NHF Softball Did Us Proud …

June 29, 2009

courtesy of Andrew K., NHF News Special Correspondent

This past Sunday, NHF played their first playoff game against Chodae KM, a team that they had already beaten twice during the regular season.  Despite missing many of their regulars, NHF was looking to carry the momentum gained from winning their last 4 games of the season into the playoffs.  However, the high-octane offense of Chodae proved to be too much for NHF to handle.

The game started off well for NHF, with starting pitcher John K. retiring the first 3 out of 4 batters.  NHF’s offense was also clicking early.  Before the game, manager John H. talked about the importance of small-ball and the willingness to take walks.  It worked at first, with NHF drawing many walks and hitting mostly singles to jump out to a 4-0 lead after the first inning.  Despite the early lead, there was some bad news; pitcher John K. pulled his hamstring while hustling to second base.  He decided to stick it out and continue pitching, but was unable to hit for the rest of the game.

In the next inning, Chodae’s offensive power was displayed, and they scored 10 runs.  During the inning, John K. suffered another injury, taking a line-drive to the stomach.  He still managed to get the out on the play, and showed his grit by staying in the game.  NHF was down 4-10, and desperately needed to score in their half of the inning.  NHF’s small-ball mentality continued to work, and they were able to produce another 3 runs in the bottom of the inning.  The stellar defense of NHF managed to keep Chodae’s powerful offense from scoring in the next inning.  During the bottom half of the 3rd inning, NHF was able to recapture the lead by manufacturing another 4 runs.  Will L. was the model of patience at the plate during the game, getting walked 3 times and scoring twice.

The top of the 4th inning was almost a repeat of the 2nd inning.  Chodae’s hitters were determined to take back the lead and momentum.  They began crushing the ball and scored another 11 runs.  “We were standing out into the other field and they were still hitting it over our heads,” said outfielder Cesar C. about Chodae’s hitters.  NHF was confident that they could get back into this game, knowing that they have the ability to create runs.  However, Chodae’s pitcher changed his approach, getting the hitters into trouble with an early 1-2 count, and forcing NHF hitters to hit the ball hard, right at the fielders.  Ken K. smoked a line drive, but Chodae’s second baseman made a great catch robbing him of a hit.  In the end, NHF was unable to score in the inning, and were in trouble, with the score 21-11 after 4 innings.  NHF knew they had to get some runs in the next inning or they would be in danger of getting mercied.

Chodae managed to add on another 4 runs during their half of the 5th inning.  NHF was now down 25-11 and needed to score at least 6 runs to avoid losing to the mercy rule.  Could NHF comeback from this insurmountable deficit?  The team had shown a lot of determination and gut in the past games, and knew that the game wasn’t over yet.  The hitters for NHF were able to hit the ball hard, but each time it went straight to a Chodae fielder, almost a repeat of the last inning.  Unfortunately, NHF was unable to score any more runs.  The game was called after 5 innings, with Chodae winning 25-11.  Chodae will continue onto the next round against second seed Cornerstone, and NHF will go home.

NHF’s first season in the Play for Missions League (PFM) was a great success.  Although the team got off to a rough start by losing their first 3 games, they were able to end the season with 4 straight wins.  The team continued to battle in their playoff game despite being short-handed.  Before the season began, the focus of the team was to have fun and grow in fellowship with one another, while remembering that other commitments still came before softball.  This was really reflected in the team as a whole, as every member had a great time and really got to know their teammates.  It was also a great way to meet the members of other local churches and have a great time fellowshipping with them.  And, although NHF did not win the championship and the funds to be used towards U’09, we can be reassured, knowing that the money raised by the PFM league will be used to further God’s kingdom in another way and that God will still provide for U’09.

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