On Wednesday, August 29 the league was making up another slate of rainout games from earlier in the season. However, this would mark the last day of the season.
And there was a lot on the line…
First place was being fought out between three teams, while four through six was being sort out simultaneously.
Like last week, the top tier was battling the second tier. First on Diamond A, we had a team tied for top spot, the Bon Lane Bushwackers, taking on Tota Farms while the other squad tied for first, the Cement Heads battled Bre Haul, who were fighting for fourth place themselves.
The fifth inning of Bon Lane v. Tota saw an unusual play. Tota’s Shay Henrique made a great play on the base paths enticing the fielder to throw at him. When Henrique was almost in a pickle, Rhino Horn, who was already thrown out at second, inadvertently ran to third.
The Bon Lane fielder saw him running and elected to throw out Rhino at third, not knowing he was already out. And Henrique scored on the play! It may seem like gamesmanship, but Rhino looked genuinely confused on the play and did not leave the field until he was sure. Ignorance was bliss for Tota’s in this case… and resulted in a run to give them a lead.
Levi Smith pitched well for Tota’s, and held on for the spoiler win! 12-7 was the final.
I caught up with Bon Lane’s Bonney and he was notably down after the loss. “We could go from first to third with that loss,” he correctly lamented. “So go Ackland’s,” he laughed, because, if Acklands upsets the #Crunchers, Bon Lane still retains a top seed… albeit the top seed on the bottom of the tournament bracket (second seed).
And that’s a great segue to the next game! The aforementioned Ackland’s got on the bats fast, going ten batters deep to start the game. It was Dave Zylstra who provided the initial spark with a first-inning three-run homer.
However. Ackland’s four-run first was countered by three by the #Crunchers, including one by Mike Heeney.
Matt Lehmann showed some great hustle in the second inning scoring on a play to the outfield from second base. “Who is that guy?” fan Gary Zylstra asked aloud. “He was never that fast on skates!” he laughed, referring to Lehmann’s last year of travel minor hockey, where Zylstra was one of his coaches and Lehmann was apparently not the swiftest of skaters.
Back to the game at hand, Gary Sparks was busy hitting a homer for Ackland’s as was Brandon Webster. Sparks had a game-high four runs and scored them all in or before the sixth! Webster hit his as a part of a monster fourth inning for Ackland’s as they scored eight runs.
All the meanwhile, Cement Head Jason Sibbick strolled over to Diamond A and simply took the trophy (below), indicating the Cement Heads defeated Bre Haul and they win the Regular Season Trophy.
This could mean Tota’s clinches fifth with their win tonight and since the Cement Heads appeared to have won over Bre Haul. That means Bre Haul slips to sixth, meaning they get the heavyweight #Crunchers in round one of the Year-Ender Bender.
This put Ackland’s up big and forced the #Crunchers to play catchup all game long. Demunck (above) made a great catch in right-centerfield, diving, to make the comeback even harder. But then Steve hit a grand slam for #Crunchers apart of a six-run inning, making it 18-10 Ackland’s entering the seventh. After cashing five more runners the next inning, the #Crunchers had closed it to just four runs!
But then Ackland’s answered with a five-run eighth and that sealed the deal. It ended 27-15 for Ackland’s, a score in ode to the coming football season. Dave Zylstra, Gary Sparks, and even Demunck scored four apiece for the winning side.
With the win, Ackland’s secures playing Tota’s Farms in the first round.
And somewhere in the distance, in rural Burford or surrounding area, probably enjoying a postgame pop or three, Bushwacker Jeff Bonney smiled.
All of this means that the Year-Ender Bender is set! Next Wednesday, round one begins! Numero uno Cement Heads face Davis Fuels, runner-up Bon Lane faces the inconsistent Burford Auto (but inconsistency is scary for opponents), the #Crunchers battle Bre Haul, and Ackland’s Insurance crashes into Tota’s Farms.
As Terrell Owens says: “Get your popcorn ready!”