Softball Web Gem

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We typically think of summertime as lazy softball season, with the players out on the diamond mostly to chat and mess around, more concerned with the beverages than the outcome of the game. No one’s concerned with where the force is or whether the batter is a spray hitter. If the pitcher is giving up a lot of hits we just let him keep tossing away, instead of getting a couple of options loose in the ’pen. Well, obviously no one told these “rules” to a group of Grinnell College student-athletes Saturday afternoon. One of those student-athletes is Dave Arseneault. When the Tickle City Award Committee met up with Arseneault earlier today to inform him that his fantastic defense had earned him the award, he was quick to give credit where it was due:

I’d just like to thank our sponsor, Keystone Soda Pop, for giving me and my teammates the ability to perform at a level well beyond our normal capabilities in the 1st Annual Outdoor Recreational Fun In The Sun Day ’08 featuring Minicamp, Pool Day, and Beer Softball: The Grinnell Summer Chronies versus The Outsider Chronies, with the Ice Cold Home Run Derby sponsored by Freeze Pop.

The play itself was an amazing display of athleticism and awareness, and proved to be quite important as the game was decided by just one run. In the top of the 6th inning with one out, Ryan Fletcher, 3-3 on the day, stood at second base. CJ Moore was at the plate, excited that he had a chance to drive in a run with a base hit. As Moore made contact with pitcher Will Schwaller’s hanging breaking ball, Fletcher took a couple steps over towards third base. With first base open, he knew there were many scenarios that would lead to him coasting into third. The ball turned out to be a hard hit grounder towards short, with a simple 6-3 put out on the cards. With the very small size of the field, Fletcher knew that once the ball was launched towards first, he would make it if he broke off towards third, as there wouldn’t be enough time to get that ball back there. Unfortunately, Arseneault had other plans. He fielded the ball perfectly, and took a casual step, his eyes focused towards first base. Fletcher crept a couple more feet, eyeing his opportunity to break as Arseneault surely wasn’t even thinking about him. Indeed, Arseneault drew back his arm, centered in on the first baseman, preparing to throw the ball to get the sure out. However, in a masterstroke, Arsenaeault daringly performed a very convincing fake throw. Fletcher, who had already started running towards third, saw his momentum carry him haplessly into Arseneault, who casually tagged him out, to the disbelief of all onlookers. A play that took incredible courage, the out all but killed the Outsider Chronies in the inning, and certainly contributed to their eventual loss.

The play also came at a crucial time in Arseneault’s personal life:

Heading into the weekend, my summer sports season had been very disappointing to say the least. A loss in a H-O-R-S-E competition on an indoor nerf hoop at the hands of Andrew Walsh after he completed the unprecedented off the wall dunk while jumping over a table with a beer pong game in progress, completely crushed my spirits. To make matters worse, William Schwaller gave me the beating of a lifetime in “Guitar Hero: Aerosmith” during the entire month of June. And if that wasn’t enough, John D. Burrows out-dueled me in a Stair Master Contest at the Grinnell College Fitness Center. Off the athletic field, my social life was crumbling just the same. I was jobless, living with my parents, and neglected by fellow classmate Paul Kramer when he failed to show up to his own 21st birthday party that I threw for him.

But wouldn’t you know it, just when I was ready to retire from the competitive field of sports, a hard hit grounder by C.J. Clearance Moore completely transformed my life and career. Not only was I able to help the Summer Chronies protect their home turf with a 10-9 win over the Outside Chronies, but I went on to win the Monthly Speedball Tournament hosted by White House and attend a party at the Slum for the 1st time in my life. Thank you Ryan “Fletchy Fletch” Fletcher for your natural laziness and Keystone Soda for being “Always Smooth”, even when Ryan Fletcher is not there to make me smooth.

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