Thursday, November 17, 2011

Division Playoff Recap Part 1

As if on cue, the high powered offenses of Augusta and Portland did not dissapoint in their game 1 match up. Both Blake Bonds and Carlos Furcal were seen ducking the post game press conferences after this one. If you know who these two are, you're way too deep into this HBD thing. The two teams' pitching coaches had to witness a total 41 combined hits/walks, 6 homers and 20 runs scored (and another 23 were left on base). Portland's game winning rally in the 8th was comprised mainly of three walks and an error. Starting pitchers Flip McCartney and Rick Poppell gave up a combined 13 earned runs. If HBD tracked time of game, this one would have rivaled the best of those endless Red Sox/Yankees affairs on the Fox Saturday game of the week. But what lacked in asthetics was made up for in drama. There were four lead changes during the course of the game, with Portland finally getting the last of it in the 11-9 win. But after this messy affair, Augusta's pitching staff showed up in winning the next three, holding the Breakfast's "big two" of Pedro "Hack" Bonilla and "Big Mol" Geovany Molina to a combined 2 for 22, with just 2 runs scored and 1 RBI. Calvin "Sweet As" Sugawara, Pedro "High" Sierra and a rebounding McCartney alll pitched at least into the 7th in earning the wins. Victor Lawson earns the MVP nod over Pete "Crazy Old Building & Loan" Bailey (who curiously looks a lot like my AAA pitcher Shannon Robertson!), primarily for providing the big three-run homer in the clincher to put Augusta ahead. A.Rod is now guaranteed a new reigning champ as Portland get eliminated. Thanks to bradkoesters for taking over the talented but leaderless franchise. Whoever picks them up will surely have them banging on the door next season.

The Burlington three games to one win over the St. Louis Redbirds included one of the best games I've seen in awhile. Burlington bashed their way to a 2-0 lead in the series by outscoring the 'Birds by a combined score of 20-5. "The Fireball Kid" Larry Kile pitched great in game 1, going 6 strong, while giving up just 2 hits and no runs. "DB" Dann Brennaman and Dusty Riggan each had a 5 RBI game. Game three was where it was at! St. Louis nursed a three-nil lead through 8, as Shane Alexander seemed to be on cruise control, scattering 7 hits. But with two outs in the ninth and with two strikes (for dramatic purposes only) on a .242 career hitting/slick fielding shortstop, Whitey "Black" Holzemer hits a game tying three run homer to silence the St. Louis crowd. Whitey had previously hit only nine homeruns in over 800 career Booya at-bats. Later in the inning, back-up catcher Ben Felson (career .212) connected for a solo-shot off of closer Stump Matheson, giving Burlington the lead, and a chance to win the series with three more outs. In the bottom of the inning, who else but Chuck Merrick brings the crowd back to life with a game tying solo shot off of Burlington's closer, Kenta Itou, to send it to extras. The Redbirds squandered a bases loaded opportunity in the 11th, and the Booya did the same in the 12th. BJ Sullivan's fifth hit of the game was the walk-off game winner in the 13th, keeping St. Louis alive and giving them momentum. Game 4 was a nail biter as well, as neither team could put togther a rally until Burlington scored single runs in the 5th and 6th. St. Louis failed to score during their 7th inning rally, did get a run in the 8th, but could have gotten more if not for a GIDP by game 3 hero Sullivan. A great catch by Gold-glove CF Sandy "Put me in Center" Fielder to lead off the St. Louis 9th squashed any hope of the 'Birds starting a game-tying rally. Gustavo Mateo gets MVP honors for coming up huge in winning the clincher. With an explosive St. Louis offense having the momentum, Mateo slammed the door by striking out 10 in 7 innings, giving up 4 hits and no runs. Congratulations to the Redbirds on yet another great season. No doubt they will be in position once again to vie for the title next season.

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