By DJ Dave Hoffenberg
Flannels Fanatics vs. Dirty Mike & The Boys
The semi-final elimination game was a battle between No. 2 seed Flannels Fanatics (FF) and No. 3 seed Dirty Mike & The Boys (DMTB). That should come as no surprise because the entire season series has been very competitive.
These teams met four times in the regular season with FF holding a 3-1 advantage. DMTB lost the last three games by a combined six runs. These teams met in the first round of the playoffs with FF winning with a walk-off in the bottom of the seventh. Fireworks were expected but just like in the other games, they came late.
FF pitcher Ronzoni Hacker started off shaky with back-to-back walks but finished strong with back-to-back “Cold Beer K’s” to Todd “Skins” Popovich (looking) and Chad Palmer (swinging). DMTB took a 2-0 lead. FF started out flat going down 1-2-3. DMTB managed one hit but went scoreless in the second and added a “CBK” from Ken Stanley. The bottom of the second was almost identical for FF except they suffered 2 “CBKs” from Duane “Big D” Laughlin and Timothy “Milk Man” Blanchard.
Nothing happened for either team in the third except for a “CBK” from FF Jimbo Cassineri.
DMTB stretched their lead 4-0 after Palmer led off with a double and Mike Goodrough launched one over the fence. They had a chance for more but Matt Littler stranded the bases loaded with a fly-out to end the inning. Going down 1-2-3 was the story of the game for FF as it happened to them for the third time in four innings. Palmer’s sac fly gave his team a 5-0 lead but then Goodrough ended the fifth with a “CBK.”
FF had a chance to get on the board in the bottom after Brett “Mr Pink” Regimbald led off with a single and quickly got to third but his team left him there with three consecutive outs. DMTB stretched their lead 7-0 with a mini hit parade. They had a chance for much more but Jordan Tolar hit into an inning ending double-play with the bases loaded. Ricky Robair finally got FF on the board in the six with a lead-off homer. His team woke up their bats and added three runs, cutting the deficit to three. With two outs, pitcher Mikey Davis had trouble finding the plate and walked the bases loaded. Troy “Cowboy” Gilbertson came up in the big spot but flew out to end the inning. DMTB only managed one hit so to the bottom of the seventh we go. Judd Washburn matched Robair with a lead-off homer. Robair drove in “Big D” to cut the deficit to one. A big hit from Blanchard and walk by Larry Napolitano, loaded the bases with one out. The good retinas of Ira Zane led to his walk which tied the game 7-7. Ronzoni won the game with a walk-off single that just went over the glove of Littler. That scored Blanchard who had the walk-off hit last game. DMTB were in shock afterwards.
Flannels Fanatics vs. Rock Landscaping
FF reward was facing Rock Warriors immediately in game one of the best of three championship. FF used that momentum with back-to-back singles and then a huge homer by Washburn for a 3-0 lead. That momentum fizzled after Cowboy and Blanchard suffered “CBKs.” Not to be outdone, Rock matched that score with a three-run homer by Warren “The Bomb” Bombardier. They each got a hit without scoring in the second but FF had the better defense, turning a double-play. They didn’t have the better offense because they went down 1-2-3 in the third and fourth, including a rare “CBK” looking by Hunter Pike. Rock shined in those two innings, scoring 13 runs while practically batting through their order in both innings. Tupper Garret launched a two-run shot but it was Dakota’s Booska’s two out grand slam that was the gut punch.
FF never scored again but saw two more “CBKs” after Robair went down swinging and Pike looking, for his second consecutive. Rock wasn’t done, adding eight more runs including homers by Buddy Bartlett and Bailey Peters to win game one in grand fashion 24-3.
Both teams had a day to regroup until Game 2 on Wednesday.
Rock got on the board first with one in the first off an Ethan Patch sac-fly but FF came out flat just like they played in Game 1. They had a chance to tie it but Cowboy got caught in a pickle, which ended sour. Nothing happened in the second except for Big D’s “CBK.” Ronzoni had trouble finding the plate in the third, walking four batters leading to a run and then a sac by Bombardier led to another for a 3-0 lead. Patch ended the inning with a “CBK.” It quickly became a 4-0 lead after Booska’s solo shot. Cowboy redeemed himself with a RBI single, scoring Robair but Washburn ended the inning with a rare “CBK” looking. Patch drove another one deep but this time it went over the fence for 3 runs.
FF could only answer with “CBK” by Blanchard. That was all the scoring for Rock and FF could only manage one more run, although it was a big bomb by Cowboy, but in the end it was a 7-2 win for Rock.
Congratulations to the Rock Warriors for completing a 15-0 undefeated season which led to their second consecutive Chittenden League Championship.