Flacks win! Flacks win!
July 11, 2012
By Andrew Maraniss, MP&F Hackin’ Flacks head coach
History was made at approximately 11 p.m. at Two Rivers Field when the MP&F Hackin’ Flacks coed softball team beat the Misfits 11-10 in the bottom of the last inning to win the first championship in MP&F softball history, a fitting tribute in the agency’s 25th anniversary year.
Zack Coppens, husband and teammate to MP&F Staff Associate Katie Coppens, slid headfirst into home plate with the winning run, thanks to former MP&F’er James Boswell’s double past the diving arms of the Misfits shortstop, sending Green & White players and loyal fans alike into a frenzied celebration on the muddy field. The Flacks were then presented with five $25 gift certificates to Buffalo Wild Wings, a prize far more valuable than a Stanley Cup, Lombardi Trophy or Heisman.
The emotional celebration was improbable considering the way the night – the finals of the postseason tournament — began, also against the Misfits. The Flacks got crushed. The game was tied 3-3 after three innings, but the Misfits’ bats came alive and ours did not, and we ended up losing 13-5. Since this was a double-elimination tournament, we were still alive; but it meant that we’d have to beat the Has Beens at 8 p.m., and then come back and beat the same Misfits at 9 p.m. and again at 10 p.m.: a challenge that lesser teams would have shrunk from, but not the Flacks.
First, we came out and crushed the Has Beens, leading from start to finish. Now it was 9 p.m., two games down, sudden death against the Misfits. Lose and we go home; win and we play them one final time at 10. Inspired by our incredible fans who brought hand-painted signs, screamed their lungs out, and most impressive, stuck it out all night long, we surprised the Misfits with our resurgent bats, winning 13-3 and setting up the grand finale.
So, now it was 10 p.m., Two Rivers Park abandoned except for the Flacks and Misfits, one last game to decide it all. We jumped out to an early 4-2 lead; but before we knew it, the Misfits had taken a commanding 8-4 lead, and there was no joy in Mudville. Taking our inspiration from George Smith, the man who never shuts up, never quits and never is without some words of inspiration, we began our comeback. Matt Griffin hit his second of two home runs of the night to get us back within striking distance, 8-6. Sam Kennedy stroked a two-out hit an inning later to tie the game up at 8. The aging coach, Andrew Maraniss, laced a double to left-center to put us up 10-8 heading into the top of the seventh. Three outs and victory was ours.
But victory does not come easy. The Misfits scratched across one run, then another, and the game was tied 10-10, the go-ahead run on second base. But the third out was made, setting up the bottom of the seventh dramatics. The First two Flacks batters made outs, and it looked as though we were headed to extra innings. But Zack laced a shot to the right field wall, and with his speed, an inside-the-park homer was likely; but just as he rounded second, the right-fielder raised her arms, indicating the ball had rolled under the fence: a ground-rule double. Would this bad luck doom the Flacks? Nope, James’ hit bounded to the outfield, Zack raced around third and scored, and Lauren Barrett immediately placed her engagement as the second-most-exciting thing that had happened to her this week.
Everyone contributed to the amazing run of victories last night:
- Catcher, Kate V., who got on base practically every time she came to the plate and has amazing speed on the bases
- First base, Matt G., who belted his first two homers of the season and made some great stretches at first
- Second base, Lauren B., who handled several rockets at 2B with ease, and as mentioned, capped off a memorable week with a trophy to add to her diamond
- Shortstop, James, no longer works at MP&F but made his biggest contribution to the company with his game-winner, capping off a night where he also made several highlight-reel plays in the field
- Third base, Tom, who showed his dedication to the club by racing to the field straight from an out-of-state meeting to contribute some key hits
- Third base/DH, Sam, the speedy sensation who had the title game’s most underappreciated key hit, the one that tied it up and gave us hope
- Pitcher, Andrew, 10 to 20 years older than everyone else on the team, stayed up way past his bedtime to bask in victory
- Left field, George, the emotional/spiritual leader of the team all year long, belted a home run and kept us positive from beginning to end
- Left center, Zack, a hitting machine, scored the game-winner but also had several big hits all night long
- Right center, Dan, he of the cut-off jeans and shirt, had several big hits and made a ton of catches in the OF
- Right field, Katie C., an all-around All-Star with a powerful bat, speedy wheels and a great arm
We missed some of our other regular contributors last night, including catcher Kat, outfielder Mitchell, and first baseman Logan, but they share in the glory.
Congrats, Flacks! World (or at least Tuesday night coed middle Tennessee sports league slow pitch) Champions!