Despite a 4-week break in the middle of the season, the playoffs are FINALLY upon us. Time to see if the Wild West division lives up to its billing:
Quarterfinals, Game 1 - #5 Hambinos at #4 Baron Von Fritz
Spencer Slutsky led off the game for the Hambinos with a triple, seemingly setting the tone for the day. He’d score one batter later, on a Nick Heller RBI single. In the bottom half, Baron would quickly take the lead as Jason Colfer smacked a 2-RBI double, scoring himself one batter later on a Brandon Rock RBI single. Baron held an early 4-1 lead after one.
Mark Peasley cut the deficit to one for the Hambinos with his 2-run blast in the second…but in the bottom half of the inning, the bottom fell out of the Hambinos season. A slew of singles set the stage for Jason Colfer’s RBI triple and Matt Leasure’s RBI double. 9 runners crossed the dish in the second, giving Baron a 13-3 lead.
It only got worse from there, as the Hambinos failed to score in the third and Baron took advantage. Walks did the Hambinos in this particular time through the lineup, setting the stage for 2-RBI singles from Gary Brown and Jason Colfer en route to a 10-run third.
Down 23-3, the Hambinos would need a run in the fourth just to force Baron to bat again. Mike Hilt did his part, doubling himself into scoring position, but he’d be stranded out there on the island, as the Hambinos bowed out of the playoffs quite early.
Final Score: Baron Von Fritz 23 Hambinos 3
Player of the Game: Despite everyone on Baron having some great stats on the day, one player CLEARLY stood head and shoulders above the rest, providing the big hit all day long. Jason Colfer went 4 for 4 in the abridged game with a double, a triple, 6 RBIs and 2 Runs Scored.
Quarterfinals, Game 2 – #6 Jackhammers at #3 Isotopes
The Jackhammers got things going in a hurry, putting two on for Tom Lydon, who delivered with a 2-RBI double in the top of the first. Two more RBI singles from Mike Wadsworth and Chris Day would follow as the Jackhammers put up 4 in the first frame. A trio of singles combined for a single run for the Isotopes, cutting the deficit by 1.
The teams traded 2-run innings in the second. Jason Nocero sparked the inning for the Jackhammers with his double to lead off the inning, while Colin Snyder and Jason Banks both chipped in RBI singles for the Isotopes.
Fast-forward to the fifth. The Jackhammers held a 7-5 edge coming into the inning and would build upon that lead. 3 quick singles set up Dan Jensen for the biggest hit of the day, a 3-RBI triple. He’d score on a fielder’s choice a few batters later as the Jackhammers widened their lead to 6. Then Bill Moore and Rob Wardrop both doubled in the seventh, helping to add 2 more insurance runs, giving the Jackhammers a 13-5 lead before the Isotopes got to take their last licks.
With the game on the line, the Isotopes needed to split some atoms in hopes of a nuclear offensive explosion. A quick out didn’t help matters, but Carlos Herring doubled to get the offense started. 2 walks and 2 singles scored Herring and also forced another run across while loading the dishes as the meat of the Isotope order came to the plate, now down just 6 runs. But that’s where the Isotope rally would end, as Colin Snyder grounded into an unassisted out to the third baseman.
Final Score: Jackhammers 13 Isotopes 7
Player of the Game: Dan Jensen has certainly had better days, but he still takes the honors for this one as his triple was the decisive play in the game. Dan went 1 for 3 with that triple plus a sac fly, including 4 RBIs and a Run scored.
Semifinals, Game 3 - #4 Baron Von Fritz at #1 SCLSU Mud Dogs
The Mud Dogs dominated the competition all regular season long, but Baron had to be riding high after their quarterfinal performance. That said, it’s tough to get back up after sitting for an hour and a half, so a quick start would be key for Baron in this one.
There was no quick start for Baron, managing just a lone single in the first. The Mud Dogs did get 2 runs on the board, as Max Malloy provided an RBI double and later scored.
Baron briefly took the lead in the second, 3-2, as Matt Leasure smacked an RBI double and Shawn Morris chipped in an RBI single. But in the bottom half, the Mud Dogs took the lead back…a lead they’d never relinquish. A walk and 2 errors provided 3 free baserunners before Chris Refsnider’s 2-RBI single. Two batters later, Kavit Solanki blasted a 2-run homer. After Matt Figueroa walked, Kris Carr also blasted a dinger, capping off the 7-run offensive outburst. A 3-2 deficit quickly turned around to a 9-3 lead.
Steve Hausman led off the third with a homer for Baron, but that’s all the offense they’d get. Meanwhile Max Malloy singled in 2 runs in the bottom half of the third and 2 more runs scored in the fourth, extending the Mud Dog lead to 13-4.
With their backs against the walls, Baron went to work, attempting a huge comeback. In the fifth, Hausman doubled and Jason Colfer pushed two across with his single. In the sixth, Matt Leasure chipped in an RBI double, closing the gap to 13-9.
In the top of the seventh, Baron needed at least 4 to keep playing, but the inning did NOT start well, with two very quick outs. Frank Fusca and Dan Keith both singled, and then Matt Leasure knocked Fusca in with a single of his own. Shawn Morris followed suit, knocking in Keith with his RBI single. But that’s where the rally would end, as Gary Brown grounded out to the pitcher, ending the game.
Despite a late-game scare, the Mud Dogs perfect season remained in-tact.
Final Score: SCLSU Mud Dogs 13 Baron Von Fritz 11
Player of the Game: His stat line wasn’t eye-popping but Max Malloy just seemed to be in the middle of everything the Mud Dogs had going. On the day, he went 2 for 4 with a double, including 3 RBIs and a Run Scored.
Semifinals, Game 4 - #6 Jackhammers at #2 MaGerks
Just like last game, the key in this one seemingly was going to be whether or not the Jackhammers could get back up after sitting for 90 minutes on a very warm day.
Rob Wardrop and Dan Jensen both doubled in the top of the first, yielding an early run for the Jackhammers. But MaGerks came into this one ready to hit. With 2 runners already across and 2 more on base, Jim Malloy smacked an RBI double, which would be followed by 4 more RBI singles. 7 runners scored in all, giving MaGerks a heavy 7-1 lead after just one inning of play.
Both teams were quiet in the second and then they traded runs in the third, as Jason Cooper doubled for the Jackhammers and Jim Malloy tripled for MaGerks.
With the score sitting at 8-2, MaGerks added 3 more insurance runs in the fifth, as Frank Turco provided an RBI single and then Bill Schubert followed with a 2-RBI single.
Down 11-2, the Jackhammers had two innings to stave off elimination. Joe Nocero and Jason Cooper got early singles in the sixth, but three straight fielders choices would end that rally before it began. In the seventh, Dan Jensen and Vince Morgan both singled, but Mikes Wadsworth K’d to end it.
In the end, it just seemed like the Jackhammers couldn’t get back up after the break.
Final Score: MaGerks 11 Jackhammers 2
Player of the Game: Jim Malloy was involved all day for MaGerks, going 2 for 2 plus a walk with a double, a triple, an RBI and 2 Runs scored.
Championship Preview: A quarterfinal upset may have broken some brakcets, but in the end, the top two seeds will square off in the finals.
A quick look at the regular season standings will tell you that these two teams were on a collision course for one another all season-long. The Mud Dogs were #1 in the division in both Runs Scored and Runs Allowed, while MaGerks finished #2 in each category.
While both offenses get the job done, they seemingly do it in very different ways. Matt Figueroa leads the way for the Mud Dogs. As the odds-on favorite to claim the MVP title for the B-West in the Spring, Matt hit .724 with a STAGGERING 1.586 slugging percentage. He led the division in homeruns (5), Extra Base Hits (12) and slugging percentage while also finishing second in RBIs (18) and batting average. Meanwhile, MaGerks uses a combination of 4 players to get things going. Rich Houser, Frank Turco, Brian Hilbert and Jim Malloy all batted above .600, helping to create a super-consistent offense. Houser’s .667 average was good for fifth in the division while Brian Hilbert’s 8 doubles and 23 RBIs both topped the league.
Th SCLSU Mud Dogs and MaGerks met one another WAY BACK in week 3. It was a close game. In fact, it was the only one-run game the Mud Dogs played all season long. In the meeting, MaGerks grabbed an early 6-1 lead after the first two innings. But as MaGerks’ offense went quiet, the Mud Dogs chipped away, grabbing the 7-6 lead in the bottom of the fifth and never relinquishing it.
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