Tigers vs. Challengers
April 23, 1998

L 3-0

The Tiger's Den Hello and welcome to The Tiger's Den!
Today's guest columnist is

Coach's note: Today's guest columnist is Nala, a famous lioness. Obviously, Nala is not a tiger. She is reporting on today's game as a part of a cultural exchange program. Tigger, Stripes, and Rajah are at Pride Rock Stadium, reporting on the softball playoffs between the Lions and the Hyenas. They will return soon to resume reporting duties for the Tigers.

I wish to thank Coach Rodney for inviting me to report on today's game between the Tigers and the Challengers. Even though I am proud to be a lion, I must say I had a touch of envy today -- there were times where I really wished I was a tiger! Since I'm a girl lion, I was especially excited to watch a game starring girl Tigers!

The Tigers faced the once-defeated Challengers today. And the Tigers gave them more than they could handle! In the longest game of the season, the Tigers hung close but eventually fell to the tough pitching of Challengers 3-0. Here are the game highlights (please excuse the boring way I write -- lions aren't well known for their literary skills).

The Tigers were the visiting team today. The powerful Danye was on the mound for the Challengers -- Coach Rodney had her on a previous team and knew she would throw smoke! Sure enough, the Tigers struck out twice and Sarah got thrown out on a hit up the middle. Zero runs. In the bottom of the first, Alissa caught an opening pop-up for the first out. The next batter got a hit. Then Kristen struck out the super-tough batter on a full count! Another hit put runners at first and third with two outs. With the situation precarious and everyone tense, Kristen struck out the final batter! Zero runs again. Scoreless after one inning.

In the second inning, three Tigers (Rachel D., Kristen, and Alissa) proudly walked to the plate, proudly took their swings, and proudly walked back to the dugout. Three straight strikeouts. Zero runs again. In the bottom of the second inning, Rachel D. fielded the leadoff groundball and made the easy force at first base. Then Kristen took matters into her own hands. Two more strikeouts. Zero runs again. Scoreless after two innings.

In the third inning, three Tigers (Lisa, Melissa, and Serena) proudly walked to the plate, proudly took their swings, and proudly walked back to the dugout. Three straight strikeouts. Zero runs again. (I know this sounds boring, but it was really a close, exciting game!). In the bottom of the third inning, Kristen smoked two strikeouts. The next batter hit a hard grounder to Michelle at second. She hung tough and threw on to first for the out -- but just barely missed the out. With two outs and a runner on second base, the next Challenger batter hit a sharp grounder to Caitlin at shortstop. Caitlin wheeled around and put a solid tag on the runner for the third out! Zero runs again. Scoreless after three innings.

On to the fourth inning where both teams can score unlimited runs! Yeah, right -- there's been so much scoring already :-) . Michelle led us off with a hit and took second base on the overthrow!! Our first hit! Throw a party! The party was short-lived as the next three Tigers went down on strikes. Zero runs again. In the bottom of the fourth inning, the first batter lifted a high fly to left field. Serena pounced on the ball and got it back to the infield, but aggressive baserunning and the Challenger batter had a homerun! Two more strikeouts and a couple more hits put runners in scoring position. Another hit put the runners on the move -- with a runner breaking for home, Rachel D. fired the ball to Rachel F. at the plate. Close play but no cigar -- the run scored anyway. Another infield hit to Sarah -- she turned and threw to Alissa at first base. The throw was late, but Alissa noticed the runner had rounded the bag too far. So she tagged her for the final out! Three runs had scored. The Tigers went to the fifth inning down 3-0.

One more chance for the Tigers! Rachel D. got a couple foul balls off the pitcher, but eventually fell on strikes. Kristen then got our second hit of the night!! Rally time! Uh oh. We still had to face the strike-throwing pitcher. Sure enough, the next two batters fell on strikes. Zero runs again. Game over. Tigers fall to the Challengers 3-0.

This was one of the finest games played this year. We faced our toughest competition on the mound. And we matched them with equal pitching and defense. The Challengers pitcher faced 17 pitchers and had 14 strikeouts. Kristen had her finest game of the year, registering 8 strikeouts herself in four innings of work. Coach Rodney chose two girls for player of the game honors. Michelle was named Top Tiger for her clutch hit in the fourth inning and fine defensive play in the third inning. And Kristen was named Top Tiger for her outstanding night on the mound -- plus she got the only other Tiger hit! Congratulations Michelle and Kristen!

-- Nala  (click here to find out more about me -- it's an excellent website!)