Just in time for voting!
Here is the latest Hitting and Pitching statistics that players can use to determine best player for MVP and Gold Glove awards.
Ballot Voting sheets will be distributed on Sunday September 23rd. Bookmark this link to help you rank your selections.
Opening Round Madness Last Sunday
As anticipated, all 4 HDL teams were ready to play (with who they had). No team conceded anything to their opponent. Each game was shaped by each pitch that was delivered. The outcome of each pitch created baseball drama as all team members watched or reacted as the defensive players decided how to properly counter attack their opponents efforts to score runs. The athletes of each team were challenged to make “plays”, both offensively and defensively.
Early Game Highlights:
PRUDENTIAL TIGERS 11 – THOMPSON TRUCK CENTER CARDINALS 5
The Thompson Truck Center Cardinals, the number 2 seed, was home team against the Prudential Tigers, the HDL No. 3 seed. Inning by inning each team had to work hard to minimize the number of the other teams batters would get a chance to “hit” during each inning. The more batters the other team’s pitchers had to face would affect the number of potential runs that could score. Both teams restricted their batting line-up to 9 hitters to maximize their opportunities for their best hitters. For the Cardinals, nine hitters was all they had because 2 or 3 important players were unavailable (Judson Belote, Brian Menendez, Patrick Belote).
The Prudential Tigers had the luxury of extra players to swap out and be a courtesy runner. With the Tigers being the “visitor” they sent 8 batters to the plate to face Travis Hill in the top of the 1st. After 3 runs had scored and with the bases loaded with one out, Travis Hill snagged a ground ball from Kurt Adkison and turned it into a 1-2-3 double play that ended the inning. Tigers up 3 runs.
In the bottom of the 1st, Carlos Canelo walked and Nick Harris hit a bomb to the left field fence to score Canelo. Nick’s double hit the fence in almost the same location as Juan-Jose Castillo hit landed in the 1st inning. After Travis walked, Kevin High kept the inning alive with a base hit. With Nick Harris on 3rd, Nick scored on Cory Morgan’s sacrifice fly ball to center field. After one inning, Tigers 3 – Cards 2.
With Juan Castillo on the mound for the Tigers, the Cardinals knew they had to make solid contact on his fast ball and curve to force the Tigers defense to try to make outs. After the 3rd inning, Castillo found his groove and the Cardinals scoring opportunities became less and less. Meanwhile, the Tigers offense forced the Cardinals to make a switch and move Nick Harris to the mound. The Cardinals were only trailing the Tigers by score of 6-5 when the Tigers batted around in the 4th inning and take a 10-5 lead. From that point on the game was in the hands of Juan Castillo, even though Nick Harris settled down and only game up a single in the 6th.
Final Score was 11-5. Both teams will face each other again on Sunday where Cardinals hope their missing teammates will be able to battle the Tigers to help force a 3rd and deciding best 2 out of 3 and advance to the Finals.
Late Game Highlights:
By far this was the “game of the day,” if not, the “game of the season” (So far).
The Dodgers all year long have been searching for that special day when all their collective baseball talents will shine. The Dodgers have as many experienced players as any team in the HDL, but for whatever reason, they have had more disappointments than celebrations during the regular season. For players who have followed the HDL over many seasons, they know the post-season play-off games are a legitimate chance to turnaround the heartbreaks of a rough year. It has happened many times where a team that struggled the entire year and suffered through many head-scratching losses will suddenly find that “magic” that turns around their baseball fate. Last Sunday was so-close for the Dodgers. Yet in the end, the “Never-say-die” Athletics found a way to spoil the Dodgers outstanding effort to come out on top.
The tone of the game between the A’s and Dodgers was set in the first inning. The A’s starting Pitcher, Alex Vivas, entered this game with a 5-1 record and over 42 innings pitched during the regular season. Alex has had an outstanding season and proved he is one of the most reliable pitchers in the HDL. Alex set down the Dodgers 1-2-3. But just as good, Brandon Poyner, matched Vivas with 3 straight outs in the bottom of the 1st.
In the top of the 2nd inning the Dodgers manufactured a run when Derek Caraway singled, Larry Hunsucker singled and Jason Mayrena knocked in Derek to take an early 1-0 lead for the Dodgers. In the bottom of the 2nd, Poyner shut down the A’s 1-2-3.
In top of the 3rd, Vivas only faced 3 hitters and held the score to 1-0 until the bottom of the 3rd when the A’s bottom of the order came alive with a triple by Oscar Zamudio and an RBI single from Manuel Polanco. Now the score was tied.
Neither team scored in the 4th inning. In the 5th inning the Dodgers put together a solid inning with a lead-off walk by Larry Hunsucker and Jason Mayrena who advanced to 2nd & 3rd by David Calhoun’s sacrifice bunt. When Jason Nilson singled, Hunsucker made the score 2-1 in favor of Dodgers. In the bottom of the 5th inning the Athletics scored 2 runs when Carlos Bello and Ben Eldred had back-to-back RBI hits. This gave the A’s a 3-2 lead. This also forced Dodgers Manager, John DiGiacomo, to bring in veteran Wes Hill to slow down the A’s. For the rest of the 5th inning, 6th inning and 7th inning, Wes Hill was “Vintage Wes“.
In the top of the 6th, after Brandon Poyner, Cesar Roman and Derek Caraway hit the ball had off of Vivas and took the lead 4-3, Manager Carlos Varela brought in hard throwing Carlos Bello to face Hunsucker and stop the rally. during the 7th and 8th innings both teams played outstanding baseball. The tension in the bottom of the 8th inning, with Dodgers hanging on to a 4-3 lead, was high. Every pitch was critical. Wes Hill battled the heat and the A’s hitters with all he had. After Alex Vivas base hit allowed Polanco and Freddy to score and give the A’s a 5-4 lead, the “clock” was the only thing keeping the Dodgers alive. With less than a minute left on the game clock when the bottom of the 8th inning ended, the Dodgers were granted their bat in the top of the 9th. Even though the Dodgers put 2 runners on base, the pitching by Carlos Bello was too much for the Dodgers to overcome.
Final Score: A’s 5 – Dodgers 4
Next Weeks Schedule:
9:00 AM – Athletics (1-0) vs Dodgers (0-1)
12:00 – Cardinals (0-1) vs Tigers (1-0)
League Officers and Team Managers recently reviewed HDL rules and identified several “Courtesy Runner” rules that needed clarification.
Also reviewed were:
- Use of borrowed players during playoffs
- Game Time Limits and tie game procedure
Rule 2 (Courtesy Runner) see https://hdlmemphisblog.wordpress.com/home/hdl-rules/
Rule 4 of current Courtesy Runner Rule is “scratched” due to ambiguity in the original paragraph.
If anyone has any questions, please contact your team manager. If Team Manager can not answer your question, Manager will seek an answer from league officers.