his second run and brought the Captain home. James fresh from sledging the opposition at Catcher showed that he can keep his hits low when required and along with Luke got on base. We now had 2 outs, 2 on base and Ricardo our leadoff batter up at the plate. To be honest this was a moment of consternation for the Titans as Ricardo’s last three hits in the game were all pop-fly’s straight to the CL glove.
But cometh the hour, cometh the man! This time Ricardo managed to hit a lovely fly ball between CL & CR and swept around those bases like a thoroughbred scoring a home run and truly bringing home the bacon! I’m not sure if any of the Titans will forget the look on Ricardo’s face or his body language after he crossed the plate. It was mixture of the Incredible Hulk meets Apocalypse Now. We had scored 5 in the 8th innings. 10 – 5 at the top of 8!
Now the Titans just had to stop the Tigers scoring and we were in with a chance of an important victory. Well we managed to get a couple of easy outs and then their pitcher Nick hit a beautiful home-run along with an RBI to make it 10-7. The nerves may have jangled a bit. However it was to be the Titans night. The next player hit towards 3rd and Dave Bob made the catch – locking down the innings, the game and his MVP recommendation. Mrs Maldonado was rightly named as female MVP.
Finally it was over, 10-7 to the Titans. Afterwards we once again debriefed the need for base-hits when the game was tight and also the need for good clear communications between the players to ensure we make the easy outs. But we’d also shown great resilience to go to Tullamore with a game-plan, stick to it and make it work for us. We all said it was a very satisfying win. Speaking to Mark and Nick from the Tigers afterwards they said it was the best game they’d played in. Very tight, great skills on display yet played in good spirit and umpired very well by Lynn.
So now the Titans are 6-3 for the season. For a team of teenagers, old men and new girls the team is starting to play better with each week. Bring on Marley Mustangs next week.
Thanks again to Jono for bringing out the teenagers, scoring and keeping the spirits high……..despite him nearly losing the window of his car to a RF slice! (Not by a Titan I might add.)