Men's softball nearing conclusion


   Action involving teams locked in a standings battle proved dramatic in both the first and second set of games of the Jefferson County Men's Softball League played Monday at Juniper Hills Park.
   In the first set of games, at 6 p.m., Wrangler Construction had its 12-0 record blemished by Hippie Joe's. Wrangler nearly recovered to catch Hippie Joes after falling behind the league's second-place team.
   But Wrangler Construction trimmed Hippie Joe's once 17-11 lead to 17-15 in the sixth inning then was within one run when stopped by Hippie Joe third baseman Seth Harris on a bases-loaded, two-out grounder. Hippie Joe's improved to 10-2 with a suspended game still to play in the process of dropping Wrangler to 12-1.
   A second-session, started at 7:30 p.m., battle between teams that started the evening at 4-8 each took so long as to be called due to darkness after five innings.
   Playing the fifth inning quickly could have inspired more play in the Keith Manufacturing against Bright Wood game that stood 20-20 after four.
   Instead, five runs by Bright Wood in the bottom of that fifth cut the hopes Keith Manufacturing created by scoring a run in the top of the final frame of their late Monday game.
   Action between them lasted until deep dusk, after the sun had set.
   League president Mitch Warren had singled in the go-ahead run for Keith Manufacturing in the top of the fifth.
   Unfortunately for Warren and Keith Manufacturing he couldn't quite chase down a fly ball. The Keith defense was hampered by having just nine players to cover territory which 10 are allowed to play.
   Brightwood used its extra person on defense to tighten the holes Keith Manufacturing had to hit to, yet the contest got close and stayed close after the 11 runs Brightwood scored in the bottom of the first inning to take an 11-5 lead were answered by 10 runs from Keith Manufacturing in the top of the second. The lead exchanged hands twice more before the 20-20 stalemate after four.
   Some earlier results that were accidentally reversed on score charts turned in by umpires to Warren resulted in an incorrect listing of standings earlier.
   The actual records of the eight teams in the league headed into the Monday, July 21, action that was the first in nearly three weeks for the leagues stood at:
   Wrangler Construction 12-0; Hippie Joe's 9-2*; Warriors 8-3*; Them Guys 5-7; Hunter Excavation 5-7; Keith Manufacturing 4-8; Brightwood 4-8; P.G.E. 3-9.
   The various wins of Monday kept Wrangler and Hippie Joe's ahead in the standings with the Warriors following. With six games left in the league for all the teams headed into July 23 action -- coupled with a maximum of two games difference between fourth and fifth, plus the potential for a tighter bunching of the fourth-, fifth-, sixth- and seventh-place teams going into the final week -- the seedings for a tournament coming up on Aug. 2 remain in great doubt.