Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Softball Diamond

After almost two decades away from the sport I have managed to find a spot on the roster of a local fun competitive softball team. Having filled in late last season as a call up player I assumed the roll of pitcher which has carried over to this season.

Pitching in slow pitch softball does present some challenges. My role is to put the ball in play but that does  not mean I need to serve up the ball on a silver platter to the batters. Quite the contrary in that alternating speed and height of the pitch along with a variety of spins means you can mess with the batter's timing and try and force them to swing at pitches they may not like.

Many folks do not feel comfortable pitching due to the proximity to the home plate and the vulnerable position it (can) place one in regarding the chances of "comebacks" after the ball has been hit. As a ball hockey goalie used to having things shot at me it does not bother me too much. After each pitch I position myself like a shortstop expecting the ball....either to make a play or simple to get out of the way.

Batting has always been an issue for me but lately I have changed my grip on the bat and have opened up my stance. Not only does it let me strike the ball with improved control on the swing but the open stance lets me see the ball much better as it leaves the pitcher's hand. Still a work in progress with my timing but I am feeling more comfortable in the batter's box.

The season is winding down and we are now just trying to complete the rained out make up games before the start of playoffs. We have struggled this season.Our issue seems to be a slow start where we fall behind early and usually have that one bad inning of play where we make critical errors or go three up - three down at bat. In seven inning slow pitch that is a bad combination especially while trailing in a game.

I'm quite happy to return to the softball diamond. It is fun to play another team sport but unlike ball hockey it is far easier on the fifty year old body, especially playing the infield. It turns out we have a "closet" pitcher on the team and he has started pitching some innings so I'm hoping that means I might be able to expand my game to other positions around the field.

For the love of the game. 

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