URBAN ACHIEVERS, like Fletch, truly define grace under pressure

Monday, May 23rd, 2011


Gladsaxe, Denmark


Rumors had been circulating all over Gladsaxe this past weekend about the possible return of the Urban Achievers from Copenhagen. On Monday night, all speculation was put to rest as that ragtag team from the big city strolled up the grassy knoll and right on through the home dugout where they greeted the local youth stars with high-fives and what-ups.

A smattering of casual Danish, broken Spanish and American slang could be heard emanating from the visiting dugout all evening. This eclectic band of ballplayers show great range -- both in age and on the diamond -- with guys from their mid-twenties to late forties flashing the leather and giving lashings of the tongue.

Ten Achievers turned up for this second exhibition match against GSK, minus their starting pitcher and slugger Captain Feebles (flu), and "he of two homers over the fence last time" Dudermensch (ump). But something unpredictable and spontaneous always seems to happen when the Achievers are around. Monday's game was no exception.

The big city bats came out swinging and put a two-spot up in the 1st. Three-Fingers Jensen showed some vintage stuff, locating his riseball in both the lower and upper parts of the zone and getting real zip on that fastball. It soon became clear that the girl&boys from the 'burbs couldn't touch the heat. Jensen eased up and threw some traditional scrimmage game strikes to get Gladsaxe back in the chase.

And all of a sudden the Achievers were standing still at the dish, waiting for second chances that never came, and getting caught looking at the expanding zone of one headstrong homeplate umpire steadily screaming, "AGHHHREEEE!"

With Jensen smartly strapping on the tools of ignorance -- so as not to lose his touch on the mound -- the ball found its way into the hand of a familiar old arm...

from the front row.

Not in uniform or on the pre-game roster, Marky Mark Bjoerneboe hopped off the picnic bench and onto the diamond for the first time this season. In his surprising (re-)appearance, Bjoerneboe slung some slow curves, mixed speeds on his fastball, dropped a few change-ups for strikes and gave the suburban boys&girl something to hit. All while wearing tight jeans and designer shoes. The entertainment factor of the game had gotten Markedly better.

Yet, the Achievers' relievers in the infield all made at least one error, and the outfield starters in left and center had a tough time tracking down the long flyballs from GSK's star hitter/pitcher/catcher Daniel Sumthinorother, who ended up w/ two inside-the-park homers-on-errors. Although she didn't reach base, GSK's lone female player forced the infielders to play in too close for comfort. The youthful hometeam looked poised for victory.

Bjoerneboe was still pitching effectively, but the Copenhagen bats were stiff and slow and resting on shoulders. That is, until Grandpappy Bjoerneboe Sr. drove in a run in the 6th with an opposite field line-drive that nearly killed the other elderly gentleman playing first base. But the Achievers had to settle for one, and GSK was set to close the game out in the 7th.

Gladsaxe sent in their star firstbaseman to finish 'em off, an eighth-grade kid by the name of Anton Brown. Although possessing natural talent and great potential, the kid just didn't seem to have his stuff on this particular night. The Achievers, like a pack of wily wolves, soon surrounded the infield with baserunners and went in for the kill.

Hit after walk after stolen base was followed by another hit or walk. After four runs had scored there was still nobody out. Not believing in math or time, the ump had a less-than-Euclidian sense of what the score was, but knew if the Achievers got a couple more runs, they'd be in the lead. The crafty, crazy visitors came through. They delivered with a pair after batting through the lineup and swaggered off the field with confidence after the third out.

Three-Fingered Jensen went back out to get the save and you could sense the fear in the home batters as they shook in the box, hoping not to get beaned -- or worse yet, caught looking. But the young Gladsaxans managed to get A.Brown to third with one out. Coach Wendy urged on the lads from her third-base coaching box, but 'twas all in vain.

On a 3-2 riseball, one of the young dudes hit a bloop liner directly into the glove of Peter "Jeter" Munch standing inches from the bag. A.Brown had gotten an aggressive lead down the line, anticipating scoring the tying run on a ground ball, but was instead doubled-up to end the game.

The victory gave the Achievers a two-games-to-none lead in the exhibition series, and a boost of confidence heading into their June 2nd showdown at home against the old boys from Aarhus. Get your friends and family together for that one, folks. It'll be a double-header to remember...