Alternative Softball League Kicks Off With Three-Way

Fans rejoice as the 2009 season gets under way

The Austin Chronicle shelves BookPeople

The last time rivals BookPeople and The Austin Chronicle met on the softball diamond, the game was decided by two runs. The Opening Day rematch of the 2008 Alternative Softball Championship game was another nail-biter, and the champions again held off BookPeople to come away with victory, 21-15, last Sunday.

The difference may have been the Chronicle (1-0) turning a pair of double plays in a game that was mostly offensive. BookPeople batted a respectable .540 with four doubles and three triples, while the Chronicle batted .600 with two triples.

The BookPeople Filthy Animals (0-1) were also depleted by injuries, including outfielder Ryan Van Eck apparently breaking his collarbone in the fourth inning on a diving catch; pitcher Jim Brooks pulling a hamstring; and shortstop Jeff “Tacocat” Freeman hobbled by a grounder to the knee. I always hate to see a player injured and I hope they all mend well and quickly.

For the record, the Chronicle lost both of their pitchers from last year – Bobby Leath to Waterloo Records (his former team) and Charlie Sotelo to South by Southwest. Meanwhile, last year’s shortstop Shawn Badgley is out indefinitely, working for a political campaign.

The People of Book may have also been a bit rusty; they were one of the last teams to start practicing and had two scrimmages rained out during the preseason.

“I don't think we could have possibly had a worse game. … The Chronicle seemed pretty convinced they beat us afterward too,” said BookPeople manager Jeff Rose. “Let them believe that. We imploded and only lost by six runs.” Or in the words of their patron (?) philosopher Henry David Thoreau: “Public opinion is a weak tyrant compared with our own private opinion. What a man thinks of himself, that is which determines, or rather indicates, his fate.”

It is the Chronicle's fifth win in seven games against BookPeople, dating back to the days of the Unofficial Shadow League of Local Businesses, which included old newcomer to the ASL South by Southwest.

Austin Chronicle co-captain Shannon Stott was flawless at the plate – 4-for-4! – and drove in a pair of runs, while Doug “Appalachian Natural” Freeman went 3-for-4 with two doubles and drove in four runs. Co-captain Mike “Moonshadow” Bartnett had a triple, a double, and drove in three runs and Mark “Fabulous” Fagan had two sacrifice flies and drove in three runs.

The Filthy Animals got as close as 14-16 with a 7-run rally in the sixth inning and a pair of runs in the seventh inning.

Trailing 5-16, Jeff Rose (4-for-5, 3 RBIs) sparked the rally with a triple and Bryan “The Beast” Sansone (2-for-4, 2 RBIs) and Patrick Lloyd (3-for-4, 2 2B) followed with back-to-back doubles to drive in a pair of runs. Jim Brooks tapped one to the pitcher for the second out of the frame, but BookPeople then strung together seven straight singles to trim the Chronicle’s lead to 16-12.

After solid defense in the bottom of the sixth, Jim Brooks (3-for-4, 2B, 2 RBIs) had a sacrifice fly and Jennifer Morris had a run-scoring single to get the game within two runs.

Mark Fagan had his second sacrifice fly of the game in the bottom of the seventh to give the Chronicle a 3-run cushion. The Infantile Retards one-hit the Filthy Animals in the top of the eighth and scored four runs in the bottom of the inning to put the game out of reach.

BookPeople tied the game at 3 in the top of the third inning, but the Chronicle took the lead with eight runs in the bottom of the inning and never trailed.

Wheatsville Food Co-op Rings Up Win Against Nihilist Fucking Eagles of New Brohemia

Wheatsville Food Co-op used a combination of aggressive base-running and solid defense to best the Nihilist Fucking Eagles of New Brohemia 23-17 in a battle of ASL newcomers. The SKUs (or Stock-Keeping Units) and myself sent 14 batters to the plate and scored nine runs in the top of first inning and never trailed during the game with the help of a double play and what may be the first triple play in ASL history.

New Brohemia (0-1) scored seven runs in the first inning and stayed close until Wheatsville scored three runs in the fourth and fifth innings, while stymying the Nihilist Fucking Eagles with a double play and then a triple play.

In both innings, New Brohemia runners were caught running on fly balls. In the fourth inning, Ashley Campbell got tagged out after M.T. Elliot’s pop-up to the pitcher. The following inning, the Nihilist Fucking Eagles had their wings clipped when Wheatsville outfielder Nate Lineback caught Jim “Pancakes” Turner’s line drive to left field. Baserunners Natalie and Esteban had advanced to their next bases and SKUs pitcher Trae Branham astutely coached shortstop Ralf Hernandez to tag Esteban and then touch second base for the 7-6-6 (?) triple-play.

Ralf Hernandez also pitched in at the plate, going 4-for-4 with four RBIs, while Nate Lineback went 4-for-4 with two doubles, a triple, and four runs scored. Wheatsville third baseman Greg Hull went 3-for-3 with five RBIs, and second baseman Marisa Newell batted 2-for-3 with three RBIs.

Not that they care, they’re nihilists, but New Brohemia second baseman Bree went 1-for-3 with four RBIs, while Mark Twistworthy (3-for-4) and Jug (4-for-4) added three RBIs each. Despite what could be a broken wrist, Brian Campbell went 4-for-4 with a double – the Eagles’ only extra-base hit.

SXSW Stomps the Brentwood Donkeys, 34-4

I didn’t see this one because I was scoring and umpiring (for the record, my prescription is current) the Championship Redux, but SXSW scored an ASL record number of runs for the league’s largest margin victory against new squad the Brentwood Donkeys.

BookPeople previously set both in the league’s inaugural season with a 28-15 win against the Chronicle (June 23, 2008) and a 25-8 win over KOOP (July 6, 2008).

ASL pioneers turned division rivals Emo’s Lounge and Waterloo Records are slated to play Monday, April 6, at 8pm on Field 5.

You can keep up with all the games, trash talk, and your favorite teams and players through the league’s MySpace page at www.myspace.com/alternativesoftballleague.

Follow the ASL on Twitter at www.twitter.com/altsoftball.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

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