After a successful season of new player growth in 2022, another strong recruitment push in early 2023 made it possible to launch a third team in pursuit of Division 3 glory. It was a tough call between the Half Pints or the Brewers, but ultimately the brew crew won the club vote and set sail on what would be an epic inaugural season.
The 2023 season began back in April with no less than SIX brand new teams forming to compete across Divisions 3 and 2. After watching the success of Average Joes in 2022, many had their eyes set on freshman year glory, but with 8 teams in Division 3 a 16 game season was going to be a long and grueling one.
Captained by sophomore Chuggers, Niall Ledford and Tom O’Leary, the season had an auspicious start with their first two games being delayed by weather as well as a bye week in week 2. It wasn’t until mid-May when they were finally able to complete a full game, but a 25-8 victory over the Thirsty Camels let the league know that the Brewers were ballers.
The Brewers celebrated their first ever home game at Wanderers with a second win versus, fellow newcomers to the league, the G&T’s of Grant Thornton. But it was week 6 when the Brewers were dealt their first loss by the Hippos of Hippetys Softball. The game was tied 4-4 in the 4th when the Hippos drove in 12 runs over the next two innings and never looked back. But that was just the wake up call the Brewers needed to up their game if they were going to make a run.
The bats came back with fury the following two weeks as the Brewers put up a preposterous 71 combined runs versus the Ashbourne Comets and Wicklow Cubs. Sitting at 5-1 at this point in the season, the Brewers had the league’s attention and put the rest of the division on notice that defenses needed to be alert when the Brewers were at the plate.
Week 9 was the first of what would ultimately end up being a 3 game series versus Ireland’s first ever LGBT+ softball team, The Stoneballerz. This was also the first time our club would have a game played at Blackrock College. It ended up being an 8 inning thriller with the Brewers walking away with the 15-14 victory on a walk off hit by 1st year softballer You Bin who knocked in her rookie counterpart Tatiana from 3rd. It was the Brewers first close game, but they handled the pressure well.
7 days later, the Brewers and Stoneballerz faced off again for a makeup game from earlier in the season, this time at St. Anne’s Park due to some unexpected field maintenance at Stannaway Park. Round 2 of this budding rivalry rent to the Stoneballerz on a walk off home run just before the game was called due to rain on a soggy July afternoon in Clontarf. The series was split 1-1 with both teams having won by just a single run in each encounter…
The Brewers got back to their winning ways a week later back at the now friendly confines of Blackrock College winning the first of two matchups versus the veteran Deadly Suspects. The following week they completed the season sweep versus the Wicklow Cubs in Greystones, but then dropped a heartbreaker of a loss in their second match with the Deadly Suspects at Marlay Park. At this point in the season, it was clear that the Brewers at 9-3 were in a dead heat to finish at the top of the table, but would it be enough?
They would go on to win their final three matches of the season with a combined score of 77-29 leaving the Brewers tied at the top of the table with wildly successful Stoneballerz who also finished the 16 game season at 13-3 and would force a one-game playoff with the Division 3 championship on the line.
Freshly hungover from Electric Picnic, the Brewers came out firing with a 12-5 lead by the fourth inning against the Stoneballerz in the Division 3 playoff. The Stoneballerz battled back to tie the game up at 14-14 heading into the 7th inning. With the game on the line, the Brewers managed one run as Edwin sent the ball deep into the other side of Brickfield park for a solo homerun. The Brewers defense stepped onto the field one up in the bottom of the final inning. Cheered on by supporters from the Kegs and Chuggers from the sideline, ace pitcher Rudolph struck out two in the bottom of the 7th to seal the championship and promotion to Division 2 in the 2024 season.
It was a season for the ages and we can’t wait to see what 2024 has in store for us. Enjoy the off season everyone!