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Sometimes what happens in a baseball game in that one single moment seems to define the entire game. All of the offense which was able to score a single run was in the top of the first inning. Spencer Azzara hit a leadoff double, stole third base and then was brought home by a ground out to first base by Mike Cookson. There was only one out at the time, so naturally you think as a player that the fundamentals say to throw to first- get the easy out, eat the run and know it's only one run so you can get it back later.
But for People's, there was no later. They let that one run go by and that determined the entire outcome of the game. Had they instead thrown to home instead of gettng the out at first, it is possible the runner could've held up and it wouldn't have been a guarenteed out. Then you have first anf third with only one out. Another play after that might drive that run in anyway, so it's a chance to take, but again, fundamentals always say to throw to first, get the force out, eat the run.
Jason Ray threw five scorless innings for the Phillies while Trevor Moulton came in and closed out the last two, neither allowing a single run. And, thus, the beauty of the 1-0 game is within the pitching. The Phillies shut down the offense of People's completely, but People's held the Phillies to only that one run. Eric Malinowski had only allowed two hits, struck out eight and pitched all seven innings in what is nothing short of a stellar accomplishment.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Sean Casey hit a deep shot to left field for a double for People's. A walk would make it first and second, as Sean Casey would steal third and then make it first and third. But a ground out would get the Phillies out of it without giving up any runs. This game was less than two hours long, extremely intense and felt like two of the top teams playing that final game to win it all.
During the fourth inning, People's Willy Yahn hit a single and then stole second base. He was clearly safe by quite a distance but either the Phillies or their fans were complaining: "You made up your mind he was safe before you even saw the play!". Look, I understand arguing calls of whether someone is safe or not but trying to catch Willy Yahn is not going to happen it's not the type of thing which anyone needs to be yelling about. Willy Yahn is fast. End of story.
For reasons still unknown to most, in the bottom of the sixth inning People's Rami Jadallah was thrown out of the game. Usually, when a player is thrown out it comes with this good story. They get into a fight with the other team or the ump- even if it's only verbal, you can tell they're yelling and it's clear why. After this specific play to first when Rami Jadallah was thrown out of the game, none of that made sense.
The only time throughout the entire game I really heard someone yelling loudly where the umpires looked upset about it was when they yelled after Willy Yahn was called safe stealing. No one else ever really raised their voice or did anything that seemed out of line. And I've seen players (and coaches) get in the face of the umpires screaming without being ejected so I really was just left stumped here. And I'm not alone in that because all I heard after was the umpire telling the People's coach he didn't want to hear it when offering up no reason.
This game was moving quickly, it was very quiet- I think because of the tension- and it wasn't like Rami Jadallah had struck out and then said something about the way the umpire called the pitch. Whatever happened though, if it was something Rami Jadallah said, and with all that tension in the air, if I couldn't hear it on the third base side, it probably would've served the umpire best just to let it go. It was just such a weird spot in an otherwise great game.
Tomorrow night (Sunday) the Phillies welcome to Colts to South Windsor as the finish a game which was suspended at 5-5 and then play a complete game right afterwards. The Phillies then go to Ceppa Field in Meriden on Monday night to take on the Record-Journal Expos. People's will return to action on Monday night at McKenna Field against the Jets and then People's will also face the Expos at Ceppa Field on Tuesday night.
On Monday there will still be five games during the week across three nights before the big series at Dunkin' Donuts Park on Thursday night and then we're into the playoffs. The Phillies and Colts are sitting next to each other, so if the Colts should happen to sweep both games on Sunday and the Phillies lose to the Expos, the Colts could move up to sixth place, which would likely give them the Orioles in the first round playoffs.
The Phillies moving down to seventh place means they might end up facing the Jets and no matter what else happens the Graphics and People's seem destined to meet, as do the first place team and whoever wins the wild card between the Greeners and Cardinals. It's all really starting to take shape this week as teams end their regular seasons.