Xtreme Transport Green Sweeps weekend Pair
Now that the Wood Bat Tournament is behind us, the Hernando Desoto League is anxious to get back on-schedule for the remaining regular season games. As we enter league play this weekend:
Peterbilt Red team (3-11) has 5 games to play
Xtreme Transport Green (11-4) and Nationwide Blue (10-5) teams have 4 games each
Homer Skelton Ford/Metlife (5-10) only has 3 remaining games
Since last weekend, the HDL has had a few personal player events that could become a factor in how the season standings affect Post-Season match-ups:
- Bo and Jennifer McMinn now have boy and girl twins to go along with Marley, so Bo is still trying to figure out how he can make it to the last few games and still make sure Jennifer has support she needs “IF” he is able to get away for a few hours to help his Blue Team win some more games.
- Andrew Waddell, an important part of the Nationwide Blue Team offense and defense, has to be cautious with his injured throwing hand until it has a chance to fully recover from gash he received during the Wood Bat Tournament.
- A few players who got a late start attending and playing in HDL games will have to play in 6 games and meet Dues payment requirements to be eligible for Play-offs.
Now, how about some information on the games played this past Friday and Sunday.
Friday, August 10 – White vs Green
Outstanding weather greeted the HDL on Friday night. So any players who were unable to play, missed one of the best nights of the summer season to play baseball. Average temperatures during the game was about 75 degrees. Absolutely gorgeous.
Thw Homer Skelton Ford/ Metlife White team was missing James Moroschak and Rick Haygood (and as usual, Kevin Nielsen) Meanwhile, The Xtreme Green team was missing Benji Autry, Mike Kunde, Zack Legg and PW Burnett (came late).
A good pitching match-up had Brady Benjamin on the mound for the Green Team and White had James Skinner. Brady Benjamin got off to a good start getting White team out 1-2-3. James Skinner, meanwhile, struggled in bottom of the 1st as 8 Green batters came to the plate. To only give up 2 runs in the first, James Skinner showed he was ready to battle the tough Green Team hitters. But the White team’s slow start and lack of any sustained offense and the Green Team‘s relentless attack made for a bad combination, for the White Team. It was the 4th inning before the White Team got any runs on the board. The Green Team scored in every inning except the 3rd and the 6th. Final score was Xtreme Transport 9 – Homer Skelton Ford/Metlife White 2. The White team only had 4 hits while the Green team had 11. Cory Pratt (3 for 5;) Brady Benjamin (3 for 5); Aaron Sinzheimer (2 for 4)
Sunday, Nationwide Blue vs Xtreme Green
The Friday night weather stayed around on Satuday and into Sunday and just got better. The Nationwide Blue Team was without several first string players like Bo McMinn, Andrew Waddell, Jeff Allen, and Jeff Combs. So the Blue team accepted an invitation from Ray Reinhart to fill-in today to give them a reserve to help swap out on the field. Ray was excited about getting a chance to help the Blue Team. The Xtreme Green team was missing Mike Kunde, and Zack Legg.
From the beginning, it was evident that the Nationwide team was disadvantaged with their missing hitting and pitching leaders. But the Blue team players who were in the line-up were full of grit and grind. Led by the deliberate pitching style of Glen Coombs, the Blue team scratched a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. In this inning, the Blue team line-up of 9 players almost became 8 when lead-off hitter, Brian Nielsen scrambled home from second base on a ground ball hit by Glen Coombs to Jodie Wolfe at 3rd. When the late throw to first was caught by Larry Hunsucker, Larry made a strong throw to Jerry Tatum at home plate to nail Nielsen on a bang-bang tag out. When Brian went in head first he believed his hand touched the plate before the tag, but home plate umpire, Mark Bates, saw a different angle and made the “out” call. This difference of opinion became verbal and a warning had to be issued to Brian to “zip-it” or expect to be ejected. Much to the Blue Team’s delight, Brian swallowed his bruised ego and demonstrated restraint to stay in this game. There is no doubt that Brian leads by example with his hustling play. This was never more clear than in the bottom of the 1st inning, when the Green team appeared to be ready to tie the game but Brain Nielsen said “not in my outfield!” With PW Burnett on 2nd base (courtesy runner) and 2 outs, Brady Benjamin stroked a Glen Coombs pitch into the left-center gap that appeared to be headed for extra bases. Closing fast from center-field, Brain Nielsen was running full speed and screaming to Paul Baioni, “I got it!” and that’s when Brian went horizontal at least 5 yards from the baseball. “Superman” Brian stretched his glove through the air to haul-in the baseball and end the inning. If this could have been on video, it would have been a top-ten play of the day – easily.
Going into the bottom of the 3rd, the Blue boys were hanging on to a 1-0 lead. P.W. was starting to find his pitch location and recorded 5 K’s in 2nd & 3rd innings. Aaron Sinzheimer led off the 3rd inning for the Green with a walk and Jason Nielsen executed a well placed bunt to beat the pitcher’s throw to 1st that bounced away and allowed Aaron & Jason to end up on 2nd/3rd. Kevin High’s Sac Fly tied the game. Basehits by Cory Pratt and Brady Benjamin made the score 3-2. In the top of 4th inning, Terry Terrell got a scoring rally started with a solid basehit off P.W. This brought up “Mr. Excitement” Brian Nielsen who sliced a shot into right center that sailed over Otis Edwards head for a triple and with a throwing error allowed Brian to scamper home to tie the score 3-3.
Johnny Birkenstock had a great AB in the bottom of the 4th to get a basehit and knock in Larry Hunsucker from 3rd base.
In the top of the 5th, Cory Pratt relieved P.W. who had to head to work. Cory didn’t get a lot of help when the 1st batter he faced, Mike Morris, hit a 2 hopper to Benji Autry. Normally an accurate thrower, Benji’s throw sailed high and Morris ended up on 2nd base. Paul Baioni drew a walk. This is when things got crazy. Tim Wallenstrom layed down a short bunt in front of the plate that looked like a sure double play ball. But Tatum’s throw to 3rd base was high and landed in left field allowing Morris to be safe. Ray Reinhart then had one of his best hits of the season as his linedrive to right field loaded the bases as Blue team played it conservative. Baioni scored when Benji elected to get Nielsen out at 1st instead of going for the force out at the plate. When Ray and Wally moved up to 2nd/3rd, Glen Coombs solid hit in the SS hole scored 2 more runs and made the score 7-4 in favor of Blue.
In the bottom of the 5th the Green team took advantage of Glen Coombs lack of stamina and scratched out 6 runs to take a commanding 10-7 lead. Three walks and five hits pushed the score in Green team’s favor. The bottom of the 6th inning was pitched by John McPhail who came on to relieve Coombs. McPhail did a good job only giving up 1 run on no hits as Cory Pratt scored when Otis Edwards infield ground ball was booted by Blue team shortstop. The best play in this inning was a diving catch of Jodie Wolfe’s short fly ball over the 2nd baseman’s head that Tim Wallenstrom caught as he dove toward the infield on a tough catch. Tim was congratulated by his teammates. He got of the ground saying, “I can do this!” “Yes you can Timmy!”
Each team scored one more run apiece but time expired after 7 innings were completed in 2 hours – 55 minutes.
Overall it was a competitive game. The Blue team walked away thinking, “Can’t wait until we meet again in 2 weeks when we will have our full roster.”