Defense was the deciding factor in Monday evening’s softball game between the Native Mixed and Shirts and Skirts, both teams within striking distance of the top of the City Adult Softball League’s A/B Coed Division.
Both teams were strong at the plate, but Native Mixed’s defense was quick and lethal in the 19-13 win over Shirts and Skirts.
Levi Garber led the line-up for Native Mixed with a double and a run off Nolyne Wilkinson’s single to give the team a 1-0 lead. With 1 out and two runners on base, Mike Button doubled in 2 runs and set off a domino-effect of doubles from Barb Button and Tex Hubbs, ending the inning with the 5-run limit and a decisive lead.
Shirts matched Native’s offensive drive, run for run, in the bottom of the first. Aaron Berkovatz started the onslaught with an in-the-park home run deep into center field. Eric Watterson followed with a double, then scored on a Marc Cano triple. With Cano and Aime Banta on base, Justin Whitman tripled home 2 runs, and scored on Tanya Solebee’s single, bringing the score dead even at 5-5.
Native edged back into a 1-run lead in the top of the second, but turned the game back to Shirts with the third out.
Shirts’ Berkovatz tripled and crossed the plate on the next play to tie the game 6-6. Cano tripled in 2 runs and Whitman sent Cano home for a 6-9 lead.
Native took the lead back in the top of the third.
Mike Button doubled and his designated runner scored on the first of a series of doubles, ending with Native’s eighth run off Barb Button’s single.
With just 1 out and two runners in position, Native sent home 3 runs, ending with a deadly line drive from Mike Button and an 11-9 lead.
Berkovatz started the bottom of the third for Shirts the same way he started the game, with a 1-RBI in-the-park home run. Native’s defense kicked in big time to hold Shirts to that 1 score, hanging on to a narrow 11-10 lead.
Shirts returned the favor, holding Native runless in the bottom of the inning and regained the lead in the bottom of the fourth with in-the-park 1-RBI homers from Whitman and Berkovatz, his third for the night.
Down by 1 run going into the open fifth inning, Native’s bats came alive, starting with a pair of doubles that brought home the first run. Native found all the holes in the outfield, taking a 19-12 lead, before the second out of the inning. The offense lost steam and ended with a line drive out from Mike Button to Shirt’s Cano.
Banta started the bottom of the fifth with a single, scoring on a single from Berkovatz. With two on and one out, Native pulled off a spectacular double play to end the game and log the win.