Dust off the spikes for one more game

Brian Kimmes

Brian Kimmes

After years of lying dormant, the heralded softball rivalry between the South Dakota State history and geography clubs resumed with much fanfare and excitement.

Sunflowers seeds were spit, beer was drunk, softballs were hit and a good time was had by all.

As a part-time member of the history club, I had the fortunate pleasure to play in the contest. But due to my part-time status, I was relegated to the bench to begin the game, with the promise that I would get to play later.

It is probably a good thing that I started the game on the bench, seeing as how I have not played softball in a few years. Yet, I remained confident that I would succeed when my time came to shine. In my heyday, I was quite the slow-pitch softball player.

The game did not start well for my fellow history enthusiasts. We were held scoreless in our first at-bat. As I rode the pine, my fielders let me down, committing multiple errors and surrendering four runs on a grand slam.

Although I did not start the game on the field, I did get to bat. In my first at-bat, the pressure was intense. I strolled to the plate in a tie game with two outs and runners on first and third. When I stepped into the batter’s box, I immediately started jabbering with the pitcher, trying to use my press persuasion to secure a quality pitch. The first pitch came. I waggled my tongue, opened my eyes wide and smoked a single to left-center, driving in my team’s fifth run of the game.

During the first three innings of the game, my team only scored five runs, all in the second inning. I do not believe it to be coincidence that the second inning was the only inning in which I batted.

Finally, after three innings of avoiding splinters in my ass, I was called upon to play the field. Third base would be mine. Oh yes, third base would be mine.

My first inning of play was a complete success. I had zero balls hit to me. Errorless and supremely confident, I continued to play.

After an inning in the field, I got my second at-bat. Again, I rolled up with two outs. This time, I decided to screw hitting for contact, and swing for the fences. The pitch came in. It was a little low. I decided to Happy Gilmore it. I took a few steps into the pitch and took a mighty swing.

I drilled a slow-roller to the third baseman. I loafed toward first, expecting the ball to go foul. It did not. The third baseman charged the ball, and I knew I had to kick it into high gear to reach first safely. The old jets (which had long ago exhausted their fuel supply) needed to find the last few remaining fumes in the tank to get me to first on time. I sprinted ahead and secured my second hit of the game, only to be stranded at first for the second time in a row.

After two innings of inaction in the field at third base, I finally had my time to shine. With one out in the bottom of the sixth, a scorching groundball was hit to my left. I took one step to backhand the rapidly approaching grounder. I did not succeed. E-5. I may or may not have feared for my life as the rocket-speed ball whizzed by me. I felt pretty ridiculous. My first opportunity to actually make a play, and I failed.

Luckily, I had a chance to atone for my mistake. The very next batter hit another ball at warp speed in my direction. This time I managed to field the ball, but due to the lightning speed the ball was traveling, it knocked me on my ass. I panicked. I thought, “Oh damn, not again.” But I redeemed myself. And while sitting on the ground, I threw the ball to second base and got the lead runner, securing the second out of the inning.

That was the end of my action, both fielding and batting. I finished the game 2-2 batting with 1 RBI and 1 error – overall, not a horrible game for a former slow-pitch softball standout. But more importantly, it was a good time.

#1.883398:2207854054.jpg:ball_talk.jpg:Brian Kimmes, Ball Talk: