Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Dartball Champions 2015

I started playing "Dartball" in the Wabash Valley Church League about 1990 when our oldest son Sam, then about 9 started to toss darts as the youngest member of the Celina St. John Lutheran team...I batted .286 that first season, and thereafter I hit anywhere from .300 to .500 over the next couple decades, made the All Star Team for all of those years, and won a boat load of trophies for League RBI to League Batting Average Champ...as our older players began to sadly, die off, I became the oldest member, age wise, on the team, but stayed competitive and actually finished 2nd in the league in RBIs last season{the top 3 average wise and RBI wise collect trophies, which in turn collect dust in my basement}.  This year, while still making the "all star" team, my average slipped to .294 with just 19 RBI's, the worst stats since my rookie season a quarter century ago...still finishing 3rd in stats, to yet make another all star contest, but approaching 66 I feel my ability slipping, at least on those night where I worked a Junior High Basketball double header before heading off to toss Darts.

In the 25 years since Sam and then I began tossing Darts at the baseball diamond board, we were, at least for the first 15 years, one of the better teams in the {now} 8 team league{down from the 12 church teams when I started}.  As our veterans slipped away or just got to old to continue, and some of the other top players got caught up in family and work obligations, our numbers dwindled and we teamed up with Celina First Church of God under our church and continued to play...younger kids without much dart knowledge joined and we have suffered, as has the league in general.  Over the past 25 years we had won the post season tournament a handful of times, came in runners up a few more.  As for the regular season, we were always, at least in those first 15 years I played, competitive, not so much the last 10 years....dropping down to the middle of the pack, sometimes lower...however, even with a couple of South Division Championships, we have not won the League Title in those 25 years since I started.....that all changed last night.

Our season started out winning a boat load of close games, so much so, we won the South Division's first half with a 14-7 record....the second half we reverted back to form, losing a lot of close games, finishing 8-13.  The first half championship gave us at least the opportunity to play 2nd half winner, Hopewell Township Lutheran, for the South title and the chance to play North Champs, Rockford Methodist{winners of both half seasons up north}.

We were quickly eliminated by Schumm Zion Lutheran in the Tournament opening round...but got the chance to use the same lighting and board against Hopewell in the South Title games.....frankly we stunk, but Hopewell was even worse, we came away with 2-1 and 2-0 wins.  Anybody that knows darts and dirtball will quickly realize that is some pathetic dart tossing...but a win is a win, and we took 2 of them and the South Crown, giving us a chance to play host Rockford, without a doubt the best team in the league this season.

Playing the best 2 of 3 for the title we really had little to lose, they had taken 4 of 6 from us during the season and were playing at home...the first game quickly started to get away from us, as we fell behind 4-0 after 2 innings.  Playing on this board and same lighting for the 3 straight time we were hitting, but just could not put a group together, and despite hits in every inning we still found ourselves down 6-3 going into the bottom of the 9th...after a quick out and the bottom 3 in the lineup coming up, things didn't look good, to say the least...I told the guys to "Go for Singles" so we could hopefully load the bases for our RBI leader JD{the only guy on the team who has been playing longer than me}...and the bottom of the order came through, 3 straight singles, gave our leading Batting Average guy, Tyler, a shot to tie it with a triple, first dart, hits the Orange "Out" and we are down to our last chance...JD gets two quick strikes and we are down to one..."Bang" he hit's a triple to tie the game at 6, leaving me with a chance to pull out an unlikely first game win...one dart nestles into the top of the First Base{single} white square and we come out a 7-6 winner to go up 1 game to none.

I drive in JD in the first inning of game #2 and we never trail pulling off a 7-3 victory and an unlikely Championship in League play...our first in over 25 years. 

Despite a miserable season, by my standards, I finished last night with 5 hits in 11 at bats and 6 runs batted in, JD went 6 for 11 with 5 RBIs, but it was really the younger guys and the bottom of the order who came through with big hits at the right time....guys batting in the .160-.180 range had 5 and 6 hits each to set the RBI guys up, and thus giving us the long awaited title.

Next week I participate in my 24th all star games, along with JD and Tyler, both more deserving to say the least, and we finish things up on March 9th with a Banquet at Rockford Methodist....the end of Dartball Season, usually harkens the beginning of Spring...let's hope the next couple of weeks brings and end to this miserable cold spell, which has been with us since just before Christmas.

back later>>>>>


Gene Bach said...

That looks like a ton of fun Pat. How is the game played? When you throw the darts are you the batter, or the pitcher? I'm guessing the batter? I have a baseball dartboard on my shop wall. It's fun to play that once in awhile.


Pat Houseworth said...

The Batter tosses Gene....white is good, single, triple, or home run or double{also 2 base single}...orange is out, green if foul ball, and grey is a strike....been doing it a long time and was about ready to retire, but guess I'll do one more season to defend our crown. :)

Dave Newman said...

How many players on a team and how many feet u throw from

Pat Houseworth said...

Dave: 9 to 12 players on each team, everybody bats....we toss from 20 feet