As early as the end of last season, talk in the Burnside Slowpitch League turned to ways to reduce the number of home runs being hit and increase player safety.
One of the suggested approaches was the elimination of aluminum bats and a return to wood. This approach would reduce the distance and speed of balls fly out of the infield.
However, this idea was largely voted down during the pre-season league meeting, although it was implemented on a limited basis during the 6 p.m. games on Sundays to see if it would catch on.
League Commissioner Brian McDow says many of the players in the league believe the elimination of aluminum bats and the resulting loss in power would take the fun out of the game. Of course, this depends on your point of view. McDow admits the top four teams enjoy things the way they are while the six lower teams love the games with the wooden bats and the more even playing field that comes with them.
"Those Sunday games are very low scoring and fast!" McDow says.
A more even playing field certainly would have helped Dartmouth Surplus when it went up against league leading Sameday. Even though Sameday was missing players and unable to field a full team, it had little trouble dominating Dartmouth Surplus, pounding out home runs in four of the six innings played.
It looked like the game might end even earlier with Dartmouth Surplus trailing 22-1 going into the bottom of the fifth. However, a three-run home run and a couple of earned runs postponed the activation of the mercy rule until the end of the sixth.
Still, it only put off the inevitable and the game ended with a 27-6 victory for Sameday – and more fodder for those seeking to expand the use of wooden bats to even out the league.
In this issue's other featured game, the Dartmouth Old Guys were also a couple players short when they met up with Wilson Auto. Surprisingly, they too lead their game from start to finish.
The matchup wasn't quite as lopsided as it was for Sameday, but the DOGs were able to score steadily and were ahead 16-3 by the end of the fourth inning. Although Wilson's defence solidified after the fourth and the DOGs ability to score multiple times was curtailed, Wilson's offence never seemed to get on track. Its best inning was the bottom of the sixth when three doubles, a couple of singles, a sacrifice and a fielding error combined to give them four runs.
However, it was too little, too late as the DOGs rolled to an 18-10 win.