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OAKVILLE MASTERS MEN'S SLO-PITCH LEAGUE
GAME REPORTS JULY 5, 2018
Blue Pills and Rusty Royals Solve Nothing on Sweltering Day in the Sun
It was billed as the battle of the ages -- or at least the last two weeks -- as the league's hottest teams met on the hottest day of the year.
And for a few brief moments Thursday, the second-place Rusty Royals could see first place. But, it turned out to be a mirage created by the shimmering heat rising off the diamond -- or possibly dehydration.
After an impressive 12-1 win over the first-place Blue Pills in the opener, the second-place Royals saw their hopes dashed in the closer as the Pills came back to win 10-4 and hold on to top spot.
Because of the heat, the first game was a six-inning affair with the batters starting each at bat with a one-and-one count. With timely hitting and solid defence -- especially from Doug Wingrove, Rick Wilcox, Max Crocker and Mike Horner -- the Royals led 12-0 going into the bottom of the fifth with a mercy victory within reach. But the Pills, who managed only six hits on the day, averted that ignominious fate with a run on two of their six hits.
Whether the Pills snapped out of their slumber or the Royals went to sleep in the second game, the result kept the standings unchanged.
The Pills bats finally woke up in the second with five hits and three runs. However, the Royals answered back with four runs of their own and grabbed a 4-3 lead. But the Pills scored twice more in the third to take a 5-4 lead they never relinquished.
The Pills defence took over and stymied the Royals over the remainder of the game. Bob Rose made a great running catch on a ball that was hit over his head. Aarne Kartna was a perfect 2-for-2 in the second game, while Jack Pang, John Finley and John Good were 2-for-3.
Golds and Greys Split a Pair on a Day That Will Live in Lethargy
Heat lethargy and an unpopular 1-and-1 count to start every at-bat resulted in stagnant offences for both the Grey Beards and Golden Agers as they slow-motioned their way to a split decision.
Asking for volunteers to ride the pine was out of the question for both managers as there would not have been enough players left on the field to constitute a regulation game. The Greys shot out of the gate with an immediate five-spot that constituted their main effort for the day. The equally mundane Golds answered with their own five-run inning -- but alas, not until the middle of game 2. Final scores of 11-6 for the Beardies and 6-3 for the Goldens meant no movement in the standings for either team.
Although the main action on the benches was around Wilky's Water Wagon and Watermelon Stand -- a wholly owned subsidiary of Rick Wilkinson Enterprises, Inc. -- there were some bright spots on the diamond.
For the sweaty Golden boys, Ty Crawford tried to finally break in his glove by spearing a rocket shot at third and numbing his hand for the rest of the day. Fortunately, holding a cold beer at the pub helped soothe the bruise.
John Manderson threw a laser from centre field that the catcher didn’t need to move for and shut down a Grey rally. Terry Ronneberg, Tom Gorman, Crawford and Manderson (not the law firm) all went 3-for-5 on an uncharacteristically quiet day for the Golds at the plate. The most excitement was reserved for two bad hops on the rock-hard infield that almost took off the noses of Tom Gorman and Bill Tyler.
With four mates missing for the bearded ones, the Beards not only got refreshment from Wilkinson, but a 3-for-3 performance at the plate along with three runs in the opener. He also provided superb pitching, with two strikeouts -- including the final out.
Peter Bowers also went 3-for-3 and scored twice.
The opener appeared to take the sting out of the Beards' bats as they were held to two runs and 11 hits in the second.
Post-game banter found the "Weiro-Beardo" guys chuckling to themselves, saying, "We like to start a new win streak each week. It gives us something to play for." And, as Mike Way says, by not scoring runs, we get back to the pub to get the freshest wings and coldest beer. Pretty smart, eh???
The lone bearded star of Game 2 was Neil (the Fountain of Youth) Donaldson, who was 2-for-2 (4-for-5 on the day) while providing perfect defence in right field.
White Hairs Overcome the Odds to Split with Red Faces
With the temperatures at post-nuclear levels, the managers of the White Hairs and Red Faces wisely decided to play only six innings in the opener and leave the length of the second game up in the steamy air.
Possibly spurred on by the immediacy of the situation -- or the lure of post-game beer -- the Whites came out swinging and scored runs in the first with Bert Therrien, Larry Weber, Bob Oliver and Cubby Hubert collecting RBIs.
Another four runs appeared to be more than enough as Bert (Blyleven) Therrien held the Reds to two runs over the first four innings in the oppressive heat.
But the Reds' big bats came to life in the sixth as they scored five times to tie the game at 9-9.
That set the stage for the bottom half of the inning, when the Whities managed to get a man over to third with two outs and Therrien ended it with a game-winning hit for a 10-9 victory. By the way, this was not the only game that Therrien ended (more on that later).
Dave Adams had a strong game for the Whites and got on base each time he came to the dish.
The Reds' sixth-inning outburst obviously inspired them in Game 2.
The writer, One-Thumb Greg Hughes, had a good vantage point from the catcher's position and noted lots of well-placed hits, away from the gloves of the Whites.
The Reds were up 6-0 after two before the Whities even knew what hit them. The Whites fought back in the third, putting up a five-spot with five hits and a couple of walks. But alas, that was all she wrote for the Whities as the Reds pulled away for an 11-5 victory as seven players had perfect 2-for-2 games.
The second came was shortened to five innings, again through the infinite wisdom of the managers.
The Whites managed 12 hits and got some solid defence, especially from Jeff "Morty" Morton.
As mentioned before, Bert Therrien ended both games, although this time he recorded the last out by getting caught leading off.
However, Therrien did have a couple of solid games both pitching and at the plate. Larry Weber did a fine job spelling off Therrien on the mound in the second game.
For the Reds, the offensive star was Don Yaschyshyn, who had a 5-for-5 day and was almost as hot as the weather.
Paul Black had three hits in the first game while Garry Schultz and Al Stokes had four hits on the day.
Ted Talbot, George Merrick, Doug Ford and Hal Ridley were also 2-for-2 in the second game.
Offence Takes Day Off as Gimps Sweep the Staggering Wines
The cars parked in the first row outside the fence at Glenashton East were in no danger as the Green Gimps and Fine Wines put on a dazzling display of offensive mediocrity in their two-game tilt.
In Game 1, the Gimps put up a five-spot in the top of the first inning, including an inside-the-park homer by manager Michael Kitchen. In the bottom half the Wines threatened to do serious damage, but Gimps namesake left fielder Doug Briscoe made a nice running catch and threw a strike to home plate to beat the runner and snuff the rally.
The Gimps failed to score in the next two innings, and in the top of the fourth manager Kitchen was overheard muttering, “Damn, do I have to do it all myself?” on his way to the plate. He followed that promptly with another inside-the-park homer, thus answering his own question. In the bottom of the fourth Gimps outfielder Brock Patterson caught three successive fly balls to retire the side – one of which he actually had to move to catch.
The Wines chipped away at the lead and were down a scant four runs entering the bottom of the seventh. With one run in, two runners on base and the tying run at the plate, Gimps rover Ron Linklater made a nice running catch to spoil the Wines' hopes and preserve a 9-6 win.
In Game 2, the eternally shorthanded Wines broke out of their eternal batting doldrums with six runs in the first two innings. Suddenly remembering that the game was shortened to five innings, the Gimps did the math and decided it was time to put up some crooked numbers themselves, scoring five in the bottom of the second and four more in the third for an 11-7 win. The only really dramatic battles during Game 2 took place in the dugouts as players jostled for the shade.
Numerous batters on both teams appeared to be thrown off by starting with a 1-1 count (at least that’s our story and we’re sticking to it). However, a few Gimps batters thrived under the temporary rule: Kitchen was 5-for-5, Steve Vitella was 4-for-4 and Briscoe and Ron Linklater were each 4-for-5.
With reports submitted by Tom Hunter, Greg Aubert, Greg Hughes, Gary Goulden, Doug Ford and Roy Kitching. Editing and compilation completed by Chris Zelkovich.