One Last Shot - Season 4, Post 4: Early Season Success
by Paul Semendinger
May 30, 2022
It's been an interesting season thus far, with some early season successes that have me excited for lots more games throughout the summer.
Like last year, I am playing for two teams, The Ridgewood Maroons on Sundays and the Rangers (mostly out of Westwood) during the weeknights.
There have been a ton of rainouts and other cancellations making the start of the season slow to get going. Still, it's fun and exciting and I'm glad to still be able to play baseball. Until four years ago, I never thought I'd ever play real baseball ever again in my life and I was very content playing in the local (and competitive) men's softball league.
But baseball has been more fun. This year I stopped playing softball to focus exclusively on baseball. It's been an absolute joy.
That is... when my arm doesn't hurt. I did something to my right arm in early March and it has hurt ever since. I have been trying to give it the rest it needs. I've twice been to physical therapy. It is getting slowly better. After each game, it hurts less and less. I must have done something not baseball related, but it's been a slow healing process. I usually lift weights a few times a week. To let the arm heal, I have refrained from weights for almost two months. The good news, is it is getting better and the better news is that I'm able to play through the discomfort.
The Ridgewood Team - We got destroyed on a cold and rainy morning to open the season in a game against a team in the 18-year-old+ division. I shared that story in the previous article.
The next week our game was in Bayonne. It was again cold and rainy. The field was a mess. We drove 45 minutes to Bayonne only the have the game cancelled due to an unplayable field.
Our next actual game was played in Bloomfield. I played second base and center field. I came to the plate twice, struck out once and walked once. I also stole a base, my first stolen base since I was a kid. This was a great game, we won in walk-off fashion.
I finally got my first real start for this team on May 15. We played in Jersey City. Since I had already pitched twice for the Rangers, I was somewhat confident that I would do well. And I did. I threw five innings. I struck out six. I allowed only one run, unearned, but by then we were up by about eight runs. In one inning, I did something I don't think I have ever done in my whole life... I struck out the side. Amazingly, all three final strikes were on called strike threes.
The Rangers - My first start of the year for the Rangers was a delight. It came on May 5. I went six innings in that game and struck out four. I allowed only two runs, both unearned. The defense behind me was spectacular. The team turned two double plays. It was awesome. This was my first win of 2022.
I got the start the next week, on May 12. As good as the defense was the week before, it was the polar opposite in that game. In five innings (or was it six?) , I allowed 10 runs. I doubt any of those runs were earned as the team made something like 14 errors. It was an ugly performance all around.
In this league, I played a few innings as second base and have also had a few at bats. I have a single and a walk and I was hit by a pitch. I've struck out, I believe four times.
My next start is hopefully coming on Tuesday, May 31.
In previous years, I have pitched all year and haven't won a game.
This year I have a combined two wins already.
My arm is slowly feeling better and better.
Maybe the Yankees will come calling after all...
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