By Jesse Ferguson, 4BRANT
Top seeds look to roll… out? That’s what Ludacris likes to say (below; video courtesy of Ludacris Youtube channel via The Island Def Jam Music Group).
Anyway, on the 22nd of August, the Burford Slo-Pitch League was back at it capitalizing on a wet day that transferred into a beautiful night. “It feels like fall tonight,” said Mary Gemmel, who was out with her daughters catching a ballgame. Or two, if they were really feeling it…
Tonight marked the last day of scheduled play before the playoffs kickoff. There are, however, rained out games that still need to be made up.
First on tap tonight was Ackland’s Insurance and Burford Auto. Ackland’s sits at .500 (equal wins and losses), right on top of the middle pack of the league in the standings. However, Ackland beat Bon Lane, a team tied for first place last Friday night. Perhaps they could build on that and enter the top tier in the league just in time for the playoffs.
Burford Auto doesn’t want to talk about the standings… but hey, they’re not in last!
Auto got out of the gate– or garage– fast, sending 10 batters to the plate early. “Terrible start,” said Ackland outfielder Matt Lehmann.
Ackland fielder Mike Beal made a diving catch in right-centerfield. “He looked like Kevin Pillar,” the quote-machine Mrs. Gemmel said. The likeness was totally there as Beal was parallel to the ground as he made the spectacular catch.
As the game progressed into the middle innings, Jason Demunck of Ackland (featured image) was getting visibly frustrated as some of the Ackland players were kicking it around the field, nonchalantly, showing no hustle or game intellect in the field.
“C’mon boys!” he shouted from behind the dish, angrily. “Should we just call the game now?” he asked his team rhetorically, hoping to give them a jolt they sorrily needed.
However, with the mental mistakes being made, it was hard to believe Ackland beat a first-place team just five days prior.
As if in response to Demunck’s mini-motivational tirade, Jordan Taylor answered for Ackland’s with a three-run homerun.
But in the final frame, Auto’s Jordan Farkas made a barehand play at thirdbase on a Ricky Christou groundball (pictured below) to end Ackland’s last gasp.
Auto looked really good tonight– not like a bottom feeder team at all– and they defeated Ackland’s tonight, 20-11. And Ackland’s, who were trying to catch a surge just in time for the playoff stretch run, has hit a sure speed bump.
Demuck was still too angry to hand over the gamesheet after the game or else he feels them too sacred to give out… or rather, perhaps he thinks that tonight’s game wasn’t worthy of the stats. As such, in unprecedented action, the gamesheet was hidden or not made available to the press. But not like I need it (#memory).
As things really cooled off, the late games took place. We had two games tonight between a first-place contender and a team fighting for .500. On Diamond A, Bon Lane took on Bre Haul whereas the Cement Heads battled Tota Farms, respectively.
Tota’s Farms looked to compete again being short on players. Last week they managed not to lose with just nine players, but that was on Diamond A. On big Diamond B, surely they couldn’t be so lucky.
The second batter of the game for the Cement Heads perfectly placed a shot to the outfield, the other way, down the line. And he managed to score on the hit. So the just nine fielders hurt Tota’s right off the bat.
But then– “WHERE’D HE COME FROM?” asks Sid Seixero of Sportsnet’s Tim and Sid fame– Tommy Smith arrived for Tota’s, a few batters late, but right on time for Tota’s to have a chance, giving them the much-needed 10 fielders (four outfielders). But damage had been done as five consecutive runners scored for the Cement Heads in the first.
Tota’s must’ve felt the momentum from getting another player and went 10 batters deep the following inning, including a deep shot from Rob Lowes (below). “I’m surprised you can still move well enough to pat yourself on the back,” yelled Cement Head Jeff Thompson at Lowes.
Cement scored five in a row earlier? Well Tota’s scored seven consecutively in the second to take the lead.
Without the man advantage in the field, the Cement Heads appeared somewhat shell-shocked, as in the next four innings, they scored just three runs… which would be good in the MLB, but not in slo-pitch.
Tota’s, too, stalled in the third and fourth being shutout.
However, in the fifth, Tota’s Donny Giles sent a bomb to the fence for a triple to the fence that scored two apart of a big ten batter Tota inning that saw them score five consecutive runs. Unfortunately, Tota’s Rob Lowes– or the man running the bases for Rob Lowes– was stranded at third after reaching base with just one out.
Cement battled back with a huge seven-run, 10-batter inning to tie the game at 15 in the seventh inning. Jeff Thomspon, Bird Wright, Paul “Mister” Davidson, and Dave Stapleton all scored their second runs of the contest.
Giles then repeated the same exact feat the following inning for Tota’s, burning the rightfielder again. Tota’s Farms had a clutch six-run, ten-batter inning in this eighth… but this time it was Tota’s Shay Henrique stranded at third with just one out,
The Cement Heads had a huge inning themselves in their half of the eighth scoring eight consecutive runs, battling ahead of Tota by three runs for the ninth. Tota could not answer enough and they fall in an entertaining, high-scoring affair, 25-22 to the Cement Heads.
The Cement Heads scored 20 runs in just three innings tonight. In those innings, their five, seven, and eight runs, respectively, were all scored consecutively (in a row). Davidson, Stapleton, and a creature called “Peel” scored three times tonight… and, oddly enough, just in those big innings.
But they were not the game-high in scoring runs as Dan Moore scored four times for Tota’s. However, Tota’s Donny Giles (below) scored a game-high five runs tonight!
That’s the good news– the strong-suit– for Tota’s Farms. The bad news– or undoing– of them tonight? The five, six, seven batters in their order scored a grand total of zero runs tonight. When the team scores 22 runs in a game, that’s rather unfathomable.
In other scores, Bon Lane took out Bre Haul 25-14 and the #Crunchers pulverized Davis Fuels by a single-team total that would be a high score in a football game, much less slo-pitch.
If we look at the standings (click here), again, we have a three-tier league. Bon Lane and the Cement Heads are tied for top spot, while the #Crunchers are coming up the rear uncomfortably close, only one point behind, completing the top tier.
The difference between these spots is first-place has a virtual cakewalk in round one; second place has a game against historically inept Auto squad, who showed flashes of goodness tonight; while the third place team has a tough battle against a middling team who have the capability to win any given night.
This middling tier is three team separated by just one point! Ackland’s and Bre Haul are just one point up on Tota’s Farms.
Burford Slo-Pitch action will resume play… on a Monday!? Yes, Monday. League president Jon Chambers says he does not believe that the league has ever played on a Monday before, so this is like a historic occurrence!
On Monday and Wednesday we will see the regular season come to a close. It is undetermined when each makeup date will be played– if played at all– but an all-important match will be between Ackland’s and Tota’s Farms. This game could decide fourth, fifth, and sixth seeds.