By Freelance Writer: Cleatus Lee of Captiol Hill, WA
The 2016 Swingers opened their season last week after riding a wave of confidence in being crowned Champions last year. As a result of capturing the Championship, the Swingers moved up a division to the Big Boys and Girls league. Eventually, all waves curl and come crashing down into swirling-frothy whitewater. The Swingers will need to channel every bit of their Mark Spitz, mustache and all, if they are not drowned in their own success.
Week one was an early start time, and there was no shortage of Opening Day jitters. The Swingers faced the runner up to last year’s Championship, Fund of Fun, in a rematch of the title game. Fund of Fun, wholly owned by Blackrock Financial, was clearly out for blood to offset the sting of losing to Swingers in last year’s finale.
The Swingers had quite a few off-season moves, providing a deep roster of young prospects and some surprise returns of veteran Swingers from the past. The legendary ace, Andrew “Stoker” Wicklund returned from playing overseas to offer his services from the mound. Clearly picking up where he left off “Stroker” did his best Burt Reynolds, keeping the Swingers in sync.
Fund of Fun had spent most of their off-season working on bankrupting your grandma’s retirement nest egg, so that they could execute like the wolves of Wall Street that they are. They took no prisoners as they rolled the Swingers, losing 11-5. The game did have some bright spots with shiny new additions Will Raunig, “Win with Tim” Garrison, Madison Schneider, and Julia Jueckstock.
Week 2 featured a double-header, starting with a game against a years past rival Slalom Consulting (so robotic…Brand-Prop please…). In an odd strategy, Slalom sent out 7 different pitchers in an attempt to throw off any hitting strategy the Swingers had mapped out. Unfazed, the Swingers bats were hot from the outset. The Swingers ace “Stoker” Wicklund, pitched a couple of 3 up 3 down innings, bolstered by solid plays in the infield, including two nearly unassisted double plays from Shortstop Jesse “Beefy-Grande“ Baker.
While the Swingers had command most of the game, a late surge by Slalom had them giving up their lead by four runs in the bottom of the final inning. Swingers would rally and tie the game 11-11, but they could not get the walk-off run that would have spelled pandemonium. If the immortal words of Ricky Bobby are “If you’re not first, you’re last”, then what does a tie mean?
Game 2 of the double-header had the Swingers matched up with the Pabst Blue Ribbon’s minor-league franchise the Rainers (pronounced wren-yay). The Rainiers were busy practicing their internal craft prior to the start time. Seeing this unfold, the injured center-fielder August “Ringer” Matteo, acquired a half-rack of off brand suds to dilute any perceived advantage. With a short roster, the Swingers needed every bat and every glove to get this season back on track and close out the second half of the double-header with a win.
The Swingers got to a “Hot-Start”, scoring four runs in the first, four in the second, and eight in the third. The game saw multiple home runs and many base-knocks that had every Swinger in stat sheet. Emma “OKC” Hunsaker had been working on adjusting her swing and it payed “Bigly” getting a solid base-hit/RBI and scoring her own run as well. Hunsaker said afterward “The other team was weak! They completely choked! We’re gonna do such great things…”
Despite a seemingly insurmountable lead, the Swingers would not let up defensively. Rainiers were held scoreless from the third-inning on, with brilliant plays in the outfield by Katie “F-That” playing left-center. She gobbled every ball that came her way including throwing out a hard-charging Rainiers’ base-runner, firing a bullet to Courtney Shearer at third-base. Shearer also had a stellar performance with numerous cross-diamond throws to first.
The umpire threw up the white flag on behalf of the struggling Rainiers in the 5th and the final tally for this slaughter was 20-4.
Skipper Hilburn has been absent for these first three games, fulfilling his national commitment with the semi-pro little league team down south. Hillburn did however, put together a solid roster of fresh talent, veterans, and yes a few ringers. The Swingers like their chances this year, but moving up in the division will no doubt lead to less domination they have grown accustomed to. The Swingers are sitting at .500 with an equilateral record of 1-1-1.