Baseball Review //
Bristol Greeners, 0
Wallingford Cardinals, 8
Wild Card Game
August 7th, 2022
Pat Wall Field, Wallingford CT

Official Box Score :::

Additional Photos :::

The first and perhaps most important thing which I want to say about this game is that it was of the utmost importance that the Wallingford Cardinals win.   Having seen my fair share of GHTBL regular season games, I have seen teams play at their worst and I have seen teams play at their best.   So what I can say with blatant honesty is that the Wallingford Cardinals being in the 2022 Playoffs means that any team of the eight has the chance to win it all.  Had the Bristol Greeners won, I would not have felt the same because I just didn't see that in them.

What makes the playoffs different from the regular season (hopefully) is that there might be a game here or there where one of the key players on a team doesn't make it because they have to work or some other obligation.   But for the playoffs, all of the players should show up that are needed.  This should be the time when the teams have their full rosters and are simply at their best.  And when all of the pieces fall into place and the teams just click, anyone in this year's tournament has that chance to win it all.

A good example of this was the way that the Wallingford Cardinals played this game.  You can't diminish the win of the Cardinals here by saying "Oh, but they were playing a last place team" because this was an elimination game and both teams should have brought their best, and in many ways they did.   But when you're putting together hit after hit and shutting down the other team with your defense, it doesn't matter what the other team is.

To the credit of the Bristol Greeners, they made some plays which maybe they shouldn't have but many of the hits were put in places where no matter who was there- what team, what player- no one would've been able to field it because shots just went over their head in the outfield or up the middle where that gap was.  It's not as easy as saying that the Greeners defense committed errors which other teams wouldn't have.  This could've been a Cardinals win over any other team in the league.

This game started off rather tense and for the first two innings there was no score.  It felt like we might be going into extra innings with a 0-0 score but in the bottom of the third inning a double by Evan Wilkinson drove in the first run of the game.  I've seen games (even within the last two weeks) end at 1-0 so even though it feels like a deficit which a team could come back from, in this type of post season play one run might be enough to win it all.

The fifth inning felt like the Oprah Winfrey inning because I just wanted to tell the Cardinals: "You get an RBI! You get an RBI! You all get an RBI!"   Sam DeMaio started things off by singling in Evan Wilkinson.   From there, the lineup really did just feel like every batter got a hit and drove in at least one run.  The total inning run count would be at 7 and with only two innings left for the Greeners they must have felt their season coming to an end.

The way I feel about the Wallingford Cardinals during this game and going into the playoffs is the way that I feel about every team in the playoffs and that's what makes it all so exciting.   Throughout the season, there have been pieces of the Cardinals at games and that might have been why they didn't win, but when all of those pieces come together and work in this way, when you have that offense of Adam Leone, Evan Wilkinson, Owen Pincince and Sam DeMaio, it just doesn't feel like it can be stopped.

At the same time, Alex Koletar threw seven scoreless innings, allowing only three hits and striking out five.  Knowing that Brendan O'Connell and AJ Kleczkowski are there if they're needed to come in to pitch also just feels like it makes the team so complete and this potential threat going into the playoffs.

No one wants to lose.  The regular season is to be taken seriously and as a team you should want to win.  But in many ways, for many of the teams, it does feel like maybe you've seen them in the regular season in bits and pieces, but now, for the playoffs, all of those bits and pieces are going to come together and show you what they can do as a team.   It really is anyone's tournament to win this year and that's going to just drive it to be that much more competitive.


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