Top two teams sent to loser’s bracket
by Than Acuff
The Wednesday league playoffs were thrown into disarray last week as the top two seeds, Staff Infections and Pitas OG’s, were knocked off their pedestals, losing and falling to the loser’s bracket. Trouble is, for all of the other teams, they are merely down but not out as they still can rise from the loser’s bracket to make a run at the title.
Talk about poking the hornet’s nest.
But before we get into the game, let’s bid a fond farewell to a couple of teams, as both Backcountry Cannabis and the Rasta Hairnets lost their second games of the post-season and are thus eliminated for good.
But the Rent-A-Gades are still in and looking stronger as the playoffs continue. They had an erratic regular season, to say the least, but appear on point after handing the second-seeded Staff Infections a 13-11 loss last Wednesday.
It really came down to the defense and the Rent-A-Gades defense made all the difference. Even if they didn’t get the out on some occasions, they sure made it interesting.
Mikey Strauch showed the Rent-A-Gades meant business that evening in the first at-bat of the game when he stroked a solo inside the park home run (ITPHR). An error, a fielder’s choice, a RBI walk and a sacrifice fly RBI had the Rent-A-Gades up 3-0 early on.
But, their enthusiasm was short-lived as the Staff Infections came right back in the bottom of the first inning to score six runs and flex a little Infection muscle.
Kyle Thomas led off with a double and scored when Lynelle Stanford crushed—and I mean caaaarushed—a RBI double off the top of the outfield fence.
A sac fly RBI by Tyler Hansen and a two-run ITPHR from Nick Rodell put the Staff Infections on top and then Joey Carpenter cleared the bags with a two-run home run to straightaway center and a 6-3 Staff Infections lead.
Thomas tacked on a solo shot for another Staff Infections run and it started to appear as if the Rent-A-Gades would fall short of their abilities and expectations. Fortunately, their defense kicked into gear, including executing a perfect rundown between third and home and shortstop Jeff Snyder chasing down a pop fly to shallow right with a tumbling over-the-shoulder grab.
Meanwhile, their offense continued to struggle but they made the most of what they got, capitalizing on some walks and some sac fly RBIs to pull to within one run of the Staff Infections midway through the fourth inning.
A solo shot from Ryan McCudden and RBI single by Snyder tied the game 8-8 and while Cole Stanford knocked in an Infection run with a RBI triple, the Rent-A-Gades defense continued to carry the team into the sixth inning when their offense finally came around.
Emily Ocanas and Lauren Alkire started it off with a couple of base hits. Peace Wheeler then tied the game 9-9 with a fielder’s choice RBI, Krystal Staggs walked to load the bases and Snyder knocked two in with a “weird area” single, causing one dog to start barking and another to run onto the field, adding more mayhem to the mania. Strauch capped it off with a RBI single and the Rent-A-Gades were finally in the lead 13-9.
The Rent-A-Gades defense then retired the side in the bottom of the sixth, including a leaping grab by Ocanas at second base and they were looking good to seal the win with additional defense.
But, it’s town league softball and the game nearly got away from them in the bottom of the seventh inning after an error and a two RBI single from Stanford had the Staff Infections surging back. But, the stars aligned and the Rent-A-Gades got the final out to seal the 13-11 win, sending the Staff Infections to the loser’s bracket. It turns out they were eventually joined by the number-one seeded Pitas OG’s as they lost in the late game that night to KBUT.