The 2018 HDL Baseball season annual Hall of Fame and Awards Banquet was held SUNDAY, November 18th at the Ballroom of the Butcher Shop on Germantown Parkway. Approximately 40-45 members and guests came out on a great evening to be part of a special night in the growing history of the Hernando DeSoto Men’s Baseball League.
For Those who attended:
Please tell your fellow players/teammates, who were unable to attend, that we wish they could have attended. The HDL Officers and Hall of Fame Board members were disappointed in this year’s attendance. Obviously, having the banquet on a Sunday may have been the reason so we will plan better next year and revert back to Friday night or Saturday night. We hope to find a way to get more HDL members and guests to attend this annual event next year.
While everyone was finishing their food orders from Butcher Shop Restaurant, Larry Rutledge showed a slideshow video of the 2018 HDL Season. For those who were unable to attend the banquet, the video can be seen on YouTube at:
We will continue this treat as a tradition to help everyone re-live the season.
Hall of Fame Inductees:
Two former HDL Players were inducted into the HDL Hall of Fame:
First inductee: James G, Moroschak
First inductee, James “Schak” Moroschak was Inducted for his career as a hustling Catcher during his 12 year HDL career. Schak was a dedicated player who earned the respect of his teammates and opponents as a tireless catcher who played to help his team, both behind the plate and at the plate. Schak’s dependability, even when his professional career and personal schedule made it tough, he would always find a way to get to the ballpark. Schak expressed how much he appreciated the camaraderie of being a member of the HDL and how much baseball is a part of his life. Second Inductee: James Skinner
Our next inductee, James Skinner, was equally appreciative to being inducted as a member of the HDL Hall of Fame. James was appreciative to have an opportunity to play baseball for the HDL. James has posted some outstanding career statistics both as a Pitcher and a Hitter. When not on the mound, James was also a dependable fielder, both infield and outfield. James is in the Top five of active HDL players in hitting with a .472 batting average and has a hit 7 home runs in his HDL career. James was very sincere about how much the HDL has meant to him during his playing days and still today.
2018 SEASON PLAYER AWARDS
All SPONSORS were recognized for their valuable contributions. Each will receive a plaque expressing our appreciation. (Note: Some of the Award plaques were late arriving and unavailable for presentation. These arrived on Monday, November 19th and will be distributed as soon as possible.)
Sponsor Attending: Carlos Varela – V-Brothers Motors A’s; Don Hinkle – Prudential Insurance Tigers.
Absent: Thompson Truck Center and Lomax Insulation
Next, all Managers were recognized for fulfilling this important role –
Carlos Varela, Don Hinkle, John DiGiacomo and Nick Harris
GOLD GLOVE WINNERS:
Outfield: Oscar Zamudio, Johnny Gonzalez, Jake Hatchett, and Jason Nilsen
Utility: Wes Hill
Catcher: Judson Belote
Pitcher: Juan-Jose Castillo
First Base: Orville Nevile
Second base: Jose Ortiz
Third Base: Cory Morgan
Shortstop: Cesar Cabrera
Rookie of Year: Carlos Bello – .426 Avg.
Ray Reinhart – Charlie Hustle Award: Terry Terrell
Cesar Roman (Lomax Dodgers),
Ceasar Cabrera (V-Brothers Athletics),
Jose Ortiz (Prudential Tigers),
Nick Harris Thompson Truck Center Cardinals
League MVP: Jose Ortiz
Best Pitcher: Nick Harris (6-2; 7.50 ERA)
Batting Champion – Jose Ortiz, (.532 Avg.)
Batting Champion Runner-Up – Nick Harris – (.471 Avg.)
HDL Presented a token of appreciation to Brandie Mitchell for leading the cooking of Post game hot dogs, chicken and burgers.
Special Plaque Presentation
Special Recognition went to Bo McMinn for over 10 years of dedication and service to the HDL, especially his attention to getting the field ready for baseball every game day.
Special Recognition also was presented to out-going president, Robert Miller, for over 30 years of service and leadership to the Hernando DeSoto Baseball League. Robert has dedicated his time, finances and leadership to try to help the HDL grow and continue to be a vehicle for adult baseball players to continue their love of baseball during their adult life. Robert plans to continue to mentor the new leadership over the HDL day-to-day operations and help wherever he is needed.
New President and officers
In-case no one heard the voting results, the 2019-2020 HDL President is Bo McMinn. Bo’s first responsibility is to establish a support team of committed associates who will agree to perform various administrative and operational duties required to help the HDL run efficient and effective throughout the baseball season. Bo will announce his staff team when all roles and responsibilities have been confirmed. Several established players have been contacted and have agreed to fulfill their given functions.
CARDINALS GAIN NARROW VICTORY ON VETERANS DAY:
Just like last year and many years before that, the HDL Championship game came down to the two best teams. I stated this last year and it applies again this year. The Cardinals and A’s had these qualities: <> Grit & Grind <> Intensity <> Perspiration <> Inspiration <> Never say die <> Focus <> Competitive Fight <> Respect for each other <> Unity <> Pride, Personal and Team, but most of all – HEART. If I left out something more obvious or more appropriate, please post your perception in a comment.
For this important game, the weather for the past 2 weeks had been uncooperative. On Sunday the HDL was blessed with dry conditions. It started out chilly but once the Sun popped out, conditions became almost ideal. The biggest noise that sounded like thunder was the post game fireworks that Robert Miller exploded to celebrate the final results. Each team was happy to be playing baseball in this extended season.
The game started on-time at 10:00 AM. Home Team was the Cardinals since the Athletics were home team in round one where the Cardinals came from behind to win 8-6.
EARLY LEAD BY THE A’s
The V-Brother A’s, came out firing on all cylinders when they posted 3 runs in the first and 3 runs in the 2nd inning to take an early 6-2 lead. Travis Hill got his chance to be Starting Pitcher for the Cardinals. In Travis’s previous Start against the Tigers he struggled and took the loss. Against the A’s, Travis mixed up his pitches and did what he was supposed to do – get the A’s to hit Ground Balls. The only problem was some of the ground balls found holes for base hits or the Cardinals infielders were pressing and failed to get outs on the balls they fielded. Giving the A’s 5 outs in an inning is digging a deep hole for your offense to climb out of.
TRAVIS HILL FINDS HIS GROOVE
After the second inning, Travis and the Cardinals defense tightened up and shutdown the A’s scoring binge for the next 5 innings. This allowed the veteran Cardinals hitters to work on A’s starting pitcher, Ben Eldred. Ben held the Cardinals to just 3 runs in the first 6 innings. Then in the 7th inning, the Cardinals put together some good AB’s and rallied to take the lead 7-6. One of the main reasons was the clutch hitting from Kevin High who had a triple and a double for the game.
With the score being close, it was obvious the Cardinals were wondering when it would be smart to insert their “Closer”, Nick Harris. But Travis was still throwing good. When Travis got the 1st two A’s batters in the 8th Inning “Out”, the Cards were down to their last 4 outs. But then the game got interesting. Travis had 2 strikes on Juan Polanco when an inside pitch hit Polanco. Then the very next batter, Carlos Varela, was hit by Travis Hill pitch to put the tying run in scoring position. A’s veteran outfielder, Johnny Gonzalez knock in the tying run before Travis got the third out of the inning.
GAME GETS TIGHT
In bottom of the 8th inning, Travis Hill led off the inning with a double down the left field line off of new A’s pitcher, Alex Vivas. This brought up the hot hitting Kevin High who placed a soft liner inside the third base line to score Travis for the go-ahead run.
The Cardinals once again had a one-run lead. And once again, Travis Hill remained on the mound. With the Cardinals up 1 game to none, they knew if the A’s won this game they would need Nick to pitch the third game of the “Best 2 out of 3”, so they wanted Travis to go as long as he could.
The A’s were determined to find a way to win this critical game. The first 3 batters Travis faced, loaded the bases. Now the Cardinals had no choice but to make a move. They brought in Nick. Bases Loaded. No Outs.
The situation did not look good (for Cardinals). Being the Home team, the Cardinals knew if they could minimize the damage, maybe their bats could recover in the bottom of the 9th.
The first batter that Nick Harris faced was Alex Vivas. Alex is known to be a good contact hitter with a .300 average. The Cardinals played their infielders “IN” for a possible play at the plate. With 2 strikes, Alex swung his bat and made solid contact. The hit immediately looked like it was destined to end up in the gap and clear the bases for the A’s. One problem, it was a line drive that was within reach of Travis Hill who had moved to Shortstop. Travis speared the ball out of the air and quickly looked at 2nd base and saw that the base runner might beat the throw and give Ben Eldred, who was on third base, a chance to score the tying run. Travis surprised everyone when he pivoted 180 degrees and fired to Cory Morgan to double-off Ben at 3rd base.
Now all Nick Harris had to do was find a way to get one more out. The next batter, Oscar Zamudio was hitting almost .350 for the year and with his speed there would be a lot of pressure on the Cardinals defense to cover any ground ball. Nick Harris and catcher, Judson Belote, called “Time” to discuss their pitching strategy against Oscar. Nick executed his pitches perfectly and Oscar failed to make contact for the final out of the game.
GOOD SPORTSMANSHIP BY BOTH TEAMS IS COMMENDED
Game Over, Final Score 8-7, Season Over. The Cardinals win the Play-off Series and end up with a record of 12 and 8. The V-Brother A’s end the season with a 12 and 6 record with the fewest losses by any team in the HDL this season. The A’s had a fantastic season. But a lot of credit goes to the Cardinals for sticking together and playing without one of their best players, Patrick Belote, who was unable to finish the season due to an injury.
This ends the 2018 HDL Baseball Season. A Post Season Awards Banquet is scheduled for Sunday, November 18th, 4:00 PM at the Butcher Shop. Please make plans to attend this special event.
WHICH TEAM HAS THE EDGE?
When the V-Brothers Athletics play the Thompson Truck Center Cardinals next Sunday for Game one of the best 2 out of 3 series, the “favorite” to win the series is too close to call. Both teams have the players who can challenge the other teams line-up.
The A’s knocked off the Lomax Dodgers in two games and sat out yesterday waiting on the game 3 outcome between the Cardinals and Tigers. (More on that game later in this article) So the A’s are either going to be well rested or rusty from a lack of baseball consistency.
The series between the Cardinals and Tigers was like a “Heavyweight” fight. In 3 games played, the Tigers scored 24 runs and the Cardinals scored 26 runs. Games 2 and 3 of the semi-final series were won by the Cardinals by having their best players available to play. Patrick and Judson Belote and Terry Terrell made a big difference in the offense and defense of the Cardinals.
But the A’s proved they can play the game when situations are tough. In the back-to-back wins by the Athletics, the Dodgers had the A’s down 4-3 in game 1 of their series. The A’s were either very lucky or the Dodgers were equally unlucky to not come out with a win in game 1 when the A’s kept battling and found a way to win. (Almost the same way the Cardinals won yesterday when the Tigers had the Cardinals down by 3 runs in the Tie-breaker format played in the top of the 9th inning)
The A’s have developed some discipline at the plate by swinging at pitches that resemble strikes and laying off of pitches not even in the strike zone. This is where each team’s pitchers will make a difference. Each teams pitcher has to work the count and move the batters eyes around to get hitters guessing on where the pitch looks like it is going.
The other “difference maker” in these two teams is their defense. In the Athletics first 2 games they only made 1 error. The Cardinals, in 3 games had 4 errors but 3 of their 4 errors were in game 1 when they lost to the Tigers. From the aspect of ‘Hustle’, both teams have players who will give their “All”, on any ball put in play, to get a defensive out. I know it is an old cliche, but, “Defense wins championships”.
DID THE BEST TEAM WIN?
On Sunday, October 7th, the Prudential Tigers and Thompson Cardinals were ready to play. The atmosphere at Tobey Park was “all business”. As hard as players tried to stay “loosey-goosey”, anything that made them smile or laugh was quickly wiped off to avoid any distraction to each teams serious intentions. Each team knew they had to find a way to win. Getting ahead on the scoreboard and building a big lead is the only thing that would ease the tension.
So what did the Prudential Tigers do? In the top of the first inning, they were able to score 4 (HUGE) runs. The runs scored were mainly the result of some unusual wildness by Cardinals pitcher, Nick Harris. In Game 2 of the series with the Tigers, Nick had held the Tigers to only 4 runs – Total.
So when Nick Hit Jodie Wolfe to lead off the inning, it helped the Tigers apply early pressure. But Nick rebounded to get Luis Perez to bounce into a fielder choice by forcing Jodie out at 2nd base. Next batter, Jose Ortiz, was greeted by an inside pitch for Nick’s second Hit Batter.
With Jake Hatchett coming up with runners on 1st & 2nd and only 1 out, the Tigers scoring threat were looking good. But, again, Nick Harris worked the count and prevented Jake doing any damage as Jake struck out looking for 2nd out. The next Tiger batter, Joel Fumero, battled every pitch Nick put any where around the plate. Fumero must have fouled off 3 or 4 pitches before he hit a high bouncer up the middle to score Perez.
Tiger Catcher, Barry Cummings, walked. With Fumero and Cummings on base, Juan-Jose Castillo drilled a high fly ball that drifted into the left field corner and bounced off the outfield fence to make the score 4-0. The Cardinals sent 6 batters to the plate in bottom of the 1st only to strand 2 runner on base. Neither team scored in 2nd inning. Castillo struckout the side in bottom of the 2nd after a lead-off walk to Cardinals Chris Pegues. In the 3rd inning Nick Harris gave up a lead-off double to Jake Hatchett and an RBI single to Barry Cummings that made the score 5-0.
The 5-0 score must have woke-up the Cardinals because in the bottom of the 3rd inning the Cardinals sent 8 batters to the plate to make the score 5-5. Hit’s by Patrick Belote, Nick Harris, Judson Belote and Terry Terrell and a rare “Balk” by JJ Castillo made for a productive inning.
Innings 4 thru 7 was highlighted by outstanding pitching by Nick Harris and Juan Castillo. By the time the 8th inning came around it was announced that time limit (2 hr and 50 Minutes) had expired and any new inning (if tied) would invoke the HDL Tie Breaker format. In the top of the 8th inning, Juan Castillo was batting Lead-off. On the 2nd pitch that he swung at, Juan collapsed in front of the plate with an agonizing cramp in his left leg. After a delay of close to 10 minutes, Castillo hobbled back into the “box” to complete his AB. Thinking Castillo was too injured to do any damage, Juan sent a fly ball into left center that fell to the ground when Carlos Canelo was unable to get it in his glove. With Castillo on 2nd base, and no outs, the Tigers could sense a “Rally”. Next batter, Kurt Atkison, grounded out 6-3 but Castillo moved to 3rd base. Juno Palemia then popped out F2. With 2 out, Jodie Wolfe showed why is a “Hall of Famer” as he bounced a chopper that Second baseman, Patrick Belote, misplayed and drove in Castillo for the go ahead run. Jose Ortiz flew out to center to end the rally. Tigers 6 – Cardinals 5.
Kevin High led of the bottom of the 8th with a double to right center. After Cory Morgan K’d, Tigers intentionally walked Chris Pegues to pitch to Terry Terrell. Terrell got a pitch up in the strike zone that landed in right field to allow Kevin High to re-tie the game at 6-6. the next 2 batters struckout to end the rally and send the game to the Tie Breaker format with each team allowed to load the bases with the 3 previous inning batters and start the inning with no outs. in the top of the 9th, Jake Hatchett was the first batter. Jake hit a line drive right at the Cardinals Right Fielder, John Hardin. The ball landed in front of Hardin and bounced past him and roll to the fence. The relay throw was thrown by Patrick Belote who fired to the plate before Jodie Wolfe reached the plate where he was tagged out for the first out of the inning and Hatchett on 2nd base, Joel Fumero K’d. Barry Cummings came up with a solid base hit to score Hatchett to give the Tigers a 3 run lead. Juan Castillo took strike 3 looking to end the inning.
Now it was Cardinals the same opportunity with the bases loaded. The Cardinals first batter was Travis Hill who struck out swinging for the 1st out. Next batter, Patrick Belote hit a ground ball to Jodie at SS who got the Terry Terrell at second but the relay throw to first was a close play that Belote was called “safe” because the catch was juggled. With bases loaded, and the score 9-7, Nick Harris battled Castillo’s pitches before reaching an outside pitch that was dropped down the first base line for a double and tie the score 9-9. With Judson Belote at bat, Judson looped a single into right field to score Nick with the winning run. A walk-off Single ended this “Classic” semi-final game with the score 10-9. Wow – What a Game! The game took 3 hours and 45 minutes to complete. Every inning was filled with outstanding baseball by two teams that did not want to lose. Both teams played the game with all of their energy and passion.
The Prudential Tigers represented their team as winners but came up one run short. Congratulations to the Tigers for a great season. And Congratulations to the Thompson Truck Cardinals for their hard earned victory.
The Cardinals and the V-Brother Athletics will now try to continue the HDLCS games to determine the final winner. Don’t know about you, but I am looking forward to seeing which team comes out on top.
Make your plans to attend the 39th Annual Hall of Fame Induction and Player Awards Banquet – TODAY.
DATE: SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2018
TIME: 4:00 PM TO 7:00 PM
LOCATION: THE BUTCHER SHOP MAIN BALLROOM
107 S. Germantown Pkwy at Agricenter
COST: ENTRY IS FREE. ATTENDEES RESPONSIBLE
FOR ANY FOOD OR EXTRA DRINKS ORDERED
NOTE: HDL WILL PROVIDE A COMPLEMENTARY KEG OF BEER –
FIRST COME – FIRST SERVE
CASH BAR WILL BE AVAILABLE IN THE BALL ROOM.
DRESS: ATTENDEES REQUESTED TO DRESS BUSINESS CASUAL.
If anyone has any questions, please contact Larry Rutledge or any of the current Officers or Team Managers.
MLB has their Wild Card Play-in games that match teams with identical records or records that are close enough to be considered “good enough.”
Interesting that 2 of the HDL 4 team were also named MLB teams playing HDL “Wild Card” games. (A’s and Dodgers) So what does that have to do with the price of corn in Iowa – NOT a DAMN Thing!
The HDL A’s handled the HDL Dodgers in 2 games. (Best 2 of 3 series). The Dodgers had their best shot at beating the A’s during week One when the Dodgers held a 4-3 lead going into the 8th inning. We all know what happened. The A’s rallied to win the game 5-4.
So last Sunday’s Game 2 match-up was either going to be another nail-bitter or a game of “no mercy” for the Dodgers. And that is what it was. The A’s victory in Game 1 carried over in Game 2. The A’s felt “no pressure” and they were allowed to just play the game, because, to them, it was NOT Do or Die!
However, the Dodgers have been playing like every game was “Do or Die” all year long. As hard as they tried, it seems like they were always fighting an Up-Hill battle. Don’t get me wrong, during the regular season the Dodgers had their share of “Beat down” games. Like Week 2 when they beat the Tigers 8-3. And in Week 6 when they trounced the Cardinals 8-1, then a week later they upset the A’s 9-8, a game that showed they had the players to match-up with anyone.
V-Brother A’s 8 – Lomax Dodgers 2
For the next 2 innings the Dodgers were kept off balance with Ben Eldred’s assortment of pitches. At the same time. Brandon Poyner, Dodgers Pitcher was holding the A’s hitters in-check. The Dodgers tied the score in the bottom of the 3rd inning when Mike Morris singled and scored to tie the game on Jason Nilsen’s double to left center. In the 3rd inning, the HDL Dodgers had the bases loaded and looked like they might blow the game wide open. But back-to-back Strikeouts by Brandon Poyner and Cesar Roman extinguished any possible rally.
The game was still tied going into the top of the 5th when Oscar Zamudio Walked. Orville Neville bunted Oscar to 2nd. That brought Manuel Polanco to the plate who drove in Oscar with a slap single down the first base line. Freddie Henriquez doubled-in Polanco to make the score 3-1.
The A’s made the score 4-1 in the 6th inning on an error by the Dodger 2nd baseman. When the Dodgers scored a run in the 6th inning to make the score 4-2, that was the end of their scoring. The A’s scored 4 runs in the top of the 7th inning and that pretty much closed the door on the Dodgers disappointing season. But even with the loss. The Dodgers players were looking forward to next season and the chance to learn from their 2018 baseball experience.
Cardinals 11 – Tigers 4
In Week One these two teams met in game 1 and the Tigers took advantage of the Cardinals who were without 2 critical players from their line-up, Patrick and Judson Belote. Both players were in the line-up on Sunday. While Judson was hit-less, Patrick Belote was on-base 5 times and scored 3 runs.
With Nick Harris on the Mound for this crucial game, Nick went 8 innings holding the Tigers to 4 runs and scattered 8 hits in going the distance. For the Cardinals, offensively, every hitter in their line-up had at least 1 hit except Judson Belote and Chris Pigues. Kevin High had a strong outing playing 1st base and was 3 for 5 with 2 runs scored. Cory Morgan was solid with his 2 for 4 batting, 2 runs scored and an RBI.
For the Prudential Tigers, Juan Jose Castillo was impressive with 10 Strikeouts and only 3 walks. However, when the Cardinals hot hitters were able to make contact with Castillo’s pitches, twelve batters were able to hit their way on-base. The Tigers batters had their only productive inning in the 3rd inning when 8 batters came to the plate. The parade started when Kurt Adkison singled, Steve Mitchel popped up, then Jodie Wolfe and Jose Ortiz singled back-to-back. Juan Castillo was hit by a pitch. With bases loaded, Jake Hatchett banged a double to the outfield and made the score 6-4. At this point the game could have gone either way,
For the remainder of the game Nick Harris and the Cardinals Defense shut down the Tigers while the Cardinal Hitters scored runs in the 6th, 7th and 8th innings to make the final score 11-4.
SUNDAY SHOWDOWN – Same Two Teams
Game 3 between the Cardinals and Tigers will be played Sunday morning. Game time is 10:00 AM. Since the game will be the only HDL game played, Game will be scheduled for 9 innings. The Winner will take on the V-Brother Athletics the following Sunday, October 14th at 10:00 AM. See everyone on Sunday.
Best Participation Ever!
Every year the HDL encourages HDL players to cast their choices for Gold Glove Award winners and Most Valuable Players. In years past player participation is sometimes disappointing. This year, thanks to strong leadership from Team Managers, the voting forms were completed and turned in. Since the HDL will be continuing during the Play-offs for next 3 to 4 weeks, there is still time for any players who are still filling out their forms or were not at HDL games last Sunday, to turn in their Ballots to make this the best year ever.
Also on the Ballot was the selections for HDL President beginning in 2019 and ending in 2020.
ANNUAL BANQUET UPDATE
The HDL Hall Of Fame Committee has met and discussed possible dates for this year’s Awards Banquet. After checking with the Butcher Shop, we discovered the dates we preferred were already reserved by other groups. So at this time we do not have a definite date for the banquet. One possibility is we will have to wait until January to schedule the banquet.
We are not giving up on working out a date in November or early December. But at this time we will be lucky to find a date at the Butcher Shop. If someone knows a different location that can accommodate our organization, please make a suggestion.
Until later, keep your fingers crossed.
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.