Tigers vs. Wild Things
April 25, 1998

L 3-0

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

Hello, this is Paws. I am the mascot tiger for the Detroit Tigers major league baseball team. It is quite appropriate that the Tigers team has a major league name, because they sure look major league to me! I definitely have never heard of major league baseball teams called Onyx, Blast, Mischief, or Challengers! It was my privilege to report on today's game. I was in town to scout the talents of the Wild Things pitcher Celina. I had heard she was a pretty tough pitcher. Here is my scouting report.

Dear Detroit Tigers management:

As you know, I went to Sugar Land, Texas to report on the high-powered softball talent down there. You told me that Celina was a hard-chunking gal, but I had no idea how good the other talent was! Today I watched the Wild Things play the Tigers. No, not one of our teams, but a hard-as-nails girls softball team!

The Tigers hit the field as the home team. Kristen took the mound as the Tigers pitcher. The first batter smacked a hard grounder to the right side of the infield. Melissa made a smooth pickup and fired on to Rachel D. at first base for the out. Kristen struck out the next batter. With two outs, the next batter lifted a fly ball to center field. Rachel F. quickly pounced on the ball and fired it back to the shortstop Carla, holding the runner to a long single. Then Kristen took over and smoked a strikeout of the cleanup hitter! Way to go Tigers! In the bottom of the first, the Tigers tried to mount some offense. Caitlin did put the ball in play but got thrown out. Two other strikeouts ended the inning. The game was scoreless after one inning.

In the top of the second inning, the Wild Things pitcher Celina led off with a a double to the outfield. A following double plated the run. With a runner in scoring position, Kristen registered two strikeouts. With two outs, the batter lifted a hard hit line drive to left field. The Tigers needed a big play and left-fielder Rachel D. delivered! She reached up and snagged the line drive to end the threat!! WOW! In the bottom of the second, the Tiger batters went down on three straight strikeouts. Lisa, Alissa, and Sarah all made contact -- they were foul balls though. Lisa even rattled the pitcher with an excellent fake bunt. The Tigers were trailing 1-0 after two innings.

In the third inning, the Wild Things eeked out another run. But nice pitching by Kristen (2 strikeouts) and a sparkling defensive play from Sarah to Alissa kept any other runs from scoring. In the bottom of the second, the Wild Things pitcher was in a groove. The confident Tiger batters (Kristen, Serena, and Michelle) were no match for the fireballs hurled by Celina. Tigers trailed 2-0 after 3 innings.

In the fourth inning, the Wild Things notched one more run on three hits. But clutch Tiger defense kept any more runs from scoring. In the bottom of the fourth, more Tigers were sent up to face the missles from Celina. Melissa, Rachel F., and Carla all gave it a shot, but ended up going back to the bench shaking their heads. Melissa even attempted to bunt but couldn't quite catch up with the heat! It was still 3-0 after four innings.

In the fifth and final inning, Tiger defense made a huge stand. The first Wild Things batter tagged a line drive down the first base line. It would probably have headed into deep right field, with Michelle giving chase, but Alissa stopped all that. She reached up with a glove-covered paw (I'm Paws, she's a Tiger-- get it?) and absolutely stole a huge hit from the batter. WOW!! The crowd went wild. The next batter hit a grounder to first and Alissa took care of that as well. The next batter hit a smack shot to center field. Melissa fielded it clean and threw in to Carla. Most teams would have let the batter get all the way to second base or third base -- but the Tigers held her to a single! With two outs, Kristen got some revenge, striking out Celina herself.

One more chance for the Tiger offense. The first two batters went down on strikeouts. Lisa came to the plate. With no fear in her eyes, Lisa set out to put down a bunt. She made contact and bunted foul. Another bunt attempt put her in a 0-2 hole. A fake bunt turned into a nice foul ball to the left side. Then Lisa swung away and sent a rocket down the first base line. By the thinnest of margins, it skidded foul. It would have probably been a double if not for two or three inches!! Then Lisa got a great cut at a high heater from the pitcher -- she swung and missed. Lisa had a great at-bat, showing total confidence against a pitcher who shut down every Tiger today. Yes, the Wild Things pitcher Celina fired a perfect game no-hitter today and scored 2 of their 3 runs! Ouch!

When it came to picking today's top players, Coach Rodney turned to his defense. Rachel D. was named Top Tiger for her clutch grab in the second inning. And Alissa was named Top Tiger for her two big defensive stops in the fifth inning. Quick hands (I mean paws!) really made the difference. Congratulations Rachel D. and Alissa!

The Tigers are heading to the playoffs next week. They are looking strong and I think they're going to do grrrrreat (my friend Tony thinks so too!).

-- Paws  (click here to find out more about me)