This league has Talent!
There is no doubt the HDL has 4 of the best balanced teams we have seen in many years. Team records do not tell the real story. Even the teams with winning records are not dominating the teams with non-winning records. If the cliche, “things have a way of evening out”, has any truth, the Peterbilt Reds and Homer Skelton/Metlife teams are due to win their share of HDL games. “You can’t keep good teams down”, is another cliche that is bound to become a reality in the very near future for the Red and White teams. Let’s go “Inside Today’s Games” to see why this prediction has merit.
Game One: Xtreme Green 4 – Peterbilt Truck Center of Memphis 3
Home team, Xtreme Green, was happy to see P.W. Burnett finally able to toe-the-rubber for only his second game of this early HDL season.
But in the 1st inning, P.W. was welcomed back by the Peterbilt team by scratching for an early lead when lead-off hitter, Charles Mister, singled and stole second but was thrown out on a fielder’s choice hit by Ryan Hogan that P.W. snagged and threw to 3rd base to get Charles as he tried to advance on Ryan’s come-backer. With Ryan Hogan on 3rd when Jose Ortiz was safe at 1st on the Green team’s error (E-5), Reds outfielder, Mike Tollison smashed a P.W. Burnett high fastball into right center to knock-in Hogan.
Meanwhile, Peterbilt Red team pitcher, Nick Harris, was sharp in the 1st inning when he held the Green team scoreless. However, the game was tied 1-1 in the bottom of 2nd when Benji Autry scored on a Nick Harris pitch that got away from Hogan. Both Harris and Burnett threw shut-outs in the 3rd inning.
So going into the 4th inning, Xtreme Green had to bring in veteran, Jodie Wolfe, to take over for P.W. who is still trying to get to get closer to his 15 inning rookie restriction total. Jodie was not overpowering but got solid defense play from his teammates to keep the Reds off the scoreboard until the top of the 6th inning. By this time, The Xtreme Green team had re-took the lead in the botom of the 4th when P.W. Burnett sent a Nick Harris fastball over the left center field fence for the first HDL Home Run of the 2012 season.To say the least, Mr. Burnett was impressive both on the mound and at the plate. For the game, P.W. allowed 1 run on 2 hits, 6 K’s and 0 walks. 1 for 2 at the plate, 1 run scored, 1 RBI (HR).
In the top of the 6th, Nick Harris reached base on the Green team’s 2nd error. Ryan Hogan knocked in Harris. Then Jose Ortiz followed with an RBI single. This is when Jodie struckout Tolli and got Tony Lomax to pop-up to end the threat. In the bottom of the 6th, Green Team answered with 2 runs of their own after Cory Pratt and Kevin High walked and advanced to score on back-to-back errors by Peterbilt catcher. In the 6th inning, Nick Harris had 3 K’s but it was 3 base-on-balls that allowed the Green Team to move around the bases and re-gain the lead.
Peterbilt linescore reads: 3 Runs on 4 hits (Mister, Hogan, Ortiz, and Tollison) and 4 errors.
Xtreme linescore reads: 4 runs on only 2 hits (P.W. Burnett and Benji Autry) and 2 errors.
Game 2: Nationwide Blue 8 – Homer Skelton/Metlife 7
This was another classic battle between the White and the Blue teams as they have played each other 3 times in the last 2 weeks. Due to a temporary schedule imbalance, these have been matched up against each other. But with Andrew Waddell given the day off (on the mound), this game felt different to the boys in White as they got to face, Glen Coombs and Jeff Combs who did the pitching honors. Glen Coombs started the game and pitched well as he was able to make good pitches when he needed them and his defense supported his efforts. Glen made it through 5 innings and only allowed 4 hits (John Murray, Jocko, Chris Slayton and James Moroschak). His 5 K’s and only 2 walks set him upto get the victory if his bullpen could hold the White Team for 2 innings.
With a 7-4 lead, Jeff Combs started off strong striking out Larry Rutledge in the top of the 6th. But the next 7 White Team batters reached base and mounted a 3 run rally to tie the game at 7 All. It took Bo McMinn just a few pitches to gt Jocko to pop out to Bue Team Shortstop, Brian Nilsen who went behind 2nd base to make a running catch of Jocko’s fly ball and the rally ended.
When the score was tied, Travis Hill relieved White Team Starter, Chris Slayton. Travis made some outstanding pitches in the bottom of the 6th to keep the tied going into the 7th inning.Travis faced 5 batters and did not allow any runs to score. Good plays by Jocko and Chris Slayton helped get the White team to the 7th inning and a chance to take the lead. Leading off the 7th against Bo McMinn, Larry Rutledge hit the 1st pitch from Bo to the right of Blue team shortstop, Brian Nilsen who dove to his right to stop the ball from getting by him but his throw to 1st skipped by Terry Terrell and allowed Rutledge to advance to 2nd. Next batter, Bruce Monti swung at strike 3 in the dirt that got by Mike Morris and moved Rutledge to 3rd. This is where the game got wild. Johnny Houghton (on loan from Blue team) hit a bouncer to short to force Monti. Rutledge, thinking he could score on a double play relay to 1st to get Houghton would try to score. But the quick reacting Jeff Combs threw a strike to the plate to force Rutledge back scramble back to 3rd but not before Morris threw the ball to Andrew Waddell to turn a 6-2-5 double-play. On the next pitch to Travis Hill, Mike Morris (Blue Catcher) nailed Johnny Houghton at 2nd on an attempted steal.
All game long, both teams had runners thrown out trying to steal bases. James Moroschak threw out 2 runners (B. Nilsen and John McPhail) in the 1st inning. Brian Nilsen and Mike Morris were again erased from the bases when they were caught in pickles or base running mistakes. So this game was labeled “The Happy Feet” game when numerous players took risks to try to advance on the bases only to run theirselves into outs.
This game ended in the bottom of the 7th inning when Brian Nilsen reached base, Bo McMinn walked, John McPhail K’d and Andew Waddell got the walk-off hit to deep left field to plate Brian Nilsen. Final Score, Blue 8, White 7.