Barbara Lawlor, Gilpin County. The last of Gilpin County’s Co-ed Softball League competition was a humdinger. Upsets and turnarounds, extra inning wins, frustration, exhilaration, disappointments and triumph. All in all, everything one would expect from a local, down home softball season in a community where summer means batter up.
Gilpin County Recreation Softball director Orrin Snyder says, “It was a great season and we got in all 56 games.”
Before last Thursday, July 31, the last day of the regular season, the Rollinsville Rockies had gained the first place position the preceding week and were two games up from the A-cers. Although the Players climbed up the ladder slightly, the highest rung they could reach was third place. The Champs, who were number one most of the season had lost their oomph and gave up the lead to the Rockies.
It was the first time in many years that the Rockies, a team that started up when the league began, took the number one spot. They won two games in overtime, in the ninth inning. The Champs claimed second place, but just barely. They tied with the A-cers, 11-3, but the stats were the tie-breaker and the A-cers came in third.
The Blue Sox moved up, with two wins in a row; and the First Street Pub and Grill ended their losing streak. It was all rather anti-climactic, however, because the big end to the season was over the weekend in the Tonya Putnam Memorial Tournament, the winner of which earns the coveted trophy.
It is a brutal affair, with eight games on Saturday and eight games on Sunday, with the potential to play 10 games or more over the weekend. Both days were sunny and hot.
On Sunday afternoon, when it was apparent that the Rockies, having been beaten by the First Street Pub and Grill, were not going to be in the final bracket, all attention went to the battle between the A-cers, the Players, and the Champs, who said they had to win because they didn’t want to buy new t-shirts next year.
By this time the Players had won three games. They were psyched. It was their chance to take home the trophy after falling behind in the season. Randy Baratta, pitcher, said “If we win the next game, we could win the whole enchilada.”
The Champs won 6-5. But the tourney wasn’t over. The two top teams had to play each other again. Exhausted and hot, but still determined, the teams squared off. The Players took the lead, 1-0 and then it was all over. The Champs exploded in the fifth inning and they charged ahead, 12-1. The final score was 14-1 and the Champs held their trophy high. They had redeemed themselves.
Another softball season ended. The Champs were still the Champs. Everyone had a great time and were proud of their teammates—for the effort, for the sportsmanship, and for the camaraderie.
Gene Rothe, after umping 11 games in two days, was ready for a nap, as were the other umps and scorekeepers and many of the players. The Champs probably went somewhere to relive the plays, have some cold drinks, and gaze fondly on their trophy.
1 R. Rockies 12 2 .857 W1
2 The Champs 11 3 .786 W4
3 A-cers 11 3 .786 W1
4 Players 8 6 .571 L2
5 Mean Machine 4 10 .286 L1
6 Blue Sox 4 10 .286 L4
7 B&F Market 4 10 .286 L3
8 First St. P&G 2 12 .143 L1