New Tie Breaker Format Tested

Hard work by the “Ground Crew” was much appreciated.  Tobey Baseball Field was almost ideal at game time on Sunday. 

The early game was another routine win for the Lomax Dodgers.  Meanwhile, the late game was “nip & tuck” as the Orioles and A’s thought it was mid-October as they went after each other until the very end.

Last season the HDL recorded 5 Tie Games that had an impact on team seeding into the Post Season match-ups.  This year we invoked a sure fire way to eliminate “Ties”.  It only took 2 weeks to force us to use the tie-breaker format. The new system worked and was recognized as creating that “sudden death” atmosphere of some major league sports.  The excitement during the “Tie-Breaker” inning was intense to say the least. Now for the highlights: 

Game 1 – Dodgers vs Cardinals 

P1010028On opening day, both the Dodgers and Cardinals won, so today’s game was a battle of two winners. The Dodgers played 15 players and the Cardinals played 13.  Managers did the best they could to give all players a chance to be part of the game.

The Home Team Dodgers pitcher, Kevin Latham, allowed 2 base runners but for the next 3 innings no Cardinals were able to reach base. The Dodgers used 3 pitchers – Cesar Cabrerra came in for Latham in 4th inning and Kris Klinger finished the 7th inning.

P1010014When the Dodgers came to bat in bottom of the 1st, they made Cards Pitcher, PW Burnett, work for every out.  By end of inning, Dodgers had a 3 run lead and extended the lead to 5-0 in 3rd inning when Will McPherson knocked in 2 runs. The Cards made the score 5-1 in the 5th inning on PW’s HBP and Mike Morris clutch RBI hit. The Dodgers added 2 more runs in the bottom of the 6th on Carlos Cabrerra‘s RBI basehit. These runs were charged to Andrew Waddell who relieved PW in bottom of 5th inning. The story-line of this game was Kevin Latham’s pitching and Dodgers solid defense as they made no errors. P1010037

Defensive Highlight was Carlos Canelo’s running catch of Travis Hill’s deep fly ball to center field.

Hitting stars: Dodgers:  Will McPherson (3 for 3; 3 RBI’s); Carlos Cabrerra (2 for 2) single hits by Brent Delk, Cesar Cabrerra, Kevin latham, Travis Hill, and new player, Rickey DuggarCardinals:  Only Cory Morgan and Mike Morris had single hits.

Pitching Numbers:  Dodgers: Kevin Latham – 3 innings, 0 ER, 1 H, 2 walks and 4 K’, Cesar Cabrerra – 3 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 K’s, 2 BB, 1 HBP. P1010019

Cardinals:  PW Burnett – 4 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 3 BB’s, 2 K’s;  Andrew Waddell:  2 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 3 K’s.

Game Two – Orioles 9 – Athletics 8 (Game tied 4-4 at end of regulation)

P1010029This game was packed with intensity. Good hitters, very good pitchers, and excellent defensive players. All you can ask for. Each team has a balance of experience and new players adapting to HDL Baseball. Having plenty of players once again challenged the managers to get  their roster of players into the game. Overall the managers did a great job.

Athletics was Home team so Orioles batted first.  When lead-off hitter, “Wheels” Nilsen doubled past the A’s right fielder, the tone of game was set – The Orioles were going to be aggressive. Nilsen scored on Larry Hunsucker’s RBI ground out. The Athletics countered with a run in bottom of first inning on Greg Bachuss 2-out single and Juan-Jose’s RBI single. P1010042

Orioles bottom of order failed to score in top of 2nd.  A’s Otis Edwards singled.  Then Alex Vivas singled to put 2 runner on. Oscar Zamudio’s fielders choice caused Otis to be forced out at 3rd.  But after a few wild pitches, Alex Vivas scored on a passed ball to make the score 2-1 for A’s. The see-saw game flipped again in top of 3rd inning when Brian Nilsen singled, Hunsucker singled (RBI), Juan Blanco struckout, Bo singled to keep inning alive for Johnny Gonzalez RBI scoring Hunsucker. Now the score was 3-2 OriolesP1010055

During first 3 innings, new rookie, Casey Engan, was the starting pitcher for O’s and he did an exceptional job holding A’s to just 2 runs before giving ball to veteran HDL pitcher, Cesar Roman. Cesar struck out the A’s in bottom of 4th but gave up single runs in bottom of 5th & 6th innings that allowed the A’s to tie the game at 4-4.  The Orioles had taken a 4-3 lead in top of 6th on James Skinner’s clutch double to left that allowed Johnny Gonzalez to score. P1010051

Both teams knew they needed a “stopper” on the mound and made strategic changes as Juan-Jose Castillo relieved Nick Harris in top of 7th when time was running out.  If neither team scored in 7th inning, the HDL would be forced to implement the new “Tie-Breaker” format that was announced before the season started. With Castillo throwing hard, the O’s did not score in top of 7th. In bottom of 7th, O’s countered bringing in Juan Blanco who was saved by an outstanding catch of a Jose Ortiz pop-foul down the 3rd baseline made by Cesar Roman. This turned out to be a game saving catch.

P1010077

So now, time had expired and teams were tied. Tie-Breaker rules placed last 3 batters from previous inning on 1st-2nd-3rd bases.  Bases loaded – 0 outs.  First O’s hitter, Brian Nilsen hit a line drive to center field that Oscar Zamudio caught on a dead sprint and kept bases loaded. Next batter, Larry Hunsucker worked the count for an RBI walk. (5-4, O’s) After a wild pitch, Juan Blanco was walked, Bo McMinn hit RBI FC.  With score O’s 7-4, Johnny Gonzalez continued his hot hitting, singling in Hunsucker & Blanco to make score 9-4.  Skinner’s pop-up ended the inning.  P1010093 (2)

In bottom of 8th inning, the Athletics loaded the bases with Jose Torez, Aldaberto Perez and Jose Ortiz. Nick Harris was 1st hitter and he laced a line drive to left field scoring 2 runs. Greg BacchusP1010106 followed with a solid single scoring Ortiz and Harris. Now the score was O’s 9 – A’s 8. Again, Cesar Roman made caught a pop-up for 1st out. Next batter grounded back to Blanco. With a base open, Otis Edwards was walked.  The game ended as Carlos Varela put the ball in play and Juan Blanco made the play to get Varela at 1st. 

The potential Tie game was eliminated but I don’t know which is worse, having 2 teams disappointed with a Tie game or 1 team disappointed at losing a tie-breaker format.  Bottom line the outcome was a 1-run ball game. To me, that makes for a great game.

Hitting Stars:  OriolesJohnny Gonzalez (4 for4); 2 Hits – Brian Nilsen, Larry Hunsucker 

Athletics:  2 Hits – Nick Harris, Greg Bacchus

Hopefully we will be fortunate with good field conditions and weather to do it again next week. 

============================================

Sunday:  April 24 schedule 

9:00 AM Cardinals vs Athletics 

11:40 AM – Dodgers vs Orioles 

 

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