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It’s National Championship Time

Stumpy and The Texans are off today to Dalton, Ga. to play in the Softball Players Association, National Championship Tournament that runs from September 3rd through the 6th. After their final game collapse in Raleigh, N.C. they are primed for a much better showing in these games.
But, anything can happen when you play with a round ball and a round bat, on a square field

Texans Stink Up Raleigh

The past week Stumpy and his Senior Softball team, The Texans, sporting a gaudy 20 and 3 record, traveled to Raleigh, N.C. to play in, and our plan was to win, the Senior Softball Eastern National Championships. Sometimes, our best laid plans falter and go astray.

Last Thursday The Texans were the last team without a defeat. We had rolled over two tough, teams, one from Ohio, Joseph Chevrolet, and the other, Doc’s from Michigan. We rested while Doc’s and Joseph’s played for the chance to go up against us in the finals. Doc’s won the extra inning game and this one was Doc’s second consecutive game.

Stumpy and The Texans took the field for, what should have been an easy win then the wheels came off of our vaunted attack. We forgot how to field, we forgot how to hit and Doc’s never looked back and pounded us in the first game, their third consecutive one, 20-4 and now we both had one loss. Never fear, in the final game, Doc’s fourth game in a row, The Texans, vaunted attack will carry them through to victory.

For three innings we, The Texans, held a slim 1-0 lead but in the fourth Doc’s slammed us with five runs and we never caught up. The wheels remained off of our vaunted attack and Doc’s won the Eastern National Championship, 12-4.

The Texans are still embarrassed over their poor, wilted performance and are still licking their wounds, but are looking forward to payback and playing Doc’s, in what we hope will be the finals of the Softball Players Association, National Championships, September 3-6 in Dalton, Ga.

Who knows what will happen when you play with a round ball and a round bat on a square field?

Texans Win Mid American Championship

Stumpy and the Texans, posing for this team picture, won their fourth straight tournament, the Mid American Championship held in Liberty, Kansas last Thursday and Friday and ran their record to nineteen wins against only three losses.

The team did all of the little things right, turning thirteen double plays and throwing out three runners at home plate. For the first time in his career, Stumpy hit three triples in one game driving in five runs and for the entire tournament he drove in eleven!

Next up, August fourth through the sixth is the Eastern Championship Tournament in Raleigh, North Carolina. The Texans will be facing a lot of good teams that they normally don’t see until the national championships in September. Winning this one will set them up as favorites to win the nationals!

Texans Win State Again

In Texas, from the youngest little leaguer to the top rated, high school, football team, winning State means everything! It means bragging rights, trophies, rings and that you are the best of the best, in the best State!

On June 12, despite soggy conditions left over from last Wednesday nights storms that smashed into Dallas, the Texans took two of three games from the Texas Greyhounds, won the State, Senior Softball Championship again and qualified for the 2009, tournament Of Champions. This past January the Texans won their age bracket in this event.

Sluggo accepts the State Championship trophy.

The storm had dropped over eight inches of rain on Dallas in six hours, canceling the first day of the tournament and it was then shortened to the best of three games. In Irving this past March, the Greyhounds had stomped us 18-3 and were primed to repeat. Both teams are rated as “Major” teams with above average ability for seventy to seventy-four age players.

Because of a serious illness in his family, our manager was called away and Sluggo, just back from an injury, managed the team and the team responded. We came out smokin’ and won the first game 14-6. Then the heat, ninety-eight degrees and humidity, one hundred percent, started taking its toll on both teams. The Greyhounds won the second game 7-6 scoring the winning run in the bottom of the seventh on a sac fly.

We came out flat in the third game and trailed 6-1, before shutting down the Greyhounds the rest of the way and rallying in the sixth and seventh for the win.

The Texans’ record is now thirteen wins and two losses. Their next tournament is July 2nd and 3rd in Liberty, Kansas and maybe we’ll keep up our winning ways?

Stumpys On The DL

In Baytown, Texas, last weekend, the Texans played in a rain, abbreviated tournament. This was the third we had tried to play, the first in Georgetown was rained out, the second in Irving was played in miserable conditions, cold and high winds, and finally, for a change, last Friday, bright sunshine greeted us for the first pitch in Baytown.

Stumpy was on the DL with a pulled groin and contributed to the Texans’ three wins and no loss record by coaching third base. Yeah, a three and oh, record, because by 7:00 PM Friday evening a low pressure area moved over the Houston Metro area and dumped over four inches of rain on our fields, thus ending the tournament!

The three wins moved our record for the year to six and two. Our next try will be in Pensacola, Florida, on May 15 and Stumpy’s groin should be recovered by then.

Even if we don’t play, we can load up on the fried mullet!

As Big As Saucers

It is very interesting to watch a young persons development, especially boys playing baseball. Starting in tee ball their coach’s drill (better said, yell) into them, “watch the ball!”

I’m very lucky to have pictures of my Grandson, Wesley, as an eight year old, playing in his first tournament and his concentration, eyes as big as saucers, as he “watches the ball”.

Last Thursday I drove up to Paris and watched Wesley play in one of his league games and a real bonus for me, his Brother, Will, was playing in a “coach pitch” league. Will is learning, and soon he will “watch the ball!”
Will, has the basics of a good swing, but he has to “lock in” on the ball. However, he does like the sliding part of the game!

Wesley, now ten, led off the game and got behind with two quick strikes on him, but fouled off four pitches and earned a walk, later scoring. His next time up, he lined the first pitch into center driving in a run. His eyes are still locked on the ball and I bet there’re as “big as saucers”!

The Alligator, Part 3 – How To Cure A Slice

My company sponsored an annual event for our customers and the occasion for 2002 was a golf outing at an exclusive country club, southwest of Katy, Texas. The club, located along the drainage of Buffalo Bayou, was on the Katy Prairie and was still a haven for ducks, doves, quail and alligators! The geese, up to a million in the past, had, years ago, moved to other haunts. When the geese were there, I had hunted this area many times.

The club offered a challenging layout, with lots of water hazards and sand traps. Our customer’s executives enjoyed the opportunity for the relaxation and appreciated my company’s hospitality.

When I played golf, the low 90’s were my norm, then, in 2001, I took lessons, from a former PGA tour player and friend and was never the same. My slice took on epic proportions; my grounders were frequent, lost balls increased and, once, playing with three of my salesman, I actually threw a sand wedge into a pond. Retiring from the game (and sticking to softball) in 2004, 2002 found me hosting this golf outing.

My game and temper were under control and my score through sixteen holes was 82. Trying to focus on only the next shot, and trying to silence the little demon in my mind telling me that maybe I’d be in the low 90’s for a change, I stepped up to the tee box and looked down at the potential horrors lining the fairway. A dogleg left with a flowing creek all the way to the green; on the right, a berm and sand running sixty yards from the two hundred, yard marker and behind the berm, a seasonal pond.

I teed off on seventeen and my slice that had been in check all day, returned with a vengeance as the ball sailed over the berm and settled behind it. Maybe I won’t be in the water and can salvage something out of this mess. Luckily, since my lessons, I had become a fair player out of hazards since I was in them most of the time!

My playing partner, a close friend and an executive in one of my old accounts, had also sliced, but was in the sand on the fairway side of the berm. He jumped behind the wheel and we sped off toward our balls. He kinda’ slowed down as we approached the berm, but as we reached the top, he hit the brakes hard!

Right below us was my golf ball and right beside it was a monster, ten, foot, alligator! The noise of the cart, or the ball hitting it, had awakened the beast and it looked up towards the cart. It wasn’t more that ten feet from me as my friend said “Wow” and quickly backed the cart down off of the berm. He inquired, “ Will you play that ball or drop over by mine, Hahaha?”

Fading on the last two holes, I ended the round with a 97, better by ten strokes than usual, but I told my partner, “The ‘gator cured my slice!”


Texans Flop In Irving

This past weekend, Stumpy and his team, the Texans, opened their Senior Softball season with a tournament in Irving, Texas, within sight of the “old” Cowboy’s Stadium. The Texans flopped in this season’s opener and the weather sure flopped too!

Our first game was at 9:00 AM on Saturday and we were greeted with 37 degree temperatures and 35-45 MPH winds that generated a 27 degree, wind chill. It was COLD and uncomfortable, but we all “soldiered” on. Sunday was still cold, but, at least, the wind wasn’t blowing.

The Texans ended up with a 3 win and 2 loss record. Last year we won this one and were 5-0. We were generous and made way too many errors and the crowning blow was our 17-16 loss to the Oklahoma Blast. The last time we played them was in September 2008 and we prevailed 16-1, winning the Softball Players Association National Championship.

We have 4 weeks to get ready for our next tournament that will be held in Baytown on April 24, 25 and 26.

We stunk in Irving and maybe, we can clean up our act by Baytown.

Play Ball

Play Ball“; these words have been echoing across Texas for the last 3 weeks and this past weekend I finally got some “showable” pictures of my Grandson, Colton, as he played against Ranger, in a tournament in Gorman, north of Goldthwaite.
Being a freshman, Colton will play on both the JV and Varsity baseball teams, and, since Goldthwaite is a Class A high school with less than 150 students in grades 9-12, and, since 5 of the upper class, baseball players are still playing in the State basketball playoffs, Colton is getting a lot of game time.

In the first inning, this past Saturday, a sac fly to right drove in this runner from third.

Colton’s next AB was a “ringing” ground ball, hidden by the catcher, that dribbled fair, up the third base line, that he “legged” out for a hit. At least they all look like line drives in the scorebook!
This clear, bright, sunny Texas day was misleading. The temperature was hovering around 40, with a 25-35 MPH wind blowing out to left. Some fly balls gave us a “circus like” atmosphere. It still looked like everyone was bundled up for a football game.
Goldthwaite won the game 15-2, bringing their record to 2 and1.

The Texans Score Big Win

This past weekend Stumpy and his Senior Softball team, The Texans, participated in, and won their age group in The Tournament Of Champions, held in Lakeland, Florida! This event, sponsored by Senior Softball USA, is made up of teams that in 2008 won state, regional or national championship tournaments and represents the best of the best in senior softball.
The Texans, proudly showing their championship trophy and grins, beat a very good team from the Cape Cod, Mass. area 22-21, having to rally in the bottom of the seventh inning from a 21-14 deficit. The rally is only half of the story. The Texans trailed 21-14 with 2 outs and the bases empty, but 8 hits and one walk later, they pulled out the amazing victory!

In 2008, Stumpy and The Texans played 68 games with a record of 52 wins and 16 losses. They won the 70 plus, Texas State Championship and the Softball Players Association, National Championship and finished second in the other 2 major association’s tournaments.

This year, the season started early and The Texans are looking to repeat their championship performance in 2009. Their second tournament in 2009 will be held in Georgetown, Texas in late March.