By Dave Hoffenberg
Playoffs resumed with an epic battle between No. 2 seed Rock Warriors and No. 3 seed First Stop. Joe Brown started the scoring for FS with a solo home run in his first at-bat. His team followed with five more runs, practically batting through their order for a 6-0 lead. It should be noted that Rock was only playing with three outfielders which is a huge disadvantage.
RW had a big first inning of their own, with five runs. They too almost hit through their order. Jordan “JT” Tolar smacked a two-run shot, Captain Josh Stevens hit a solo and Kevin “Kevy 2.0” Fleury flashed his speed with an inside-the-park home run. These were back-to-back-to-back. Brown blasted another in the second inning to give FS a two run lead (7-5). Tolar blasted his second of the game, this time a three-run shot, to give Rock their first lead (8-7).
Both teams went scoreless in the third, FS went down 1-2-3 and RW stranded runners on the corners and hit into a double play. Both teams got a runner on in the fourth but the score remained the same and FS turned another double play. The fifth saw a huge web gem catch by Craig Brothers, robbing FS Captain Johnny Sharpe. Craig had to cover left center field on this one. After the inning, Brothers said “I felt young again.” Collin “Hungry Like The” Wolf drove in Ed Mazzella to tie the game 8-8.
FS had a chance for more with two on but Jake “From State Farm” Clark-Trapana struck out to end the inning for the game’s first “Cold Beer K.” Greg Duprey’s nice looking sac scored JT so RW regained the lead (9-8). They too had a chance for more with two on but Justin Aker had a big web gem catch in right, saving those two from scoring. FS couldn’t use that momentum since they went down 1-2-3 in the sixth. RW Kevin “1.0” Duprey drove in a run to stretch the lead 10-8.
FS had one more chance in the seventh. They started out bad with the first two batters grounding out but the next three all hit singles to load the bases. Big hitter Joe Brown came up and got a bases-clearing double to give FS an 11-10 lead. That was huge since the next batter flew out to end the inning. Fleury started the seventh with a single but the next two batters flew out. Here’s where it got interesting. Rock’s Warren “The Bomb” Bombadier just arrived to the game and was immediately subbed in the lineup. He lived up to his nickname by blowing things up on both sides. He jacked a ball to right that was mishandled by Brown, allowing him to get to third and driving in the tying run. The next batter, Collin “Diz” Clark, jacked a walk-off home run to advance his team 13-11.
FS was sent to the loser’s bracket. Rock had to immediately face the No 1. seed Chasin Tail. The last time these two played, CT came back from a 15-0 deficit to snag the No. 1 seed. RW used the “Warren” momentum to bat through their order in the first, scoring five runs.
CT could only muster up one run to answer that. RW went scoreless in the second but Jojo Holland scored for CT to only be down three (5-2). Kevin 1.0 scored in the third but Kevin 2.0 suffered a CBK and his team stranded two after that but they did stretch their lead 6-2. Ricky Robair scored for the second time in the game to put the seesaw deficit back to three.
RW scored two in the fourth for their biggest lead of the game, 8-2. They had a chance for more with runners on the corners but Kevin 2.0 suffered a “CBK” to end the inning. CTs bats went cold, they were not able to get another hit in the game. Diz and Bombardier relived their magic combo from the first game except now Diz jacked a three-run shot and Bombardier a solo to give Rock a 12-3 lead.
Mother Nature came in quick with a thunderstorm filled with lightning to end the game there and send Rock to their third straight championship. CT drops to the semi-final elimination game.
To see who they face, First Stop had to play Rivershed Sluggers in an elimination game that was close until the teams took the field.
FS was all over them from start to finish, cruising to a 19-3 win. Every FS player contributed with his bat and his glove. The lone bright spot for RS was pitcher Ronzoni Hacker who was three for three, for the first time this season, with 2 RBI’s and a run scored. He was a home run away from the cycle. He also shut down their big hitter, Joe Brown, not giving up any home runs. Brown said, “Ronzoni has my number. I can’t hit him. He got me last game, too.” It was a tough season for RS, which is now over. As Ronzoni said, “We have been elemonaded.” FS plays Chasin Tail in the semi-final elimination game.
Aug. 17 Library Field on River Road
- 5:50 p.m. Championship game two
- 7 p.m. Championship game three (if necessary)
Aug. 22 Library Field on River Road
- 5:50 p.m. Season ending all-star game.