Tuesday night lights: Redwings, F&B battle in spotlightRead Reade's take on the game, the rain, the lights, the night
Thomaston — For perhaps the first time ever, a league-sanctioned Knox County adult coed softball game was played under the lights Tuesday night, Aug. 5.
That night, the Free Press Redwings and French & Brawn played a Camden Adult Coed Softball League regular-season game on the Thomaston Little League field behind the Thomaston business block, near Thomaston Grammar School.
The league's games usually are played at three other fields, the Camden Snow Bowl, Lincolnville Central School and Jaycee Park on Old Country Road in Rockland.
The Redwings and F&B switched it up Tuesday and played a game under the lights. The contest began at 8 p.m. and ended around 9:30 p.m.
The No. 1 Redwings, the two-time defending league champions, won 9-4.
Thomaston is the only Knox County baseball/softball diamond with lights. Belfast also has lights, and plays night games, on one of its adult softball fields.
The Camden Adult Coed Softball League regular season is scheduled to conclude next week with the double-elimination playoff tournament to follow.
The league standings as of July 5 are: Free Press Redwings, 10-2, .833 winning percentage; Knox County Benchwarmers, 8-4, .667; French & Brawn, 6-6, .500; Willey Wharf, 6-6, .500; Feeners' Pride, 6-6, .500; Blue Sky Cantina, 6-6, .500; Schooners, 2-8, .200; and Northeast Concrete, 2-8, .200.
The following is a summary on the game from Free Press Redwing Reade Brower, assistant to the manager:
Looking straight up into the light tower next to the visitors’ dugout in the fourth inning and catching the rain drops in the light, falling softly to the ground, was surreal and summed up the night for me.
I never played organized sports in school so the coed adult softball league has no personal comparison. While several of our male and female players played high school, college and even one in a semi-professional league, most of us were experiencing "playing under the lights" for the first time.
The Camden Adult Coed Softball League has its own set of rules where men must be age 21 and women must be at least 19 years old to participate. Many of us, who have played in the league for years, look forward to playing with our sons or daughters when they become eligible and, though a “recreational” league, the competition is still keen and 2014 has been a year of parity in the league where it is true that any team can win on any given night.
Though we have a good record this year, about half of our victories have been by the slightest of margins — just one run.
As the often time OH (offensive hitter) for the 'Wings my role is simple: I bat in the last spot in the order and I don't have to play the field. The purpose of the OH rule is to get another player into the game and the spot often falls to one of the "old guys" who are not as sure-handed or fleet of foot in the field as they were in their youth. It also allows the younger lads more playing time.
I'd like to blame my 0-for-2 night at the dish on the blinding lights, but it was probably more due to Tom Ford, the cagey veteran pitcher of French & Brawn, who was hitting the top of the strike zone causing routine fly balls over the first five innings.
With the game still in the balance, as co-manager, I made my contribution to the team winning with the excellent decision to pinch hit for myself. After a lead out to start the top of the seventh inning, another veteran of coed softball, Katie Benedict, stepped to the plate with a runner on first and quickly went opposite field to deposit a single into right field that would ignite a five-run seventh to put the Redwings over the top and give us the win, and some celebratory beer at the nearby Water Dog Tavern after the game.
The early part of the game was a defensive battle with great plays on both sides. Veteran pitchers Marie Lufkin for the Redwings and Tom Ford of French & Brawn battled through the first four innings before Lucas Brower took over on the mound for Free Press at the halfway point, as the 'Wings nursed a 2-0 lead.
With a short fence (the Little League-size field has barriers 200 feet from home plate) and the “home run rule” in effect where each batter could only hit one home run (subsequent over-the-fence at-bats would result in an automatic out if the same player did it again), the young lads on both teams, though hungry for an over-the-fence result, weren’t coming close as the pitchers and their standout defenses behind them dominated with only two runs scratched out by the 'Wings the difference as the squads headed into the sixth of a seven-inning contest.
The last two stanzas produced some offense as 11 more runs crossed the plate as the night went by with no home runs to report.
In the end, players from both teams exchanged handshakes and reveled in the enlightened “experience.”
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