Delaware’s Old Tymers Naturals softball team came up just short of winning the Triple Crown of Senior Softball last week, falling to Seattle 11-10 in the gold-medal round despite owning a six-run lead going into the sixth inning.
The Naturals played Seattle three times while out west for the tourney. Their first loss sent them to the losers’ bracket, where they cleaned up — winning four in a row to catapult themselves into the gold-medal game against their old foe.
The Naturals skated past Seattle, 15-7, in the first game of the world-championship round, but since they advanced from the loser’s bracket, Delaware had to win another game to seal the deal.
At that point, the Naturals had played 16 games in two weeks. Many of their players didn’t think that they’d play that long and had returned home — so they had to play the final game with what they had: the minimum 11 players.
“We were really fatigued at that point,” said Naturals manager Bill Colby. “We had a lot of injuries — one guy had a broken foot.”
Selbyville’s Frank Williams and Pete Rendina led the team in hitting by going 3-3 and 4-4, respectively. Williams hit safely for two triples and Rendina just missed hitting for the cycle by not hitting a homerun.
Millsboro residents Don Edwards and Bill Howlett chipped in for a combined 3-8 hitting. Edwards earned a single and a double, while Howlett chipped in for a single.
Bethany resident Bob Schaffer earned a triple and two singles on 3-4 hitting and Jimmy Wright of Selbyville smacked in two singles.
“We looked like we should’ve been waving a white flag,” added catcher Roger Howard.
Nevertheless, the Naturals took the field and batted a good game. In fact, they nearly won the game, but late-game errors did them in.
“We allowed runs on a delayed throw to home from the second baseman and on a missed tag at third base,” said Howard. “It’s really a shame to come this far only to let it slip away.”
The missed tag at third came on an infield fly-pop to the shortstop, when a Seattle base runner at second darted off toward third for some reason. The shortstop threw the ball to the third baseman but he didn’t tag the runner. Upon tagging the base, he trudged off the field as if the inning was over, allowing Seattle to go ahead.
“Both teams were fairly even. When it’s all said and done we beat them twice and they beat us twice,” said Colby. “Each game was decided by one run, except one game.”
The Naturals national softball season for 2005 has come to a conclusion with heaps of accolades: They earned a second-place finish at the Senior Olympics in Pittsburg this summer, defeated Milwaukee in the Eastern Championships and edged out Seattle (Western Champion) to win the National Championship.
Two more runs would have ensured the Naturals softball immortality, with a World Championship title and a Triple Crown. Maybe next year they can check those accomplishments off the to-do list.