BERT WILLIS PARK, NEPTUNE, NJ -- In a season and really a year riddled with bad luck and even worse weather, this past Tuesday night at Bert Willis field was, for anyone in attendance, a reminder of why we fell in love with this game.
Double plays, diving catches and dingers. Walk offs and heart breaks. As if a 7-6 semi final playoff game isn’t exciting enough, we had two of them.
In the first game, the Hot Behinds pulled out the upset, getting the better of Bada Bing.
The HB jumped out right away. After hits by Yac (2-3) and Heather (2-3), Dave C (2-2, 2HR, 5RBI) promptly put the first pitch he saw into the outfield. Of field 2. Dave would follow that one up with another towering tape measure shot to dead center in the 4th inning.
On a night that saw Bada Bing struggle at the plate, leaving 10 runners on base, they were resilient and scrappy. Even fighting back and grabbing a 6-5 lead in the 5th. It was none other than defending Manager of the Year, Stacey, who started the comeback rally.
In the bottom of the 5th and trailing by a run it looked like Bada Bing had steadied the ship and was going to cruise to another final. But with one out, Stacey singled to left. Vin and Em followed with hits of their own. A sac fly from Tom tied the game. Yac followed with a line drive up the middle and when Vin scored, the Hot Behinds would be set up for the win. Frank settled down on the mound, didn’t allow another walk or another run. It was on to the Finale for the Behinds.
Game 2 matched the always dangerous lineup of Bond St with a Misfit team that was missing its entire left side of the outfield. Could it be another Cinderella story for Bond?
It is said hitting is contagious. Seven hits in the first inning for the Misfits led to a quick 5-0 lead. The score would stay like that until the 4th, when Bond would get 6 hits of their own leading to 5 runs. The two teams traded solo runs in the 5th inning.
With the score tied at 6 going into the bottom of the 7th, the pressure was starting to mount. A hit and a walk and now the Misfits were in business. Eric (3-4) stepped up to the plate. The outcome looked bleak for Bond. With the winning run in scoring position and arguably the Misfits best hitter at the dish, all Bond could hope for was an infield pop up or maybe a grounder back to the pitcher. Like a prayer answered from above, Fluffy induced the grounder and made the nice snag. But in an interesting twist of strategy, Bond St attempted to get the outs at first and second base, instead of getting the lead runner at third. An errant throw, a missed tag and it was good night, get the lights. The Misfits were back in the dance with a chance to repeat.