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Discussion: Senior Softball: A hitter's game?

Posted Discussion
April 24, 2023
Bruce M
Men's 55
121 posts
Senior Softball: A hitter's game?
How many times have I heard this, "Softball is a hitter's game. But defense wins championships!" At the outset, that seems like a contradiction. And so, when a great manager tells me, "Defense wins championships." I like to ask, "What kind of stats do you keep?" If a book is kept accurately, most of the time I see offensive stats. Online Base Percentage is the most common outcome. Yet, I rarely see a book with defensive stats. If a manager truly cares about defense, why are they only keeping offensive stats? What are they doing with the .720 OBP player, who makes 5 errors, 6 missed cut offs, and allows 5 resulting runs? Well, I start by saying....if you care...how do you even know if you don't have the stats?

What say you, the experts of Softball? Which is more important for a winning team? Offense? Defense? Or is it, "Offense gets you far and is a must, but defense wins championships?"

April 24, 2023
DaveDowell
Men's 70
4281 posts
I'm reminded (as I sit here at 71 years young) of about 15 years ago when an old guy, I think he was on a 70+ team, was walking off the field with his head down, mumbling as he left the dugout post-game ... They'd just been eliminated and as a Director, I wanted to thank him for being there ... So I asked, "Are you OK? Anything you want to let me know about?" ... I'll never forget his reply: "This game was so much easier when you only had to get three outs an inning. Not like today, where we had to get five or six because we try hockey kick-saves, then chase it down and throw it into the next damn county!" ... I still laugh at that memory, mostly because it's true ...

April 25, 2023
curty
Men's 60
187 posts
Every lost out (including walks) turn into runs. If you are a great hitting team, you might be able to give away a little, but that is not a succesful startegy.
April 25, 2023
DieselDan
Men's 75
594 posts
Since playing HS sports never happened, had to work, competitive "ball" started in 2013 for me. Even back then I always wondered, since we're not as quick as we used to be, why most infielders still want to play on the dirt with runners on 1st or 1st and 2nd. That extra 20-30 feet might allow at least a force out instead of another base runner. A pitcher who can cover 1st/2nd is gold. Another key to good defense, is a good 1st baseman who can pick up the throws in the dirt.

Remember, the glove is for catching the ball, not picking it up, especially when the ball is rolling less than 5.2 MPH.
April 25, 2023
stick8
1991 posts
I’m a firm believer in offense wins you games and defense wins you championships. Teams need both. Having some bounces go your way, an umpire call or two go your way and plain ole Lady Luck doesn’t hurt.
Bruce here’s what I’d do with that .720 obp, errors, missed cut offs which allow those runs.
He’d be an ah or catcher.
April 25, 2023
Benji4
Men's 55
289 posts
The biggest difference between Major Plus vs Major is defense. Major Plus players make more plays, and turn more double plays.

Benji
April 25, 2023
DieselDan
Men's 75
594 posts
Benji4 Major+ are usually stronger in all aspects of the game. More athletic players, more speed/quickness, better hitters, more power, better arms, and yes, better defense.
April 25, 2023
HSquared
Men's 60
144 posts
Add to the discussion, that Major+ teams generally carry their full complement of players (full roster) with no weak links and "show up" fully loaded.
April 29, 2023
Webbie25
Men's 70
2403 posts
The best a hitter can do in one at bat is a grand slam home run for FOUR runs, and that depends on his teammates getting the bases loaded for him. BUT, ONE good defensive play at the right time can stop a FIVE run inning (or SEVEN run inning in M+). I work on my defense as much as my offense because of this. I have played on a couple of incredibly strong offensive teams that lost games because we COULD NOT OUTHIT OUR OWN DEFENSE.
April 29, 2023
Webbie25
Men's 70
2403 posts
I remember one game in Dalton, GA in 2013, I believe it was. We were playing 60 M+. Then it was 9 runs an inning and 12 home runs allowed, I believe. In about the 4th inning Line Drive from Michigan had 2 outs and no runs in against us. We botched an easy play at first and they scored 9 runs after that. We lost 47-38 or something like that. In 3 games that day we scored some 95 runs and we went home, losing 2 of them. We gave up 47, 24, and 38 runs = 109 runs. Always work on your defense......
April 30, 2023
stick8
1991 posts
Webbie I’m very familiar with that LD team, they’re from my area!! Very opportunistic team and very strong players who not only could hit but play d as well. They almost never beat themselves. Give them an inch and they’ll take a mile. The missed play at first you refer to clearly illustrates that!!
When losing a hard fought, close game you can always pinpoint a play or two that likely made the difference between winning and losing by a run.
May 2, 2023
Bruce M
Men's 55
121 posts
Hey Mark - Love your wisdom. Thanks for sharing. It's great you put some numbers to your thoughts. Really makes sense. If you don't mind, I'm going to steal that: "The best a hitter can do is 4 runs and even that depends on the teammates." However, a great defensive play can stop a 5 run inning." Excellent!
May 3, 2023
softball4b
Men's 70
1243 posts
I was there sweating every second. Amazingly Steve Imlay was our best pitcher on that day. They did not have their sand wedge, but Steve did pick up the 7/10
May 4, 2023
Webbie25
Men's 70
2403 posts
Mike, I don't know what you are on, but I want some of it......
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