2013 Season Wraps : Tournament Edition

Perfect weather for Tournament Day this past Saturday… and I would have to say that being on Lower Hutchinson was fine with me… awesome perspective on the south skyline and those perfect blue skies just made it that much nicer… anyway, a nice end to a season that made it past its midway point in fine shape… but then stumbled a little for consistency post-Lollapalooza… but more about that in a bit…

As for the days results on the diamonds, this marks the first year since I started this Forum that I’ll be writing my own story here in the Tournament Edition as once the day finally reached its conclusion, it ended with a Reservoir Dogz walk-off hit for the Championship as the sun set on what was arguably the most exciting Championship Game in our 13-year history at Grant Park…

What made this game so great in my mind were the momentum shifts and the battle back and forth, inning by inning as it went down. To say right up front.. the Dobbins Group is a fierce softball team. It struck me that there wasn’t a down spot over their entire order, no place where you could semi-assume an out, no place to rest… and being down 8-2 heading to the bottom of the 3rd, I personally felt as though there was a good chance my team was cooked… long day, hot sun, entering our 28th inning of softball over the last 9 hours… on top of that our Final Four hit-fest with old rival Ruder Group racked up 28 combined runs under the last of the days sun… so I felt we were tired and in trouble… but then the tides started turning as the Dogz found a second wind, started chipping away at the score and by the time the top of the 7th rolled around, we had the lead for the first time in the game 12-11… then the Dobbins Group tallied twice in the top of the 7th to regain the lead, 13-12… The Dogz then tied the game in the bottom of the 7th, proceeded to load the bases with only 1 out… but then a weak pop to 3rd and a medium depth fly out to left ended the inning with 3 stranded and the game tied…

Extra Innings. Dobbins Group bats in the top of the 8th… they make two quick outs, get an infield hit before a grounder to short ends the inning with a force at 2nd… which sets the stage for the finish… Dogz lead-off hitter singles and then advances to 2nd on an error… next Dogz batter intentionally flies out to right sacrificing the winning run to 3rd… and then an infield hit precedes the walk-off game winner which was a line drive single up the middle by Dogz left-fielder Dustin Fife… to a man we all felt it was the best 16″ softball game any of us had ever played in and we thank the Dobbins Group for being the height of competition for a historic Championship Game that was the only one to ever go to extra-innings, featured a record 27 combined runs and became the first Title Game won on a walk-off.

Not that the following would be something many of you would be interested in, but who knows… I was extremely fortunate in that my 10-year old son decided to run video over the end of the game… the following picks up with 1 out in the bottom of the 7th and runs through the end of the game…

Also to be congratulated would be Perkins&Will who were able to advance from their bracket to the Final Four with a 2-1 record in a situation where the head-to-head tie-breaker was off the table and they made it out by virtue of 2 less runs allowed over SCB… so it was a hotly contested fight in Bracket 2 on Tournament Day… P&W also represented the days biggest jump in seed at +7… entered the Tournament the 11th seed, finished in 4th place… and last but not least, congratulations to Ruder Group who had an easier 3-0 sweep into the Final Four before going down 15-4 to the eventual champion Dogz, but then reeling off 9 unanswered runs in the 6th and 7th inning to bring that Final Four game down to the wire… always tough competition, congrats to Ruder Group and their 3rd place finish this year.

The 2013 Final Standings along with all the scores from Tournament Day have posted under the “Tournament” menu on the Design League website. Pictures from around the diamonds have posted to our Facebook page as well…

So… getting back to the nature of our season post-Lollapalooza the last couple years… the plan for right now is to do what I can towards finding us some better continuity for the end of our seasons moving forward… in light of the current circumstances, what really becomes the key issue is preserving the 15-game schedule… The Park District has mentioned and would really prefer if we were to let that go and instead settle in on the amount of available game days that were available prior to Lollapalooza and end our season there… which amounts to an 8 or 9 game regular season… but my intention will be to fight that for as long as I possibly can… there’s numerous reasons why I love the 15-game schedule… but end of the day… it’s our tradition and I’m not going to let that go easily…

But that said, something needs to get worked out that will once again simplify things for me from a planning perspective… I spent WAY too much time this year trying to figure out post-Lolla and we spent way too much money on Lincoln Park for only ONE night! Trust me when I say that that experience cannot be repeated…

So what I’m going to do in the short term is go personally to Union Park and talk to the Park District Rep there… Union Park for those that don’t know it would be the perfect location or us to relocate for the necessary period post-Lolla… near west side (Ashland & Lake), 4 diamonds, under the lights, easy parking… and even though I’ve been told two years running now that there were NO dates available at Union when we needed them… I’m hoping that going over there and having an in-person conversation might garner us some favor… all we really need is two nights sometime between 3rd week in July and end of August… we might need to be flexible and change the night we play those games, but that will be a concession I’d be willing to make if we could get 2-3 nights promised to us and paid for before the season even starts… which is what I need to have happen.

So we’ll see how it goes… I’ll keep everyone informed if anything were to develop along these lines in the off-season… but for right now, know I’m concerned about it and working on it.

And finally, a big thanks to ALL of our (16) teams in the Design League this season with an extra special thanks to all of our Captains for keeping everyone organized and ready to go at game time… back on track again this year when it came to forfeits… only 2 forfeits over 131 games. Absolutely fantastic, thank you all.

Have great off-seasons. See you in the Spring.

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