Midpack looking to find rhythm for post season
by Than Acuff
Believe it or not, the playoffs are a little over a week away for the Tuesday/Thursday teams and the time is now to gain some momentum to carry into the post season. Specifically, teams that have been languishing in the middle-of-the-pack are the ones searching for some magic. And those are the teams that typically turn things upside down in the playoffs, the teams that surge at just the right moment to catch one of the top seeds off guard.
Tuesday night two such teams squared off at Pitsker Field and given the final outcome, one appears to be on their way up while another appears to be sliding back.
The Whetstoners have always been late bloomers but this season is uncharacteristic of them as they headed into Tuesday’s game mired in ninth place with just three wins. Bonez, on the other hand, was just one spot above the Whetstoners with one more win but they showed some life with their effort against the Whetstoners and could very well turn into one of those midpack teams that throws the playoffs into disarray.
The Whetstoners came out hot in the bottom of the first scoring five runs off a series of base hits. A walk, a single from Alex Mattes-Ritz and Michele “Wheels” Fitzgerald’s fleet feet on a base hit by Lawson Yow opened the scoring. Zach Matthias followed with a two RBI triple to left, Liz Wigginton pushed Matthias home with a single, a pooch infield pop up by Brad Wigginton confused the Bonez defense for a single and Rich Driscoll closed out the early surge with a RBI double and a 5-0 Whetstoners lead.
Ryan Kay lit a small fire under his Bonez teammates with a lead off triple in the top of the second and then scored on a single by Brent “Soul Free” Chambers. Morgan Patterson got enough on the ball to cause mass confusion among the Whetstoners’ infield as his routine grounder turned into a RBI double and Rayna Clark had Patterson on the run with a line drive to left only to get robbed by a sliding shoestring grab by Matthias stopping Bonez in their tracks.
A RBI double to right from Mattes-Ritz added a run the Whetstoners lead but Bonez came barreling back in the top of the third scoring four runs to tie the game. Katy Kay singled to start things off and Jeff Hearn cleared the bases with a two-run inside the park home run. Driscoll made a reaching grab on the mound to slow the Bonez offense down temporarily but Chambers drove two more runs in with a single and the teams were locked 6-6.
Hearn added a double to his list of base hits for one more Bonez run in the top of fourth but the Whetstoners then showed some of their old magic in the bottom of the inning.
After their first two batters lined out, the Whetstoners went on a four-run two-out rally to build a 10-7 lead. Two base hits and a walk loaded the bases for Yow who came through with a two RBI double to center. Barb Peters followed by flaring a two RBI single to right field and the games’ momentum was shifting.
But, it shifted back in Bonez’ favor just as quickly as they responded with four runs of their own. Ryan stretched and got dirty for a double. Heather Culley, back after spending most of the season on the injured reserves, pushed Ryan to third with a sacrifice infield fly and Patterson sent Ryan home as another one of his grounders caused some confusion among the Whetstoner infield. Clark cracked a RBI triple to tie the game 10-10 and a double from Steve Alonso put Bonez back on top 11-10 and the game was turning out to be way better than binge watching Trailer Park Boys. Which is how I gauge my life now. Whether or not something is better than watching Trailer Park Boys.
Strangely, that turned out to be it for the Whetstoners on offense as they came into the game like a lion and went out like a lamb with just two hits and no runs over the next two and a half innings.
Meanwhile, Bonez kept moving runners around the bases with hits all over the field. Rachel Reece popped a RBI double and Culley drove another Bonezer home with error-assisted RBI double for a 13-10 lead. They tacked on three more insurance runs in the top of the seventh inning as Hearn completed the cycle with a RBI triple, Reece struck again with a RBI single and Culley returned to the plate one more time for a RBI single to put the finishing touches on the 16-10 Bonez win.