Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Baseball Review //
People’s United Bank 3, Vernon Orioles 9
[8/18/20 @ McKenna Field, East Hartford, CT]

               In the semi-finals matchup in the GHTBL Playoffs Tournament, you had two teams facing each other who had met before in the finals.  The difference this time around being the East Hartford Jets, many of which sat in the bleachers behind us during this game.   People’s had lost their first round game against the Orioles- a 2 run homerun the only score- while the Jets sent the Orioles down here last Friday night at McKenna Field.   This was going to be a great game going in and in some ways it felt like the finals.
               People’s United Bank started off early, putting two runs on the board in the first inning and it felt like it was going to be a game where the Orioles’ pitcher struggled and People’s won by a large margin.  However, when the Orioles put up two runs of their own in the first inning I became concerned.  I thought this was going to be a good back and forth game, which each team scoring and trying to outdo the other.   It could have been an 11-10 victory for either team at that point.  But then the Orioles scored two more runs, going up 4-2 after the first inning and it was a blow that People’s would never recover from.
               The Vernon Orioles were on their game.  They’d go on to score in every inning up until the fifth, putting up a total of 9 runs.   Every inning, that weighed upon People’s a little bit more.  It’s one thing being down 4-2, but then it was 6-2, then 7-2, then finally 9-2.  The hole became too deep to dig out from.  People’s put up one final run in the sixth inning but otherwise were shut down offensively by the pitching of Pat Barnett, who seemed to settle down after that first inning.  People’s used Garrett Moran, Kevin Lukeivic, James Flahive and even Justin Morhardt but it just felt like they never gave their pitcher the chance to settle in and take control of the game—they lacked that solid starter.
               The Orioles weren’t even hitting homeruns, but rather stringing together hits to move the runners across the bases, which reminds me a lot of how the East Hartford Jets have been playing in the Playoffs.  With tonight potentially being the last game I would hope both teams bring in their best pitchers as both teams could also bring that dominant offense.   This Orioles team wasn’t the same team which beat the Phillies but then lost to the Jets last week- no, they were on a different type of mission now. 
               However, last week when the Jets and Orioles met the Orioles’ emotions got the best of them.  Their coach was thrown out and that seemed to help the team unravel.  I’m sure that neither team has forgot and it just might be the edge which tips the game in favor of either team tonight.  The way the Jets have been playing during the Playoffs presents a difficult task for the Orioles to overcome.  If they are able to somehow defeat the Jets tonight, I’m not sure they can make it two in a row and do it again in a final game.  Either way, it will be all eyes on McKenna Field tonight. 

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