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Softball

The Unnatural Disasters have never been much of a playoff team. In fact, their postseasons have been, well, disastrous.

In their first five years as members of the Carroll County Co-ed Softball League’s Lower Division, postseason would find them sitting on the hill watching after one or two championship tournament games.

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They had finished among the top three during each of their last four regular-season campaigns, but they had never gotten further than two games into the postseason tournament.

But this year, they broke that dreary streak. One hot Saturday back in mid-August, UD swept four playoff games to win the league title for the first time.

In fact, they got the satisfaction of winning the semifinal and final games from the team that had given them two of their three regular season losses.

Josh Lovejoy, who managed Unnatural Disasters, said that his players were especially anxious to win it all this year. Most of them are in their early thirties, and they felt Father Time was gaining on them.

“Our goal this year was to win it. We believed we had the best team we would ever have. If we ever won it, it would have to be this year,” Lovejoy said.

They would get some extra help in their pursuits this season. Sarah Lowery, their regular pitcher, was back after last year’s childbirth. And Lovejoy recruited Dave Lavallaire from the county church league.

Lavallaire would steady an already strong in field from his shortstop spot and provide a potent bat. Lowery was solid on the mound.

As in recent years, UD has had a good regular season. And this year, it might have had it’s best regular season record ever. Lovejoy’s team finished third with a 12-3 record. Its only three losses were a doubleheader loss to ODAT, and one of two games to Rafael’s Bandits.

“We had a good-hitting team with a lot of power. In the field, we were excellent. All in all, I think we were a pretty well-rounded team,” Lovejoy said.

He said his real concern about the postseason tournament was the fact that they would play the entire thing in one day — perhaps four or five games. He wasn’t sure his 30-something players could hold up.

However, they managed to hold up pretty well behind a potent batting attack that averaged more than 14 runs per game in the tournament.

Game 1 saw UD jump out to a 7-3 lead after only three innings. Then the opponent Slump Dogs tied it at 7-7 after six innings. But in the home seventh, Krystal Moreland singled home Jack Swift with the winning run and gave UD an 8-7 win.

Mickey Roche and Lavallaire were each 2-for-3. Moreland had two RBIs.

Game 2 saw UD score eight runs in the fourth and fifth frames and win 13-9 over Rafael’s Bandits.

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Maria Mangine had a double and two singles, going 3-for-4. Lavallaire was 4-for-4, and Blair Williams was 2-for-3. Katie Sherren had two hits and two RBIs. Lovejoy also had a big game by going 4-for-4 with five RBIs.

The final two games were wild ones with runs pouring across the plate.

UD beat ODAT in the winner’s bracket game 19-12. UDAT had rallied from behind to score 11 runs in the third and fourth inning to lead 12-10. However, Lovejoy’s squad scored four in both the sixth and seventh to pull away.

Swift was 2-for-4 with two RBIs, and Lowery went 2-for-4 with two doubles and two RBIs. April Tuggle had an RBI single in the clinching, four-run seventh inning. Greg Vieweg and Ashley Rostek were each 3-for-4. Vieweg had two RBIs, and Rostek scored two runs.

ODAT came back to face UD in the championship game, having to win twice. And it gave it a good try in this contest.

ODAT scored nine runs in the bottom of the first inning and held UD scoreless the first three. However, the UD squad scored in every inning thereafter, starting with eight runs in the fourth inning.

After it put up a five spot in the top of the seventh inning and pulled to an 18-12 lead, things were looking pretty comfy.

But never in slow-pitch.

ODAT scored six runs in the bottom the the seventh and final inning after two were out, and had the tying runs on base before UD got the final out. They won the championship game, 18-16.

Lovejoy was 3-for-4 with a triple and two doubles plus three RBIs. Mangine was 2-for-4 with two RBI, and Vieweg went 4-for-4 with one RBIs and three runs scored.

Lowery went 3-for-4 with three RBIs, and both Swift and Moreland were 3-for-3 with two driven in.

But Unnatural Disasters didn’t gloat or cheer after the game. Lovejoy explained that his exhausted warriors were too tired to celebrate their championship.

“Our excitement came the following weekend when we got together and had a party,” the manager said.

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