2012 celebrates 50 years of SLAC's Annual Softball Game! It was held Sunday, October 7 at SLAC's new Arillaga Recreation Center, which includes a fabulous playing field for softball and other sporting events. A perfect fall day with brilliant sunshine greeted the ball players as they arrived at the field. Accelerator looked to defend last year’s title, their Associate Director Norbert Holtkamp offering encouragement of free beer at the Goose in the event of another win. Research however looked to garner a win and even their record against Accelerator, with one of the Research Directorate ALDs Chi-Chang Kao attending to support his team and learn some of the intricacies of the rules and physics of softball.
This year’s game was dedicated to Ron Cassell who played in the annual game for 36 years from 1976-2011. Ron loved sports and loved softball - he was passionate and competitive, and exuded enthusiasm both in his play and post-game analysis discussions. Ron always felt he could make a game-winning difference. He expected to hit home runs and often did. Ron could hit to any field, but his signature hit was a hard, line drive to deep right field – this worked especially well when the game was played on the SLAC Green where it could roll downhill to Sand Hill Rd.! Ron anchored his teams defensively at short stop and had many memorable moments, including MVP awards in 2004 and 2005. In 2000, he celebrated his 25th “Theory vs Experiment” game by batting for the cycle in another Experiment win. Sadly, Ron passed away earlier this year - he will be greatly missed, but long remembered and with much affection.
Accelerator bats were largely silent through the first 4 innings and they were held scoreless early in the game. Research however scored early, beginning with leadoff hitter Kevin Turner crushing a home run to ignite the Research offense in the first inning. Six of the first seven Research batters scored before Accelerator recovered defensively to limit the damage. Research then built on its lead in the next 3 innings. Mike Minitti hit a 3-run homer to right field as Research added 4 runs in the 2nd inning. Another Research run scored in the 3rd, and Research continued to pour it on with 6 more runs in the bottom of the 4th as Hendrik Ohldag, Minitti, Howie Haber, James Budarz, Graeme Card and Dan Harrington all got hits. By the end of 4 innings Research enjoyed a seemingly insurmountable lead of 16 to 0! But Accelerator re-grouped, confident they were stymied by mere fluctuations of Research hits squeaking past outstretched Accelerator gloves while Research gloves barely snared well hit Accelerator balls. Accelerator roared to life in the top of the 5th, bringing 14 batters to the plate and scoring 10 runs; a barrage of singles plus doubles by Jeff Corbett and Mike Woods narrowed the deficit to just 6 runs. Research was held scoreless in the bottom of the 5th inning and then added one run in the 6th. Accelerator continued to hit with 5 singles in the 6th inning scoring 3 runs. In the top of the 7th, the first 2 Accelerator batters flied out and then Accelerator rallied. Tomas Jackson and Ryan MacLellan reached base and scored on hits by Natalie Cramar and Matt Cramar. There were 2 outs but Accelerator had two runners in scoring position with Matt at 2nd and Natalie at 3rd. Woods came to the plate and blasted a deep fly ball to left field. It looked like it might elude left fielder James Budarz, but James faded back and made a spectacular backhand shoelace grab to snare the ball and preserve a 2-run lead for Research. Research then added another run in the bottom of the 7th for a 3-run lead. The top of the 8th brought the top of the batting order to the plate for Accelerator. The first two batters reached base on hits by Gene Anzalone and Tom Markiewicz – they went on to score, narrowing Research’s lead to a single run. Research was held scoreless in the bottom of the 8th and the game moved to the 9th inning, Research holding a slim 1-run lead. Accelerator batters went down quietly in the top of the 9th, however, with Minitti recording the final out on a fly ball to center field.
Bill Kirk MVP Award
Mike Minitti was named MVP. Mike homered in the second inning, contributed two doubles and a single, and scored 4 runs for Research.
Additional Game Notes
Herman Winick competed in this year’s game, closing out a memorable week for him highlighted by a symposium in his honor to celebrate his 80th birthday! In addition to Herman’s notable accomplishments in accelerator physics and human rights, Herman is also an accomplished softball player (MVP award in the 2008 Annual game!) - he plays regularly in the SLAC Annual Game as well as on a SLAC summer intramural team. On his 80th birthday at the end of June, Herman missed the IM team’s practice that day – but for a highly commendable reason, to attend a Giants game with his granddaughter!
Winnie Liang from PULSE showed no fear or inhibitions as she
played softball for the first time ever in this year’s game – Go Winnie!
She received lots of encouragement and we hope she’ll join us on the IM
team next year to continue learning the game
(Standing: Ryan Turner, Mike Minitti, Howie Haber, Graeme Card, Dave Bernstein, Hendrik Ohldag, James Budarz
Kneeling: Kevin Turner, Winnie Liang, Dan Harrington, Evelyn Harrington, Kari Horwath)
(Standing: Laurel Woods, Mike Woods, Matt Cramar, Rick Jackson, Seveena Jackson, Petr Fuchs, Ryan MacLellan
Kneeling: Mark Anzalone, Gene Anzalone, Jeff Corbett, Natalie Cramar, Tom Markiewicz, Tomas Jackson)
MVP Award Winner, Mike Minitti, with Research Captain, Dan Harrington