2015 OPENING ROUND OF PLAY-OFFS
Game 1 – Lost Pizza Orioles vs Lomax Dodgers
Both teams chose to put together their best 9 players in the line-up and on defense in this crutial opening game of the post-season double-elimination format. This traditional option of manager during the play-off is always controversial.
The Lomax Dodgers started their ace, Andrew Waddell, as expected, even though Andrew has had to spend several weeks on a self-imposed Disabled List due to arm issues that must have been caused by strain from pitching so well the past few seasons. It must have helped because Andrew went the distance – 9 innings, 3 runs, 8 hits, 7Ks, 2 BB, 2 HBP. In top of 1st inning, the Orioles had 2 runners on base after Hunsucker walked and Jake Hatchett blooped a single down the left field line. But with one out, Cesar Cabrera’s flyball to right field was caught by Kevin Nilsen who turned the catch into an easy double-play when Jake thought the ball might not be caught.
In bottom of the first, the Dodgers scored an unearned run when Brian Nilsen advanced to 3rd base on Patrick Belote‘s ground ball (5-3) was thrown back to 3rd base to try to get Brian. The throw was wild and Nilsen trotted home for an easy run and the 1-0 lead.
In bottom of the 2nd, Tony Lomax lead off the inning with a double and scored on Lowell Hinte’s infield single. The inning ended when Jake Hatchett fired a bullet to 2nd base to nail Hinte trying to steal 2nd.
In top of the 3rd inning, the Orioles pulled a double steal with runner on 1st & 3rd. Ramon Moretta was running for Bo McMinn who had singled to lead off the inning. When Tim Harris, who had walked attempted to steal 2nd base, got into a “pickle” chase that allowed Ramon to cross the plate before being tagged out for the 3rd out.
In bottom of the 3rd, Jake Hatchett once again gunned down a Dodger base steal-er when he threw out Kevin Nilsen. The score stayed 2-1 until top of the 6th inning when Jake Hatchett doubled with one out and scored on John McPhail’s solid single off Waddell. Score tied 2-2.
But that lead didn’t last long. In bottom of the 6th Bo McMinn gave up a lead-off single to Pat Belote and walked A-Wad. Tony Lomax loaded the bases with a walk and when Travis Hill walked, Waddell scored from 3rd. Greg Bacchus scored the Dodger’s 4th run on Lowell Hinte’s 2nd hit of the game. The Orioles added a run in the top of the 8th, again on a double by Hatchett and an RBI from John McPhail.
This ended the scoring and pushed the Orioles into the Loser Bracket while Dodgers will take on the winner of A’s–Cardinals game.
Game Two – Peterbilt Cardinals vs CDS Athletics
When the A’s scored 3 runs in the 1st and 3 runs in the 2nd innings. I believe everyone at the park felt this was not looking good for the Cardinals. Even though veteran starting pitcher, James Skinner was able to throw for the Cards, you could tell Skinner‘s arm strength was not 100%. And when the Cardinals defense struggled, the innings ran long and the Athletic’s kept scoring runs. By the time the Cardinals got on the score board, the A’s had a comfortable 9-0 lead. In top of the 5th inning, the Cardinals finally scored a run on Jose Castillo on a lead-off single by Paul Baioni and a clutch 2-out RBI single by Tim Wallenstrom.
In top of the 6th, Wes Hill relieved Castillo and looked good. By the 5th inning, James Skinner had had enough and Carlos Varela took over pitching. Varela did the best he could to throw strikes and avoid walks. He was successful avoiding walks but the A’s hitters banged 6 hits and 9 runs off of Carlos. The game was out of reach but the Cardinals did salvage some positive things when 9 batters went to the plate in the top of the 7th inning. Final score: Cardinals 5 – Athletics 18