Thursday, September 28, 2006

Nuts and Honeys: Game 1 Recap



NORTH HOLLYWOOD – What started as an ugly “Opening Day” for Nuts and Honeys, took a dramatic turn that was both sweet and crunchy. The newest addition to WAKA’s Studio City League could be re-dubbed “The Cardiac Kids” after their pulse-pounding comeback win against the Wonderballz.

The expansion-team, decked out in bright orange shirts, camouflage pants (and a few in full camouflage face-paint), took the field atop of the first inning, but, despite an energy that was infectious, the team looked nervous and slightly overmatched by the Wonderballz, who started strong.

In the first, the Wonderballz struck with a flurry of singles, both deep flies and bunts. Nuts and Honeys showed their inexperience in the field, as multiple defensive miscues allowed a number of runners to get on base and score. Very quickly, the Wonderballz jumped to a 4-0 lead.

Wonderballz, over the course of the next two innings, continued their bunt-first approach and added two more runs to their lead. But Nuts and Honeys chipped away, knocking in runs in both the second and third, making the score 6-2. Despite the gap, what became apparent as the game wore on was that the Honeys had calmed down, and dug their cleats into the dirt, determined to win.

In the bottom of the fourth, the Nuts began their Everest-like climb, scoring quickly on a number of singles and bunts, bringing the score to 6-3. With Larry Curtis on first, Brian McCarthy drove the ball into center for a single and Walsh slid hard into second to avoid the tag.

When Matt Taylor stepped to the plate, the Wonderballz pitcher, Jake, was clearly rattled. The flustered pitcher quickly walked the patient Taylor to load the bases. Then, Captain Cindy Bautista stepped up and, hit a smash to the right side, but with a few timely errors, both Walsh and McCarthy scored. The momentum had clearly turned in favor of Nuts and Honeys, who still trailed the Wonderballz, 6-5.

With Bautista on first and Taylor on second, Michael Ching stared down the Wonderballz and drew a clutch walk to re-load the bases. Then, Captain Sam Kraft befuddled Wonderballz pitcher Jake with her dazzling switch-hitting/dancing moves, forcing yet another walk out of the clearly frustrated pitcher, and scoring Matt Taylor to tie the game at 6-6. With the bases loaded again, Doug Weyek came up again and smashed a single out to the outfield, scoring Bautista, putting the Honeys ahead, 7-6.

In the fifth, pitcher Doug Weyek re-entered for the Honeys to close out the game, Mariano Rivera-style. After getting a quick single, the Wonderballz couldn’t get another ball out of the infield, leaving their runner marooned on first.

When Nuts and Honeys ran out into the field in celebration of their first ever game, they could no longer say they were unproven. After this win of epic proportions, Nuts and Honeys could say they’re unbeaten.

GAME NOTES: 22 players were active for Nuts and Honeys…The game was started by Doug Weyek, but Chris Roach pitched well in relief in the 3rd and 4th innings to earn the win, before Doug re-entered the game to close it out and earn his first save…Controversy surrounded the umpire crew, who were questioned both teams. The controversy began quickly when the second batter of the game for Wonderballz double-kicked a bunt and the call was nearly missed. The first base umpire was struggling to make timely calls, as well as mixing up signals for safe and out…Every player wore the initials “SM” on their arms in honor of fallen Nut, Scott Miller, who broke his arm in his first practice and is out for the season…There were a few minor injuries as Gwen Mesco got a stinger in her left hand attempting a catch in the first, and centerfielder Steve Niel pulled his groin in the top of the first, but both remained in the lineup…Smoke from the Helicopter Ninjas game briefly bothered some players, but really, it went away pretty quickly…The theme music for each of the Nuts and Honeys seemed not only to entertain the team, but also their opponents, who were caught singing and dancing to “We Built This City (On Rock and Roll).” I’m guessing their big fans of Jefferson Starship.

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