East Lake victorious in softball season opener
(Published on Mar 6, 2011)
By I.M. Ahitter
EAST LAKE, GA. -- Under a steel gray sky the East Lakers survived a muddied mess Sunday to launch their inaugural season with a 7-5 victory over the Grant Park Gravediggers.
With the home park looking more fit for motocross than softball, the local squad scored early and held off a furious charge from their neighbors to the west.
East Lake (1-0) will defend its undefeated record next Sunday at 4:30 p.m. against East Atlanta Pillage at East Lake Park.
Chris Gagnier (1-0) took the victory for East Lake in a yeoman-like effort, a pitching performance that was more Wagner than Mozart, but good enough for a day when the Lakers defense was not at its best.
"This team did a great job of sticking to our mantra: Don't think, you'll only hurt the ballclub," Gagnier said over a celebratory libation at Avellino's Pizza Pub, the Lakers' sponsor for the season.
Manager/third sacker Craig Burns, who singled and scored in the three-run first, said his team is built for long-term success.
"An old friend told me once that sometimes you win, sometimes you lose and sometimes it rains," Burns said. "Think about that."
East Lake, as the home squad, gave up a run in the top of the first, but quickly rebounded in the bottom half. After a groundout, catcher Lauran Crain reached on a single and advanced to second on a fielder's choice. Clean-up hitter Tyler Kitchens drove in Crain with a screaming double, and Burns drove in Kitchens.
The go-ahead run scored in the fourth when East Lake, up 5-2, saw Big Mitch reach on an error, followed by Joseph Fain smoking a single to left. Following an out, Mitch Rogers drove in both runners with a double.
The Lakers totaled 14 hits, all but two of which were singles and left nine runners on base, hinting that the office has yet to find its stride.
But first-sacker Aaron Gould Sheinin said the team isn't concerned.
"All we needed were a couple more dying quail, a Texas league blooper or a bird with eyes and we would have doubled-up those suckers," he said. "Fifty-percent of softball is mental and the other 100 percent is physical. We'll be just fine."
The EL Lakers face neighboring East Atlanta "Pillage" next Sunday at our very own East Lake Park ball field. Game time is 4:30.