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Tracking the City Paper softball team’s pursuit of a perfect season

Final Record: 1-15 (.067)

“It ain’t over till it’s over,” said Yogi Berra, a man who has apparently never taken in a City Paper softball game. In Shadows country, it’s over about midway through the second inning, as our early confidence about buckling down on defense and generating some runs devolves into ad hoc wind sprints as we—-well, OK, I—-chase balls as they fly toward the warning track.

“You know, if we win both games today,” somebody said on Saturday morning, “we can pull out of last place.”

Oh, how we laughed.

The National Press Club manhandled us in the first game 17-0, but that score doesn’t speak to the smart, aggressive play by Matt Smaldone, a razor-sharp left fielder who can keep a runner from even thinking of going for another base by using his scowl alone. For the Shadows, he’s dignity in cleats. The proof is in the scar on his right knee, which got cut during a slide into third against the Examiner team in the second game. This one we kept close, but despite a late rally spearheaded by a crucial hit by Joe Dempsey, we ended up on the wrong side of a 6-5 score.

And that’s it—-the Shadows’ season is over. Maybe that one win wrecked our “cool” a little, but we’ll take it, and our taste for irony remains intact. For the teams that brought more effort than we did, playoffs in the Media Softball League begin on July 14. But my Saturday summer mornings are now more likely to involve a hammock.