(AP) Allen, TX – The Peanuts Men’s Softball Team stretched its win streak to two games Thursday night as they defeated conference foe, Cottonwood Creek – Red, 8-5, in a defensive battle at Ford Fields in Allen. The win placed the Peanuts (2-0) solidly atop the standings after two weeks of the fall season.
“Tonight we had to rely on our defense,” said Team Manager, Matt Tenner. “Our hitting was sporadic, but our defense came up big and we got hits when we needed them.”
In the first inning, neither team could score and the game was deadlocked in a 0-0 tie. In the top of the second inning, Cottonwood broke the ice scoring two runs for a 2-0 lead. The Peanuts bounced back in the bottom of the second with 2 runs of its own behind an in the park homerun by shortstop Paul Sebert and hits by outfielder Mark Haisler and third baseman, Ben Nelson. Nelson went 3 for 3 on the night scoring 2 runs in the victory.
Regarding his in the park round-tripper, Sebert said, “As soon as I saw the ball get behind the right fielder, I knew I had to run.”
“I wish we had oxygen handy,” said outfielder Chris Baker. “Because Paul looked like he needed some when he got back to the dugout.”
As was the case in the second inning, the third inning saw each team plate two runs for a 4-4 tie after three. After that, it was all Peanuts as the Nuts outscored their opponents 4-1 over the final two frames to ice the game 8-5 and notch their second win in as many tries.
The offense was led by Tenner (2-3), Rick Robinson (3-3), Rusty Dubree (2-3), Sebert (3-3), and Nelson (3-3). Long balls hit behind the outfielders by Tenner and Nelson secured the 4 runs in the late innings and made the difference in the game.
Usually reliable lead-off hitter, right fielder Brady Cole went 1-3 with two uncharacteristic deep fly ball outs. “That was really unusual for me,” said Cole after the game. “Usually, I hit it right over second base, then rely on my speed to score runs.”
Tenner attributed the deep fly ball outs to Cole’s new two-a-day training regimen. “Cole is just getting too strong and it shows,” said Tenner. “He’s going to have to lay off the weights as we have a 2 homerun limit per game.”
The defense was led by shortstop Sebert and outfielders Chris Baker and Mark Haisler. Sebert contributed to 7 of the 15 outs completing both an assisted and unassisted double play in the process. Baker and Haisler controlled the outfield accounting for 6 combined outs and Baker ended the game on a long run, sliding catch in the top of the 5th inning.
Veteran pitcher, Rick Robinson, pitched a solid game striking out two and walking three on the night. At one point, Robinson walked two Cottonwood batters in a row prompting catcher Rick Saavedra to show his disgust by rolling the ball back to Robinson.
“The Ricks act like an old married couple,” said first baseman Rusty Dubree. “I think Saavedra just likes to get Robinson all sorts of wound up.”
“The Penguin [Robinson] has ADD,” said Saavedra. “Here he is pitching great, pitching inside and the hitters are pulling the ball foul and striking out. Then he decides to go all rogue, trying various grips, and getting away from what works. I had to remind him to focus. That is my job.”
Whatever the process, the results cannot be denied. After the two walks and Saavedra ball rolling incident, Robinson bounced back with a quick two ground outs to end the threat and inning.
“I think the Ricks epitomize the Peanuts’ family,” said Tenner. “They demand the best of out of one another and then hug it out. I get a little emotional just talking about it.”
The Peanuts put their league leading and undefeated record on the line next week as the team is back in action Thursday, September 15th, against the Dirty Balls, at 8:30pm at Ford Fields.