Monday, August 06, 2012
BOMBERS – 5 Mayhem – 4
Mayhem – 16 BOMBERS – 15
BOMBERS – 19 Mayhem – 12
They weren’t things of beauty, but we move on to the semi-finals to face the Titans.
Well, to be honest, the first game was a little bit beautiful. The guys from Mayhem might not have thought so, but that’s because the beautiful part of it came when we scored three in the bottom of the seventh for the come-from-behind win.
Trailing 4 – 2, Joey Baszkiewicz, who is pretty much the hottest hitter on the team right now, singled to lead off. Drew Atton reached on an error. After an out, another error produced a run that brought us within one. Jimmy Botting then came through with a clutch single to tie it up. Steve Burke, a great mid-season addition who has tightened up the outfield defense tremendously, was walked intentionally, loading the bases and setting up a double play possibility. With the outfield drawn in, Big Jay Atton (who allowed one earned run pitching) stroked a solid shot to right center for the walk-off game winner.
It should be noted that the poor Mayhem pitcher gave up ZERO earned runs in the game. So, all in all, 9 runs were scored, 8 of them unearned. Not beautiful, but, yes, beautiful for us.
Game two made up for that little bit of beauty by being a whole bunch of ugly.
We scored six in the top of the first, two in the third, and another four in the fourth. That gave us what we thought was a cruising-to-a-sweep 12 to 2 lead. Give Mayhem credit for hanging in there, though, as they plated five in the bottom of the fourth to make it 12 – 7. We added on three in the top of the fifth, 15 – 7. They chipped away some more in their half, 15 -11. And that’s what it stood at going into the bottom of the seventh and Mayhem’s possible final at-bats for the year. But they didn’t feel like going home just yet, so a single, a fielder’s choice, a walk, and another single made it 15 - 12, setting the stage for their lead-off hitter to blast one to right center for a game-tying three-run homer.
Big Jay Atton, who had thrown 13 and 1/3 innings in a broiling 90-degree sun, was relieved by his uncle, the veteran Jack Atton. No go. Mayhem completed the job with a couple of hits and we went back to the bench shell-shocked at having to actually play a third and deciding game.
I mentioned the heat. It was a scorcher. After I got home and stripped off my soaking wet uniform, I decided to weigh myself. I had lost 8 pounds in sweat. During the third game, I was seriously close to fainting behind the plate in the final inning. I didn’t want to cause any drama that might take any edge from my team, so I took a couple of deep breaths and gutted it out, but it was as close as I’ve come to that in a game, ever. Luckily, that final inning was short, as our defense got the job done in quick fashion.
OK, getting back to the start of that game, we’re still reeling from losing the second game and Mayhem jumps to a 3 – 0 lead on the strength of five walks and an error. The Bomber bats didn’t quit, though, and we got those three runs back, plus two more, on six consecutive singles, a fielder’s choice, and perhaps a little help from ill-advised throws. Mayhem grabs one back, but we add on five more to make it 10 - 4.
It remains 10 - 4 into the fourth. Mayhem hits us with the sticks again for four, to make it 10 - 8. We plate one in the fifth to make it 11 – 8. Mayhem, damn it all, comes through in the clutch again, four more runs to pull ahead, 12 – 11.
And here’s where I get to write about my lone bit of heroics in an otherwise dreadful (1 for 6, two walks) day at the plate. With one out, Joey Baszkiewicz and Fast Freddy Goodman single, putting men on first and third. I come up. I’ve been trying to put one on a line into right field all day because Mayhem was giving me some room over there. I’ve popped up to the first baseman, grounded out 4 to 3, and the one time I hit it on the screws it was right at the second baseman for another out. Did I get the line drive this time? No, but I put enough air under it to drop it two feet inside the right field foul line and I drive in the tying run. Fast Freddy goes to third. Drew Atton singles him home for the lead, 13 - 12.
These guys wouldn’t go away. Mayhem loads the bases with one out in the top of the sixth, but a fly to center, played nicely by Steve Burke to hold the runner at third without tagging, then another good defensive play by Big Jay ended the threat (he played 1B in the third game and went to his right for a grounder, flipping to second for a force.)
(It was such an odd day defensively. We’d commit some sort of ugly blunder, but then follow it up with something textbook and wonderful to behold. Shout out to two guys specifically in that regard. Jimmy Botting played shortstop rather than his usual 2B or OF, filling in for regular SS Joel Kershner. He was great. We don’t win without him. And Bennett made a couple of nice plays at 2B, filling in there [for the most part] for Jimmy. Between he and Drew Atton, the other 2B, along with Pat Atton and Jack Atton [my, we have a lot of Attons!] doing duty at 3B in place of Robbie Costello, well, this is a convoluted and highly unintelligible sentence, but it worked out well. Thanks, guys!)
We finally put those pains-in-the-ass away in our half of the sixth.
(I say “pains-in-the-ass” with respect. Mayhem earned it.)
We sent eleven men to the plate, scored six runs for a 19 – 12 lead, and then took care of business defensively. The big blow was a three-run homer by Tom Resor. Amazingly, with 39 runs scored yesterday, his was the only round-tripper. He’s having a season offensively that rivals the best in the 18-year history of the team. He upped his RBI total for the year to 42, already a tie for the team record with at least two more games to go (possibly as many as six more.) He’s mostly a quiet guy who settles things down with logic and calmness when some others of us might be a bit more off the point. He’s a real pleasure to have as a teammate.
So, next week we play the Titans. They’ve won the league title more than any other team and they’re the defending champs. They went undefeated during the regular season, including three wins over us. It will be a tall order to best them two-out-of-three and move on to the finals, but it can be done. And I don’t give a damn if we do it ugly or beautiful, just so long as we do it.
Soon, with more bomber stuff.