This post was written by David Murphy. He was our shortstop and won our last two games on walkoff hits. He was also a part of several championship Fordham intramural teams. They even made a Geocities page about it.
The Rams Alumni softball team brought a successful finish to a dismal season last Monday night. For the second time in as many games, the sons and daughters of Mother Fordham battled back in the final frames to finish the year on a victorious note with a 8-7 win over the vaunted Mizuno machine.
“Regardless of the final win-loss record, I’m proud of this team,” manager Charlie O’Donnell said after the game. “I don’t think we’ll ever be accused of having the most talent in the league, but there’s no question that, as a team, we have the heart of a champion.”
Fordham struggled throughout the season with spotty defense and a lack of timely hitting. It wasn’t until the final stages of the season that Fordham seemed to find their groove. All told Fordham went 5-8 missing a playoff birth by a significant margin. Even still, O’Donnell saw seedlings of hope develop in the expansion franchise.
“When we came into the season we didn’t know what to expect,” O’Donnell said. “There was a big learning curve with this club but I think we definitely came into our own. You could see that, on both sides of the ball, we definitely began to gel as a unit throughout the last few games.”
Both of the final two contests in 2005 proved dramatic for the Rams. After a thrilling walk-off home run victory in the previous game, Fordham showed no sign of a let down in the last game of the season. Fordham went up by three going into the last inning when the same shoddy defense that had haunted them all season began to rear its ugly head. Pitcher Patty Dickerson, the indisputable team co-MVP after logging countless innings on the mound, saw misplay after misplay result in four unearned runs for Mizhuno.
That led to one final chance for a comeback by the Jesuit educated bunch.
In the bottom of the fifth, the always selective Ron Zapata led off with a single. He moved into scoring position on a hit by Jason Gianitti. Two batters later, Pawtucket’s own Ryan St. Germain singled in the tying run and moved the winning run into scoring position for shortstop Dave Murphy. Murphy, also a Pawtucket native, doubled home the game winner with a line drive to right ending Fordham’s inaugural season on a high note.
“I just got the pitch I was looking for,” Murphy said after the game. “We’ve battled back before, and the guys just did a great job of getting on base and I was fortunate enough to get a pitch I could handle.”
Murphy’s six hits in his final six at bats for Fordham this season were a big change from his hitherto lack luster performance. Many Rams’ observers lay the blame of Fordham’s largely unsuccessful campaign squarely on his shoulders. The captain of two Fordham University intramural softball championships with Team Shame, struggled mightily throughout 2005. Many believed he simply could not adjust to playing without the teammates that surrounded him from 2000-2004 at Fordham, capturing those two titles.
For Fordham, it was the best of times and it was the worst of times in 2005. Although the team chemistry seemed to mix well, particularly by the end of the season, a series of people moving to go along with inconsistent play on both offense and defense resulted in a sub-par performance.
Second baseman Trevor Freeman seemed to sum up the season best when packing up his locker in the Fordham clubhouse saying, “Maybe it’s because I’m an Oakland fan, but my mentality is, hey – wait till next year!”
And that is just what Fordham plans to do.