In First Place???
AP - It's been a dreamy, otherworldly kind of season so far for the Fighting Amish. Nobody figured this team would be this good this far into the season. Yet there they were, sitting at 4-1 going into a double header that would prove whether they were for real or if the first 5 games were an aberration.
The only thing hotter than the Amish was the weather. Approaching game time the temperature stood at a sweltering 38 degrees. The Amish players were sweating buckets even before they stepped onto the field. One player, on condition of anonymity, said to me, " I'm only going to give 30% tonight. It's just to damn hot for me. Luckily, me being a cop, I'm used to only giving 30%."
The first game of the double header was against the mighty River Rats, who had won the A division last year. Going into the season, they were heavily favoured to win everything again, being the only realistic 'A' team left. The game was to be played on the big diamond in Cargill, which was another hurdle the Amish would have to overcome, as they never played well on that diamond. However, the Amish came out swinging, led by the bats of Robbie and Shayne. The spacious outfield was no match for the speed of the Amish outfielders such as Dayman, Billy and Craze. When the dust settled, the Amish had won 17-10. And that score didn't even do justice to the thorough routing that had taken place. Once again, the Amish played the best ball of their careers. They continue to top their performance week after week, game after game.
Would the Amish continue to hang ten on this wave of momentum?Or would they be swept away by an under toe in the form of the Brewers? It wouldn't be long for that question to be answered, as the Amish had to quickly move up to the front diamond to face the mighty Mildmay team.
However, as game time approached, the Brewers found themselves short on players. Would a forfeit be inevitable? No, the Amish didn't want to win like that, and in an act so unselfish it could only be compared to God sacrificing his only son, the Amish decided to give the Brewers two players so the game could be played.
But who to send over? You have to remember, this was the team that had tried to use illegal bats against the Amish last year, only to be called on it. There were still some hard feelings on both sides. So the Amish would have to send over their most diplomatic, soft-spoken players. All agreed that Dennis and Mugs fit this bill perfectly.
Unfortunately for the Amish, Mugs and Dennis fit in a little to well with the Brewers. Dennis led their offence with 2 homers and 7 RBI's. And Mugs had a hit that could have ramifications on the entire Amish season. In the sixth inning, he lined a rope to right field. Billy got on his horse and raced in at it. Any other man on Earth would not have had the gonads to try to make that catch, but Billy continued his charge. "Not on my watch Mugsy", he was heard to utter under his breath. However, at the last second, just as the catch was about to be made, the ball dipped and rang off of Billy's kneecap. I've been told that the sound from the impact could be heard three counties over. The ball rolled to the side, and Billy hopped around in obvious pain. Being the competitor he is, he stayed in the game. This seemed to give the Amish a spark, as they started pounding the ball. Scotty hit two tates, and 7 RBI's and Cory knocked out his first homer.
In the end, the Amish won 16-15, raising their record to 7 and 1, and for the first time ever, the Amish were alone in first place. Truly they were now kings among men.
Normally, after a night like that, with the heat, two wins and grabbing first place, the beer fund would be long, loud and proud. However, the Amish weekend wasn't over. They had entered a provincial qualified in Dorchester, and many had to leave early to make the 9 o'clock game Saturday morning.
Saturday proved to be even hotter than Friday, and the Amish appeared sluggish in their first game, eventually losing. However, the Amish didn't travel all this way to lose, and they won their next two games, setting up a semi-final match-up Sunday morning.
The Amish made their way back to Schmidt's house for a quiet Saturday evening, and since they all knew what was on the line, curfew was easily met by all.
But, once again, a Sunday game was too much for the Amish, even though Mark and Dennis made the 2 hour drive. They had been bested and had to make that long trek home. On their way out, they were approached by someone who looked remarkably similar to Bud Selig.
"You guys played awesome", he said, "and I'd like to offer you a spot in the Provincials." He handed Scotty an invitation and before the team could even reply the man was gone. Was he ever really there, or was it all some magical dream?
Oh, he was there all right, and the Amish have a spot secured in the Provincials to prove it. Could Cargill's team soon become Ontario's team? Would a trip to Niagara Falls cement the Amish' place in slo-pitch history? Would Jimmy and Schmidt stop laughing about the fact Niagara rhymes with Viagra? And would Billy's knee recover enough to kick Mugs in the ass?
All those questions and more will be answered in what is turning into the most exciting season in Amish history.