Our very own President T. Wray McCurdy came through in the clutch to lift the Baltimore County Bar Association to victory in the 22nd Annual State Bar Coed Softball Tournament at Watkins Park in Largo, Maryland. His name is now synonymous with Kirk Gibson and Carlton Fisk, as clutch hitters when it mattered most! Let me set the scene for you….
After countless notices in the Advocate and a keen eye towards recruiting by Coach Jon Herbst, the Baltimore County Bar Association assembled a champion-caliber team to play on Saturday, August 9th. David Silverman, Jon Herbst, Nate Barker, Nick Bonadio, Emma Young, Chis Casciano, Matt Woods, Lauren Stone, T. Wray McCurdy, Sarah Grabenstein, Dave Luby (player/coach) and Tim Bojanowski strapped on the shoes, oiled up the mitts and hit the field. It helped that we were wearing spiffy new jerseys courtesy of Tim Bojanowski and Zest Social Media Solutions.
The players arrived excited but with a slight chip on their shoulders. Despite coming in 2nd place for two years in a row, BCBA was not given a “Bye”. That meant BCBA had to win 3 times in order to hoist the trophy. In previous years, by the third game, fatigue would set in (and beers would arrive) and it proved difficult to beat the “fresher” teams. As if that wasn’t enough, the two teams that got a “Bye” were Baltimore City and Anne Arundel County, both traditional powerhouses. To add to the drama, we drew Prince George’s County in the first game, a team notorious for winning (and even fielding two strong teams in years’ past).
However, the warriors of BCBA shook off the pre-game jitters quickly and jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning of the game against Prince George’s County Bar Association and never looked back. With great pitching and stellar defense, BCBA prevailed 9-1. The MVP of this game was Matt Woods, who retired 16 of the first 21 batters he faced before giving up a run in the bottom of the 6th inning, the only run of the game for PGBA!
Armed with confidence, BCBA dispatched the Bar Association of Baltimore City in “slaughter” fashion, winning 11-1 after 4 innings. The MVP of this game has to go to Jon Herbst, who was a mere four days removed from the birth of his first child and who admittedly had only two hours of sleep before the tournament! Jon went 3-3 at the plate, with 2 runs and an RBI, and I’m pretty sure I caught him dozing off between innings!
The stage is now set. Will BCBA falter in the third game? Would fatigue deny BCBA the coveted Championship? How high was Woods’ pitch count and will someone please wake up Jon? A showdown with Anne Arundel County (fresh off their high-scoring win over Montgomery County) was the only thing separating BCBA and immortality!
BCBA won the coin toss and elected to be the home team. Anne Arundel Bar Association jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning only to have BCBA answer with 2 in the bottom! Defense for both teams took over the score remained 2-1 until the bottom of the 4th, when BCBA added to the lead with an RBI double by Matt Woods to score Chris Casciano; 3-1 was the lead.
AABA came alive in the top of the 6th to take the lead off of 3 manufactured runs, including a sac fly and some clever base running. The score was now 4-3 with AABA in the lead. After having no answer in the bottom of the 6th, it all came down to the 7th inning.
Nervously, BCBA took the field in hopes of containing the one-run deficit in the top of the 7th. First AABA batter was retired, so far so good. Second batter hit a long single, duplicated by the third batter. The runners were advanced to second and third by the next batter, who was retired with at first base. Sweat was pouring down the faces of the BCBA warriors as the lead-off batter dug into the batter’s box. Woodsy shook off the first few calls from catcher Sarah Grabenstein and finally agreed to a pitch. The wind up, the delivery… and a routine fly ball caught in the outfield. The side retired. Enter the bottom of the 7th; the final at bat for BCBA.
Efficient fielding thwarted the plans of Emma Young, who played a brilliant tournament on the field and behind the bat; 1 out. Chris Casciano took his talents to first base on a routine single to the shallows of the outfield. Woodsy then poked a single and BCBA had two runners on for Lauren Stone. Lauren needed a pinch runner because she injured her hamstring in the early innings but continued to play excellent at first base, completing a very impressive tournament! Lauren advanced the runners to second and third on a well hit, but well defended infield shot and the pinch runner was called out at first for the second out.
Enter BCBA’s last hope. With two outs in the bottom of the last inning, and runners on second and third bases, President T. Wray McCurdy stepped into the batter’s box. The announcer, Tournament Director John Love, made it known that, “It all falls on the shoulders of BCBA President T. Wray McCurdy.”
After a foul ball made the count 1 ball and 2 strikes, the President kept his cool and a slight smile came across his face. Anne Arundel County Bar Association was leading the game 4-3, and I swear I saw their coach start preparing for his post-game victory speech. The pitcher looked down at the dirt, calculated where to place his pitch and worked into his slow-pitch windup. He uncorked a pitch towards home plate and the ball glided from his hand. Players and observers alike will tell you that moments before the President swung, you could hear the faint sound of an orchestra start the theme from the Robert Redford movie “The Natural”, but I can’t verify that an orchestra, or a french horn, was anywhere in that park on that day. But I did see the hit! A beautifully placed ball over the pitcher and over second base into the outfield; well placed between the left center fielder and right center fielder. Casciano crossed the plate followed by Emma Young (who was pinch-running for Matt Woods)! McCurdy even made the turn to second base for a game winning, 2-RBI double! BCBA wins, BCBA wins, BCBA wins! BCBA won 5-4 in a walk-off!
Special thanks to our Manager Doris Barnes and Assistant Manager Jim Barnes for the behind the scenes organization, and to our sponsor Matt Wyman and the Law Firm of Matthew I. Wyman for donating snacks and drinks to keep us hydrated and full of energy for 3 games! And we looked good in victory thanks to our other sponsor Zest Social Media Solutions and Tim Bojanowski who provided us with uniform shirts.
The Championship Trophy is in the Bar Association Office along with a signed softball and signed tournament bracket to commemorate the day that we fought like warrior poets, and won our freedom the tournament!
This tournament is a great and fun event that benefits the Carol Jean Cancer Foundation’s Camp Friendship. Their mission is to improve the quality of life, for children with cancer and their families throughout Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia, by providing year round recreation and support programs free of charge. To learn more, visit: http://www.cjcf4kids.org and http://www.cjcf4kids.org/campFriendship/index.asp