Saturday, August 15, 2020

Baseball Review //
People’s United Bank 4, South Windsor Phillies 2
[8/15/20 @ Ceppa Field, Meriden, CT]

               This was a tough game because the winner of this game would go on to face the Vernon Orioles and then the winner of that meets the East Hartford Jets in the finals, so it was not only an elimination game but also one very close to the end.   For two innings, each team seemed to be feeling the other out without any runs being scored, though both teams did seem to threaten.   This game really broke down when in the third inning Willy Yahn hit a homerun to left field to put People’s United Bank up 1-0.  This was the second night in a row in which Willy Yahn hit a homerun in a Playoffs game.
               If ever you were looking for a game where both teams left it on the field, this was it.  The previous night (though they weren’t facing elimination) the Vernon Orioles made so many mistakes and just looked defeated, but throughout this entire game neither team gave up.  They both fought and played their hardest right up until the very end.
               In some ways, this was a game of getting runners on base and then the defensive team getting out of the inning without anyone scoring- and this went both ways.  In the third inning, South Windsor Phiilies player Aedin Wadja was thrown out at third to end the inning, though to his credit I feel like every time I’ve seen Aedin Wadja at bat he always gets on base.  The Phillies would survive the fourth with a runner stranded on third and a grab and throw ended the fourth inning for the Phillies as well. 
               While Aidan Dunn was pitching for People’s, the starting pitcher for the Phillies- Noah Shaw- was playing the role of third base coach.  There were several times when Aidan Dunn would throw a pitch and the umpire would call it a strike and Noah Shaw would complain about how when he threw that same pitch it was called a ball.  This went on to the point where Noah Shaw said from within the dug out at one point “Why don’t you just give them the game!”
               In the top of the fifth inning, Phillies pitcher Clayton Stupienski got two runners on via HBP- one of which was Willy Yahn.  After a fly out, Willy Yahn looked like he was going to third but ended up going back to second and many of the Phillies’ players felt like the throw was in time and he should have been out.  This made the players- and the Phillies fans in attendance- quite upset and turn on the umpires.  At the end of the game though, this call didn’t really matter because it didn’t result in a run.  If anything, it motivated the Phillies, who would score their only two runs in the bottom of the fifth and go up 2-1.
               When People’s catcher Eric Preston got to the plate with two on, both the Phillies and People’s had to talk about the at bat.  People’s called time out and it felt like a possible bunt was being discussed by both sides.   However, Eric Preston somehow smashed the ball over left field and out of Ceppa for a three run homerun, which effectively won People’s the game.  It was a beautiful thing to see, but also odd that the only runs scored by People’s were on homeruns. 
               After the game, the Phillies were arguing with the umpires from their dugout, as the umpires passed by them.  The argument of the Phillies was basically that what they felt like were poor calls by the umpire were why they lost- that the Phillies lost because of the calls.  The umpire straight up told them that his calls had no affect on the four runs scored by two homeruns, which I thought was a good answer.  In all games, someone must win and someone must lose.  On this night, People’s were just a better team than the Phillies.  Both teams made mistakes.  Both teams missed opportunities to score.  But at the end of the game, People’s won by two runs, just proving that this game could have gone either way but it just happened to go in People’s favor tonight.  There is no shame in losing if you can lose with dignity.
               With this win, People’s United Bank goes to face the Vernon Orioles who are not the same team who defeated them in the first round of the Playoffs.  People’s, with their momentum right now, have a very good chance of eliminating the Orioles and going on to face the East Hartford Jets in what could become a game we talk about for ages.  It all starts at Riverfront Park with People’s and the Orioles, back where they started but not the same teams.

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