Week Seven – Playoff picture becomes clearer
In case you don’t know, here’s an explanation of how the preliminary playoffs will shake out this season.
The top six finishers will all receive a first-round bye. The next eight teams will engage in one-and-done playoff games - 7 vs. 14, 8 vs. 13, 9 vs. 12 and 10 vs. 11. The four winners of those games will play each other, again one-and-done, to determine the two teams that will join the top six as seeds seven and eight. Then it will be 1 vs. 8, 2 vs. 7, and so on, engaging in a best-of-three series.
The remaing four teams will again battle in best-of-five series, with the two winners moving on to the best-of-five championship series.
Remember: players must have either 30 plate appearances or 30 innings pitched to qualify for playoff action (unless an injury or other mitigating factor results in an exemption from commissioner Mark Senna.) Coaches should check the “Player Statistics” page on this website to see who has qualified via plate appearances, and the “Pitchers Statistics” page to see who has enough innings pitched, and then plan accordingly to get their guys more action, if needed. Shortcut: Clicking onto “Team” on either page will show you your players grouped together for an easy read. Note that it is not necessary for a pitcher to have 30 innings pitched during the regular season to be eligible for him to throw during the playoffs; he can qualify with 30 plate appearances and still take the rubber. It is just that without 30 plate appearances, he must have 30 innings.
Here are the recaps from Week Seven!
VMT has suddenly come alive and announced their intention to be a pain during the playoffs. Friday, June 17th, saw one game on the schedule. VMT beat STATS, 17 – 7. And then, on Monday, June 20th, another single game saw VMT beat The Spot, 20 – 19. Dave Wasylak picked up the win in both games. Luke Palma went 4-for-4 with a home run vs. STATS, while Andrew Peabody had a home run and drove in three. The game against The Spot was an error-filled affair. VMT got out to a double-digit lead early, The Spot roared back, but in the end VMT had enough to take the win against a top competitor. Terry Woods had a grand slam and six RBI. For Spot, Ryan Maguire had two home runs, Brian Goodman had one, and both drove in four runs.
Tuesday saw a low-scoring contest in the opener, as Lincoln Tavern’s usually mighty bats were mostly held in check by Kris Kavanagh of Master Blasters. However, Ryan Caswell of Lincoln completely silenced Kavanagh’s team and Lincoln took a 5 – 0 victory. Caswell gave up one hit through the first four innings, scattered four more over the final three frames, and solo shot home runs by Andy Hillier and Mike Briggs in the second inning gave Cas all the run support he’d need for the night. SS Scott Hackett helped Cas via a couple of nice defensive saves. The 7:30 game saw Dorset Club once again get out to an early lead (9 – 7, after three) but again not able to hold on for their first win. The Kekambas saw the three-four-five men in their line-up (Kurey, Armstrong and Fazio) combine for six HR (nine extra-base hits altogether) and 14 RBI, in what ended as a 24 – 9 six-inning mercy. The late game was a back-and-forth tilt between Elevated Realty and Village Pizza, with Realty taking an 18 – 17 walk-off win in the bottom of the seventh. Realty took off early, leading 8 – 0 after three, but – as anyone who has watched this league over the past couple of years knows - the doughboys never quit. They chipped away until they had actually gained a 17 – 15 lead heading into Elevated’s last call. Then Elevated did what good teams do – they came through in the clutch. After tying the game on “Freedom” McGinn’s two-out infield single (combined with a throwing error that allowed Bret Belcastro to come around for the equalizer) Mitch Sabo walked to put Freedom in scoring position and Paul “Dots” Doherty delivered the walk-off single that scored McGinn. Earlier, Belcastro had three home runs, but he didn’t get a chance for his fourth as he was “unintentionally intentionally” walked in the final inning rather than give him a shot to tie the game. As it turned out, of course, he did score the game-tying run anyway. Alex Marlow of Pizza had a fine night wasted, having driven in seven runs on a double, triple and homer. Very exciting finisher for the evening.
Wednesday opened with a dandy contest between Harp & Bard and The Spot (hungering for a good taste after the loss on Monday.) Both teams received fine pitching performances, with Robby Costello and Mike Garland sharing similar stats by the end of the night, but Garland’s teammates played better defense behind him and Spot took the win, 7 – 3. For Harp, Jason Clucas took over the league home run lead via a moonshot over the brown wall that briefly gave Harp a 2 – 1 lead through three. The Spot got a two-run round-tripper from Chris Flaherty. Left fielder Marky Goodman made the defensive play of the night, ranging far to his right to snag a single off the bat of lefty Jimmy Botting and then wheeling a throw to Pat Sullivan that gunned down Harp’s Tim Jean at third base for the final out of a fourth inning that had already seen Harp score once. Following that gem, Harp didn’t score the rest of the way. Game two came with a surprise: Drew Atton at pitcher for Banshee, rather than the man they had relied on for all of their previous victories, Drew’s father, Jack Atton (sidelined with a leg injury, but ready to relieve if absolutely needed.) Jack was not needed. The younger Atton threw a game his Dad would have been proud to hurl, holding a normally decent Playwright squad to six hits and giving his team the 16 – 0 shutout victory. The family heroics included Drew’s brother, Pat Atton, who homered and also made a fine catch for his brother in RF, preserving the shutout in the third inning when Playwright had men on first and third with one out. It wasn’t only Attons for the win – Banshee received three RBI nights from Dan Mullan, Steve Cassis and Bryan Stanton. A tight nightcap followed, with STATS eking out an 11 – 10 win over Super Tours. Matt Restivo and Greg Dowling homered for STATS, while winning pitcher Dan McGill drove in the go-ahead run for his team in the bottom of the sixth before going out in the seventh and stranding a lead-off double by retiring the last three batters.
Thursday brought two highly-anticipated games, as the top four teams squared off – Magix Box (3) vs. Lincoln Tavern (4) at 7:30 and Loco Taqueria Pirates (1) vs. Elevated Realty (2) at 9:00. Box took the opener, 8 – 2, behind the combined pitching of Stevie Lannon and Rocky Pisa. Excellent defensive play by Pat Dolbeare in the outfield and Jason “Eeka” Calnan at first base helped hold Lincoln at bay, while the offense was provided by four home runs (O’Hara, Dolbeare, Selig and Sepchi). Ryan Caswell homered for Lincoln to regain a tie in the league leadership in that category. In the nightcap, the Pirates remained undefeated by taking down Elevated Realty, 12 – 6. Armstrong and Turgeon homered for the Pirates, while the middle infield combo of Steve Stalcup and Charlie Conners gave Brian Pacheco help in earning his league-leading seventh victory against no defeats.
Friday saw one game on the schedule, with Harp & Bard trying to improve their position to one of the top six in a match-up against currently-not-qualifying-for-playoffs Master Blasters. Harp asserted their superiority via a 22 – 9 win. Mark Preziosi had two home runs and eight RBI, while defensive help was provided by Jason Clucas gunning down two runners from the outfield.
News & Notes from around the league
Marshall Chick. That is all.
Just kidding boys. There are other things in the world besides Marshall Chick (although none as funny after a pop or two.) Under the category of truly interesting players, we have T. K. Skenderian of Village Pizza. He has vowed to run a mile for every run the Red Sox score in June. As a matter of fact, he was featured on WHDH, Channel 7, and you can view the story here:
Games are played 6:00, 7:30 and 9:00, Monday through Thursday. Hope to see you at the park!
[Jim Sullivan is an op-ed writer for the Boston Herald and sportswriter for multiple GateHouse Media publications. He is also the official league scorekeeper. His latest Herald column can be read here (scroll down and look for "Sullivan"): Sullivan]