Official box score :::
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Two days ago the Bristol Greeners only had two wins: one over the Hartford Colts and one over the Wallingford Cardinals. On Thursday night the Colts had a chance at redemption and this game became the Cardinals chance to not lose again to the Greeners in their second meeting of the season. Every team is playing each other three times this season in the GHTBL and it seems like it is difficult for a team to take all three of those games.
This game started out innocently enough but it didn't end the way that it should. The Cardinals and Greeners had this back and forth game which ended on a terrible call and just kind of felt like watching a movie that you were really into with a surprise ending that made no sense. I imagine this being like a mystery/thriller and then at the end it's revealed that who did it was someone that felt more like a plothole than actual closure.
After two innings, the Cardinals took an early 1-0 lead. The Greeners had managed to put Alex Koletar on base with a HBP and then Koletar stole second, stole third and ultimately stole home on a wild pitch. This whole series of events would play itself out again in Koletar's next at bat, as he was once again HBP and stole second.
In the bottom of the third, the Greeners put some hits together, with a double scoring the first run of the game for them and then a sac fly moved a runner to third and that runner would score on a single giving the Greeners the 2-1 lead after three innings.
The fourth inning was where all the offense would come from. The Cardinals would put up four runs that inning. With one out and bases loaded a huge double would bring in two runs and leave runners on second and third. A wild pitch would bring in the third run of the inning, which would move the runner over to third and then that runner would also score on another wild pitch, giving the Cardinals a 5-2 lead.
The Greeners would have their own burst of offense in the bottom of the fourth as two runs score on a double and then another double would score the third and tying run for the game. The Greeners and Cardinals would both sit at 5-5 for the fifth and sixth inning. It became this stalemate where it was just a matter of waiting for either team to score, knowing it could be the run that wins it all.
As we approached the seventh inning it got darker. The weather was cooling down and we were nearing 8:30 with a game that started at 6:00. I was questioning in my head and aloud to my dad as well whether or not we thought there would be an eighth inning if the teams remained tied or if they would suspend the game and pick it up at a later date. We both agreed that there would likely be no eighth inning and the game would resume elsewhere at a different date.
Going into the bottom of the seventh there was that feeling amongst the Greeners and their fans of "Let's win this one and go home". They had two outs with runners on second and third and it felt like the game was about to be put into limbo as the batter at the plate reached his third and final strike.
However, the Cardinals catcher dropped the ball and if you have two outs you're allowed to run to first on a strikeout so this play unfolded. The Cardinals catcher- to his credit- threw right to first and the first baseman stepped right on the base for the out. The Greeners batter hesitated, not sure at first that he was allowed to run before he heard his teammates yelling at him to do so. When the ball was at first, this runner was less than halfway to the base.
The Cardinals first baseman even tagged the runner out for good measure before he reached the base and yet somehow the umpires called him safe. And since he was safe, the ball was live (Which I somewhat question) and the runner on third went home to score and give the Greeners the walk off victory.
Look, I love a good walk off story. A homerun is the best way to do it. Drop a single in front of an outfielder and score someone from second or even a grounder up the middle. And there are some less than stellar ways to walk off a game, which are not as exciting but are still effective, such as a bases loaded BB which brings in the winning run or I even remember recently seeing an MLB end with a walkoff on a balk.
The way that this runner for the Greeners struck out, was tagged out at the base and his body, but then was somehow called safe which somehow managed to have the runner on third score is just some of the worst calling I've seen by an umpire (but that's fine, umpires are human and they do make mistakes) but it was just also such an unsatisfying way for the game to end.
Don't think about whether you are a fan of either team or if you play for either team. Imagine you read about this happening to two teams you'd never heard of before. And they have this great game going for six and a half innings where they just feel so equally matched. One team says "I can do this" and the other team says "I can do it too!" and it has this tie to where it feels like you're going into extra innings but you don't.
Then with two outs, you see the hitter strike out and ultimately get out three different ways before he is called safe at first and then that is how the game ends on a walkoff. I feel like if the Greeners hit a single up the middle or even had that sixth run walked in it'd be a different feeling but this just doesn't feel right. It doesn't feel like the way any game should end, it certainly doesn't feel like the way any team should win but sometimes baseball can also be odd and anti-climactic I suppose.
The Cardinals have a bit of a busy week ahead of them now. On Sunday they welcome the Jets to Pat Wall Field. On Tuesday, the Graphics come to Pat Wall and then on Thursday the Cardinals and Greeners have their third and final meeting of the season at Pat Wall Field as well. The Cardinals also play the Expos on Friday next week at Pat Wall, so it's just going to be a busy week there all around and the Cardinals will once again meet some of the top teams in the league.
The Greeners, however, do not return to action until their game next Thursday at Pat Wall Field where they will see the Cardinals again. On Friday, the Jets are at the Greeners and in a rare Saturday GHTBL game the Graphics are at the Greeners, both at Bristol Central. These two teams- the Greeners and the Cardinals- are having a similar week as they both meet the Jets, Graphics and each other.