Oh baby, we worked hard, played double headers in parks 100 miles apart on 100 degree days, broke fingers and consumed all our free time, to be here...prepared. Prepared to play this game hard, smart and right. The Whately Pioneers have returned to Bullins.. retooled...i said retooled...
WE, are as good as the Simsbury Taverneers, and intend to beat them. Taverneers, let me introduce you to The Terminator.
After winning the coinflip, the Whately Pioneers took the field. Let's get this going!! Termie struck out leadoff batter Kelly, but he reached base on the ensuing muff. Termie turned up the heat and got Van Dyke to sky to Turk in center garden for a big out. A bouncer and a resounding K of Gonsalves, the cleanup striker for Simsbury, and we were heading for the dugout, and out bats. Termie picks up his teammates like this routinely.
In the Pioneer 1st, Pop, Spider and Connie garnered hits for 2 Aces and when we headed to the field for inning 2, we had a 2-0 lead. Just like we planned it.
The Taverneers weren't about to give up, however. Hoss reached on a muff and Muzz struck a ball that is still heading to the Moon. To make matters worse, the next 2 strikers reached, and with no hands down, we were in a jam. Connie then threw out a Taverneer batter on a close play. Termie struck out the next striker and Albie took care of the third out with a nice 4-3. The damage was controled. Back to work.
Albie hussled out a muff-7 and scampered home on Hammer's 4-3. This was a big, big Ace. We got right back into the lead. Another thing about Termie; he knows what to do with a lead. We spent about 3 minutes defending the 3rd inning. 1. Pop to Pop (outstanding play!), 2. Strike 3! to Gonsalves again! 3. Skyball to Connie.
We stranded Pop and Spider in the 3rd, after they led off with safeties and the Taverneers fought back to tie in their 4th. With 2 outs, and a Taverneer at 2nd, the Taverneer striker, Stretch, lined a ball at Grass in left like it was shot out of a cannon. I don't even have to explain why this is kind of funny. As time slowed the play down into a nice slo-mo action shot, we all watched Grass see his very first line drive, with a man in scoring position, in a big game. I would love to have the audio recording of his mental soundtrack. ...oh, s#*t ... must catch... pain soon...pleezegod...i see it...maybe...got it...no! ball on ground..termie hates me....crap!...throw ball...
Maybe Grass will catch the Vintage Virus next year. We hope so. Anyway, no worries. The Pioneer 4th was productive as Pop's bomb, his 3rd safety plated the always interesting Dentello for a 4-3 lead. The see-saw action continued in the Taverneer 5th, as the scrappy Simsbury 9 cashed in a muff and a single for the Ace and the tie. This is the last hurrah for the Taverneers however. It was bombs away in the Pioneer 5th as Termie, "Mike", Dentello, Grass and Turk raked away for a 7-4 lead. It was a lead we would not relinquish.
Spider, Nails, Dentello and turk would finish the job on offense and Termie would take care of the Taverneers. When the dust settled, the Whately Pioneers would advance to the big rematch with the Springfield Mass Mutuals. I think we all felt we would win this game, and we did. I think we also thought the game with the MM's would be a war....and it was...
Pioneers 13, Taverneers 6
First the injury report: Buck's hand has been hit by a Romulan disruptor. He is useless. Turks leg is even worse, he can barely run. Hammer and Supe have sore hands, but a few shots of Ole' # 5 and they will be fine. However, we have Bullet back. That is a big, big plus.
We won our second straight coin toss. Buck is feelin' it. Termie on the mound again for the Whately 9 and his first inning of work was quick and efficient. A nifty catch by Pop on a pop up near home plate set the tone.
With 2 hands down in the Pioneer first, Spider, bless him, singled. Bullet then laced a classic bullet opposite field liner to right for a double. Bullet couldn't keep his foot on the bag and was picked off on a nice throw in from the man in right garden. But we had a lead, and we would add on later...right?... right?
Wrong. For 7 innings, Terminator and the MM hurler pitched zeros. There were no muffs, and 5 base hits spread out over 12 half innings. After 7 frames, the score was amazingly 1-0 Pioneers. Can you have a Vintage game with only 1 run scored. This is unheard of!!
Albie started the 8th with a sharp liner to center, a sure base knock. But wait!!! The Mutual made a diving tumbling catch and held the ball to the astonishment of all, once again, more crowd noise. Cheers and gasps. Big Mo' is smiling on the Mutuals! With 2 outs in the Pioneer 8th, Bullet wacked another double to right, and was 90 feet from home when Dentello lined out to right garden. Close, so close. Now, the 9th.
Three more 9th inning muffs and a Bear Sheehan double plated 4 more Aces for the Mutuals, and a 5-1 deficit was facing the Pioneer 9 with 1 last at-bat. The last Pioneer hope was a Kid Ace aided by some past balls, but the game ended 5-2 Mutuals, and the Whately Pioneers are done in the VBBF until '09.
Somebody wins and somebody loses; but this game was an honour to play in . I don't think any of us will ever forget this base ball game.
Mass Mutuals 5, Whately Pioneers 2