Official Box Score :::
Additional photos can be found here :::
One of the biggest things I've noticed between last season and this season in the GHTBL is that the Record-Journal Expos have made some changes while most other teams (aside from the Middletown Mets) seem to have the same rosters. If you were the Champions last year that might work, but if you didn't finish first then it only makes sense to switch things up instead of continuously trying the same thing and hoping for different results.
The mix of new players with veteran Expos has certainly been a factor in their being 3-0 now. Thursday night felt like a pitcher's duel in Vernon as the Expos scored two runs and the Orioles were held to only one. Even though there were baserunners, both teams got out of some sticky situations and the Expos even turned two double plays during the game.
In the second inning the Expos scored their only two runs. First, JD Tyler hit a sac fly to LF for the second out of the inning but it also brought in the first run of the game. The whole idea of sacrificing an out for a run might seem strange, but in this case it was the difference between the Expos winning and losing.
Sebby Grignano walked to load the bases back up and on a wild pitch Mike Barrett scored the second run of the inning. This game felt like it was a battle of the pitchers between Matt Cleveland of the Orioles and JD Tyler of the Expos. But this was where that change of the Expos came into play as names from last season and new names both contributed to making this game a win.
By the third inning the coach from the Vernon Orioles was already being yelled at the by the umpires for the second time. The umpire flat out told the coach to "be quiet and go back in the dugout" after arguing a call at first base. I just wish this game wasn't in Vernon and the crowd wasn't made up of mostly Orioles fans so more people could've seen the humor in this situation. I wish the person talking between innings gave us a sliding trombone sound.
In the sixth inning, the Orioles would score their only run but before that, with runners on first and third, the Orioles tried to do that double steal where you hope the play is at second and all the while the runner from third scores. The Expos proved why that doesn't always work though, holding the runner at third and running down the runner on first to get an out.
Jimmy Titus hit a sac fly to LF to score that runner from third and it was the only Orioles run of the game. It was interesting that both teams had one run score on a sacrifice and the other run of the game was because of a wild pitch. The pitching and defense was just that tight, though it should also be noted that JD Tyler went all seven innings while the Orioles did make a pitching change.
Jeff Massicotte, AJ Hendrickson, Sebby Grignano and Will Kszywanos all contributed to this game offensively and/or defensively. Newer Expos names like JD Tyler, Mike Barrett, Evan Avery, Brandon Hernandez and Max Giacco all made their impact as well. It truly was a team effort by the Expos and it all came down right to the very end.