Last Wednesday ended my softball season. I played in two seasons. One started back in April and ended in August and the other was a quick 6 week fall league. The first team I played on was a solid team. We played 24 regular season games winning 19 of them. We ended up losing in the playoffs to a team that brought in a “hot bat.” It really pissed us off because we played this team six times and none of them hit a ball over our outfielders heads. Then we get to the playoffs and half of them hit the ball to fence. We noticed that they were all using the same bat. We challenged the bat but it was not on the list of illegal bats because it was a new model. It was a bunch of crap to say the least. We finished in second using the same guys the whole season. This same team brought in 4 “ringers” for the playoffs. The league we play on does not do a good job of checking id’s or rosters. During the fall league we finished in second in the regular season and in the playoffs. The team we lost to was better than us. They beat us in the regular season and playoffs straight up. It was a fun year of playing softball. Our team was solid up and down and the guys were easy to get a long with.
One of my goals for this year was to hit a home run over the fence. The field I play at is 330 feet down the lines and 390″ dead center. Its not a small field by any means. We also play with the “Gold Dot” softballs. They are a little softer than the “Red Dot” softballs so they do not travel as far.
Growing up I was never a power hitter. My dad always told me to hit up the middle in softball and to just get the bat on it in baseball. Hitting up the middle is not such a good idea in our leagues. Its a unspoken rule that you do not hit it anywhere near the pitcher. Even in our league there where some choice words passed along when a pitcher was hit. Of course nobody wants to hit the pitcher but with a softball being so easy to place you just don’t do it.
One thing I learned how to do at the end of softball last year was to pull the ball. My main goal before was to hit ground balls between the infielders and just get on base. If I could get a double, then great but I knew my team needed me on base.
When I started doing P90X last winter I never expected to put on 10 pounds of muscle. My biceps, shoulders, legs and back started to develop very quickly. All of this muscle was going to help me drive the ball this up coming softball season.
Going into the spring season it took me a couple weeks to get my swing together. Even though I was in pretty good shape I was still a bit rusty. My hits were my normal singles and occasional doubles. Nothing fancy but sound hitting. After 2 months of playing I started loosening up a little bit and decided one day to start pulling the ball down the line. What I did next opened up my eyes to how much stronger I really was. The ball I hit went right down the left field line and hit the fence staying fair by about 4 feet. Another 3 more feet in the air and it was gone. I got a triple out of it and was amazed. My teammates were even more surprised than I was. During those two months I had not even hit one over a outfielders head and now I crush one. This gave me a lot of confidence to keep on swinging for the fences. During the first season I hit the fence 3 more times and rolled about 4 more to the fence. What I noticed was now the outfielders were backing up about 15 feet from where they stood the first time I came up. Sometimes I knew it was not worth trying to hit a home run because if I did not hit it out then it was going to be long fly ball and more than likely would be caught on the warning track. What I did now was hit line drives over the short stops head into the gap. I am fast enough to leg this into a double every time. The outfielders had to respect the long ball so by backing up they gave me more room to hit lasers at them. Since they were playing so deep there was no way they would catch me by the time they field the ball. So I pretty much would get one chance a game at hitting a home run. If it didn’t go over then at least I could help me team by hitting what would have been singles into doubles.
The fall season was more of the same. I still kept on doing P90X. My swing was still on. With the air getting a little bit colder the ball was like hitting a rock. I live in Michigan in case you didn’t know. Going through this fall season I kept on getting close. More deep hits landing on the warning track, rolling on the warning track, but nothing over. One time I hit one down the line and the wind blew it foul by about 5 feet and it went over. Needless to say, but I was disappointed. If it was fair it was still gone. Playoffs came around and last Wednesday was cold as hell. It was a single elimination playoff format. Three games had to be won that night. Two more triples again for me with one single. Not bad. Both triples went down the line and off the fence. We won. On to game two. Another two triple game with a double and a single. I hit the ball very well in both games. Its like that damn 330 foot fence was just taunting me all year. We made the championship game but it started at 9:55pm. It was 30 degrees out. Definitely the coldest game I have ever played softball in. Our team had a one hour break between games where we stood inside to keep warm. Bad idea. When it was our time to play our bodies were not ready to get cold again. We came out flat and stunk it up. We were mercied. Since I bat near the end of the lineup I only got one at bat. What really sucked was that I was pissed we were playing so bad that I was ready to just crush one. The left fielder was playing me shallow so I had a feeling I could at least get it over his head. I crushed this ball. When I rounded first the ball was still in the air and watching it start to come down. After rounding second I saw it hit the bottom of the fence. Since it was not down the line the ball traveled 340 feet and needed to go 342 to go out. I did get a inside the park home run (about time). It was my first inside the park home run where there where no errors involved. My teammates said the ball looked like it was going out but the wind was blowing in and it knocked the ball down. At least I did get one home run but I really wanted one to go out.
P90X helped me out so much this year playing softball. I went from being able to hit 290 foot pop ups to 340 foot bombs. Since my goal was to hit a home run I spent more time trying to bulk up than working on my cardio. I’m not slow by any means but I know next year I need to work on my sprinting. Maybe some of those triples I hit would have been home runs if I was a half a step faster. My fielding was great. My arm was much stronger than previous years and my range from doing P90X Plyometrics helped my lateral movements playing second base. If you play softball and are looking for a great softball workout, I highly suggest doing P90X. You can take a look at my P90X Results to see what kind of shape you can get in. Next year I am definitely going to hit a home run.