Get ready for some epic softball.
House Softball League regular-season play really heats up when two veteran undefeated rivals go head-to-head in a classic summer matchup. The third-ranked Liberty Square Sliders will take on the top-ranked DGS in a Thursday night battle that the league has named its game of the week.
The DGS (the name once stood for Denny’s Grand Slam; the team was originally formed by staffers of former Speaker Dennis Hastert) topped the Sliders 10-6 in last year’s contest, but the all-time game record between the teams is tied at two games each. The Sliders (formerly the Insliders) claimed victory in 2007 and 2008. Thursday’s game will be both a tie-breaking match and will also likely determine who is on the top in the league standings.
“My assumption is, based on the number crunching, whoever wins will be No. 1,” Sliders co-captain Matthew Anthes said.
“Both of our teams have been at the top of the standings for years,” DGS coach and league Commissioner Anthony Reed said. “It’s a pretty high-profile matchup every time we’ve had a chance to play.”
Both teams have had significant amounts of post-season success in the tournament, but they’ve never played each other in a post-season tournament. Reed says regular-season play is usually the only time that these two teams meet during the year — meaning that this rivalry game takes on extra significance beyond being a tie-breaker and determining league standings.
“We’re tied at two. If you look at the scores, they’ve been close every year. We’ve had a couple of one-run games,” Anthes said.
According to Anthes, the rivalry is also interesting because members of the DGS and the Sliders are also teammates on the champion Well Swung team in the Senate Softball League — a team that won both the last year’s league championship and the annual King of the Hill game between the House and the Senate leagues. In short, these teammates will be squaring off on Thursday night against each other.
Reed echoes the friendly rivalry aspect of the annual game, saying, “We’re good friends with a lot of the guys on that team and have been for a number of years.”
While Reed says the DGS’ lineup remains unchanged from last season, Anthes says the Sliders have a handful of new players. But neither team would venture a prediction on the outcome.
“I think the only thing that I can predict is that it’ll be a close one,” Reed said. “I won’t go any further than that.”
Anthes said, “I like our team this year, but I’m not going to be bold enough to make a prediction.”
The match will be held at the Sliders’ home field, just off of South Capitol and I streets Southwest at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.
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