The annual SLAC softball game took place Saturday October 8 on Stanford campus. Accelerator defeated Research 15-13 to take a 3-2 lead in their fifth matchup and take back the Drell-Richter Trophy.
Research took an early lead and was ahead 8-1 as they headed into the bottom of the 6th inning, powered by Mike Minitti's 2 home runs that scored 3 runs and a 2-run homer by Armond. Research seemed to be cruising for an easy win until Mark Anzalone's 3-run homer in the bottom of the 6th energized a sleepy Accelerator offense as they scored 6 runs in the inning to narrow their deficit to 1 run. Accelerator took the lead in the 7th and never looked back. Research mounted one last charge in the 9th as team captain Dan Harrington blasted a 2-run homer with 2 out to narrow their deficit from 4 runs to 2, with the top of the Research batting order coming up. Mike Minitti followed with a single but then the game ended on a routine play with a popup to the 2nd baseman. There were many notable defensize plays in the game with the film reel highlight being Nicole Barnhardt's airborn dive to snare a hard grounder to 3rd by last year's MVP Brett Auer. Nicole deftly snared the ball at full horizontal extension, then cooly made the throw for an out at 2nd base. We can see why she excels as a backup goalie for the US Women's soccer team! Other highlights included Mike Minitti's sliding catch in center field to deny Natalie Cramar a base hit, though she got revenge later by hitting the ball over the head of Dan Harrington in left field for a double. Anchoring the defense for Research at shortstop was Howie Haber who made a number of excellent plays and returned to the game after a 2-year absence. And special mention goes to former SLACer Mike Palrang, a close candidate for MVP this year, as he went 4 for 5 hitting and made a number of good catches in right field including one key out as he ran down a fly ball by Ron Cassell in deep right-center field.
SLAC players brought along family members and friends to play and cheer and enjoy a sun-drenched afternoon at the ball field. These included Gene Anzalone's sons Mark and Brian, Mike Woods' daughter Clara, Steve Liebelt's son Bill, Norm Picker's son John and friend Nicole, Matt and Natalie's friend Matt Byom, and former SLACer Ryan Auer's brother Brett and his friends Joanna and Armond.
The Bill Kirk Most Valuable Player Award went toMark Anzalone for his 3-run home run in the 6th inning that proved a pivotal turning point in the game. Mark went 4 for 5 hitting with a double and 2 singles to add to his home run.
MVP Award Winner Mark Anzalone
Team Captains Jeff Corbett and Dan Harrington with the Drell-Richter Trophy