The SQ Hardtimers clobbered the Hardhitters 35-8 in a crushing contest to let the older team know that they are still the softball champs of The Q.
It was a warm sunny Friday morning on the field of dreams where the two teams were uniformed and warming up for the last game of the softball season. In the middle of the field the teams were in a huddle and the equipment manager, Mike Palito, gave a speech on the importance of having a good attitude.
Palito’s speech was right in line with the overall purpose of what Hardtimers Coach Chase had in mind for the day.
“The purpose of the game was for both teams to have fun and give everyone a chance to experience the feeling of playing in uniform after a whole season of scrimmages,” said Chase.
Before the national anthem, corrections Lt. Sam Robinson, the prison’s public information officer of the prison, was presented with his own personal Hardtimers jersey.
“It’s good to get something that’s yours for something you care about. I am honored,” said Robinson.
Both teams lined up in “V” formation for the national anthem that was played on violin by Rafael, who has been playing for five years.
“I am honored to play for the game and do not take it lightly. We can all do something,” said the violinist.
As the game got underway, the Hardtimers took to the field while the Hardhitters team was up to bat.
“They are ready,” said #17 Pookie. “The new Hitters squad will take out the OGs.”
First batter of the day, #16, gets on base, which led to three batters following with three quick outs, allowing the OGs to take to the plate.
The Hardtimers’ first batter banged it down the middle to shortstop, who gloved it but dropped it, sending Kenny to second, starting a dominating game for the Timers. Duane, #17, nailed the first homerun and brought everyone on base home, giving the Timers an early lead, 4-0.
In addition to competition, there were laughing and smiles on the field — especially after seeing both equipment managers, Chris for the Hardtimers and Mike for the Hardhitters, run a lap around the bases for every homerun hit by each team. Both of the men were out of breath and smiling after the runs.
When asked approximately how much running he would be doing, Palito answered, “We have a few good hitters, so about 15.”
That turned out to be an understatement. Points for the OGs stacked fast. It was 5-0 top of the second when Southwood nailed one to right field, bringing three runners home and stretching the lead even more.
By the bottom of the fourth the score was 15-0 and the Hardtimers were absolutely dominating the diamond. One of the Hardhitters coaches was optimistic for the compromised team. “The Hardhitters is a put-together team and not everyone is on the roster,” said the coach. “The game plan is to be patient, don’t swing at everything, and get on base.”
Numerous dropped balls in the outfield and missed plays on bases caused the Hardtimers to easily stack runners and extend their lead. The youngest player on the Timers, Izaac #15, said that he is learning teamwork and hard work from his team’s older players. In turn, the oldest player on the team, with 50 years of grace and experience, appreciates inspiring the youth.
“Love giving the youngsters something to strive for every day,” said the veteran.
Hardhitters could not gain any momentum on the field. Confusion, dropped balls, and all around discouragement caused the team to stay deep in the hole. Finally, in the seventh, the Hitters got a run on the board.
With the game winding down, Samantha, the only transgender player on the field, expressed how she feels about playing softball.
“People that were standoffish at first have accepted me and we are a family now. If more trans stand up and believe in themselves and want to play, they can. You just gotta love the game.”
The Hardtimers took the game with a landslide win but without gloating or rubbing it in the faces of the other team. Tremendous sportsmanship, handshakes and shouting encouragement with some heartfelt advice was how the Hardtimers ended the game.