OK, I’ll admit that our Yeshiva softball league isn’t the most serious of leagues. On occasion, the umpire will come late and our coach, Rabbi Jonathan Schachter, will temporarily replace him (but only for a few innings at most). We wear helmets when we bat but since we only have one or two, we have to give them back to the next hitter if we get on base. We sometimes miss second base and go straight from first to third (I kinda sorta did that once). But for the most part, there are three outs per inning, we keep an accurate score, and we bat according to the batting order.
This past game however was quite a peculiar one. The team from Torah Academy of Bergen County in Teaneck was instructed to show up at The Frisch School in Paramus to play at 5:45 the evening of Wednesday, May 14. They did. Well, five of them did. And their coach, Bobby Kaplan. The others? Apparently half of their team was at Citi Field working at the kosher food vendor. The Mets game went into extra innings and they were inadvertently delayed.
You probably think that we waited for their team to arrive because it’s impossible to play softball if one team has only five players (and a coach). Instead, I picked up my glove, tightened my cleats, and Rabbi Schachter, substituting for the also belated umpire, screamed, “Play ball!” TABC batted their five players and – I kid you not – their coach.
Believe it or not, that’s not all. Coach Bobby stepped up to the plate and before even taking a pitch, he signaled for a pinch runner. He planned to hit the ball and have one of his players run to first for him. On a full count, he grounded the ball to yours truly at third base. I picked up the ball and looked to first base, only to spot the “pinch runner” already running through the bag. I was unaware that Coach Bobby was so vicariously speedy. Note to self.
Eventually, we recorded three outs to end the top of the first inning, but the majority of their team was still MIA. We weren’t going to force them to play the field with five players so – you guessed it – we let them bat for the top of the second inning. And then the top of the third. After they batted for three innings straight, their team finally showed up and we were given the opportunity to swing.
I’m not too sure, and I doubt anyone is quite frankly, what inning it was when we first batted. I guess it was the bottom of the first. Nonetheless, we were down three runs and we had nine consecutive outs to make up the difference. That’ll confuse even the most sophisticated statistician.
To make a long story short, we scored 13 runs and held TABC to three to win via mercy rule after four innings. It was quite a memorable evening. I even got my jersey dirty.