- The fall 2017 team
It was 7 p.m. on the 26th of October. The Evans Scholars gathered under the lights of the West Bank softball fields at the University of Minnesota. A steady mist was coming down, cutting through the windy 36-degree air.
After going 5-1 in regular season the Scholars rallied to a last-inning, six-run walk-off in the first-round of playoffs, landing a spot in the semi-final game. In the semi-final, the Scholars took an an early 8-3 lead halfway through the game, the conclusion of the third inning. In the bottom of the sixth our opponents were down to their last three outs, losing 15-6. Momentum began to change as one run scored turned in three, then five, then seven. The bases were loaded with two outs. One swing of the bat could likely put an heartbreaking end to our long-fought season. The pitcher delivered a sharp line drive to the second baseman, then threw to first in time. The Minnesota Evans Scholars were headed to the final.
The championship game was held right after the conclusion of the semi-final. Our opponents, the number one seed, showed up ready to go and took the field to practice. At this point we knew we were at a slight disadvantage considering we had just played a long cold and misty game. We gathered in huddle, sparked by an inspirational speech by team captain Justin Baker. We then took the field.
Up to bat first, seven runs came across the plate. Our opponents failed to score. Three innings went by, up 10-0; we had yet to let up a run. Then, only one thought came to mind. Why go a standard six innings when we could win it in less? Under University of Minnesota intramural mercy rules, games are called early with a 15-run lead after four innings and a 10 run lead after five. Coming into the top of the fourth inning, we needed five runs and three outs. Two runs had scored, but the inning soon ended, three shy of the mercy rule. Taking the field in the bottom of the fourth, we aimed to hold our lead. After a double play and a pop out, the inning ended, our fourth inning mercy campaign moved into the fifth. Scoring four runs in the top of the inning, we took the field, ready to close it out, cushioned by the new 6-run lead on the 10-run mercy threshold. At this time, visibility on the field was being called into question as the mist had turned into a steady, light rain. The inning; however, was cleared to take off. We took the field. One out. Two outs. The third batter set up at the plate, the pitcher delivers. The pitch is drilled high and long down the left field line. The left fielder scrambles, positions, and makes the catch! The Minnesota Evans Scholars had won the title in five!
Thank you to all who played and came out to watch during the fall 2017 season. We look forward to defending our title next spring! #flytheES