Softball Team Wins Division Title Despite Dumpster Fire Delay


Sinaia Keith Lang

The fire quickly spread through the gated-in pile of trash.

The Girls’ Varsity Softball team was three outs away from earning their fourth consecutive division title with their ace pitcher and captain, Anna Leidner ’18, warming up in the circle. Suddenly, cries of “fire” echoed around the field, and players ran into their respective dugouts.

When the team had arrived to the field two hours earlier, they immediately started pouring on the sunscreen, finishing their first of many water bottles, and finding small pockets of shade to sit in during one of the hottest games of the season. The Public Schools Athletic League had sent out a heat advisory for the 97-degree day.

The first-place Bronx Science team (8-0 entering the May 3rd, 2018 game) took the lead early against the then second-place Lehman team (5-3 entering the May 3rd game) by scoring five runs in the first inning. By the middle of the fifth inning, Bronx Science was ahead 12-0 and needed to hold Lehman to no more than two runs in order to win by mercy rule. That’s when the fire erupted in the gated-in trash and an indefinite time-out was called.

“I saw the fire first but I wasn’t sure it was real until I pointed it out to Alex [Feeley ’18] who then called 911,” said Jessica Muller ’21. A Lehman coach ran into the school to summon a safety agent.

“This was easily the most memorable game of the season.”

The fire quickly spread from a single trash bag to the whole pile. A slight breeze had many concerned that the fire would spread to nearby trees. After a ‘pop’ startled numerous attendees, all people on the field were moved from twenty feet to over a hundred feet of the blaze.

“Once we were far away from the fire, I remembered that it was my turn to bring the team snack, and I was mad that I had left the cookies on the bleachers near the fire. I didn’t want all the chocolate chips melting!” joked Maya Schuchert ’20.

The FDNY arrived and started hosing the fire, a process that took over half an hour due to the height of the trash pile hiding pockets of flames in lower layers and the slight breeze, making the fire more difficult to contain.

“It was pretty crazy,” said Christina Satina ’19.

When the firefighters had tamed the fire down to a few trash bags and declared it was safe to return, the game resumed, and Bronx Science maintained the score to beat the second place competition. The game wrapped up a week of four consecutive away games for the team.

“This was easily the most memorable game of the season,” said Leidner.

The game balls were awarded to Uma Balachandran ’18 for stepping in as a reserve catcher to let Feeley cool down, and Leidner for striking ten batters out. A game ball was going to be given to the firefighters as a token of appreciation but, in the words of Coach Morris, “the fire still isn’t completely out.”