Almost Lights Out at the Ballpark

Emo's turns off KOOP, Wheatsville SKUs skewer BookPeople, Waterloo Records grounds Vampire Bats

BookPeople Filthy Animal Sally Brooks shows off the first-ever ASL tattoo
BookPeople Filthy Animal Sally Brooks shows off the first-ever ASL tattoo (Photo by Samantha Jenkins)

We had all waited three months for this one. The Emo’s Lounge Vampire Bats and the KOOP Radio Kilowatts were supposed to play each other in the second week of the season sometime back in early April. It turned into what has to be the most rescheduled game in Alternative Softball League history. I think they tried to play this game four times – two of them got rained out.

It was well worth the wait.

Vampire Bats late-season add-on Houshang “the Persian Nightmare” hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift Emo’s to a 13-12 win on July 22.

The Vampire Bats were behind the whole game. They trailed by as many as eight runs in the fifth inning before bleeding the Kilowatts dry.

Emo’s Lounge held KOOP to six hits in the final four innings, while rallying for five runs in the sixth inning and two runs in the eighth, to set up Houshang’s game winner to left-center field and help us all forget he struck out twice in his ASL debut.

Lucas had a 3-run homer and Will “the Thrill”had a two-run homer as part of Emo’s 5-run sixth inning to cut the KOOP lead to 12-9 and to send the Vampire Bats into a bloodthirsty frenzy.

But it was almost cut short in the top of the seventh inning when an Emo’s fan managed to find the switches for the field and turned off the lights. The city league umpire wasn’t too pleased. He wasn’t going to turn them back on.

It was intended as a practical joke but the Vampire Bats looked like someone shoved a stake in their hearts.

I wouldn’t have done it. The Vampire Bats are pretty inked up, and their roster includes a fair number of bouncers and at least one former bounty hunter. They’re also touchy about the lights. They lost a game last year when an umpire unceremoniously ended the game with the light switch.

Jason Sabala, Erin Pennington , and their friends Andrew Jackson and Alexander Hamilton went to talk to the umpire, who was amenable to the presidents’ powers of persuasion.

Emo’s Lounge made it a 1-run game on Sabala’s single to drive in Jeff Schlamb and Chad D. who reached on a single and a double respectively.

Long Le went 4-for-4 with a double, triple, and three RBIs, whileJessica Ardis batted 3-for-4 with an RBI in her ASL debut for KOOP.

Lucas led the vampire batters, going 3-for-4 with a double, a homer, and four RBIs. Will “the Thrill” and Chad D. both batted 3-for-4.

WHEATSVILLE SKUS SKEWER BOOKPEOPLE

Ladda Phommavong and Beth Beutel both hit two-run singles in the seventh inning to break open a defensive deadlock as the Wheatsville SKUs beat BookPeople 10-8 and secured a playoff spot on Aug. 6.

It was personally my most uncomfortable win this season.

We Wheatsvillans only needed to win one of our last four games to get into the playoffs. Why did it have to be against BookPeople, my former team with whom I had savored victory snatched from the jaws of defeat? The game felt a lot like BookPeople’s 17-15 win over Waterloo Records last year in the playoffs. I felt like I kicked my puppy.

We beat BookPeople 14-10 in our previous meeting this season with a 6-run, two-out rally in the ninth inning.

The Filthy Animals (3-7) played one of their most solid games all season – the Brookses (Jim, Mandy, and Sally) stayed calm and didn’t mutter to themselves in the field, no one threw a glove and Jeff Rose caught almost every thing hit at him – but they came up short as they fight for the third playoff spot in the Alternative Softball League’s North Division.

For the first six innings, neither BookPeople nor Wheatsville (7-3) could get the advantage. Neither of us had a lead for more than a half-inning. The game was tied at 1 in the second, tied at 2 in the fourth, tied at 3 in the top of the sixth, and tied at 5 in the top of the seventh.

Jeff Rose anchored BookPeople’s stingy defense out in left field. He caught five fly balls, three were mine, including a rifle shot of a line drive the fourth inning that almost had more legs than he did.

Meanwhile, Trae Branham kept BookPeople’s bats at bay. He held BookPeople to 21 hits and only three doubles. He also tagged out two runners in a row at home plate in the sixth inning.

It appeared that it would stay knotted at 5 after the Filthy Animals got two quick outs on a fly out to second and a groundout to third. Allen Demling singled and Trae Branham followed with a double to set up Ladda Phommavong’s sneaky single up the middle of the infield to drive them both in.

Bruce “Motormouth” Cloud followed Ladda with a single and Beth Beutel had a single of her own to drive in what would be the winning runs. A freshly shorn Mike “Professor” Conti added an insurance run with a single in the bottom of the eighth.

Trailing 10-5 in the top of the ninth inning, BookPeople would have made Henry David Thoreau proud by trying “to tramp the last mile, shape the last plan [and] endure the last hour’s toil.”

The bottom of BookPeople’s lineup scored three runs on four hits with a little help from a passed ball with two runners on.

Alex “Flex” Rosenthal led off the inning with a single and was driven in with singles by Ansley Brown and Jon H. One run in with one out.

After a pop-up to Wheatsville pitcher Trae Branham for the second out, Wellington Chew hit a dribbler between the pitcher and first base and it looked like the game was over. Trae scooped up the ball and fired a laser beam that must have burned a hole in first baseman Jimmy Evans’ glove or blinded him.

As we scrambled after the ball, two more runners scored and Wellington went to second. BookPeople’s Jeff Freeman grounded out to the pitcher to end the game.

BookPeoples Brian Sansone and Wellington Chew each batted 3-for-3, while Jamie Reeves and Jeff Rose each batted 2-for-3 with a double.

Allen Demling was flawless at the plate, going 3-for-3 with an RBI, while Mike Conti drove in two runs while Ladda Phommavong had three RBIs for Wheatsville.

WATERLOO RECORDS GROUNDS VAMPIRE BATS

Maybe the lights were too bright for their nocturnal eyes. Maybe there was garlic on the pies from the pizza-eating contest. Maybe some holy water accidentally found its way into the keg of Lone Star.

Whatever the reason, the second game between ASL South Division rivals Emo’s Lounge (the Vampire Bats) and Waterloo Records was less dramatic than the first.

In their last meeting, Waterloo Records narrowly beat Emo’s Lounge 27-26 in an April 6 seesaw slug fest with 17 combined runs scored in the eighth inning.

This time, Waterloo Records (7-3) swatted away the Vampire Bats with 10 runs on 12 hits in the third inning to win 20-10.

The Bloodsuckers couldn’t stop the bloodletting as Waterloo batted around their 15-person lineup with a string of seven hits in a row before the first out and another five hits before the inning ended.

Charles (2-for-4, 4 RBI) put the nail in the Vampire Bats’ coffin with a 3-run homer as part of Waterloo’s 4-run sixth inning.

Take away the third inning and it may have been a defensive showdown. The game had been scoreless with only two hits between the two teams; Jason Sabala was pitching a no-hitter.

After that, Emo’s Lounge (4-5) held Waterloo to 10 runs on 18 hits while scoring 10 runs on 22 hits.

Don Lamb was unstoppable at the plate for Waterloo, batting 4-for-4 with a double and an RBI, as was Chris Anderson, who went 3-for-3 with a double and an RBI.

Kevin was a homer short of the cycle for Emo’s Lounge, batting 3-for-4 with two RBIs. Jason Sabala went 2-for-3 with a triple and two RBIs.

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