The SSL had back-to-back perfect days for softball these past two Sundays, but unfortunately had to part ways with two players that made Sunday's special.

After a rowdy Farewell Party at Cages two weeks ago, the league bid farewell to a player that transcended the game. A charismatic smile, an endearing laugh, and flowing locks that made all who knew him jealous... Jace Ganshirt bid adieu to the Shanghai. The carnage from such a rousing party left many hurting the next day. Hurting emotionally, yup, but mostly from the hangover that only frat-style binge drinking with Jah-Say can induce. Jace, your passion for running the bases and grabbing life (and grown men) by the balls will be missed by the league. So much so that the Blackouts honored Mr. Ganshirt with a moving tribute and flag ceremony before their first game on the 16th. Jace, enjoy Cincinnati, for now... because let’s be honest, we’ll see you in Shanghai soon - Brad Johnson guarantees it.

And finally, we say goodbye and good luck to SSL legend, Clay "The Rooster" Roup, who is off to a new life in the US. Clay hits the ball hard and did so regularly, hitting key over-the-fence jacks in his four Cakey Cup wins with the Boozerz, multiple international tournament appearances, and finally with the Step-Dads in recent years. A true baseball phenom, Clay hits bombs from both sides of the plate, and has the versatility to play any defensive position, including as a consistent slow-pitch knuckleball softball pitcher. It was fitting to see him leave our league in a final at bat that was the game-winning walk off homerun for the Dads last Sunday. Good luck to you on your next adventure Clay!

And now onto the games. Two weeks to recap, starting with October 16th. In the opener the Dragons used a combination of hot bats, timely defense, and tricky pitching to put up 20 runs to on 1 vs. the Borrachos. A similar story in the following game, as the Jaceless-Blackouts won 18-2 against that same Borrachos team. Using timely hits throughout the lineup, the Borrachos battled hard, but on the small field HRs proved to be too much in the end.

The next game featured a Sons team that was fielding some new players due to a key absence (Forrest Brandt), and the Dragons who were looking to continue the momentum from their first game of the day. The Sons quickly hung 5 runs on the Dragons in the first, but the Dragon bats responded. Both teams battled hard in a high-scoring affair, most notably Pete O’Leary proved to be quite pesky for the Dragons, as he cranked two HRs in the game, but in the end the Dragons held on for a 16-12 win.

In a hotly contested battle the Blackouts and Step Dads exchanged blows each inning, but it was a late missed opportunity to throw (that seemed to still be affecting Mark Thompson, even after a couple drinks at Pistolera) that led to the eventual 13-12 Step Dads win. The Sons took down the Barbs 12-5 in the game that followed.

Then the league’s attention turned to the final game of Clay Roup’s storied SSL Career, and did he deliver. As Gary Crock took to the mound in the bottom of the 7th, Clay, unfazed by the lights, the media, and all the attention going into his final game, delivered in dramatic fashion, as he blasted a walk-off HR in in his final at bat. Step Dads 7 Thundersharkz 6. To finish the day, the Sharkz beat the Barbs 14-10, despite the Barbs turning a epic triple play in the early goings.

In the ‘B’ Coco continued their undefeated season taking down Nanyu White 5-4, and NMR 11-2. But lurking closely behind is Nanyu Red, who also won two on the day beating Nanyu White 10-5 (in a game that was very friendly, but probably a bit tricky to umpire), and Cobra 7-3. Cobra bounced back after their earlier loss by beating Medaka 14-6. In the final game of the day it was a plucky Medaka squad who put all the pieces together to win their first game of the season 5-4 over NMR.

On the 23rd there were a slew of key battles, but also some key hangovers that impacted the standings in the ‘A’. To start, a 9-man Dragons squad hung onto a 3-0 lead for several innings, but a late push (and a few overthrows) put the Barbeerians ahead 5-3. With the game on the line, up stepped Sean Ryan with one runner on. His clutch HR sent the game to extra innings, where it took two extra frames to settle things. Final score, Dragons 6 Barbeerians 5.

A beleaguered Blackouts squad arrived to fields with only 6 players come game-time, resulting in a 7-0 forfeit win. But both squads looked solid in the exhibition contest, which featured another a second dominating performance of the day from Keith Svatora. Who, over his two games on the mound, sat down many heavy hitters with slick strikeouts.

The third game featured a rivalry on the rise... Sharkz and Dragons. Close plays, controversial calls, and intensity set the table for a late Shark rally, with key HRs by Matt Wade and newcomer Kenny Artigues (who looks like he will be a major factor for the Sharkz over the next few weeks at 3B). But down the stretch it was the Dragons who would tack on the last few runs, taking a close one, 8-6. Following that game some Blackouts emerged from the other side of the river to help fill-out their squad, and they battled hard against the Sons. But the Sons bats were hot, as JJ, Phil, Josh Pearlman and Forrest Brandt all went deep. In the end it proved too much for Blackouts as the Sons won 13-8.

The Sharkz looked to rebound in their second game, and Alex Bryans was ready, bashing his 4th and 5th homeruns of the season, and handed the Borrachos their 9th straight loss 15-3. In the lowest scoring game of the day, it took the Sons only 3 runs to take down the Step Dads 3-2. And in the final ‘A’ game of the day Chili Hayes & Jeremy Radtke and a motivated Borrachos squad pulled off the upset of the season (thus far) taking down the second place Step Dads 9-5.

A quick look to the HR board leaves us with one thought... Phil is for real! Blasting his 8th of the season leaves him alone in first place. He is followed by Matt Wade in second with 6 HRs. After few longballs last weekend there is now a 7-man logjam for third place between Alex Bryans, JJ, Forrest Brandt, Oli Moore, Mark Thompson, Mark McNamee, and Pete O’Leary.

As for the standings, the Sons are atop the division at 9-1, followed by the Dragons at 8-2. It gets a bit closer from third to sixth place. The 6-4 Step Dads have a one-game lead on the Sharkz (5-5), then there is a tie for fifth at 3-7 between the Barbeerians and the Blackouts. With Sunday’s win the Borrachos move to 1-9. Still lots of scenarios that need to be played out on the final weekend of play before the Cakey. With the Borrachos win, there is not a single position in the standings that has been officially locked down.

Finally, to the ‘B’ Division. First, Cobra took down Nanyu White 14-8. Then Coco temporarily continued their undefeated season (9-0), with an 8-3 win over Cobra. NMR was able to gain some separation from the basement of the ‘B’ standings after an 11-8 victory over Nanyu White. In the 4th game of the day Coco took a winning streak, one that you could technically track back to the CJ Cup from last year, up against Nanyu Red. It was close, but the Coco winning streak was brought to an end by Nanyu by a score of 9-8. In the next game NMR continued their winning ways against Medaka with a 5-1 victory. The win further extended their lead over last place Medaka, and after two Nanyu White Ls, they move into sole possession of 4th place at 3-7. In the final game of the day, Nanyu Red continued their surge, besting Medaka 10-4. The win puts Nanyu Red into a tie for second with Cobra at 8-2.

 

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