GOP Teams Return to a Definitive Rivalry

Posted June 29, 2010 at 4:29pm

In a classic Senate Softball League matchup played along the banks of the muddy Potomac River on Friday evening, the RBIs of Texas topped the Department of Homeland Security’s HomeRun Security in a 23-8 blowout between these two Division 8 teams.

In its first game of the season, the RBIs — which was initially a joint team formed more than a decade ago by staffers for Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) and Phil Gramm (R-Texas) — took an early lead, scoring three runs on a sacrifice fly and a base-hit double in the bottom of the first. HomeRun Security kept the game close early, however, scoring one run in the second inning followed by a strong third inning that saw a home run drive in three DHS runs.

The RBIs, however, established a clear lead in the fourth and fifth innings, pounding DHS’ pitching and fielding with aggressiveness at the plate. In the fourth inning, the RBIs scored three runs, and in an epic fifth inning, the RBIs drove home 14 runs — all while holding DHS to just three runs through both innings.

“We were on a winning streak — until now,” said acting DHS team captain Ricardo Sanchez, whose team members have been playing together in some form for three years.

Sanchez said the DHS team, which made the Senate League playoffs last year along with the RBIs, had some big lineup changes this year, including a much younger group of players.

“We’ve had some better-hitting games but overall a good performance,” said Sanchez, remaining optimistic despite his team’s loss.

“This is our first game of the season and we’ve got some new recruits, so it’s a good opportunity to get to know each other,” said Bill Christian, RBIs coach. According to Christian, his team — once composed of Hill staffers — is now a colorful menagerie of current and former Senate staffers, military types and old friends.

Despite the team’s commanding performance, Christian insisted that the RBIs were actually playing short-staffed. “We’ve got a lot of what will be our regular players arriving in July — so we’ll have a much more robust lineup,” Christian said.

“We would like to be in a position to win the division again,” Christian said. “We’d like to be in a position to be a contender for the Senate championship again. We were the Senate champions twice a few years back [and] we were the first ever King of the Hill champs.”

The RBIs, whose first win of the season propelled the team to third place in its Senate League division, next play Sen. John Kerry’s (D-Mass.) Green Monsters on July 9, while the next DHS game is against Sen. Richard Burr’s (R-N.C.) Bad News Burrs on July 8.

Check back in Around the Hill each Wednesday for more softball coverage. Think your team deserves a mention? E-mail your softball tips, league gossip and trash talk to byron.tau@gmail.com.