Something you wish never to see in softball..
I’ll just jump right into the topic and finish the sentence ‘Something you never wish to see in softball is someone get hurt off a line drive or a ball that takes a bad hop’. Now I play on 4 different softball teams and I never step foot defensively on the infield, for good reason. I cannot deal with screaming line drives coming at my face or hard hit ground balls that take a bad hop and come up on you. That is a big reason for me not playing the infield. I pride myself in being a great outfielder who can cover a lot of ground and get the ball in real quick to make plays on runners. Put me in the infield and I promise you I will not be going after 50% of the balls hit at me due to not wanting my teeth knocked out. I have told my friends who play infield that I respect them so much because of the fact they are having LASERS fired at there heads constantly. I’ll dive, hustle, and risk getting hurt somewhat to get to a ball and make an out but to put myself in front of a line drive or bad hop is not really appealing to me.
I play on two Sunday teams and saw two instances that made me back my decision a hundred times over to stick to the outfield. On one instance it was a day game at a very nice field located right by Nassau Coliseum, Mitchell Field where a kid on my team hit a ball so hard back at the pitcher he had no choice but TRY and I stress TRY to get out of the way of the rocket line drive back at him. He could not move out in time and got hit right in the mid-ab section towards the middle of his stomach. The batter reached first which then soon after time out was called to see if the pitcher was ok. He had gotten the wind knocked out of him and was down on his knees for a minute or so not before getting back up to try to walk it off. The batter who now is on first comes over and apologizes for hitting up the middle or in softball slang ‘shooting the box’ in which the pitcher assured it was ok. After the inning the pitcher showed where he had been hit to his teammates when I got a glimpse of it I wasn’t surprised. There was an exact circle in a diameter of a softball that was red on the outside and black and blue on the inside, which was no longer then 5 minutes after it had happened. This is why I do not pitch at all, there are certain balls you can get a glove on and then there are balls that are hit that you pray to god he isn’t sending you to the hospital today.
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I don’t know about most people but I can hit all over the field and sometimes for great power and accuracy. Sometimes I do shoot the box, not aiming for the pitcher of course but you do at times hit them. If a pitcher gets hit I will 99% of the time not try to get an extra base out of it but reach first and turn and ask for a timeout. Immediately I will apologize to the pitcher for shooting the box and check if he is ok. Of course, there are the times where the ball gets by the pitcher and goes into the outfield, now depending on what base I am on after time has been called I will again apologize to the pitcher just out of pure courtesy and so I don’t want his team shooting the box trying to kill my pitcher. That is just how softball is played, but then again it only takes one asshole to say “Good” or “I meant to do that” to where it becomes a brawl soon following. Moral of this one instance, Just be courteous and spit out the words “sorry pitcher” to prevent retaliation. No one wants to see anyone get hurt and no one REALLY wants to pitch due to the fact of your life flashing before your eyes a couple of times a season due to screaming line drives.
The second instance you never want to see on a softball field is a ball taking a bad hop/bounce and hurting a guy. Well like I said I saw two things in one Sunday I hope not to see for the rest of the season but is bound to happen. A ball was hit (I forget who was on base) hard to the first baseman where it took two maybe three short normal hops then took a EXTREMELY BAD hop up at the first baseman’s head. In this case the first baseman was well over 6’4″ and the ball hit him right where the cheek meets the nose. Instantly everyone screamed “OH NO/SHIT!!”, and once the batter reached first which had happened quickly after time out was called and everyone came to see if the first baseman was all right. IMMEDIATELY the eye was swollen shut with a black and blue and blood was gushing out of his nose. Play stopped and the teams tended to there benches while the player was helped. The hitter of course apologized but Its not really his fault but out of courtesy offered his apology. In which the first baseman replied “its all apart of the game, its ok man” which was very nice of the guy hence his face being smashed up. Another thing he said was “thank god it didnt’ hit me in the mouth” which ultimately would probably be worse. Regardless, he could not finish the game and his team now had to play with nine and receive an out every time he was supposed to bat. No one really wants to accept that cheap out from a guy who just put his body on the line for a ground ball, it’s cheap but its how the game goes. I hope the guy is ok, because a hospital trip was definitely in the cards for him that night.
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Those are two reasons why I do not play the infield in softball. Call me a pussy but with my speed and skill set I’m a better outfielder anyways but I have to say one thing you have to have some balls to play the infield with those balls coming off the bat so fast and bad hops being a chance you have to take. I have had bad hops in the outfield but mostly they just lead to the ball getting by me and me hustling to not have it turn into a home run, rarely do I have to worry about injury other then diving or running into an object in the outfield (light pole and fence). I salute you pitchers and infielders you have more gusto then I do when it comes to taking the really hard hit balls and turning them into plays to help your team. I just hope that I don’t see anything close to these plays that happened on one Sunday happen again this whole season and seasons to come.