Peterbilt Red played another good game where they equaled their opponent pitch-for-pitch. Most of the game they battled everything the Gray team created.
By looking at the scorebook it is apparent the Gray team should or could have won by a bigger margin but Kevin Latham and his trusty defense would get out of jam after jam and force the Gray team to have 14 base runner left-on-base while Peterbilt only had 8 LOB. Fifteen hits by CDS Gray is a lot of hits to only score 9 runs. But give Kevin Latham credit, he recorded 8 K’s and walked only 4.
Great Form by Latham
Meanwhile, Wes Hill had not faced the Red team in quite a while as during the first meeting between these teams during week two of the play-offs, Wes Hill was not available. To the surprise of the Gray team, the Peterbilt team came out in first inning swinging at every good pitch they saw. Eight batters came to the plate and 3 runs had scored on 4 solid basehits from Tim Harris, Jose Ortiz, Kevin Latham and Drew Fontenot. The inning ended on a called strike 3 on Glenn Coombs with runners on 2nd & 3rd.
Latham drives in 2
To all Baseball Playoff followers (MLB), the intrigue of baseball being played at it’s highest levels is the same at every level. From Peewee to the Majors, the game of baseball has it’s own types of intensity and drama that drives the players to perform to their best for the good of their team’s quest for victory. There is no difference in a double-elimination format and the format of a series that requires the winner to win what it takes to advance to another round or sit alone with less loses than their opponents.
Going into today’s HDL “finalist bracket”, the CDS Gray had one focus, “Win” and be tied with Red team with only one loss. Today’s victory forces a final game with winner being crowned “HDL Play-off champion.”
Both teams played today’s game with a “never quit” approach. Each team was urging their teammates to make a play, swing at good pitches, catch everything that is hit and play the game the right way.
In the bottom of the first inning, the CDS Gray team answered the Red Team with first 3 batters going – Single – Triple – Single. After Juan Blanco singled home Ramon Moreta, Juan stole second base and advanced to 3rd on Adam Wasson’s throw to 2nd that skipped into centerfield. After Latham struckout Juan Castillo and Cesar Roman, Carlos Medina came through with a clutch base hit to tie the score 3-3.
This offensive response by the Gray team must have helped Wes Hill when he went back on the mound in 2nd inning as he showed why he has been the dominant pitcher this season in the HDL.
Wes Hill – The Workhorse
For next 3 innings, the Peterbilt team was retired 3 Up – 3 Down in each inning. And with this type of pitching, the Gray team continued to get runners on base and score 4 more runs in innings 2 thru 4 to push their lead to 7-3.
During the 5th & 6th innings, the Peterbilt team was making good contact and driving the baseball deep into the outfield but 3 outstanding catches by Carlos Canelo, playing right field, kept the Red team from having any success.
In the 7th inning the Red team had 2 runners on base. Johnny Houghton replaced Dave Montgomery in the bottom of the order. Johnny got hold of a 2 strike pitch from Latham that was low and away. But Johnny went with the pitch and shot a line drive over Gray’s first baseman’s head and looked like it would surely score a run. But Carlos Canelo played the ball perfectly and quickly got the ball back to the infield to prevent Glenn Coombs from scoring. With bases loaded, Wes Hill got Tim Harris to strike out to end the threat.
In the bottom of the 7th the Gray team manufactured another run to take an 8-3 lead.
In the top of the 8th inning Adam Wasson singled. Jose Ortiz came to the plate having had 3 base hits his first 3 times up. But Cesar Roman who came on to relieve Wes Hill in the 7th inning got Jose to pop-up for 1st out of inning.
This brought Andrew Waddell to the plate. Waddell was 0 for 3 with 2 K’s and had already shown that he was having difficulty hanging on to the bat as 3 times he had swings where he accidentally released the bat on his follow-through. Each time no one was hit by the flying bat. In this at-bat in the 8th, Andrew did it again and this time the bat landed over the first base dugout and in vicinity of players’ family members. Obviously this caused some concern for safety of innocent bystanders. Andrew was urged to switch bats since the bat he was using obviously had a slick handle. Well in a scene straight out of “The Natural” the bat he was given must have had magical powers as he connected on a Cesar Roman fastball and sent the ball over the right field fence for a 2 run Homer! Now the score was 8-5.
Not realizing they would need another insurance run, the Gray team scored a run in the bottom of the 8th when Wes Hill walked, Romon Moreta singled and Juan Blanco knocked in Wes for their 9th run of the game.
The Gray team thought they could close out the Red team by calling on Juan Blanco to finish the game since Juan has been successful doing this in previous games. However, after Glenn Coombs grounded out, Mike Morris got hold of a Juan Blanco fastball and sent it flying over Carlos Canelo’s head for a double. Then Johnny Houghton got his 2nd hit of the game as he also doubled scoring Morris. Tim Harris singled to score Houghton and make the score 9-7. In a brilliant pitching move, Cesar Roman re-entered the pitching position to retire the next two batters and end the game.
I can only imagine what will happen next week as these two teams will play for “all the marbles.” For anyone who is interested in watching a good baseball game – the HDL is the Best game in Town!
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