Just when you thought the season was about to end, the Peterbilt Red team discovered they might be the best team in the HDL. Or was today a game of who had nothing to lose? However you want to classify it, this game was a battle to the end. Our playoff nine inning game format requires teams to see who could sustain a lead until the last final out is made before a winner is declared. 

With the Perterbilt team’s back against the wall having one loss in the playoff against the Xtreme Green team in week one of the playoff’s, 4-3 in favor of Green, the Red team knew they had a chance to beat the Green team.  After all, only losing 4-3 on September 23rd, the Red Team knew that game score could have easily been reversed and different Playoff standings.  So how did the Red team approach this game?  They simply put thier best players in the lineup and played each pitch and each hit by the Green team as if it was the last play of the season. Not bad for a team that had made a practice of losing more games than they won during the regular season.

Game Highlights: (October 21, 2012)

It was an absolutely perfect October Sunday to play baseball.  The Perterbilt Red team had a full roster of players except for Ryan Hogan. Surprisingly, the Xtreme Green team had 9 players to start the game but was missing some key players, Otis Edwards, Zack Legg, Mike Kunde and Jodie Wolfe.  Manager Larry Hunsucker had his hope high that Otis Edwards would arrive before end of game because there was  chance PW Burnett would have to leave for work.  But Larry H. knew he would be without the services of veteran Jodie Wolfe who was out of town playing in an independent league baseball tournament. So with enough players to field all positions, the Green team went with PW Burnett as their starting pitcher to give them the best chance to win the game.  Pitching and defense is always the equalizer to a lack of offense.  By the 3rd inning, Otis Edwards arrived and Green team immediately boosted their offense potential.

In the first inning, the Red Team scored a hustle run when Tim Harris swung at strike 3 but the wild throw went to the backstop and the speedy Harris beat the throw to 1st. After Tm Harris advanced to 3rd base on some wild pitches, Tim scored on Nick Harris’s RBI  base hit.  In the bottom of the 2nd the Green team returned the favor as patient hitters, Cory Pratt and Kevin High both walked off Red Team Starter, Nick Harris.  An RBI Sac Fly by Benji Autry tied the score and Kevin High raced home on a Nick Harris wild pitch.

But the aggressive Red Team showed some patience of their own when their first two hitter made outs, Mike Tollison got a base hit, Jose Ortiz got a base hit and stole 2nd base.  That is when the Red Team lead-off hitter, Patrick Belote shot a line drive into right center to score Tollison and Ortiz. So just like that, in one and one-half innings there had already been 3 lead changes. This was the start of a trend that would continue throughout the rest of the game.     

In the bottom of the 3rd inning, the Green team would retake the lead.  The inning started with Otis Edwards walking.  Cory Pratt stayed alive when his fly ball to centerfield was mis-played and put runners in scoring position.  Kevin High tied the score with a deep Sac-Fly to Center. With two outs, Benji Autry knocked in Cory with an RBI single to right-center. One batter later, the inning ended when Larry Hunsucker’s ground ball to shortstop caught Benji at 3rd base for final out. This was a base-running mistake that helped the Red team keep it a one-run game (4-3). 

Neither team scored in the 4th & 5th innings as the Green team pitcher, PW Burnett, was back in control and getting help from his defenseNick Harris was doing the same thing.

In the 6th, 7th and 8th innings, the Red Team scratched for single runs in each inning.  However, the bottom of the 7th inning was a crucial part of the game.  Leading off the bottom of the 7th, John Birkenstock singled and was the 1st out of the inning on a fielder’s choice off Jason Nilsen’s ground ball.  Otis Edwards knocked in Jason after Jason stole 2nd base.  Cory Pratt kept the line moving when he doubled to put runners on 2nd/3rd.  With first base open, the Red team intentionally walked Kevin High.  So with bases loaded, PW Burnett helped his cause with a 2 RBI hit.  The inning continued when Benji Autry and Larry Hunsucker walked to re-load the bases.  So the Red Team made a pitching change and brought in David Sexton to try to stop the bleeding. Only problem, Sexton was not sharp and hit Jerry Tatum to force in the 5th run of the inning.  This is when the Red Team made their best move by bringing in Cesar Roman to pitch. Cesar was effective and quickly got 2 outs and close-out the 7th inning rally.  But the score was now 9-5 going into the top of the 8th.

The “Never-Say-Die” Peterbilt Red team managed to make the score 9-6 when Cesar Roman reached 1st on a single  and moved to 3rd on a single by DJ ClarkCesar scored on Chris Ollar’s deep Sac-Fly to centerfield. 

In the 8th inning, the Green failed to get any runs off of Cesar even though they had 2 base runners.  So now the stage was set for one of the greatest come-backs in HDL history.  Again, Mike Tollison reached base when he swung at a ball off the plate in the dirt that allowed him to beat the throw to first base.  Jose Ortiz doubled and moved Tollison to 3rd base. After Patrick Belote popped out, Tim Harris followed Mike Tollison’s strategy by swinging at a wild pitch that got away from Jerry Tatum behind the plate.  This allowed Tollison to score and make the score 9-7.  With Jose Ortiz  on 3rd base, Jose scored when Tim Harris stole 2nd base.  Now the score was 9-8 and only one out.

Kevin High was on the mound for the Green team when Nick Harris came to the plate.  Nick Harris had been aggressive all day when he saw a fastball to his liking.  When Nick Harris got the pitch he liked, he sent a deep fly ball toward the right field fence that caught the wind breeze and the baseball carried over the fence for a two-run HOMERUN.  Now the score was 10-9 in favor of Peterbilt.

In the bottom of the 9th, Benji Autry walked and it looked like we would be going at last extra innings as he stole 2nd and moved to 3rd base on a ground out to second by Larry Hunsucker.  Next batter, Jerry Tatum smashed a hard shot at Peterbilt 3rd baseman that glanced off his glove that ricocheted to SS Nick Harris who threw a perfect strike to catcher, Chris Ollar, to tag out Benji. Cesar Roman did the rest by striking out Aaron Sinzheimer to end the game.  Final score:  Peterbilt 10Xtreme Green 9

So with both teams with one loss apiece, the “IF” game has to be played next Sunday between these same two teams.  Anyone who has an interest in exciting HDL baseball, come out next Sunday and see what happens.  Either team can win and either team can lose. Who will do what – Nobody knows.

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