Was it worth the wait?
The Play-off game on Sunday between Lomax Orange and Metlife Blue was scheduled to be played the last two weekends. For a variety of reasons, those who delayed the inevitable finally realized it was time to play this game. Each team had at least 10 players. Each team had members of their team unable to participate. So attendance circumstances were as good as it was going to get without wasting another playable Sunday. Granted, the conditions at start of the game were not “perfect” but in many ways conditions were equal to what we had faced the previous two weeks. No more arguments – play baseball.
Please remember as you read this that I was not there. I was on Fall School Break with my Son and grandchildren in Orange Beach, AL. It was everything I could do to try not to think about what I was missing. Thankfully, our two league Vice Presidents, Bo McMinn and John DiGiacomo, were in charge and I had high confidence that they would take care of all game time preparation and administration.
Even though I was out-of-town, I called Bo to find out if I needed to add any last-minute comments to the Blog. Bo assured me it was not critical. As I drove back to Memphis on Sunday afternoon, I constantly watched the clock and calculated the possible status of the game. At one point I checked my Blackberry and saw I had a text msg. from Don Hinkle telling me it was the 3rd inning and score was 0-0. My thoughts – “Either team can win this game.” As the day continued, test messages stopped. Then finally as the clock indicated 4 hours had passed, I knew the game had to be over. I called Bo and he informed me the game had ended with Orange winning 13-3. I found this score hard to believe. I asked Bo, “where is the score book?” He said it will be in the storage container so I could check it out when I returned about 6:00 PM.
Game Comments and Stats:
MetLife was the Home team and started their best pitcher for the entire season, Travis Hill. Right off the bat, Travis was strong, striking out Kevin High and Andrew Waddell after allowing a lead-off Walk to Larry Hunsucker. Cory Morgan flied out to left field to end the inning. In the bottom of the 2nd, Andrew Waddell got Charles Mister looking at strike 3 but walked Travis Hill before doing the same thing to Ryan Hogan (backward K). With 2 outs, James Skinner reached on an error. This is where the “book” is weird. It has DJ Clark making an OUT that is scored: 5-4-3???? Is that possible? The only thing I can surmise is Cory Morgan tried to get a force out at 2nd on Skinner but he was “safe” but due to slick infield, DJ may not have got a good jump out of the batters box and Orange 2nd baseman threw out DJ???
The 2nd and 3rd innings were routine baseball. Both teams failed to put together 2 hits and the defenses made some plays. Both starting pitchers were tied, 4 K’s apiece.
In the top of the 4th inning, The Orange team started to mount a scoring threat when Kurt Adkison singled with 1 Out. Tony Lomax reached on an error (E4). Dave Dillard loaded the bases on a scratch single. This brought Jeff Allen to the plate. Allen hit the ball hard for a base hit and the Orange team was “on-the-board” with 2 early runs. From what I was told, this is the point where Travis Hill started feeling weak or sick from lack of any solid nourishment.
With the score 2-0. the MetLife Blue team lead-off hitter in bottom of 4th, Ryan Hogan, walked. James Skinner reached on a fielder’s choice as Hogan was thrown out 5-4. With one out and a runner on first, DJ Clark K’d. Kris Klinger kept the inning alive after he walked but James Moroschak grounded out 5-3 to end their threat.
The top of the 5th inning is where the entire game changed as Lomax Orange scored 4 runs on 2 walks, 2 hits, a Hit Batter and an E-6. The worst part is Travis Hill was incapacitated and had to leave the mound as he battled dehydration and general weakness. Travis means a lot to the Blue team and the Orange team knew his departure from the mound was going to test the Blue team’s depth.
By the bottom of the 5th, Andrew Waddell was still throwing zeros and making it difficult for the Blue team to get their offense producing. In the meantime the Orange poured gasoline on the fire in the top of the 6th with 4 more runs on another Blue team error (E7) to lead-off hitter, Mike Morris. Jodie Walked, Larry Hunsucker knocked in Morris with his single, Kevin High was safe on a botched fielders choice. High scored on Andrew Waddell’s second single in 2 innings. Cory Morgan K’d but Kurt Adkison knocked in 2 runs with a solid single to end the scoring in the 6th.
In the bottom of the 6th the Metlife Blue team made the score 10-2 when Travis Hill and James Skinner scored. Hill scored on Skinner’s RBI single and Skinner scored on DJ Clark’s double. For the remainder of the game the teams traded runs with Orange scoring 1 in the 8th and two in the 9th as Blue team made one final one when Jodie Wolfe took over for Waddell.
In Baseball you never know how games will develop or manifest. My personal view was this game should have gone down to the final inning with a dramatic hit or defensive play determining the final winner. But like numerous HDL games throughout the season, the team that does the little things the best like running bases, making routine plays, blocking balls in the outfield or hitting the cut-off man usually had their team in the game until the final out. I expect this Sunday’s match between the Peterbilt Red and Lomax Orange to be a hard-fought game with all players giving their best. The Peterbilt team has the luxury of being undefeated while Orange team’s opening round loss to Metlife Blue puts them in a ‘must win’ situation. Hope all players who enjoy these two teams play the game will drop by Tobey Park and see how this game turns out. I’ll be there!
Hitting Leaders: Orange: A. Waddell (3 for 6); Kurt Adkison (2 for 2), Dave Dillard (2 for 5) MetLife Blue: Charles Mister (2 for 5), John DiGiacomo (2 for 4), Travis Hill (1 for 2).
Pitching Numbers: Orange: Andrew Waddell 8 IP, 2 Runs, 8 Hits, 6 K’s, 5 BB’s; Metlife Blue: Travis Hill 4 IP, 5 Runs, 4 Hits, 5 K’s, 5 BB’s; James Skinner: 5 IP, 7 Runs, 5 Hits, 4 K’s, 3 BB’s