It has been a turbulent season for the Rockers, Mercer Island’s coed 50-and-over softball team. The unpredictability continued last week as the team split two games.
“Every win is a big win at this point,” said Rocker Carol Crothers.
The victory came against one of the best teams in the league, Maple Valley, on Thursday. Mercer Island came to bat in the top of the sixth, down two runs and looking like it might come up short. Offensive struggles have left the team with its first losing season in history.
“We have had so many people hurt this year,” said Crother. “But the good news is that the new players are getting better all the time.”
That improvement was evident as the Rockers scored the maximum by league rules, five runs during the sixth, to take the lead 14-11. Mercer Island pitcher and coach John Weinberg shutdown Valley during the bottom of the sixth. The Rockers then added an insurance run during the top of the seventh.
“We had a few more players today and Fred Fogg had some big hits for us,” said Weinberg. “We played well.”
Despite the additional run, there was still some doubt even with a four-run lead, as the seventh inning is the only frame that a team can score an unlimited number of runs.
A lead-off triple by Maple Valley made for an ominous sign. But a line shot to Crothers at second and a pop fly to Fogg in center gave the Rockers some confidence.
“This is a pretty good team,” said long-time Rocker first baseman Alan Anderson. “They are 11-5.”
A weak pop-up back to Weinberg gave Valley its sixth loss of the season and Mercer Island its fourth win of the year.
The Rockers were hoping its fourth victory of the season would come on July 10 at Renton. Mercer Island beat Renton earlier this year at home and was looking forward to the game. But one problem has persisted for Mercer Island this season: a lack of players.
“We only had 10 players for that game and five were women,” said Weinberg.
In years past, the Rockers have had a 3-to-1 edge in men to women. But Mercer Island also draws its strength from its female players.
The team found itself down 12-6 heading into the top of the sixth inning and by the time Renton stepped to the plate in the bottom of the seventh, Mercer Island had taken a 13-12 lead.
“We played really well Tuesday,” said Weinberg. “We just couldn’t quite get there.”
The home team won the game 14-13.
The Rocker record now stands at 4-16. But both games played last week show how much parity there is in the league this season.
“We will have exactly 11 players for the tournament,” said Weinberg. “We will have no spare parts. But anything can happen and we will be in the middle tier of teams.”
Mercer Island played Auburn Tuesday (after Reporter deadline) and will face Kirkland at 10 a.m. Thursday on its home field at the Lid Park.