The Articles Presented here are from An Focal.
An Focal Week 6, Sem 2, Edition 10
Softball Club First Team Romp Through Opposition
U. L entered this leg of the tournament with high expectations after the
disappointing loss to UCD in the previous round. These expectations
proved justified as a new-shape team wiped all before them, conceding only
twenty-five runs and comfortably out-scoring any of their opponents. Led by
captain "Big John" the performances of everyone more than matched the results.
This thoroughly enjoyable weekend kicked off with two nervy games against
our own second and third teams, which were both way too close for comfort.
Thanks lads!! Day 1 was a day where UL1 never really got going until the final
game against UCD. It was in this game where the relatively small crowd
witnessed the play of the tournament. The UCD captain hit a monstrous drive,
which saw the ball land in the goals on the opposite side of the pitch. It was
retrieved by James Chandler, bulleted to the short-stop Adam who in turn
launched a pinpoint ball to catcher, Brian Hehir who was left with nothing else to
do than tag the bewildered UCD hitter. John Ryan more commonly known as
"Big John" was the day's most consistent hitter and with his what one could call
'different' fashion sense led the team on day1. One of the final plays of the first
day saw Brian Hehir hit a grandslam against close rivals UCD.
The second day brought UL1's best overall play of the tournament. There
were many fantastic individual performances. James Chandler had big
hits all throughout the tournament but none more so than his gigantic strike
against UCD in the final or the grandslam against WIT2, which along
with his steady catching more than earned his MVP award. The rest of the
outfield were also instrumental in bringing home the cup. Adam, Gerry
Guckian and Kasey showed throughout solid defence, although seemingly
simple high balls were rather memorably dropped in the Trinity game. After
making up the ground and actually catching the ball, Gucky unbelievably
dropped it as he crashed to the floor. However all was not lost as the ever-reliable
Kasey cleaned up this play. This was only shadowed by Adam's similar
blunder in the same game. Closer to the pitchers plate performances were of an
equally high standard as pitcher John (Panda) Leonard held both Waterford
teams scoreless with his solid pitching which was consistent throughout the
tournament. More than matching the lads was Shannon Burke whose talents were
even borrowed by Trinity in an effort to boost their performances. Thankfully we
had her back for the final. With Stacey Gallagher continuously solid on first
base leaving the opposition no room for error and Erika Jensen's bullet arm on
third base always reaching its target, UL1 stormed the competition unbeaten
and in all honesty relatively unchallenged.
This victory will most definitely bring excitement to the final leg at Limerick's
home ground this coming April as UL1 and UCD will fight it out for the
prestigious honours currently held by UL.
U. L (2) Produce Solid performance in 'Varsities
The weekend of February 28/ 29 witnessed our counterparts from UCD
host the second-leg of the popularly growing Softball 'Varsities. For the first
time, a total of seven teams took to the fields of play in search of glory:
representing the capital were the hosts UCD and Trinity, two teams travelled
from Waterford I. T, along with our own three impressive teams from Limerick.
After having being beaten in the final of the first leg held in Waterford last
semester, there was a considerable amount of pressure on U. L (1) to produce
a victory in this competition and keep their chances of retaining the trophy
alive. Having won the plate last year, U. L (2) were also looking towards the victory
trail, but first needed to overcome the sheer inconsistency which dogged them
in Waterford. First game of the weekend for the second
team was a match-up with our 'friends' from U. L (3). Despite an excessive
amount of abuse throwing on the field, this game went right down to the wire.
With the majority of the U. L (3) team being American, this was more like an
Ireland V America game, which caught a lot of attention when in progress. A
strikeout in the bottom of the final inning by U. L (2) pitcher Anthony Kilpatrick
sealed a pulsating performance by the team. Now high expectations were
beginning to creep in.
Concluding lunch on the Saturday,
another dominant victory over Waterford I. T (2) prevailed, and when it came to
playing U. L (1) who were also undefeated on the first day so far, there
was a real sense of belief in our camp. In last season's 'Varsities held here in
Limerick, the U. L (1) team beat our team in the bottom of the final inning.
Revenge was on the cards for this game, but despite a close game, the strength of
the U. L (1) batting order shone through and defeated us. Astounding
performances from outfielders Bambi and Birdie kept us within touching
distance of the defending champions' right through the game.
The final game of the day saw our team come up against the Might of UCD. I
have to admit that after pitching against
them for the last two years now, this team is the most intimidating of all to play
against in my view, quite simply because of the way they make the pitcher do all
the work and therefore make him/ her more susceptible to errors. When this
happens, the morale of the pitcher decreases, and with that usually the
morale within the whole team slumps also. With a heavily strapped ankle,
Maria managed to go the distance and into the final inning with a tremendous
pitching display, and regardless of never having taken the lead in the game, big
plays from shortstop Chris and Ruth on second base kept our spirits high for the
second day of play.
A victory by virtue of fourteen walks on
Sunday morning against Trinity saw our record go to 3-2, but then a technically
astounding performance in the field by Waterford I. T (1) destroyed us, and our
chances for a good quarter-final draw. The quarter-finals saw us drawn against
Trinity, who we had already played that morning and so we therefore knew what
to expect, and we maybe even had a little psychological advantage over our Dublin
counterparts. This game was in complete contrast to the one that took place that
morning however, as only three walks were issued in a very error-free and
competitive game. Once again there were great individual performances, this time
from Brendan and Hatchets, but eventually our team, and our great
'Varsity run came to a conclusion when we lost by one run in the bottom of the
final inning. And with that loss came the realisation that retaining the plate this
year is now next to impossible. I'd just like to thank all of the members of
the U. L (2) team for producing an unforgettable weekend of softball and on
behalf of the team we'd like to thank everybody involved in making the trip
such a successful and enjoyable one. The final leg of this year's 'Varsities are on the
weekend of April 3/ 4 here at the University of Limerick. We'd welcome
all support so we hope to see you there!
Bad News Bears Sighting in Ireland
During the Irish intercollegiate softball tournament at UCD a couple weeks ago,
the University of Limerick fielded three teams. The first team may have won the
tournament but UL 3 won the hearts and affection of the fans and players in
Dublin. The team was patched together while Tony, the bus driver, guided the
famed Trinity Rooms bus across the country. This squad consisted of a heavy
contingent of American Study Abroad students and one lone Irishman. What
this team lacked in talent they made up with enthusiasm and team spirit. The
Americans, led by the incessant bantering of Jon Davenport, brought
over baseball chatter that had not been seen by the likes of these shores.
The only tournament veteran Mikey Dore led the charge in the first few
contests capped by a valiant pitching performance in a hard fought battle
against UL 1. Nate Pratt provided an offensive spark and vocal presence from
his spot atop the order. His conspirator in chatter out in the outfield Brian
Maguire tracked down numerous fly balls and had a couple of key hits from
the left side of the plate. Cari Ann
Hourigan and Caroline who both turned in nice defensive performances as well
as a few big base hits rounded out the rest of the outfield. Melissa Bodnar also
spent some time in the outfield and was probably the team's most patient hitter
drawing a slew of walks throughout the tournament.
Meghan patrolled the hot corner at third and was like a rock keeping every ball
sent her way in front of her. Both Dave Wagner and Jackie Price played
exceptional defence at second with Dave chiming in with a few extra base hits of
his own. Tim manned first as well as throwing in a solid pitching performance
the first day. The team's high point came when catcher/ pitcher Skip tossed a gem
of a game, shutting out Waterford Institute of Technology 6-0.
UL 3 may not have won many games but lots of people felt that they definitely had
the most fun and were the most cohesive unit during the tournament. They are
looking forward to making a run at their fellow UL teams as well as the other
college teams in the next leg of the tournament.