Oh What a Game!
Due to Mother’s Day this Sunday, the HDL traditionally plays the Friday before (Mother’s Day). Homer Skelton Ford/MetlifeWhite team faced Nationwide Blue team. Last place vs First Place. David vs Goliath. This routine game turned into an impressive pitching duel! For those who missed this game, talk to your fellow HDL players who played in this game and you are likely to hear more details than this Blog can do it justice. Here are just some of the memories that will make this game special:
For various reasons, each team had to play this game with missing teammates. The White team was missing Cory Morgan (work injury), James Moroshak (work), Kevin Nilson (work). Nationwide Blue team missed Bo McMinn (out of town), Mike Morris (Unknown), and Terry Terrell (Work); Josh Huggins attended and did the line-up duties with Bo unable to attend.
As I stated earlier, this routine game turned into an impressive pitching duel between Andrew Waddell and James Skinner! Through 5-1/2 innings, the score was 1-0 in favor of Nationwide. That one run came in the 4th inning on a ground ball force out by Glenn Coombes who avoided the double play that would have prevented the run from 3rd to score. The run that scored, Jeff Combs, had reached on an error. All night long, James Skinner had to trust his pitching and trust his defense to make plays to wiggle out of jams. With six errors committed by the White team infield, it is astonishing that James was able to hold the potent Blue team to only one run through 6 innings.
Meanwhile, Andrew Waddell was as impressive as he was in his previous 4 starts. This being his 5th start, his 15 inning restriction was exceeded after the 3rd inning of this game. With Bo McMinn not available, the Blue team felt pretty confident that Andrew would be tough to beat…and he was! Through 5 innings, the only threats Andrew faced from the White team offense was James Skinner (3 for 4), Chris Slayton (1 for 3) and Kevin Latham (1 for 2). As the White team continued to keep the game close, their confidence to secure a victory stayed strong. So in the bottom of the 6th nning, it was James Skinner again getting on base with a deep fly to left that missed a home run by just a few feet and allowed James to reach 2nd and advance to third on a passed ball. After Chris Slayton was hit by a pitch, Kevin Latham smashed a hard hit ground ball back to Waddell who immediately turned to Skinner who was caught between 3rd & home for an easy tag out. This was the 2nd time James had failed to score from 3rd base as in the 4th inning he was gunned down at the plate when Chris Slayton shot a ground ball to Glenn Coombes who threw out Skinner at the plate.
With James Skinner’s out in the 6th, it looked like Blue would get out of the inning. But White team left fielder, Rick Haygood, tied the game with a hot shot over 2nd base that scored Slayton. This set up Kevin Latham at 2nd and Rick Haygood on 1st when John DiGiacomo came to the plate. Lefty vs lefty. In two previous at bats, Jocko had trouble with the Blue Team Lefty, but this time he was determined to get a better piece of the ball. A well placed flare over the Blue Team 3rd baseman, John McPhail, allowed Kevin Latham to put the White team ahead 2-1.
In the top of the 7th, the White team was thinking, 3 outs and we take home our first win of the season. The Blue team leadoff hitter, Tim Wallenstrom watched strike 3 go by for out #1. But Lead-off hitter, Jeff Allen got the rally started by getting on base. Out number 2 was a unexpected when Brian Nilsen was caught “looking” at a Skinner fork ball. One more out and game over – didn’t happen. Skinner got John McPhail to ground the ball to White team Shortstop, John Murry, but the ball went under Murray’s glove to allow McPhail to get on base and move Jeff Allen to third. Big decision time for White team: Walk Andrew Waddell or pitch to him? The decision was to roll-the-dice and try to get Andrew to go after something off the plate. Only problem with this strategy was it placed a lot more pressure on White team cather, Travis Hill, who had not allowed a passed ball or wild pitch the entire game. First pitch to Waddell was a low fastball that skipped off Travis’s shin guard and glance to the backstop – Jeff Allen scored the tying run.
Even though the White team was home team, they had the bottom of the order leading off the 7th. 3 Up – 3 down. An extra inning was forced to be played to decide a winner. It was ugly. Blue team scored 5 runs in top of 8th and the White team was shut-out by Waddell in bottom of 8th.
So now we know, Andrew Waddell can be an effective Starter, Middle reliever, and Closer. Look out Red and Green HDL teams, bring your A-game when he’s on the mound.