[ by Than Acuff ]
The third time was the charm for the Rastas and Treasury Liquors. After rain postponed their first scheduled meeting and then rain kept them from playing a second time, they finally got to face each other in the losers’ bracket of the Wednesday league playoffs with elimination on the line. And it’s strange what the stress of elimination will do to a team, but more on that later.
The Rastas are a shadow of their former self finishing the regular season with just one win, which was in the first week of the season. Since then, they’d lost seven in a row, including their opening playoff loss to Pork Missile. Treasury Liquors, on the other hand, is erratic and I’ll just leave it at that.
So, when the two teams finally got to play each other, anything and everything was possible and a little bit of both occurred.
The Rastas struck first in the top of the first as hits from Johnny Green, John Hopper and Lynn Moore loaded the bases and Joey Reed pushed one of them home with a sacrifice RBI. The Rastas then held Treasury Liquors hitless in the bottom of the first and returned to the plate to score four more runs.
Player/manager Arliss Merrell got the Rastas rallying with a RBI double to centerfield. Kristin Gallien and Green then combined for two more base hits and were poised to score until Reggie Park leapt up at shortstop to snag a line drive robbing Ryan Carroll of a hit and the Rastas of some runs. Hopper picked it back up though with a two RBI triple and the Rastas were up early 5-0.
Treasury Liquors remained hitless in the bottom of the second except for one Will Ashbaugh, who made the most of the limited gaps in the Pitsker outfield to put together a solo inside the park home run (ITPHR).
Yet, once again, the Rastas weren’t done, at least not yet. Reed led off with a big hustle infield single and eventually scored off a single from McMullen. McMullen then scored off a base hit by Hannah Strickland and, once again, the Rastas were poised for more, until Carlos Garcia entered the picture. The veteran first baseman for Treasury Liquors had the composure, and coordination, to chase down a pop up in close proximity to the base and step on the bag while making the catch for the double play.
The effort of Garcia had Treasury Liquors ready to produce at the plate, but the Rastas defense stepped up once again with the first Liquor batter. Hannah Beren stepped to the plate and cracked a line drive down the third base line bound for extra bases until Strickland reached up at third to flag it down.
Greg Flynt then stepped up and cracked a line drive to the gap in center and started wheeling around the bases. While McMullen missed the initial grab, he chased the ball down, hit Green at cutoff and Green fired home to deny Flynt the ITPHR.
More base hits and some limited running built more of a lead for the Rastas in the top of the fourth inning while more defense held Treasury Liquors to their lone run including a “jumpy” grab by Green and the effort of Moore behind the plate chasing down a pop foul.
A player from Treasury Liquors then said to me, “Do you ever put humor in your articles? You should.”
What’s the difference between an elephant and a plum?
Eventually, Treasury Liquors scored as Ashbaugh, Garcia and John Ferrell combined for three base hits and a run in the bottom of the fifth inning and Park, Sugar Hopkins and Shane McDermott did the same in the bottom of the sixth inning.
It was brought to my attention by Treasury Liquors that perhaps the Rastas were using the same pinch runner, their fastest runner, every time. Typically, when a man or woman needs a pinch runner on base, it’s the last man or woman to get out. Such was not the case with the Rastas, at least so it initially appeared in the scorebook at the time.
After further investigation a couple of days later, because that’s what I do, hard-hitting investigative reporting, a Rasta assured me that they were on the up and up with their pinch runner choices, so Matergate debunked. Still, big props to Treasury Liquors for not making an issue of it during the game focusing on fun over kerfuffle.
Henry Dixon then tacked on one more run for the Rastas with a solo ITPHR as they advanced in the loser’s bracket of the post season with a 9-3 win while Treasury Liquors’ season came to end. My hope is that they will return next year.