Two years after starting their Santa Monica Adult Softball D-League careers with a combined 0-23 record through two seasons, Team Morethan U found themselves in the league’s championship game. Comprised of 13 27-to-31-year-old high school friends, the team jumped out to a 14-0 first inning lead over the top-seeded Tommy Chronert’s.
“We were used to that happening against us,” Morethan U right fielder and catcher Gunnar Kohl said.
By the top of the seventh and final inning, Morethan U squandered their lead and faced defeat. But then, with two outs, a miracle happened. Morethan U scored five consecutive runs and held off the Tommy Chronert’s to win the D-League title, 22-19.
Kohl described the team’s feeling as “nothing but pure elation.” He added, “It was pretty unbelievable.”
As they would routinely do, Morethan U left the field and headed straight for Lincoln Boulevard’s Cock ‘n Bull, an old-fashioned English pub. But after winning the championship, Morethan U partied just a bit harder than usual. The team celebrated until 1 a.m., basking in the thrill of victory.
Led by manager Alec Gunny, Morethan U formed in the fall of 2017. The team’s roster is predominantly filled with Loyola High School (West L.A.) graduates. Softball gives the friends a reason to get together and work towards a common goal, in the spirit of fun and competition.
“We would play against guys who take it way too seriously and it was funny watching them,” Kohl said.
Morethan U’s first season ended without a single win at 0-12. To begin their second season, the team rattled off 11 more consecutive losses. In the final game of that season, however, one play changed everything.
Second baseman Vaun Lennon hit a walkoff home run and Morethan U secured their first ever victory. Despite the lone win, Morethan U didn’t finish high enough in the standings to qualify for that season’s four-team playoff tournament.
Through building on-field chemistry, Morethan U’s eliminated bad habits. 2019’s spring championship squad featured nearly 75 percent of the team’s original players.
“This journey’s been wild for us because we’ve always been the worst team,” Kohl said.
The team’s name was created “on a whim” by Gunny, without any deeper meaning to it. As Kohl described the name, “how many runs do we have? More than you!”
One Morethan U player that embodies this mantra particularly well, according to his teammate, is John Lopateo. Kohl said he’s known for his athleticism and home run hitting. Lopateo is better known by his nickname, “meat.”
Morethan U begins their quest to repeat as D-League champions this week, with the start of the league’s 2019 summer season.
editor@smdp.com

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