PRE-PLAY-OFF CALIBER GAMES
Friday – Gray vs Red
– Gray jumped out to a 4 run lead in 1st inning then continued to score each of 1st 3 innings. Efrain Padron made his 2nd start of season and was untouchable. But when Efrain had to vacate the mound due to HDL 1st year pitcher limit rule, the game changed as Peterbilt offense started swinging at every fat pitch they saw when Juan-Jose Castilla had to toe the rubber.
Juan had 7 strikeouts in 4+ innings but gave up 10 hits to the Red hitters who showed they can’t be taken lightly.
Dave Montgomery started a rally in 5th inning with a flare to right field. Mr. Brian “the Wheels” Nilsen came in town for the weekend and made a guest appearance. Playing right field for the Red team, he followed Montgomery with a walk. Kevin Latham knocked these 2 runners in with a single to make the score 7-3.
The bottom of the 6th was ignited by Jose Ortiz who sent a fastball into the left field corner for a double. Mike Morris singled, Johnny Houghton reached on error. When the inning was over, Red had made the score 7-8 after Gray had scored a single run in top of 6th.
In top of 7th the Gray team lead-off hitter, Carlos Cabrera singled. Ramon Moreta K’d and Larry Rutledge executed a surprise sacrifice bunt to move Cabrera to second base. Gray lead-off hitter, Johnny Gonzalez knocked in Cabrera with a solid single to left field. With the score 9-7 in bottom of the 7th, the Red team rallied for 2 runs to tie the game at 9-9 on 3 straight singles from Wasson-Ortiz-Morris.
In top of the 8th the Gray team thought they had the winning runs when Carlos Medina crushed a high fastball from Andrew Waddell that looked like it was headed for the right field corner.
But out of nowhere, Brian “Wheels” Nilsen turned on his after-burners and speared the ball out of the air on the dead-run to keep the game tied at 9-9. Now the game is in extra innings because time limit had expired.
In bottom of 8th, the Red team went down 1-2-3. The top of the 9th started off like the Gray team didn’t have much of a chance after their first 2 batters made quick out. This brought Larry Rutledge to the plate. Rutledge was busy cooking the post-game grill menu and must have been in a hurry to turn the meat because the first pitch he saw from Waddell he flared it to right field then raced Brian Nilsen to the bag to become a base-runner. Once again, Johnny Gonzalez showed why he is a clutch hitter who packs some punch when he swings the “lumber”. Johnny’s “bomb” to centerfield got past Drew Fontenot to bounce to the fence. By the time the ball was returned to the infield, Gonzalez had crossed the plate for an inside-the-park HomeRun and a 2 run Gray lead.
In bottom of 9th the Red Team had two runners on base with 1 out when Jose Ortiz hit a linedrive to Carlos Cabrera playing 3rd base who caught the ball and tossed to 2nd base for a game ending double-play.
SUNDAY BLUE- ORANGE
The top two HDL teams this year with tremendous talent are the Blue & the Orange. So when this game started it was obvious that it would most likely become a pitching duel. PW Burnett and James Skinner are “gamers”. They live for the challenge of showing what they can do. And their teammates know they had better be on their toes to play this game with a little extra intensity.
In first inning Lomax Blue lead-off hitter, Tony Lomax hit the ball hard and scored on Kevin High’s Sac-Fly. Then in bottom of 1st, Patrick Belote singled, stole 2nd and scored on James Skinner’s base hit to right field.
In Top of 2nd, Jake Hatchett lead off the inning in grand fashion as he turned on a ball over the middle of the plate and by the time it landed it was on the otherside of centerfield for the first true HDL Homerun with a wood bat during the 2014 season. It was estimated this ball traveled over 400 feet. The main thing was it staked PW to a 2-1 lead and that is where it would stay until bottom of the 7th inning.
With one out in top of 7th, Nick Harris doubled off PW and stole 3rd to get in scoring position with one out. After numerous pick-off plays by PW to try to catch Harris off base, PW finally succeeded. The ensuing run-down by Schak chasing Nick toward Home Plate. Schak’s throw to Blue catcher, Jake Hatchett, was perfect, except, Jake took his eyes off the toss for an instant as he tried to tag Nick without securing the ball and Nick scooted around Jake to tie the game. A muffed catch would tie the game at 2-2.
With the outcome of the game wide open to both teams, the Orange team elected to replace Skinner with Nick Harris who has been unbeatable in 5 previous mound appearances as a starter. In 3 innings, Nick Harris recorded 6 Ks against the Blue but he eventually took the tough loss when Kevin High for Blue team singled to lead off the 9th inning and scored on Jake Hatchett’s stand-up double off Nick.
Jake Hatchett swapped positions with PW as PW moved behind the plate and Jake went to the mound to seal the deal. Jake was strong and determined to help his team win this important game. With bases loaded and 2 outs, Jake got Paul Baioni to swing at a high pitch for last out of game.
Final Score: Peterbilt Red 9 – Lomax Blue 5
(My apologies but it is after midnight and I have to get up in morning to drive to St Louis to go see Cardinals play on Monday night. Please understand since I did not get home tonight from Tobey Park until after 9:00 PM.)