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Diggin’ the Sport

Teams go high and low in Comet Bowl league

Press photos by John Burbridge Norman Kaufman, left, of Set U Straight tries to hit through a pair of Karma blockers during Comet Bowl Sand Volleyball League action.
Press photos by John Burbridge
Norman Kaufman, left, of Set U Straight tries to hit through a pair of Karma blockers during Comet Bowl Sand Volleyball League action.

By John Burbridge

sports@charlescitypress.com

 

CHARLES CITY — Former major league pitcher Rip Sewell is famous for the “Eephus Pitch” — a high-arcing offering that helped him twice win 21 games in a season and appear in three All-Star games.

Jay Jung has developed an “Eephus Serve” which in part keeps his Farm Bureau team high in contention within the Comet Bowl Sand Volleyball League.

“I only play outdoors,” the Charles City resident said. “I don’t think I could serve that way indoors.”

The gymnasium would have to have a ceiling as high as St. Peter’s Basilica’s.

Jung’s towering underhand serves have a tendency to addle opponents like wind-bewitched pop-ups hit at the old Candlestick Park. The White Mambas were the latest victims as Farm Bureau defeated them in straight games on Thursday.

Yet Jung insists his team’s success isn’t based on gimmicks.

“We’ve been playing in this league for about 10 years,” Jung said of his Farm Bureau squad. “We’ve won (league titles) before and we’re usually in the top half in standings.

“But the women on this team are the ones who make us so good,” Jung said of his wife, Marlowe, and other female teammates Sheena Bohlen and Danielle Rippentrop. “They were all-state volleyball players in high school … played for top college programs. They’re the real volleyball players.”

Lisa Berns didn’t play volleyball in high school or college.

“I played a little in middle school,” she said.

On Thursday, Berns was required to cover a lot of green — or rather a lot of sandy brown — as her Team 6 squad was only four-persons strong.

“We had a couple of people who couldn’t make it this week,” Berns said. “We normally have a full team.”

This week wasn’t a good time to be two people short for Team 6 as they were scheduled to face the undefeated Gravediggers.

With Berns diving and digging all over the place, Team 6 nearly pulled off an upset in the first game.

“We just put two of our guys on the outside at the net and tried to force things to the middle,” Berns said.

But the Gravediggers not only had numbers on their side, but superior athleticism as well as they eventually rid themselves of the stubborn Team 6 and improved to 11-0 for the season.

The Thursday night league lasts until late August — about when the fall and winter bowling season starts at Comet Bowl.

Jon Heinz thinks his first-year Karma team has a chance to be the top team in the end.

“We have a couple of losses, but I think just about everyone in this league has at least a couple losses by now,” said Heinz, apparently unaware that the Gravediggers were still unblemished at the time

“We’re a new team, but some of us have been in the league for a while on other teams,” Heinz said after Karma defeated Set U Straight in “straight” games. “This is about my seventh year.”

Lisa Berns digs a kill attempt out of the sand while doing her best to keep her undermanned Team 6 team competitive against first-place Gravediggers.
Lisa Berns digs a kill attempt out of the sand while doing her best to keep her undermanned Team 6 team competitive against first-place Gravediggers.
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