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    Game 7: Mirror Match Mayhem
    Out manned, the Avengers played a close a game until the injury bug bit, as GD-A fell to their archrivals 19-14
    June 24, 2004

    Jarred, after hitting the ball.  (Wolan)

    Game 7 started off on the wrong note long before game time. In sharp contrast to Game 6, the GD-A bench was practically vacant, as Wolan and Mr. T were the only players available outside the starting lineup. To make matters worse, both Bre-ana and Anahid were unable to play in tonight’s game. As a result, the Avengers were a fielder short and forced to resort to a 9-fielder configuration.

    Despite the fielding handicap, the Avengers were able to keep GD-AIS at bay while the GD-A scoring machine kept the score tight. However, the injury bug bit early as the Avengers were forced to sideline Raymond and resort to in an inexperienced bench. GD-AIS eventually took advantage of GD-A’s misfortune to take a commanding lead in the sixth to beat GD-A 19-14.

    Game Summary

    Game 7 was one of the most anticipated games of the season as the Avengers squared off against their archrivals GD-AIS. Though the GD-AIS bench was playing GD-A in game two of their double header, they did not appear to have tired as both teams were pumped to meet in the most eagerly awaited match up of the season.

    Unfortunately for GD-A, the game started off on the wrong note. In sharp contrast to Game 6, in which the GD-A bench had 13 players, the GD-A bench was occupied by only Wolan and Mr. T. To make matters worse, the Avengers were without their star female infielders Anahid Avsharian and Bre-Ann Cody. As a result, the Avengers were short a female player and had to play with only 9 fielders. Despite the fielding handicap, the Avengers’ will was unbroken for they defeated Wal-Mart with only 9 fielders earlier in the season.

    The game started out with some strong defense on both ends, as both teams went down in order in the first inning. The Avengers broke the scoreless tie in the second thanks to a two-out RBI triple by Dean Harrison as the Avengers took a 1-0 lead. GD-AIS responded in the third, but their comeback was muted thanks to a great catch by “Vinny” Velez in left field. GD-AIS ended the inning with runners on second and third. However, the great catch by Raymond came at a price as he sprained a calf muscle and had to be taken out of the game.

    The Avengers formed a mini-rally in the third scoring 4 runs thanks in part to back-to-back walks given up by Amy, the GD-AIS ace pitcher. Also aiding in the rally was a two-out RBI double by “The Dean”.

    In the forth, Dean Harrison was moved to the outfield to replace the injured Velez as Wolan came off the bench to fill in at first. GD-AIS kicked off the fourth inning with an inside the park homerun by Patrick Bosco. The GD-AIS offense then strung together 5 consecutive hits to drive-in 4 more runs and to take a 6-5 lead.

    The dent Wolan made in the fence after chasing a foul ball. (Wolan)

    In that same inning, Wolan ran into the fence in right field chasing after a foul ball. Wolan bounced off the fence and then fell onto the ground due to the impact. Wolan was uninjured in the collision. The chain-linked fence sustained a dent within its metal mesh due to the impact.

    The Avengers were taken down in order in the fourth and were unable to respond to GD-AIS’s rally.

    In the fifth, the GD-AIS offense was limited to one run thanks to a head’s-up double play in the infield. The Avengers scored three runs in the bottom half thanks to a two-out RBI double by Mr. T. Mr T, however, was gunned down at third trying to extend this double to a triple, thus ending the inning.

    In the sixth, a GD-AIS offense went into overdrive, scoring 12 runs off of 12 hits. What fueled their rally was some solid hitting into left field. What also helped were some rookie-like mistakes by Wolan at first. Wolan’s first blunder was letting a pop fly drop between Wolan and second basemen Linda L. The other came as Wolan gave Molloy a false target to throw at first when trying to get a force out.

    While crouching down to scoop up a low toss to first, Wolan accidentally caused the runner to trip and flip over him at first, onto the ground. The runner advanced to second on a bad toss to home.

    The Avengers were kept scoreless in the bottom of the sixth thanks to a heads-up double play that managed to catch Wolan off base at second. In the seventh, the Avengers were able to make quick work of the GD-AIS lineup, taking them down in order. Molloy made a great defensive play at short, blocking a chopper to with what at first appeared to be his face. In reality, the ball hit his right shoulder, leaving a tell-tale bruise.

    With the Avengers down 19-8 in the bottom of the seventh, it appeared that the game was over. Though GD-AIS was jubilant with their seemingly eminent win, the Avengers refused to go quietly into the night.

    Brody is camera shy.  (Wolan)

    The Avengers battled back in the seventh and managed to string together a series of hits and walks to get the old GD-A scoring machine in gear. The machine was aided with a 2 RBI double by “The Dean” and a 2 RBI triple by Jim Read. The machine appeared unstoppable and GD-AIS’s jubilation quickly turned into frustration. But Amy, the GD-AIS’s ace pitcher, was able to battle back, getting Molloy to pop-fly into left and to pitch her way into a 3 and 2 pitch count against Becky. Amy was able to get Becky to hit into a force out at second to end the game. Regardless, the Avengers were able to muster together 6 runs to end the game with a respectable 19-14 loss.

    Despite being out-manned and lacking a few of their star players, the Avengers were able to play a respectable and competitive game against their archrivals.

    The Tiny Strike Zones and Wacky Walk Rules

    During and after the game, Wolan and Rick Palma were discussing inconsistencies in the umpire’s strike zone. For starters, some pitches that hit the tail end of the plate were called strikes on some occasions and were called balls on other. His strike zone was also short. Pitches that would normally be a strike ended up being called a ball. Wolan strongly fears that such a tiny strike zone only encourages people to draw walks, which is not good for the game.

    Another concern was the umpire's interpretation of a awkward putching rule. If a male batter is intensionally walked and the next batter is a female batter, the female can either take a free walk or elect to hit. The umpire was awarding the female batter both a walk and the option to hit. As a result, the male batter was allowed to advance to second, regardless of whether the female batter elected to hit. Wolan and Dean Harrison strongly feel the umpire's interpretation of the rule was incorrect.

    Game Photos | Fielding and Batting Line-Ups | GD-A Player Stats from Game 7 | Corbett Report for Game 7

    Andy Wolan is a reporter for MLSB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Softball or its clubs.