Thursday, May 10

early roar falls silent as paper tigers drop opener

A first inning outburst by the Paper Tigers wasn’t enough for an Opening Day win, as the Chronicle’s softball team came up short against Fuller Landscaping 15-11. The Paper Tigers (0-1) reeled off five runs in the top of the first, but struggled to keep their opponents off the scoreboard during the first game of the 2007 Fort Collins summer softball season.

“I think [the Paper Tigers] tired themselves out in that first turn,” said Jess Knudsen, local sports radio personality and co-host of “Cheap Seats” on KRFC 88.9 FM.

Lee LaJeunesse pitched the whole game, letting up all 15 runs in 4 innings of work, including a couple of homers. However, many of Fuller’s runs were unearned. The Paper Tigers’ defense suffered some fielding blunders related to opening-game jitters and rust.

“I was slipping all over the place out there,” said third baseman Joe Marchfield, of the infield conditions. “If I’m going to be falling all over and bruising myself like that, I like to wake up not knowing what happened.”

Fuller’s five-run, two-out rally in the bottom of the fourth gave them a 15-8 lead that put the game out of reach, despite a cagey comeback by the Paper Tigers.

“I’m not disappointed,” said coach Josh Zaffos during a 45-minute postgame press conference, during which he threw two tantrums and a stuffed leather chair. “Our team played its heart out there tonight, and even if we didn’t win, I saw a lot of competitive zeal after the game at Pitchers, and that gives me high expectations for our next game.”

Several players came up big at the plate, including Amy Burdett, playing without her nose stud, and Scott Davies. First base coach-turned designated hitter Dawn Paepke turned in a heroic, Kirk Gibson-esque performance, playing through a shin splint injury and hustling out a few grounders to reach base.

“Oh, please,” said Paepke, when asked about her performance. “What are you talking about?”

The Paper Tigers, proudly sponsored and outfitted by Go West T-Shirt Company have a bye next week, and will return to the field on May 23 to play the Fort Collins Social and Sports Club.

“We’ll spend the off week scrimmaging and at the batting cages,” Zaffos said. “And we’ll suit up in our jerseys and go drinking at Pitchers, too.”

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