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BATTING PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT, BASEHITS MURDER SUICIDE KINGS

By HSRE Brain

BERKELEY, CA – 7/10/06 box season book pics

With two regular season losses to the Suicide Kings already in the books, including an embarrassing 17-2 “mercy rule” killing two weeks ago, the Basehits knew that some drastic measures were needed as they faced the SuKings in the Championship Game at San Pablo #2 on Monday night. Ironically, it would be the third place finishers, Dirt Bags, who would provide a key ingredient to victory as the Bags failed to field a full team and forfeited to the Hits in the first playoff game. All dressed up and with no one to play, the Hits took the field anyway and had its first full team workout of the year. The respite also provided time for Rob “Best Buy” Sullivan to leave the office and make the championship game with ten minutes to spare, but, unfortunately, there simply was not enough time for Dave “Bill James Don’t Have Nothin’ On Me” Johnson to hitchhike from Dallas. Despite the physical absence of the DJ factor, his weekly mantra of ‘batting cages before the game’ appears now to have indicated a keen insight into the fact that, apparently, batting practice helps. The Basehits subsequently banged out 38 hits in a 30-1 drubbing of the Suicide Kings to take the Spring Monday C title.

Bobby “I Can’t Wait for Those 9:15 p.m. Summer Games” Ortiz (4/6, 2r, 2rbi) shook off his recent bout with bad chicken and led off the game with a solid basehit to left field. Realizing the crucial importance of scoring early in a contest of this magnitude, and befitting his 22 year Berkeley softball career, Brian “Hey, I Had Hernia Surgery at the Beginning of the Season” Murray (2/5, bb, 1r) took one for the team and laid down a perfectly placed swinging bunt, immediately advancing Ortiz to second base into scoring position. Dan “I Really Wanted to Play Two On My Birthday” Lashkoff (4/6, hr, 3r, 4rbi, 41yrs) lined out hard to right center for the second out and suddenly, it looked like a tough night for the BHits. Clean-up hitter Rich “They Were Playing Too Deep or I Would Have Gone 6 for 6″ Stayman (4/6, hr, 5r, 2rbi) kept the inning alive with an RBI basehit to left and the Hits were indeed first on the scoreboard. Sullivan (4/6, 4r, 1rbi) followed with a basehit and then had to chug it all the way home on a three-bagger from Loren “Two Weeks In Hawaii Before Playoffs Works For Me” Carjulia (3/6, 3r, 5rbi). Doug “He Was OUT!” Moss (3/5, 3r, 2rbi) next drove in Carjulia with a basehit to left. Sean “The Good News Is That I Get To Vote Against Katherine Harris This Fall If I Remember To Register and They Actually Count My Vote” Haughey (4/4, sf, 3r, 3rbi), appearing in his final playoff game until he comes crawling back after that third hurricane evacuation, kept the two-out rally alive with a basehit that was quickly followed by the sixth hit in a row from the bat of Angelo “Viva Italia” Azzolino (3/4, bb, 3r, 4rbi, It 5 – Fr3 [shootout]). Cody “The Kid” Brydon (3/5, 2r, 3rbi, 3.6gpa) then joined the party with a basehit in his first playoff at-bat, Bob “I Forgot the Ice and Kids” Nelson (4/5, 1r, 4rbi) banged a 2RBI basehit and the Boys of Spring had batted around. Ortiz followed with an RBI on his second basehit of the inning, and, with the Basehits firmly in control with an initial eight run lead, the grizzled player-manager Murray demonstrated why he has lasted so long in this young man’s game by slyly grounding out to shortstop to end the inning, thus ensuring that his players remained hungry for more.

The Suicide Kings barely had time to catch their breath as they were set down quickly by Nelson (7ip, 1er, 5h, 2bb, $1) in the bottom of the first, and the Hits were champing at the bit for more in the second. The Hits did not disappoint and Lashkoff, celebrating 41 trips around the sun, led off with a basehit and the Hits were off again – basehit, basehit, basehit, flyout, basehit, sac fly, basehit, basehit, basehit, basehit, and finally, a strategically timed pop-out to end the inning and avoid inciting the SKings. The Hits had batted around again, posting six runs on 8 hits, leaving the SKings down 14 runs. Another shutdown inning for the defense in the second ensued as a foreboding full moon rose slowly in the east.

Five hits and one walk later, the Hits put up 4 more runs in the third, only to have the SKings rally and push across a run in the bottom of the inning, signaling that they would not go down without a fight. It thus fell onto the Hits in the fourth to stop whatever momentum the SKings might have gleaned after finally getting on the board. The Hits again came through, this time with back-to-back home runs – a two run shot by Lashkoff and a Stayman blast that even impressed the usually reserved Hits batboy Max Stayman, who commented “My dad will never hit one that far again”. The air had left the SKings balloon, fat ladies sang, daisies were pushed up, and nothing was left but the raping and pillaging. Unfortunately for the Kings, however, suicide was not an option as there is no 15 run mercy rule in the championship, and so the band played on.

The Hits’ errorless defense, led by Co-MVP Lashkoff, continued to sparkle and frustrate SKings batters, and the offense continued its surge with nine more runs in the sixth, including a pair of doubles by Co- MVP Nelson, the second of which brought a standing ovation from the entire partisan crowd of Noah and Lindsay Nelson, cleansing the Hits’ collective palette of the recent 15 run loss to the SKings. Revenge is sweet but payback is candy-coated syrup with 30 runs on 38 hits and a cherry on top.

Despite the successful season and awesome final win, the future of the team was at the forefront of the post-game celebration at Brennans. As with any championship team, especially one about to possibly move up to the Summer “B” League, there remain lingering questions about free agency (Haughey is already signed with Fort Myers), prior commitments (Azzolino’s Team Milan contract), retirement (23 seasons for Nelson, Murray), business obligations (Sullivan in Vacaville), grand jury steroid investigations (Stayman’s last home run, Carjulia’s 5 RBI) early morning wake-up calls and/or overtime (Ortiz), NCAA oversight (Brydon), really cool Monday Night Concert Series (Johnson), Office of the Commissioner disciplinary action (Moss), and of course, the long rumored Naked Barbies World Tour 2006 (Lashkoff). Understandably, the champs were in too good of a mood to address these issues, and instead, remained focused on the business at hand by ordering a full round of pitchers before last call. Haughey did, however, offer some hope for FanacHits, as he was last seen consulting his Blackberry for schedules of available flights from Orlando to Oakland.