The Falcons walked off Broadway to win their season finale, 6-5, in a game they HAD to win if they wanted any hope of moving up to the #2 seed in the WMSPL playoff tournament.
Before getting into what happened, let's pause and appreciate that BOTH teams came to the park to WIN THIS GAME. Both teams knew the circumstances. Both teams had a shot to move up to #2 with a win and some help from Storm later that night. And both teams were playing to win. Every team makes the playoffs. And moving up to a higher seed only really lessens the chance that you'll have to play a third game on Saturday. Both teams in this game had already clinched a top-4 seed, and the Friday night bye that goes along with it. But you could tell from the outset that both teams weren't treating this game like a game of old-man beer-league recreational slo pitch. Both sides even had lots of fans show up, and they were INTO IT. It was so great.
If you need any more proof that the teams were perhaps gripping the bats a bit too tight, just look at the first inning: 7 total batters, 6 outs. Doughnuts for both sides.
In the second, Broadway found a groove. Their first two hitters got on via singles, and after Teets struck out the next batter for the first out, loaded the bases with another single. Andrew's sacrifice fly scored 1, and Niel followed it up with a 2-run single and Broadway was in business. The Falcons came up in the bottom of the second needing an answer, and as if SLF wrote the line up, went FART NOISE-FART NOISE-FART NOISE to score none.
The Falcons defence was brilliant from that point on. Broadway had nine hits over the next 4 innings, but couldn't plate a single runner. Meanwhile, the bottom of the Falcons order managed to do what the so-called All-Star top half couldn't: They strung together a bunch of hits, and scored two runs on Cowboy's 2-run single. Going into the bottom of the sixth inning, Broadway held the slimmest of leads, 3-2.
With the top of the order coming up in the bottom of the sixth, the Falcons wanted to put up a good number to take the lead so they wouldn't have to bat in the seventh. Cowboy lead off with a double, and King Grahambo followed it with a fly out to centre, giving him his first oh-fer of the season, just when it mattered most. MVP candidate, indeed. Not to worry, though. Perennial clutch hitter Goliath drove Cowboy home with a no-doubter to centre to give the Falcons the lead they'd been chasing all game. After a Mattural fly out to right, Band Camp bunted a Porter to left to give the Falcons a 2-run lead going into the top of the seventh.
The Falcons managed to get Broadway's first hitter of the seventh inning out, but they showed their moxie and followed with two singles to get something going. Niel, Falcon killer, scored both ducks with a triple to tie the game and force the Falcons to try to walk this one off if they wanted the win.
As anyone who has followed this team for any length of time knows, the Falcons tend to choke when the pressure is on. See here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, well, you get the idea. Going into the bottom of the seventh tied had clinched the #3 seed for the Falcons, clinching the head-to-head season series tie breaker over Broadway. But to get to #2, they needed a win. Enter: the bottom of the order.
SLF lead off the inning with a solid single to centre. Million Dollar Bill tried to advance him with a fly ball to left, but it was short enough that SLF would have been a dead duck at second if he'd tagged. Overall, a shrewd decision by SLF not to go. Teets popped up to short for the second out, and Hobo came up needing a hit. He delivered, firing a solid single that moved SLF to third. Up came Dance Dad, with ALL the pressure. All he needed to do was shoot one of his patented singles over the second baseman to deliver victory. So what did he do? He popped up right in front of the plate. After a pause that seemed to last for minutes where the Falcons bench lost hope, yelling ensued to ensure that Dance Dad would indeed run this one out just in case, and that SLF, who was already half way to the dugout, would run home to try to score if the ball dropped. Broadway's Brad and Ryan, the pitcher and catcher, respectively, closed in on the ball that hung up like that cat in the poster. Brad got a glove on it, but it dropped. He still had the presence of mind to grab the ball and make a heroic lunge at the passing SLF to try to get the third out, but SLF showed some fancy footwork, leaping over the tag and scoring the winning run.
And in the end, none of it really mattered all that much, as the A's took care of business against Storm later that night to secure #2. But what a game it was.
Game notes: It seems SLF's blatant begging for MVP votes in the last recap fell on deaf ears... This game marks the end of Million Dollar Bill's thirteenth and final season as a Falcon... I think...
HR: Goliath, Band Camp
RBI: Cowboy (2), Goliath (2), Band Camp, Dance Dad with the walk-off winner
DOUBLE PLAYS: None.
BATTERS FACED: 33
STADIUM: K2 FIELD
ATTENDANCE: 9 (45% FULL) - % is based on regular season capacity (Falcons' side only)
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