The MLML Softball Teams

By Lloyd Kitazono (1975-1978)

MLMl softball team pic 1977
1977 MLML Softball team. Top row from left: Steve Fitzwater, Lloyd Kitazono (Captain), Charlie Phillips, Jim Harvey, Steve Rushkin, Jim Oakden; Bottom row from left: Roger Helm, Frank Storti, Steve Locy, and Mike Gordon (Paul Reilly, not in picture).

 

Lloyd Kitazono: In the spring of 1977, MLML put together a men’s softball team that played in Monterey’s Slow-Pitch Softball league.  The team practiced, at least a couple of times, at Moss Landing Elementary School.  What the team may have lacked in softball experience and talent, it made up for it  with enthusiasm and energy.  The team won some and lost some and were quick to share a pizza and beer to toast their victory or drown the sorrows of a loss.  A good time and good memories were had by all.

Jim Harvey: One particular moment stands out for me, and is retold at family events. My brother-in-law, Jerry (who played professional baseball in the Expos organization and pitched and coached at Santa Clara University) was in the stands for one of our games with his wife (Patricia – Mary Yoklavich’s sister) and some of Jerry’s college players. No pressure on the marine scientists pretending to be ball players. I was playing left field and there was a single hit to left with a player on second. The guy on second rounded third as I came up throwing weakly into home. It was close but the umpire called the player safe at home. From left field I could hear my sister-in-law yell to the umpire, “YOU LIAR!. Gets a laugh out of the family every time we tell the story.

 

MLML Softball: The Gobie Sox years (2004 to 2016)

By Brent Hughes (Founding Member, Gobie Sox Softball Club)

For nearly a quarter century the bats went silent at MLML. That was until a ragtag group of MLML grad students founded the Gobie Sox Softball Club in 2004. Since then the Gobie Sox have become a fixture in the Co-Ed B/C Division of the Capitola Slowpitch Softball League. That first ragtag group eventually morphed into a championship softball team, much to the admiration of those who walked the hallowed ground of Jade Street Park.

Gobie Sox
Gobie Sox softball team (photo by Jasmine Ruvalcaba)

 

A group of MLML students organized the Gobie Sox as a way to build camaraderie, especially after realizing that “we are MLML students and might be here for a while so we better learn to like each other”. Led by the Godfather of the Gobie Sox, Jon Walsh and Allison Meyers Crimmins, we founded the MLML softball team v. 2.0. When deciding a team name, we wanted one that would reflect both the sport and our MLML connection. So we chose a genera of fish, specifically the clingfish, Gobiesox spp., which is found in both freshwater and marine habitats across the Americas. The naming of the team was clearly an Ichthyology Lab decision or else we would have been named the Macrocystises, Sea Otters, Polychaetes, Mercury, Coriolis Effect, or Santa Cruz Mudstones, for example. Luckily the name stuck.

The early years of the team were defined by quick runners and good fielding. We seldom hit home runs, and if we did they were in the park. The key to the team’s success was that we had a combination of really good men and women players. And through the years every lab has had a player on the team, even the Marine Pollution Studies Lab (the people who work at Norte). In our inaugural season we made it to the finals of the championship and in the second year we won! This was followed by a celebration at the 10th hole house (a very large house on the Seascape golf course inhabited by 5 MLMLers), but that is a story best not saved for a respectable public blog like the MLML 50th Anniversary blog.

The 2005 championship was followed by another one in 2007 (we think). This sparked all sorts of enthusiasm in the public community including a sponsorship by the highly respected One Double Oh Seven Club where we often congregated after games, a requirement of our agreement. Given our beer intake after games, this was a good financial decision for the 007. When we all finally graduated 6 years later the team more or less disbanded. The torch was picked up by a younger group of students led by Cori Gibble and later Brynn Kauffman and her husband Zach Kauffman. This was also a period that represented a big shift in Gobie Sox softball philosophy from one that was driven by speed and good defense to one driven by power. Especially with the addition of the bash brothers: Will “the Thrill” Fennie, “Big” Steve Martenuk and “Long Gone” John Negrey. All of who are not too nimble on their feet (besides maybe Will), but can bash the ball over the fence.

The formation of the Gobie Sox Softball Club has been a big part of recent MLML culture and is now engrained in its heritage. A heritage, which promotes teambuilding, sportsmanship, and fun. It has been great to be a part of it.