#3 Cliff Dwellers took on #2 Young Bucs in the first round of the 2017 fall playoffs at Witte Field in Englewood Cliffs. It was an anticipated matchup in the Kirby Puckett Division, with all of their regular season games being decided by 2 runs or less. Cliff Dwellers started strong, but you can’t let the Young Bucs get hot. And that’s just what they did. This one was decided in the 4th inning of game 1.
Cliff Dwellers were holding tough in game 1, matching their opponent’s scoring with some of their own in the bottom of each inning. They took an 8-6 lead into the 4th inning, but that’s where it would end. Cliff Dwellers just kept shooting themselves in the foot, and Young Bucs took complete advantage, like the great teams always do. You can’t be giving a team with this much firepower extra outs. Young Bucs plated a whopping 16 runs in the top of the 4th inning alone. To Cliff Dwellers’ credit, there was no quit in them. With their backs against the wall and on the brink of a mercy rule loss through the remainder of the game, they tried to claw their way back into it. Needing 3 runs to stay alive in the bottom of the 4th, they would score 4. They followed that with a pair of 5 run innings, while holding Young Bucs to 5 runs across both. They would cut the lead down to as little as 5 runs going into the 7th, but they couldn’t get over the hump. Young Bucs were relentless at the plate, scoring 4 more in the top of the inning and shutting the door on their opponent to take a 1-0 series lead by a football score of 31-22.
The Young Bucs offense didn’t stop there. On an ice cold day, those bats heated up and stayed red hot, and they’d leave no doubt about game 2. Cliff Dwellers came out early with 2 runs in the top of the 1st. Young Bucs answered right back with 6 runs in the bottom of the inning and followed-up with another double digit inning in the 2nd, holding a 18-2 lead heading into the 3rd. Both defenses held pat, and Cliff Dwellers were down to their last gasp. They’d bring around 2 to score, but Young Bucs halted the comeback right there. They let the first game extend but were ready to go home after that. They’d complete the sweep with an 18-4 mercy rule victory in game 2.
It was a valiant effort, but the Young Bucs would prove to be too much for Cliff Dwellers. I’m not sure which was the more motivating factor, the playoffs or not staying out any longer in the cold. Either way, the Young Bucs are deservedly headed to a championship matchup with Bad Hombres. In the loss, Cliff Dwellers saw 8 of their 12 total batters hit .500 or better across the two games. This was led by sluggers Eduardo Jacobo and Dom Odorisio. Jacobo went 4 for 5, including 3 doubles, with 2 walks and 4 RBI’s on the day. Odorisio went 4 for 6 with a walk and a team high 6 RBI’s. Not to be one-upped, Young Bucs managed to have 9 of their 11 batters hit .500 or better across the two games, including 5 batters of at least .667. They were led by Marc Pepin, Mike Slade, and Lou Mazzella. Pepin ended the day 6 for 9 with series-highs of 7 RBI’s and 8 runs scored. He also smacked 4 extra base hits, including hitting for the cycle over the two games. Slade went an incredible 7 for 8 at the plate, accounting 6 runs and 5 RBI’s. He hit both of his doubles in game 1. Mazzella hit 6 for 8 on the day, including 3 doubles and a triple, and added a walk, 6 runs, and 4 RBI’s to his statline. All of his extra base hits came in the game 1 offensive onslaught.
In addition to the hitting clinic they put forth, Young Bucs proved to also have the much more stout and ready defense. Battling the elements, the ball seemed to be either flying long or dropping in short. Young Bucs executed much better and limited their mistakes, which played a huge part in their convincing sweep of the talented Cliff Dwellers squad. Congratulations to both teams on excellent seasons and a hard fought battle. We look forward to seeing Cliff Dwellers next year and Young Bucs take on Bad Hombres for the divisional crown. Good Luck!
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