The Ducks had two very tough and very well played games this past weekend. The team pulled together to fight for two wins against very competitive opponents.
Game 1 v. Mussels
This game was a fight from start to finish. The Mussels were still Mighty, despite being down to 1/3 of their Prims. This game went back and forth each inning, but the Duck defense managed to stay strong and help seal the win. Sub Chris Morrow was excellent at first, Kelly Stites had several key plays at 2B and David Fiorello played great at SS. The outfield performed admirably, with Jacob Stites making several nice plays and nearly making one tremendous play running back to the fence.
Game 2 v. Bulls
Game 2 went much like game 1, both teams fought and the game was never decided until that last out was made. Lee McDonald pitched another gem, keeping the Bulls big bats from catching fire, but when they finally did, Jacob Stites locked it down. As the game drifted onto the final inning, if a ball was hit to RCF, it got caught. Short pop up, Stites was there. Drive deep, Stites was there.
This Ducks team gutted out two tough games and found themselves on the correct side of the win column by playing as a team. Great work gents!
Blue Rocks Fall to the Storm Chasers in the Semi Final Round
I took longer than normal to write this week’s article, as I wanted to really ponder our last weekend as a team. First off, I tip my hat to Pease’s Storm Chasers. They bounced back after losing game 1, and Pease himself made the tough decision to switch around the fielding lineup. Mike Babb is an incredible pitcher, not only in the pitching itself, but in the way he fields the position. And putting Brian Ortega at short stop for the final 2 games punched their ticket to the championship. He made incredible plays the whole day. Congrats to the Storm Chasers for advancing.
Let’s get back on track. The Blue Rocks had an outstanding season. If you have never played for Banta, you are missing out on a great experience. He made everyone enjoy the game week in and week out. I was lucky enough to be a part of it, albeit just as an assistant coach. We pretty much used the same lineup every week, and never once during the season did we need a sub. So let’s break it down player by player as you would have seen them come to bat…
Grayson – While playing RCF most of the year, I was always confident you would make some sliding spectacular catch week after week. You were a great leadoff hitter for us, and I loved watching you grow as a player. You were our most vocal player, always cheering everyone on and building them up.
Luke – When Banta and Grayson told me that they wanted to draft you with the 4th pick, I couldn’t have been happier. Incredible short stop. Incredible hitter. Incredible base runner. Incredible teammate. I am glad you got to hang with me this season.
Babbit – I still tell Kelly Alexander, “if you had taken Babbit last fall on the Trash Pandas, we would have walked through that season”. Almost anything hit to third this season was an automatic out. Your strength at the plate had me comfortable that we would always score as long as Luke was on first before you came up.
D Bone…always seemed to take the most round about way to catch a fly ball, but you constantly made the catches. And the grunts at the plate are only second to Michael Barth’s, but the power is undeniable.
Banta – The pitching kept us in every game. The attitude and motivation in the dugout kept us going. The sneaky pop at the plate had me saying “Banta’s still got it”.
Simo – I played with you many many years ago, when we were both way younger and way more resilient. You moved to first base for this team, and never once complained. The hustle is still there, and it was a pleasure being your teammate again.
Dalton – You still own one of the best diving plays I have ever seen by a LCF. I also watched you throw a ball flat footed from the fence and almost gun down a guy tagging from third. A sneaky strong arm. And so cool, calm and collective. Nothing ever seemed to agitate you.
Strull – Ever since that Shalom Live when they compared you to Larry David, I can’t get that out of my head. You had the best batting average on our team. When you came to bat, I was preparing the last guy that got out to be ready to run. Mr. Automatic. One of the smartest hitters I have ever played with.
Beas – I can still remember sitting next to Banta in the draft, and when he got to you, he smiled and said “give me Beas!”. He was excited and I now understand why. Great teammate, great player.
Matt – Held down RF all year long. And your hustle at the plate caused more than a few errant throws from the other teams. You always seemed to start a rally for us.
Timmy – I probably talked to you the most throughout the year. You always smiled and laughed, even if it was at your own expense. In the last regular season weekend, you were perfect at the plate, and I loved watching it.
Ozzie – I still don’t know how you were still on the board when it was our pick in the 12th. I can’t imagine you will ever fall that far again. You hit 500 this season, and just like Strull, I always felt good with you at the plate and us needing a hit.
I will be sad this weekend that we are not on the field playing for a repeat Blue Rocks Championship. But there was nothing to be sad about this season. I had a great time, and I look forward to seeing all of you out there in the spring.
game 1 tarpons vs lugnuts 14-10 loss
game 2 dragons vs lugnuts too much to not enough
We scored more runs in either game than all of last week combined. Sadly it was not enough to pull off a win. Super Subs Matt Ruckel, Mike Glosier, and Rodney McClure were great additions to help fill in some missing nuts. Brian Smallz stepped up big time and slid into the leadoff spot and showed he as what it takes to continue to lead the team at the plate going 4-6 with 4 runs scored on the day. Darius Wu was on fire with 4 homers and a triple/shalom inside the park homerun while going 6-6. Freddy Baerez showed real athleticism by playing 4 different positions on the day and flashed his speed in the outfield. John Braun smashed a double in game one. Chris peterson hit for extra bases in both games with a double and a triple helping sky rocket his slugging percentage and earn a POW nomination. And last but not least everyones favorite 11 who falls to the 12th Jeremy Turbo Golden went 2-4 and played through injury after getting hit by a wild throw to first in his first at bat. Not the result we wanted but the awesome attitudes of Freddy B. and John B. kept the dugout upbeat and ready for the next challenge.
The Ducks had a tough day at the park, but have several bright spots to build upon.
Game 1 vs Carvers 66ers.
Sub Kyzer Hoover played well all day long, and he performed admirably in the first game. Any ball hit in his direction was gobbled up and his offense came through in the clutch. Jacob Stites showed his speed in the outfield, making play after play, while Kelly Stites got on base with every opportunity he had. The Ducks fought from behind to take a late lead heading into the final frame.
Game 2 vs Banta's Blue Rocks
For reasons that baffle Banta still, someone decided to send him home on a hit to Kelly Stites in right field. After watching the younger Stites flex his defensive chops in game 1, Kelly decided to show he still has the skills by throwing out Banta at home. The Ducks outfield defense continued to be a strong suit of the team with Rohit Gulhati showing plenty of range in left field, making plays both on the line and in the gap. David Fiorello toughed out back pain to play solid defense at SS. Oh, and Justin Reed hit a Grand Slam. The heat definitely got to this Duck towards the end of the game, as I had to enlist the much younger Jacob Stites to keep the positive voices going while I tried to cool down.
Blue Rocks vs Lugnuts
10-4 loss field 2.
Everyone's favorite team fell short this week to the Blue rocks. Although we lost we did have a few shining moments. Star handicapping goomba David Shaw was 3-3 with half the teams Rbi in the contest. Fast Fingers Freddy was a wall at third making people question if Brumley is still the best glove in the league. Brian Smallz was an inspiration as he lead off the 6th with hustle and later scored our first run of the season. Johnathon Braun showed his versatility when he rotated positions mid inning to move from outfield to first base and later hit a seed in the 6th inning. Doug "Iron Man" Wolff was pulled into the baseline by a throw from Chuck Knoblauch causing him to get trucked by the quick hustling blue rock. Doug would later come up to the plate and blast the ball deep into the wind about 285' showing everyone that he is the not a man that gives up easy. Chris Peterson let everyone know that the lugnuts won't be shut out as he hit an RBI sac fly to give the good guys their first run of the season. Jeremy Turbo Golden lead off the top of the first to spark a rally that led to 3 runs in the inning.
Game 2 66ers VS lugnuts
I would like to say that this game was a lot of back and forth but that just wont be true. Two runs by each team in the first and then a go ahead run in the 2nd left the lugnuts feeling like they had righted the ship. Good defense by the 66ers and the lugnuts hitting ATOM balls the rest of the game lead to the 66ers running away with a victory.
Lets turn the page and see some of the silver lining from the game. Sean Greeley lead the team in hitting going 3-3 with a double.
Jose Baho worked a walk, hit a double, and fielded 1.000 for the day.
Darius Wu hit 1.000 with 2 sacs and did Wu like things in LCF.
Jason Niswonger did not get his 1st baseman killed this game.
Smallz hit a triple to lead off the 2nd inning and showed great hustle. That hustle later lead to a sac fly by Chris Peterson.
Braun made the best defensive play of the day on any field, yes better than tishindorf robbing the home run, as he came charging in with a fully body extension to catch a short hit pop up.
Travis Olander stepped up and played a great 1st base.
Next week...WE WIN TWO!!!!!