Inning by Inning
Sunday was the 2nd time this season that Travis Hill and Wes Hill were facing each other. The first time was on July 13th when Travis was not feeling his best and allowed the Gray team to grab an early lead. In that game, Wes Hill went the distance since the game was the second game of a Sunday doubleheader and ended after 6 innings. But Wes had to get out of 3 late inning jams to hold his 7 run lead as the Blue team charged hard at the end to lose by a score of 7-5.
But this (past) Sunday was different. Travis was up to the challenge of this post-season, loser go home, elimination game. Unfortunately, Wes Hill for CDS Gray was just as sharp. For four and a half innings, this game was tied 0-0. Neither team was able to get a base runner past 2nd base.
But in the bottom of the 5th inning, the Gray team put some good swings together and with the help of a mishandled fly ball to deep right-center field off the bat of Juan-Jose-“Pony” Castillo, the Gray team would threaten to take the lead after Cesar Roman’s infield bouncer was blocked by Blue shortstop Kevin High. The bases were loaded and NO outs.
The next Gray batter was second baseman, Carlos Medina, earlier in the game he had hit into a 6-4-3 Double Play. Travis Hill was hoping for a repeat ground ball or anything that would get his team out of the inning. He would gladly trade one run for 2 outs or a single out.
Carlos Medina must have fouled off 2 or 3 close outside pitches to stay alive and avoid a strikeout. You could tell Carlos was dialed-in on the baseball. Finally Travis Hill tried to throw a pitch on the inside part of the plate that Carlos was able to turn on and sent the ball on a line-drive toward the right of the Lomax Blue left fielder, Kurt Adkison. Kurt reacted quickly to the laser-shot off Medina’s bat.
As the baseball was sinking away from Kurt, he did the best he could to try to make a run-saving catch. But Kurt’s valiant dive for the ball came up empty as the ball skipped off his glove into the left-field corner. By the time Blue team center fielder, Kevin Nilsen, ran down the ball when he saw Kurt unable to give chase, three CDS Gray runs had crossed the plate and Medina was held up at 3rd base. Unfortunately, Kurt Adkison had to leave the game after that play because his right shoulder was in pain.
Travis Hill worked his way out of the inning getting Oscar Zamudio out (1-3), Carlos Medina was thrown out at home by Bo McMinn off Carlos Varela’s fielders choice and Carlos Canelo’s strikeout. But the Gray team had a 3-0 lead and with the way Wes Hill was pitching, the Lomax Blue team knew they were in for a huge challenge, especially after losing Kurt Adkison for the rest of the game.
But give Blue team credit. They answered with a run in the top of the 6th when lead-off hitter, Terry Terrell, singled. Bo McMinn singled Terrell to second and bases were loaded when Otis Edwards was hit-by-a-pitch. With Terry on 3rd base, Wes Hill threw a wild pitch that catcher, Juan Blanco was unable to leap for. Terry’s run would be all the Blue team would get in this pivotal inning. Kevin High’s deep fly ball to center field was caught by Oscar Zamudio to end the threat.
In the top of the 6th, Wes Hill was feeling more confident as Blue team went down 1-2-3. In the bottom of the 6th, Travis Hill matched Wes as he shut down the Gray team 1-2-3.
In the top of the 7th inning with Bo McMinn on first base and two outs, Otis Edwards was at bat. Otis loves these baseball moments and when he got a pitch he could handle from Wes, he put everything he could put into his swing and sent the baseball climbing toward the left field fence and it appeared it was going to be over Ramon-Junior Moreta’s head. But somehow Ramon never hesitated or took his eye off the ball. As Ramon got close to the fence, he leaped and snagged the ball as he fell into the fence. All the time after the catch, Ramon was lifting his glove into the air to assure the umpires and teammates that he had the ball in his glove. The play was a highlight that could rival any that ESPN shows on “plays of the day.” This catch secured the Gray team’s narrow margin of victory even though the Blue team still had to bat in the 9th inning.
Travis Hill vs Wes Hill
The game ended with 2 fly outs to left field and Travis Hill going down swinging on a 3-2 count.
Congratulations to both teams!
After exchanging post-game handshakes, the Gray team broke out a case of champagne to celebrate their advance to face the Peterbilt Red team this Sunday to see if they can beat the Red Team to take home the Post Season Tournament Championship. You can say one thing about the Gray team, they know how to celebrate. Playing the hot Red Team will be a test of everyone’s baseball spirit. May the best team win.