Play-off Week Two Recap
Excuse my tardiness in providing some comments about the 2nd round of HDL annual playoff games. For those of you who did not miss me, I was off in St Louis watching the Cardinals attempt to stay in contention for the NL Wild Card spot. As most of you already know, the Cardinals did everything possible to stay alive but the San Francisco Giants would not cooperate as their winning streak matched the Cardinals game-for-game.
Still, just like in the HDL, games that determine a teams fate in the Play-offs can be intense. Someone asked me as we closed out the 2016 HDL regular season, “Why doesn’t the HDL have a “Wild Card?” I gave them a funny look and replied, “We do, it is called the “Fifth Team.” In 2016 when the HDL expanded to add a 5th team, there was some concern about how the 5th team would affect the Play-off bracket. Since this is our first year to add a fifth team, we had to research on-line how to structure a 5 team bracket.
During the opening round, the HDL Number 2 seed (Cardinals) played the Prudential Tigers number 5 seed. While the HDL No. 3 seed played the HDL No. 4 seed, the HDL Number one seed had a “Bye”. So after the Cardinals and Orioles won their opening round games, week two had the Prudential Tigers facing the V-Brothers A’s in a loser bracket elimination game. The A’s happen to be the only team the Tigers had a Win against during the early part of the 5 team season schedule. Add the tie game between these two teams that was played on August 14th and there was potential here for an upset.
The game was close for 2-1/2 innings. When Athletics came to bat in bottom of the 3rd inning, with only a 3-2 lead, no one expected the A’s to score 10 runs and basically put the game out of reach. The Tigers were devastated but did not quit. In bottom of the 4th inning the A’s added 2 more runs to push the score to 15-2. The real nemesis to the Tigers has been making too many defensive mistakes at the wrong time. In this crucial game the Tigers had a total of 5 errors. Each of their 1st 4 errors opened the flood-gates for their opponent. As I stated earlier, I was not at this game but the score book showed the Tigers did bounce back and out score the A’s 5-0 in last 3 innings of game.
The final score of the game was 15-7 but the real winner of this game was the positive attitude of the Tigers players. The players that I talked to when I returned to Memphis, during mid-point of game between O’s and Dodgers, were singing their praises for how much fun they had this year playing baseball and how much they are looking forward to being part of the HDL in 2017.
There is a famous saying that “Attitude determines Altitude” The post-game feedback that I received from these players made my day. The adversity the players on the expansion Prudential Tigers faced this year was more than anyone thought it might be. As most veteran players know, any team struggles to win a ball game when game line-ups are constantly changing or struggling to fill critical defensive positions on the field. The Tigers faced this problem every game. So for rest of Play-off games, players from Tigers, who are not in top 15 players in bating stats, will be available to be recruited as fill-in players for remaining teams still alive in Play-offs.
Hitting Highlight Stats:
A’s: Juan Jose Castillo (4 for 5), 3 Runs; Oscar Zamudio (3 for 5) 3 Runs; 2 Hits each: Nick Harris, Alex Vivas, Jose Ortiz.
TIGERS: Ricky Duggar (2 for 4), Travis Hill (2 for4) Carlos Cabrera (2 for 4)
Pitching Stats: A’s Juan Jose Castillo: 7 IP, 7 R, 5 ER, 10 H, 13 K’s;
Tigers Travis Hill: 3 IP, 13 R, 10 ER, 11 H, 1 K, 1 BB; T. Terrell: 1 IP, 0 R, 0H, 0 K, 0 BB
Game Two was ALL Latham
The Lost Pizza Orioles and Lomax Dodgers squared off in the late game with O’s having won their opening round game and Dodgers playing their first game of playoffs. A typical pitcher duel was anticipated between Bo McMinn for the Orioles and Kevin Latham for the Dodgers.
Through 5 innings, the O’s were holding on to a 2-1 lead as they made the most of their 2 hits, 1 hit by Juan Blanco and 1 hit by Sherman Edgerson. This game became very interesting in the bottom of the 6th inning. After the O’s went down 1-2-3 in top of the 6th, the Dodgers had one out when Patrick Belote doubled. Jake Hatchett followed with a double in the left center gap to score Patrick. Next batter, Brett Delk bounced an RBI single through the left side to make score 3-2. Bret Delk scored on Jason Belote’s fielders choice that turned into an E-6 on a potential double play that would have got the O’s out of the inning.
The Orioles tried bravely to mount a rally in 7th and 8th inning. In 7th inning the O’s got their 3rd hit on a bloop single by Bo McMinn but Bo was stranded on John McPhail’s fly-out to center. A Dodger error in 8th inning allowed Paul Baioni, batting for the injured Johnny Gonzalez, to reach base. Ramon Moreta walked but Latham got Casey Engan to chase a curveball and that was pretty much it for the O’s. In bottom of the 8th, the Dodgers added 2 more runs that “Sealed the Deal”. Final score: Dodgers 6 – Orioles 2
Orioles: Singles: Bo, Juan and Sherman;
Dodgers: Patick Belote: 2/4, 2 Runs, One Hits each: Jake Hatchett, Brett Delk, Jason Belote, Kevin Latham, Tony Lomax.
Dodgers Kevin Latham: 8 IP, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 Hits, 6 K’s 0 BB’s;
Orioles: Bo McMinn: 8 IP, 6 R, 5 ER, 9 H, 4 K, 1 BB
Round Three of Play-offs:
9:00 AM – Athletics (1-1) vs Orioles (1-1) “Loser Eliminated”
12:00 PM – Cardinals (1-0) vs Dodgers (1-0) “Winner” has “Bye” on Oct. 16