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For 2019 Playoff Synopsis: CLICK HERE
For Day 1, The First Pitch: CLICK HERE
For Day 2, On Deck!: CLICK HERE
For Day 3, A Seat At the Table: CLICK HERE
For Day 4, Counting Chips: CLICK HERE
For Day 5, To Rain or Reign?: CLICK HERE
For Day 6, Moving Day: CLICK HERE
Day 6 – Elimination Games
Saying Good Bye
Before we move to elimination games, we had 5 teams that didn't make it passed the round robin. Never fun.
If you were to go by regular season standings, the Hot Tub Woody's, Gruesome Devils, Sliders, Inglorious Batsters and Beer Bros. should have been the five teams going home early. But that never happens in our league.
The Hurtin' Units were eliminated by one solitary +/- point. How many times have we said it? Every run matters in the round robin! They were severely hampered by injuries to top players but they didn't put their heads down and made the best of it. Rookie Kyle Thompson improved almost game by game and was a valued member of the team; and Kurt Phelan "The Phenom" established himself as an elite player in the league. Hats off to Justin Cremascoli who led the team in hitting! And great work by captains Hollmann and Taylor leading the way and never missing a game.
The Grisslies had two different seasons. Once August hit they only wouldn't see another win until the last game of the round robin. You're welcome Bert. Jason Candy led the team in average and brother Mike Candy would led lead the way in runs. All the Candy's made the end of season list as Bob Candy would be one of two players to play all 24 games. The other player not to miss a game was Brad Smith who also delivered their last game winning hit. Great season for rookie John Skelley who played a variety of positions and who's bat was a threat. And Clayton Avery was a standout bouncing between CF, 2nd base and SS and doing it all well.
The Gruesome Devils were the first of the bottom five from the regular season standings to be eliminated. The Devils had the benefit of having two .800+ hitters in captain Scott Peters and Robin Dickson. The regular season was a bit of struggle, but they were just disruptive enough in the playoffs to cause to angst for a number of teams. A one run loss in the opener and a tie in their last game was a three difference between 0-3-1 and out and 2-2 and in. Hats off to Howie Young, the only Devil to make all 24 games and made some notable strides this season!
Fan favourites, the Hot Tub Woody's got out of the gate with a 3-1 start to the season. Over their last 20 games however, the would go 4-14-2. That being said, the quality of the HTW's play is not reflected in their 0-4 playoff record. A two run loss in their opener when they only gave up 5 runs. A 1 run loss in their 2nd game. Another 1 run loss in their 4th game. At -11 with no wins, the Woody's have a lower +/- than 4 teams that actually won games! No justice. Brian Richards, Laurier Plante and Jason Boucher had stand out seasons for the Woody's who continue to blend respect for the league with fun and do so consistently. Chad Slaunwhite was new to the league this year and fit in great as rookie, ending up with a .600 average in his inaugural year!
Finally, Dodge City were my sleeper for a deep run. After an atrocious start to the season (2-11) they got hot when people weren't watching and quietly went 8-2-1 the rest of the way home. Both captains, Beechey and Beare led the way in hitting. But Jason Chiovitti had a break out year with the stick, particularly being one of the few bright spots in the 1st half when he was near impossible to get out. The Dodge fortunes seemed to change when they Fabio Nichilo from the waiting list and he hit up a storm!
#15 Sliders (2-3, -5) @ #5 Draft Kings (3-2, +10)
For the first time in franchise history the Sliders would get beyond the round robin to an elimination game. And they would come with spirit and heart against the Draft Kings, scoring a quick two in the 1st and pouncing on them for 7 in the second. They had to withstand an onslaught by the Kings, but the Sliders found themselves up by a run at 9-8 after two complete. Then tied at 9's after 3. The fourth brought the change of tides, as happens in virtually every game. The Sliders would count 4 that inning, including Casullo and Short both scoring their 3rd runs of the game. But the Ted Blowes and Al Frans also scored their 3rd runs of the game in the fourth as part of a seven run Draft Kings barrage! For good measure, they'd get another 7 the next inning to put the game out of reach. Make the final Draft Kings 24, Sliders 17. Roger Gaudet and Mark Mumma were once again 4/4 with a run for the Sliders. But captain Dennis Short took the cake going 4/4 with 4 runs! Lots of good lines for the Draft Kings in this one, but Blowes and Frans set the table at the top of the order, both of them going 5/5 with 4 runs scored! Draft Kings advance to the Quarter Finals!
#14 Inglorious Batsters (2-3, -2) @ #2 Sons Of Pitches (3-1-1, +5)
While the Sliders and Draft Kings were settled by the middle innings, the other three games weren't for the faint of heart. Let's skip to the end of the 4th inning in this one, where we find the teams tied at 7. Interestingly, the Batsters got their 7 runs on the strength of 27 batters coming to the plate over four innings. Meanwhile, the Sons of Pitches scored their 7 on just 22 plate appearances. Were SOP making the most of their chances? Or were the Batsters not taking advantage of theirs? The Batsters were quiet in the 5th inning and SOP came up and scored two to go ahead 9-7. The Inglorious ones were in no mood to lay down on this night and counted 3 runs in the 6th inning to recapture the lead at 10-9! Back and forth we go to the bottom of the 6th and with 2 out and 1 on, Pendlebury, Edwards, Robertson, Lyon and Gyori had consecutive hits to plate 3 runs for a 12-10 lead. Queue the drama. 7th inning. Lead off single, followed by a single. Tying run on, winning run at the plate & three straight outs made by the Sons Of Pitches to escape with a 12-10 win. Great job by the Inglorious Batsters, particular Ryan Marshall who played like a demon all week. In this one he was 4/4 with 2 runs scored. On the Sons of Pitches side of the ledger Emeil Edwards was the nail in the coffin, as he went 4/4 with 2 runs scored. Sons of Pitches to the Quarter Finals!
#13 Beer Bros. (3-2, -0) @ #10 Tap Masters (3-2, +3)
The Beer Bros. started this with their very normal 2 in the first inning. The Tap Masters followed with 3 of their own. Both teams put zeros in the 2nd inning and then the Beer Bros. erupted for 6 runs on the strength of 7 straight hits. The Champs would bounce back for 3 of their own to trail 8-6 after three complete, but they would continue to score and the Beer Bros. bats cooled down considerably. Flash forward to the top of the 7th with the Tap Masters now leading by a 14-9 count. The Beer Bros. needed runs and it had to be NOW. And they hit. 7 straight hits before a line shot out at Red. 3 more hits before a ground out. 2 more hits before a fly ball to end the inning. When the Dust had cleared the Bros had scored 8 runs to take a 17-14 lead. Queue the drama. Jeff Sagert leads off with a triple. Wayne Willcott cashes him with a single. 17-15. Tim Schrank singles Wayne to 3rd. A series of force outs and fly outs and infield singles results in Schrank at 3rd, Chris Sheir at 2nd and Art Sagert at 1st, with 2 out. Tying run at 3rd, winning run at second. A hard shot is hit down the 3rd base line, fielded flawlessly by Paul Benjamin. Schrank is headed home for the tie while Paul races Chris to the bag and beats him by the narrowest of margins. The Beer Bros hang on for a 17-16 win. The Bros. had no answer whatsoever for the likes of Wayne Willcott and Jeff Sagert. Both were 5/5 with 4 runs scored and just scorched the ball all day. Not a single perfect line for the Beer Bros. in this one, but Paul Benjamin was 4/5 with a run and had the defensive gem to end it. Beer Bros. to the the Quarter Finals!
#4 Master Batters (1-4, -13) @ # 1 Rusty Rebels (4-1, +10)
The Master Batters thought they were going home. All day they thought they were going home. Then something happened. The Sliders won their last game by 6 and the Grisslies won, but by less than 7, and suddenly they had a friend in math! And they had a game to play! The Rebels knew they were playing all day, just waiting on finding out who and where. And this game kind of went the way most playoff games had for both these teams. Low scoring and close to the vest. It was a good start for the Batters, with Hope and Lovegrove leading of the game and scoring. The Rebels immediately got one back on Sean Bush's run and trailed 2-1 after one complete. Neither team would score in the 2nd inning. They would trade singles in the 3rd. Nothing for the Master Batters in the 4th but the Rebels got another to tie the game at 3's. The Batters were 3 up and 3 down in the 5th and 6th but the Rusty Rebels would count three runs when Saunders, Bush and Douma all scored in the home half of the 5th and after 6 complete it was 6-3 for the Rusty Rebels. Queue the drama. Top of 7, Tanner leads off with a single followed by a Fraser MacDonald single. A single by Lenny followed by a force out, results in both Tanner and MacDonald scoring. The Master Batters would roll the line up over with a few more hits, eventually scoring Hope and Lovegrove with the 3rd and 4th runs of the inning and the Batters were now up 7-6 going to the bottom of 7. Sean Bush would lead off with a single. Jon Douma would double and consecutive hits by Franco Belvedere and Paul Taverner would plate the two runs required to secure the Rusty Rebels 8-7 victory! In a low scoring affair, Joe Lovegrove led the way in this one, going 3/4 with 3 runs scored. Douma has remained hot throughout the playoffs, going 4/4 with 3 runs scored in this one. Rusty Rebels advance to the Quarter Finals!