The Swingers entered Week 3 of the season with a .500 record and a different type of confidence after being promoted to the Queen Anne – White League. The Swingers had already faced one-third of their opponents for the season, and a possibility of winning back-to-back Championships no longer appears to be insurmountable. This week features the return of the Swinger’s skipper, Jay “Feel the Burn” Hilburn, who has been down on the farm developing new recruits at the little league level during the beginning of the season.
Injuries have plagued the Swingers in the first few weeks: Auggie “The Boss” Matteo (Neck) out, Drew “Stoker Ace” Wicklund (Groin) out, Tim “Win with Tim” Garrison (Back) out. There are also plenty of sore hamstrings, due to the hard charging base-running and defensive efforts.
The Swingers are playing in a league with a compressed schedule, and again slotted for a double-header. Their first opponents would be team named Ball Pun, not sure if this team name is meant to be ironic/anti-establishment/nihilistic???? Nevertheless, Ball Pun is a scrappy little franchise working on a shoestring budget, looking to make a name for themselves (hopefully a new name).
The Swingers would have another hot start putting four runs on the scoreboard, with a lead-off triple by Bobby “The Draft-King A.K.A Fanta$y” Biskupiak. Hilburn returned to the mound to fill in for injured starting pitcher Drew Wicklund, throwing a game without walks and solid defense. The game was even at eight-all after four innings, but the Ball Puns continued putting runs on the board, grinding on the Swingers' defense.
Emma “Rousey” Hunsaker, starting at catcher for two complete seasons, showed incredible toughness after taking an errant foul-tip to the right eye socket. It was a bleeder right away and the medical staff would assist her off the field under her own power. Unlike the “Adult-Baby” crying and whining so prevalent in the World Soccer leagues and the NBA, Hunsaker was all smiles and laughing on her way off the field. Hunsaker left the game with a solid base-knock and a run scored. She was taken, somewhat immediately, to a local medical facility for evaluation.
This frightful moment in the fifth inning would inspire the Swingers to make a run in the sixth inning started by Courtney “Night Court” Sheaver smacking a lead-off triple. Sheaver would score on a home run by “Fanta$y”. The Swingers would grab four runs and the lead.
It wasn’t enough however, the Ball Puns would dig deep in the bottom of the seventh and would get a two-out walk off base hit, just edging the Swingers for a final of 12 to 13.
Game Two of the Double Header had the Swingers facing a rival from olden times, Turner Blue Cheese (Turner Construction). Turner has clearly reorganized their franchise adding a string of former traveling professionals, including plenty of left-handed power hitters. The Swingers would not be intimidated however, and every Swinger would play a critical role in this outing.
Katie “Kategory-P Hurricane” Polenick, filling in as Catcher, let her bat do the talking by driving in a run in the second inning and another RBI in the sixth. Matt “Big-Red” Frickelton was gushing with flavor, scoring two runs on two lead-off doubles. Frickelton also provided extra stretch at first-base being the statue for Shortstop Jesse “The Kid” Baker. Baker continued to crush the ball, scoring three times in addition to delivering gold-glove defense.
Another defensive standout, Madison Schnieder, channeled some inner-volleyball by literally digging a ball scorched to second base. Catching the ball only with her wrists after a wicked hop, she made the play to first for the out. As a reward, she now has matching shiners on her wrists to remind her of her efforts.
The Swingers would gain an unlikely advantage in the bottom of fourth inning. Will “Raucous” Raunig, side-lined with injury, would convince the massive local crowd of graduating sixth-graders that the Swingers were in fact someone to root for. The deafening chants of “Let’s Go Swingers” and “Swingers Get Dingers”, was too much for Turner Blue Cheese, and they were rattled both offensively and defensively. These young fans saw the appeal and bright future that this young Swingers team is capable of, and sparked the Swingers to take the lead in top of the sixth inning.
Blue Cheese eventually tuned out the noise, and the being past their bed-time, the crowd dissipated. Blue Cheese tied the game at eight going into the final inning. In the final inning, newly-minted prospect Olivia “Got All-Of-It” Partington, scored from first on a double by Baker, who would also score. The Swingers would get two and go up 10 to 8. The Swingers would need to dig deep, as they could not allow another walk-off.
Hillburn pitched a brilliant inning in the seventh, allowing only one run on two hits. The Swingers would curdle the Cheese, and deliver a stunning defeat.
The Swingers are definitely hitting their stride and have been in a position to win every game thus far. They do have a history of finishing strong and now being the halfway point in the season, they continue to climb in the power rankings.