Thursday, August 13, 2020

Baseball Review //
Connecticut Twilight League Playoffs
Block G & E
[8/12/20 @ Muzzy Field, Bristol, CT]

On Wednesday night, two blocks of the Connecticut Twilight League Playoffs took place at Muzzy Field and it was the place to be.    Muzzy Field is so historic that if you give me a chance to watch baseball there I will.   The weather was threatening thunderstorms (which never came) so it was cool in the shade and when Quentin and I went up top to sit near the window area we caught a breeze as well.   It made for the perfect baseball weather and there was no better place to be.

The story going into the first game was of a team called the Great Falls Gators- who we previously saw at Muzzy Field in our other CTL game of this season.   With the way everything got shuffled around this season in Connecticut baseball, the Great Falls Gators are a team that was put together for this season but I really hope they stick around forever.  They finished the regular season in third place and this game was against the second place Indians.

This game, however, was about two innings and only two innings.   In the bottom of the first, Indians player number 7 hit a shot down third base line which everyone except for the umpire thought was foul.   This brought in the first two runs of the game and the Gators felt upset and frustrated and rightfully so.    The Gators couldn't seem to put together hits, but the Indians seemed to be a hitting machine.  They weren't cranking out homeruns, but just dropping those bombs and little spots you can't quite get to so the base runners move.

In the bottom of the third inning the Gators defense began falling apart.  Will Ramos had a huge triple to start the inning and he was just on fire tonight.  This resulted in a walk, then a HBP to load the bases and then a huge single up the middle scored two runs.  On the fourth run scored during the inning the catcher missed the tag as the runner slid around him and touched homeplate.   The Indians would go on to score eight runs in the third inning, putting them up 10-0 after only three.

This was a game of opposites, as the Gators must have felt crushed, frustrated, upset and all of those things (Even though they did get a runner on second at one point and he still did the Gator Chomp, which Quentin loves to do) but it was likely a feeling of pure bliss for the Indians, playing the way they were and making it seem like they were set in the most difficult mode on a video game, knowing no one stood a chance.   After five innings they called the game partly because there was a second game to be played (it was almost 7:30) and partly because making up ten runs in two innings seemed too large a task for any team, even the Gators.

The second game was more of a war, a chess battle if you will.   The Bristol Knights lost the night before to the Gators and the New Britain Hurricanes defeated the Glastonbury Pirates on Monday to avoid elimination.   This game was the last stand for one of these two teams and while the Hurricanes had already faced elimination, the Bristol Knights had not.   The Knights went up 1-0 early, but then the Hurricanes scored right back in the second inning tying the game up.

In the top of the third inning, a Hurricanes batter got hit by pitch and when he went to first base he was arguing with the umpire and Knights still.   The Hurricanes' third base coach was trash-talking the entire Knights' dug out.  It felt like the benches were going to clear, as some Hurricanes players did come out, but nothing came of it other than the Knights' fans yelling for someone to be thrown out (No one ever was)

This game was intense.  One section had Knights fans and another had Hurricanes fans and you could hear them cheer based upon the plays.   We were more off to the side, but there were Knights fans around us.  The way both of these two teams were playing- they were leaving it all on the field, knowing this could be the end of their season, and it was quite intense.  It was wild.  There was a tension in the air.

The Hurricanes finished the season #7 while the Knights finished #6 so you couldn't ask for two more evenly matched teams to be playing each other to elimination.  In the top of the third, the Hurricanes put up two runs to go up 3-1 but then in the bottom of the fourth inning the Knights got them right back and it was tied 3-3.    The fifth inning was key, as the Hurricanes scored two unanswered runs and the Knights' center fielder went down hurt.

While the Hurricanes were able to plate two more in the top of the seventh (I only saw one, but Quentin said he saw two) the Knights could only put up one more run in the bottom of the seventh in an attempt to save their season.   The Bristol Knights played a good game, the New Britain Hurricanes just played it slightly better.   If you ever wanted to see an edge of the seat, coming down to the last pitch type of game, this was it.

While the Gators move down to the losers bracket and face the #9 Elmer's Angels tonight, the New Britain Hurricanes also hope to avoid elimination against the #4 Fat Orange Cat Brewers.   The winners of those two games (which would be great if it was the Gators and Hurricanes) face each other on Monday night at Riverfront Park.   Also Monday night at Riverfront Park: #1 Terryville Black Sox vs. #2 Arch2 Sports B&G Indians.   If you're somehow able to make it to Glastonbury, Connecticut, that will be the game to see on Monday night no doubt.

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