GUTSY PERFORMANCES GALORE
There were “No Losers” for either team. The game between Orioles and Dodgers was typical Play-off intensity by two teams giving their all to come out on top.
In the end, “the game of inches” had to do with where the final pitch was determined to meet the definition of a “Called Strike.” When “Ball Four” was the correct call, all base runners moved up and pushed across Patrick Belote from third base to register the go-ahead and winning run of a game for the Lomax Dodgers. This game could have easily gone 10, 11 or 12 innings, or who knows how long the strong arms of PW Burnett and Juan-Jose Castillo could have gone to keep a winning run from scoring.
As I look back over the past 5-6 years of HDL Play-off history, there always seems to be a similar game that produces the type of drama that we (those who were there) witnessed at Tobey Legion Park today. The winner of this game qualifies to face the undefeated Prudential Tigers next week for some more baseball competition to determine overall champion of the 2017 HDL Season.
Now for some details of today’s exciting game.
For first 3 innings, each team’s pitchers were facing tough hitters. In the bottom of the first, Patrick Belote surprised everyone with a lead-off Triple to right centerfield. Belote scored on an E-6 that Greg Bacchus had put in-play. In bottom of the third inning the Dodgers scored when Cesar Cabrera singled, stole 2B and came home on Greg Bacchus solid single. Dodgers 2 – O’s 0.
In the top of the 4th inning, PW Burnett hit a soft fly ball into right center to start a Lost Pizza rally. Brandon Anderson’s fly ball to right field moved PW (Delk C.R.) to 3rd base, Mike Morris’s RBI single to right field scored PW/Delk. Larry Hunsucker walked to put 2 men on base. Adam Harrell then blasted a double to right field to score Morris/Anderson. However, the Dodger’s relay throw (8-4-2) nailed Larry Hunsucker at the plate that was made possible by a hustling-diving tag by Greg Bacchus to end the inning.
For next 3 innings each team’s pitcher was dealing out after out as strike-outs were common. For the game, PW Burnett recorded 13 K’s and Juan-Jose Castillo had 9 K’s.
The game became very interesting in Top of the 8th when the Orioles loaded the bases after Dodgers elected to Intentionally walk PW Burnett after Brett Delk grounded out 1-3 to make the 1st out. Juan Castillo then K’d Brandon Anderson for 2nd out and Mike Morris grounded into a force out grounder (6-U). This was an excellent opportunity for Orioles to take the lead but clutch pitching and defensive strategy paid off to spoil the O’s potential rally.
The bottom of the 9th inning did not start or end well for PW and the O’s as Patrick Belote’s lead-off walk proved to be the difference maker for the final outcome of the game. The Orioles strategy to load the bases after Cesar Cabrera ground out to first base helped the situation as PW quickly K’d Juan-Jose Castillo. However, it all came down to PW’s confidence to get Cesar Roman out and allow the game to go into extra innings.
This is when a crucial full count pitch failed to get the results that PW and the Orioles had hoped for. Their long, frustrating season, from a win-loss perspective, was over. They will now join the V-Brothers A’s as side-line observers as next week the Dodgers and Tigers will see if they can match the close game today’s contest was.
Orioles: PW Burnett (3/3); Five players with one hit – LH, JB, MM. LH, AH; Dodgers: Five players with one hit – PB, CC, GB, QM, TL
Orioles – PW Burnett: 9 IP, 3 R, 1 2 ER, 5 H, 13 K’s, 2 BB, 2 Int. BB;
Dodgers – JJ Castillo: 9 IP, 2R, 2 ER, 7 H, 9 K’s, 3 BB, 1 Int. BB