All good things must come to an end — even softball winning streaks. Texas Republic learned the truth of those words last week in a 12-10 loss to the Destroyers.
The game was the first regular season loss for Texas Republic since 2008 and ended a 22-game winning streak for the House Softball League team that brought home the 2009 championship.
“It was bound to happen sooner or later,” Texas Republic captain Josh Maxwell said. “We didn’t play our regular defense. Normally, when we’re not hitting, we can rely on our defense. This game was the perfect storm.”
The game was a tight back-and-forth affair throughout. In the bottom of the sixth inning, Texas Republic was down two runs with two runners on base. With the Destroyers outfielders playing deep to protect against Texas Republic’s prolific batting power, a shallow fly ball was hit to right-center field. Outfielder Jason Langton made a sliding catch, getting the third out. Langton would later learn that he broke a bone in his non-glove hand during the play.
The win may have been retribution for a 19-0 drubbing the Destroyers took from Texas Republic in last year’s tournament.
The Destroyers, a team of current and former Hill staffers with past Ohio connections, are 4-0, the seventh-ranked team in the league, while Texas Republic falls to ninth with a record of 4-1.
“It was our biggest win ever,” Langton said. “It was a huge accomplishment for us as a team, and we’re really looking forward to the rest of the season. We celebrated with one bourbon, one beer. We skipped one Scotch because people had to drive.”
Before the loss, Texas Republic’s regular season winning streak reached 17, three shy of the all-time House league record. The team also won five post-season games. House Softball League Commissioner Anthony Reed congratulated Texas Republic on the achievement.
“Texas Republic had a historic run,” Reed said. “As much as I’m sure Texas Republic would’ve liked that record, I’m sure their 2009 championship and gearing up for a possible first-ever repeat championship in 2010 is all that matters.”
While Maxwell was quick to dismiss any excuses for the loss, starting pitcher Corey Connors did miss the game.
“Sure we didn’t have our full team, but I don’t think it would have mattered,” Maxwell said. Connors last missed a game in the King of the Hill tournament in October, coincidentally, his team’s last loss before the Destroyers game.
Texas Republic will get a chance to bounce back from the loss in its next game against the Keystoners. The Keystoners present a unique challenge: The team is ranked eighth and beat Texas Republic in their two previous matchups, both before the winning streak began.
“We’re ticked off,” Maxwell said. “We’re ready to start a new streak.”
Check back in Around the Hill each Wednesday for more softball coverage.