The cardiac kids are at it again
by Than Acuff
The Tuesday/Thursday league playoffs got off to an insane start, with rain causing mayhem, teams edging out one-run games and title contenders getting bumped to the loser’s bracket early. Needless to say (but I guess I’ll say it anyway), the post-season is playing out just as hoped.
Tuesday night was another such game. The Avalanche is on a mission, defending their 2016 alternate reality rec league title and looking to prove that it wasn’t just luck that got them the alternate reality rec league trophy. And after the past two games, they’re right on track.
Last week the Avalanche came back to edge out a 19-18 win over the Whetstoners and advance in the loser’s bracket to face Bonez, one of my pre–post-season dark horses. Tuesday night they did it again, coming from behind in their last at-bat to win another one-run game and remain in the hunt for a repeat alternate reality title.
Bonez was noticeably more fired up prior to the game and carried that energy into the top of the first inning, using hits and shaky defense to rattle off six runs. Morgan Patterson led off with a power pop single, Brent “Soul Free” Chambers doubled and Heather Culley knocked the Bonezers in with a pop single. Jeff Hern scored two more with the hardest way to Broadway when he stretched for an inside the park home run (ITPHR), got caught in a brief run-down but eventually scored. Ryan Kay doubled, a walk put another runner on and Scuba Steve Alonzo scored both with a triple for a 6-0 lead.
The Avalanche stayed cool amidst the early mayhem though to erase the Bonez lead and then some. Mixing walks with three run ITPHRs from Michael Blunck and Sam Robards and RBI base hits by Sam Reaman and Adrienne Weil, the Avalanche took over with a 9-6 advantage. They held Bonez hitless and returned to the plate to build on their lead but poor base running and heads-up defense by Bonez would stifle the Avalanche.
In the meantime, Bonez tied the game back up as Hern stroked another ITPHR to lead off the top of the third inning, Kay doubled and scored on a base hit by Jo Ellipsis and Patterson tied the game back up with a RBI double.
The two teams continued to trade off shots through the fourth inning. Reaman put the Avalanche up 12-9 with a three-run shot over the right field fence but Bonez came back with a RBI triple from Hern and a RBI single down the third base line by Kelsey McCallum to pull back within one.
The Avalanche added to their lead, paced by RBI hits from Reaman, Billy Watson and Adrienne Weil but Kay chased down a deep fly ball to the fence to stop the bleeding.
Bonez came right back once again to tie the game up in the top of the fifth. Chambers knocked a three-RBI triple to deep center and Hern cleared the bases with a two-run opposite-field home run and, once again, we were all tied up.
Pip Bailey then took over on the mound for Bonez and had the Avalanche hitters off-balance to start with a mean knuckleball. Mikey Weil was the only one unaffected by the pitching to connect for a RBI double but that would be it and Bonez then made a move, scoring seven runs in the top of the sixth inning.
Bailey kicked things off with a two-run ITPHR, Katy Kay fired the Bonez’ dugout up with a big hustle powerbunt single and Chambers gave Bonez the lead back with a RBI double. Culley followed with a two-RBI single as the Bonez runners got on their horses and then Hern struck once again with another two-run ITPHR to put Bonez up 23-17 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning.
Rather than panic, cooler heads kept the Avalanche on task as the bottom of the order got on base and the top of the order drove them home. Both Slater Weil and Paula Dietrich knocked base hits before Reaman cleared the bags with a three-run ITPHR. Blunck turned on one of Bailey’s knucklers to drive a RBI triple to the corner in left field and a sac fly RBI from Mikey had the Avalanche back to within one heading into the seventh inning.
Bonez was primed to build on their slim lead as Ryan led off with a solo home run to go up 24-22. The next two hitters reached safely and Bonez appeared to be clicking but the Avalanche defense did their job, holding Bonez scoreless despite having two runners on with no outs.
That then set the stage for more late-game Avalanche heroics. Robards led off with a single, Ronco Chlipala blooped a single to shallow right and Slater Weil finished the job with a walk-off three-run home run to straightaway centerfield for the 25-24 Avalanche win.