The Chicago Gems competed in the 2006 Roy Hobbs World Series, held in Ft. Myers, Florida October 25-28. The Gems were represented by Amy, Kate, Joelle, Brenda, Flor, Anna and fall season newcomer Jill. The Gems were joined by Susan and Karina from the Lasers in the Eastern Women's Baseball Conference (DC), Kimberly formerly from the New York WBA, now living in Atlanta, and Shawn from the Detroit Danger.
The Gems opened the tournament on Wednesday night under the lights in Lee County Stadium against the South Florida Crush. Errors and walks doomed the Gems, and they dropped they game 14-3. Kate led the offense by going 2-for-2 with a double and a walk. Karina, Amy and Anna also led off the tournament with hits in their first game.
Thursday was a beautiful day to play two, so the Gems did. The morning 21-3 loss against the Orlando Heat put the phrase "a bad day on the ball field is still better than a good day at the office" to the test, but a lot was learned. The Gems regrouped and played solid ball in their afternoon game against Pac West. The Gems made no errors, only gave up one walk and saw the bats start to come alive as they were defeated by the Pac West Wildcats 7-2. Amy and Kimberly were the key offensive combination, as Amy got on twice, stole second and then Kim knocked her in both times for the Gems only runs. Shawn and Brenda also had two hits in the game.
The Gems opened Friday with their last pool game, a 10-0 loss to the team that finished second in the tournament, the Nashua Pioneers.
The playoffs began in the afternoon, pitting the two winless teams, The Gems and the California Sabres, against each other, for a shot to play the number one seed. Shawn took the hill for the Gems. The Gems gave her the lead before she even took the hill, as they scored a run in the top of the first. Unfortunately, we gave them the run right back. After a scoreless second, the Gems grabbed lead again, scoring two in the top of the third; the Sabres scored one in the bottom. The Gems bats came alive in the top of the fourth for five runs. Shawn "helped herself" by driving in two runs while Jill and Kate each hit doubles and scored. The Sabres came back, scoring three in the fifth and three more in the sixth while keeping the Gems off the board, taking a 9-7 lead into the seventh and final inning. Jill led off the seventh with a walk, then two of the next three batters walked, loading the bases for Brenda with one out. Brenda hit a slow roller to short, then sped down the line for an infield single and an RBI. The shortstop's throw was offline and headed into foul territory. Fortunately, the Gems had their speed on the bases and the runners from second AND first were able to score, giving the Gems a 10-9 lead. Amy drove Brenda in for an "insurance run" that ended up being the game-winning RBI. The Gems trotted out to their positions in the bottom of the seventh with an 11-9 lead. The first batter grounded out to Joelle at first base. The second batter hit a double to left then stole third base. The next batter reached base on an error and the runner on third scored. The Gems lead was now 11-10 with one out. The runner on first stole second, putting the tying run in scoring position. Shawn bore down and threw her next pitch, which was lifted into left. Jill camped under the ball then threw to Kate at second to double-off the runner who had strayed too far. VICTORY!
The Gems faced the Pioneers again, a match-up of the number one and number nine seeds. The Pioneers were victorious again, 11-1. The run the Gems scored (Amy drove in Brenda) was only one of six the Pioneers had allowed in five games.