“This league is just a toss- up”
The Stash rattled off three wins in a row down the stretch of the regular season to secure the top seed in the comp league post-season. It’s just the kind of momentum a young team needs, but as we all, or at least some of us, know, anything can happen in the playoffs. Fact is, the playoffs are when it matters most and while some teams thrive under the pressure, others tend to crumble.
As one player said on opening night of the post-season, “This league is a toss-up.”
The first night of playoffs proved that as one team shocked the league, another appears to be hitting their groove.
Following the All Star break, the Bashers went into a tailspin, losing handily to several teams week in and week out. By the close of the season they had given up the second-most runs in the league while scoring the least, closing the regular season with a record of 5-9.
But it’s the playoffs, baby, and the Mustache Bashers have turned it on when it matters most as they took down the Rent-A-Gades 10-6 and then followed that with a 14-11 win over the top-seeded Stash at Tommy V Field Monday night.
Meanwhile, over at Gothic Field the Nuts & Honeys opened their post-season in fine form, winning back-to-back games against the Wine-Os and the Talk of the Town.
After edging out a 17-16 win over the Wine-Os (what, no Modelo?), the Nuts & Honeys came out crackin’ in their next game against the Talk of the Town, building a sizable lead in the top of the first inning.
Their entire batting order stepped up to combine for seven base hits, capped by Daniel Hargrove’s second trip to the plate to drive a two-RBI double and put the Nuts & Honeys up 8-0.
The Talk responded with one run in the bottom of the first on a base hit from Eric Ervin and then waited patiently through the next two innings as the Nuts & Honeys hitters cooled off.
By the bottom of the third inning it was a whole new ball game as the Talk came roaring back, led off by singles from Connor McGuire and a pregnant Jen Kindred. Ervin continued on one of his best nights at the plate, driving in two more runs with a bloop single. Kelly and Dave McGuire followed up with a couple of RBI base hits and then Brent Laney threw all caution to the wind. Powered by his Batman socks, complete with little capes, Laney turned a stumbling RBI single into an error-assisted three-run inside the park home run to pull the Talk to within one.
The Nuts & Honeys were handcuffed at the plate once again in the top of the fourth inning, highlighted by Dave’s cat-like reactions on the mound to turn a line drive into an out.
Another Nuts & Honeys error put another Talk runner on base and Connor drove him home to tie the game 8-8 heading into the top of the fifth.
But, enough was enough and the Nuts & Honeys reclaimed their lead in the top of the fifth, led by the bottom of their batting order. Mike Stanley and Jocelyn Wallace each singled and Rask Dietrich scored Stanley with a sacrifice fly RBI. Katherine Long singled to put two runners on with two outs and Hargrove and Hailee Stanley delivered with RBI base hits to put the Nuts & Honeys back on top 12-8.
The Nuts & Honeys defense regrouped as well to turn a 1-6-3 double play in the bottom of the fifth and then returned to the plate to drive in eight more runs.
Rick Barnard offered the initial spark with a RBI triple to the gap in right centerfield and then scored on a single by Stephanie Dietrich. The Talk turned the next two outs, including an over-the-shoulder grab by shortstop Robbie Vandervoort in shallow center but the Nuts & Honeys tacked on six more runs in a two-out rally to go up 20-8.
With two innings to go, the Talk put a dent in the Nuts & Honeys lead in the bottom of the sixth inning. Base hits by Courtney Bock and Laney and a walk loaded the bases for Chris Kindred. Kindred roped a two-RBI single and Connor and Vandervoort each slapped two RBI base hits to cut the Nuts & Honeys’ lead in half, setting the Talk up for one last effort in the seventh inning.
The Talk defense did their part to hold the Nuts & Honeys hitless, including an incredible leaping grab by Connor at third but the Nuts & Honeys defense sealed the 20-15 win as Hargrove closed the door for good with a game-ending double play.
Comp league playoff action continues every Monday and Wednesday evening, with the championship game slated for Wednesday, August 14 at Tommy V Field—weather pending of course.