from left to right: Leon Correy, John Gregorio, Peter Hourihan, Tommy Connolly, Pat Pickup, Tommy McGrath, George Pratt, Jim McNiff, Rob Rogers, and Larry Lucas
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
    
    
    
 

Game summaries are written by Jim Sullivan

Note: the schedule below is tentative and can change due to rain outs/shortened series.

Jim Sullivan

LUCAS DIVISION (A)

**FINALS**
 
 (4A) Lincoln Tavern
vs
 (1A) Boston Hitmen
Game 1: Tuesday, Sep. 14 @ 6:30  

Boston Hitmen 13 - Lincoln Tavern 5

After a slow start, the Boston Hitmen got up to speed and took game one of the MSSL Championship Series, 13-5.

Lincoln Tavern, the defending champions, got on the board first. Dave Corcoran walked and Conor Gleason singled. Hitmen starter Jose Bonilla struck out Taylor Ferguson, but then gave up an RBI single to Will Brennan. Max Vigliotti singled to score another. And Mike Selig singled to make it 3-0, Lincoln Tavern, going into the bottom of the first.

Lincoln did not have their "A" pitcher, Nick French, and usual "B" guy, Chris Boyd, was unavailable due to illness, so Mike Selig was pressed into service. The Hitmen displayed patience against Selig. Anthony Peguero drew a walk, as did #2 batter Frankely Gonzalez. Roger Peguero doubled, scoring Anthony Peguero, but Gonzalez was out when he rounded third and third baseman Jeff White faked a throw to second but then turned and lunged at Gonzalez, catching him before he got back to the bag. One out. Julian Alvarez singled, scoring Roger Peguero. Control problems plagued Selig as he walked the next four batters, plating another two and giving the Hitmen the lead, 4-3. Francis Reyes hit into a fielder's choice, scoring another, 5-3. Johnathan Serrano singled, driving in another and an error plated Reyes. After the third out was made, it was 7-3, Hitmen, after one complete.

Lincoln got two of those back in the top of the second, making it a 7-5 deficit for them, but the Hitmen reclaimed a four-run lead in the bottom of the inning when Anthony Peguero doubled, Gonzalez walked and Roger Peguero hit his second double in two innings, scoring Anthony. Alvarez grounded out, 4-to-3, but Gonzalez scored, 9-5, Hitmen.

From that point, Bonilla settled down and didn't allow Lincoln to score again, putting up five consecutive scoreless frames and allowing just one hit and two bases-on-balls in those five innings. The Hitmen added a run in the fourth, then three more in the fifth, for the final score of 13-5 and a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five finals.

Lincoln had little time to lick their wounds as game two of the opening doubleheader followed...

Roger PegueroAnthony PegueroJose Bonilla

Game 2: Tuesday, Sep. 14 @ 8:30 (B rules) 

Lincoln Tavern 10 - Boston Hitmen 9 (8 innings)

The Hitmen came out quick against Lincoln's game-two starter, Jerry Sarro. Anthony Peguero tripled, scoring on a throwing error, 1-0. Frankely Gonzalez and Roger Peguero singled, then Julian Alvarez hit them both in. Junior Tejeda doubled, Alvarez to third. A nice play by catcher Mike Selig got the first out. He came out of his crouch and ranged far up the first base line for a foul pop off the bat of Brandon "Buddha" Lee, Sarro coming in the cover home in case Alvarez got any ideas about trying to score. However, Luis Serret singled in Alvarez and a fielder's choice by Cashbee Calderon scored Tejeda for a 5-0 Hitmen lead.

Lincoln Tavern are the defending champs for a reason, though, and they answered the opening salvo with seven runs of their own. Dave Corcoran walked against starter Hector Vega. Conor Gleason singled, with an error putting the men on second and third. Taylor Ferguson doubled, scoring both, and he advanced to third on another error. After a Will Brennan walk, coach Max Vigliotti doubled, delivering Ferguson. Mike Selig stepped in and stroked one to score two, hobbling his way to second on the hit for a double. It was now a tie game, 5-5. Jared Kelly singled, Selig to third. Another Hitmen error allowed Jeff White to reach, loading the bases, still no outs. Sean Gorman brought in Selig via fielder's choice, and Mike "Micka" Kent's sacrifice fly scored Kelly. A fourth Hitmen error allowed Tim Murray to reach, but there was no further scoring. 7-5, Lincoln, after one!

The Hitmen got one back in the second when Jonathan Serrano tripled and came around to score on Gonzalez's two-out single. Both pitchers were more comfortable thereafter. Vega shut out Lincoln in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th. Sarro held the Hitmen scoreless in the third, but a Francis Reyes home run tied the score at 7-7 in the bottom of the fourth and the "volume" at the field was now on blast. Another solo shot, this one from Julian Alvarez (3-for-3, walk, 3 RBI) in the fifth, gave the Hitmen an 8-7 lead.

Sarro snuffed a Hitmen scoring possibility in the sixth, then his teammates went to work in the bottom of the frame. Gleason singled, followed by walks to Ferguson and Brennan. The Hitmen elected to remove Vega at this point, bringing in flamethrower Oscar "Chiqui" Eusebio. The move paid immediate dividends when Chiqui struck out Vigliotti. However, Mike Selig (4 RBI) stepped in and delivered, singling to score both Gleason and Ferguson, making it a 9-8 Lincoln Tavern lead! Eusebio closed out the inning with no further damage, but now Lincoln needed just three outs to even up the series at one apiece. The loud party atmosphere that was present earlier, had now become a quiet focused group.

The Hitmen didn't make it that easy for Lincoln. Singles by Roger Peguero and Alvarez, then (after a fly out) a walk to Lee. The bases were loaded with one out. Serret lofted a sac fly, scoring Roger with the tying run. The Hitmen crew erupted again. Cashbee Calderon then grounded one off of Sarro's ankle, but it rebounded to his infielder who threw to first for the third out. Now Lincoln needed one to end it. More nervous moments followed.

It wouldn't happen as Lincoln put two men on (walk, error) against third Hitmen pitcher Eric Mercedes, but he otherwise retired three on easy ones in the air. We were on to extra innings and another M Street playoff classic!

Sarro started the extra frame with a strikeout, then got the second out on a fly ball to right center. Serrano singled, as did Anthony Peguero, but Gonzalez flied to left. Once again, Lincoln needed one to end the game. It was now very quiet on the Hitmen sidelines but very loud in the Lincoln dugout. As Selig ran off the field, he stated "we're going to win it right here."

And this time, Lincoln came through. Ferguson singled, Brennan singled to move Ferguson to third, and Max Vigliotti delivered the gamewinner (Watch it) for his boys, singling sharply for a 10-9 extra-innings win for the men in black. Series tied, 1-1, in an exciting finish.

Mike SeligMax VigliottiJerry SarroJulian Alvarez

Game 3: Wednesday, Sep. 15 @ 8:30  

Lincoln Tavern 2 - Boston Hitmen 1 (13 innings)

Both teams took the field at approximately 8:30 pm on Wednesday, but a decision wasn't reached until almost the same time Thursday. In between, they played 13 Innings, recorded 34 strikeouts, left 28 men stranded, and gave those fans who witnessed it the pitching duel that will define all other pitcher's duels at M Street from this point forward.

It began innocently enough with a Dave Corcoran single. After one out, Taylor Ferguson singled, then Will Brennan singled to drive in Corcoran. 1-0, Lincoln Tavern. Two more outs, including a strikeout for Hitmen flamethrower Oscar "Chiqui" Eusebio. In the bottom of the first, Nick French toed the rubber for Lincoln and struck out the first man he faced. Immediately following, Junior Tejeda stepped in, took a mighty swing, and sent one out of the park and onto East First Street. Tie game, 1-1. French gave up a single to Roger Peguero, then decided to intentionally walk Julian Alvarez, pushing the lead runner into scoring position with only one down, an interesting move in the first inning. It worked. French punched out the next two batters to end the rally. On to inning two, tied 1-1.

And that was all the scoring in this game until Thursday night.

Both pitchers, barring a few hiccups, settled in to comfortable grooves and ate up batters. In the second, Lincoln loaded them with nobody out (two walks and a single) but Eusebio induced an infield fly pop up and then struck out the next two, no scoring. French came back out in the bottom of the inning and struck out the side (he now had six Ks in two innings). Chiqui recorded his fourth K in the third inning, French didn't strike anyone out in the third, but he did set them down 1-2-3. In the fourth and fifth, Chiqui allowed no runs. Same story for French, who upped his strikeout total to nine with three more in the fourth. The last two strikeouts in that inning came after the second intentional walk to Alvarez.

In the sixth, Chiqui Eusebio allowed a single, but then struck out the next three. Jared Kelly had a leadoff double in the top of the seventh, but Chiqui stranded him and recorded his eighth strikeout to end the inning. French recorded his tenth K in the bottom half of the seventh after STARTING the inning by putting the winning run (yes, Alvarez) on base intentionally. On to extra innings!

The 8th, 9th and 10th passed without another score. Both hurlers were excellent. Eusebio struck out two more, bringing his total to 10. French struck out two in the eighth and one more in the tenth. He now had 13 Ks. Meanwhile, the league had run out of time. After getting an extension of the lights to try and finish the game on the same evening when it started, it was decided that not enough time remained for a full inning. Both teams would return on Thursday for the completion.

When the contest resumed, it was the 11th inning and Chiqui Eusebio was even more on fire than the previous night. He allowed two baserunners, but struck out three in the 11th, then struck out the side while allowing no runners in the 12th. Meanwhile, his teammates had their best shot at ending it when they loaded the bases with nobody out in the bottom of the 12th. Once again (for the fifth time in the game) Julian Alvarez was not allowed to bat; another pass, once again putting the winning run on-base intentionally. This time, it looked like the move might have finally backfired. Frankely Gonzalez followed with a single, Alvarez going to third. Chiqui Eusebio, who had taken over for DH Willy Sanjurjo in the Hitmen line-up, was also issued an intentional base-on-balls, loading the bases with none out. French got Buddha Lee to ground back to him, flipping the ball to catcher Sean Gorman for the force of Alvarez at home. One out. French recorded his 15th strikeout, getting Cashby Calderon swinging, two out. And then Francis Reyes grounded to Jeff Vigurs at second base, who threw to Will Brennan covering second for the final out. On to the 13th inning!

Mike "Micka" Kent drew a walk to lead off. Chiqui struck out Gorman (victim number 17) and Fabiano fouled out to Encarnacion on the first base line, two down. Dave Corcoran, who had scored the first run way back in the first inning, sharply singled. Kent came racing around third and hit home plate for the second Lincoln run of this marathon game! Corcoran took second on the throw to home, but was left there. On to the bottom of the 13th. Could the Hitmen get the equalizer and extend this game further?

They tried. Jonathan Serrano singled to lead off, bringing his bench to life, but Nicky French was up to the challenge. A strikeout of Encarnacion. Another strikeout (his 17th), this one on a nasty high breaking pitch to Anthony Peguero. And the final out was made when Tejeda, who had homered way back in the first for the lone Hitmen run, grounded to French, who ran halfway to first himself before flipping the ball to first baseman Joey Fabiano for the out that ended this amazing ballgame.

Lincoln Tavern takes the two games to one lead in the best-of-five. Both teams then had to turn it around and get back out there for game four...

Nick FrenchOscar EusebioDave Corcoran

Game 4: Thursday, Sep. 16 @ 8:00 (B rules) 

Boston Hitmen 8 - Lincoln Tavern 7

And the Hitmen gathered their wits and their bats and showed they had what it takes to rebound from such a heartbreaking loss in game three. After being able to plate just one in the previous 13 innings, they started this one by scoring two. Anthony Peguero singled. With one down, Roger Peguero tripled, scoring Anthony. Junior "Junito" Tejeda's two-out single scored Roger. 2-0, Hitmen. Lincoln halved that lead when Jeff Vigurs doubled, then scored on a Will Brennan single. 2-1, Hitmen, after one complete.

Both pitchers (Jerry Sarro for Lincoln, Eric Mercedes for the Hitmen) put up zeroes in the second. In the third, both teams got one. The Hitmen scored when Gabriel Encarnacion doubled and then scored on Anthony Peguero's single. Lincoln scored when, with two outs, Taylor Ferguson tripled to right center. Will Brennan doubled to drive him in. It was now 3-2, Hitmen. And in the fourth, the Hitmen lengthened the lead to 8-2. A two-run Frankely Gonzalez homer, a sac fly by Francis Reyes, a bases-loaded walk by Anthony Peguero, and a single by Julian Alvarez accounted for the runs batted in.

After no score in the bottom of the fourth and top of the fifth, Lincoln closed the gap with a lot of help from the Hitmen. Joey Fabiano reached on an error. So did Dave Corcoran, but Fabiano tried to go to third and was thrown out. Another error followed. There should have been three outs but instead there were two on for Ferguson. He grounded back to Mercedes, who threw to Encarnacion for the second out. Brennan walked, bringing coach Max Vigliotti to the plate. Max doubled, clearing the bases, bring the score to 8-5. Conor Gleason followed with a single that scored Max (who looked to be nursing a bad hammy as he crossed home). Lincoln was back in it, an 8-6 Hitmen lead after five.

Sarro set the Hitmen down in order in the sixth, then Lincoln tried to get the equalizers. A base-on-balls by Micka Kent started things. Sean Gorman lined out. Fabiano singled , then Corcoran walked, loading the bases with one out. Hitmen coach Wepa decided it was time to bring in a big gun, Jose Bonilla. It paid off immediately when Bonilla struck out Jeff Vigurs. However, Ferguson singled, scoring Kent, and it was 8-7, bases still loaded and the always-dangerous Will Brennan up. Bonilla was equal to the task, getting Brennan to bounce one back to him on the mound, from whence he tossed it to Reyes at home for the third out.

The Hitmen failed to score in the seventh and now Lincoln once more looked to tie or win the game. Bonilla completed his allowed time on the mound by retiring the leadoff man. Hector Vega came in to pitch, and he got the second out immediately. Lincoln then put two aboard. Mike Selig hit a solid shot to left, off the fence, for a double. Jared Kelly walked. But they were stranded when Vega got Micka Kent to chase a low outside pitch for strike three, ending the game with score of 8-7, Hitmen.

The fifth and final game will be played at 8:00 on Friday. It promises to be a gem, so get your seats early!

Roger PegueroFrankely GonzalezJose Bonilla

Game 5: Friday, Sep. 17 @ 8:00  

Lincoln Tavern 6 - Boston Hitmen 2

As Ric Flair was fond of saying, "In order to be the man, you have to beat the man." Playing the part of The Man in this year's production of M Street? Lincoln Tavern, and the Boston Hitmen couldn't get a three-count. Lincoln takes game five, 6-2, and the series, 3-2.

As expected, Nick French started for Lincoln. A slight surprise found Jose Bonilla on the mound for the Hitmen. However, it WAS his turn in the rotation and he (like French) was undefeated as a starter in this year's playoffs, so not a huge surprise. Since both starters were undefeated, something had to give.

Lincoln got on the board first. After one out in the top of the first, Taylor Ferguson singled. Will Brennan hit a sharp grounder to shortstop Anthony Peguero, a possible double-play ball, but Peguero mishandled it, putting men on first and second for Lincoln. Max Vigliotti stepped into one and lined it to left, but Brandon "Buddha" Lee was in position to snare it, two down, bringing Mike Selig to the plate. Selig delivered a single, scoring Ferguson. Chris Boyd (last year's MVP) followed with another single, scoring Brennan. Bonilla recorded a K to end the frame, but it was 2-0, Lincoln.

The Hitmen tried to replicate those runs in their half. A similar beginning - with one out, the next two men reached. However, Nick French retired the next two after that via strikeout. 2-0, Lincoln, after one.

Bonilla set down Lincoln in order in the second, and French did likewise to the Hitmen in the bottom of the inning. In the top of the third, it wasn't as smooth sailing. Micka Kent singled to lead off. Jeff Vigurs singled, and Taylor Ferguson followed with his second single of the evening, bringing in Kent to score. Knowing there was a fine line to walk if he wanted his team to stay within hailing distance of French, Hitmen coach Wepa made the move to Oscar "Chiqui" Eusebio, who had dueled toe-to-toe with French in the epic 13-inning game two. The first thing Eusebio did was to intentionally walk Will Brennan, loading the bases and putting on a force all around Vigliotti came up to bat. Chiqui sent him away via K, one down. And now came a point of contention between the two squads. Mike Selig hit a grounder. A force was made at second, but the throw to first was unsuccessful, Vigurs scoring to make it 4-0. Not so fast! Wepa came out and argued that the man going into second hadn't allowed a path for his defensive player to complete the play; runner interference, in other words. Upon discussion between the umpires, Wepa's point was taken. Two outs was the result, ending the inning and removing from the scoreboard that fourth Lincoln run. It remained a 3-0 game entering the bottom of the third. Lincoln filed an official protest of the game at that point.

As subsequent events made clear, the protest didn't matter. As the game continued, French blanked the Hitmen in the bottom of the inning, aided by a fine catch in right center by Taylor Ferguson. Gabriel Encarnacion pounded a French pitch deep, but Ferguson tracked it down. Francis Reyes, on first base, had taken off, expecting the ball to be a clean hit, and he was almost all the way to third when Ferguson collared it. He was easily doubled up when the ball came back to the infield. And then Lincoln came up with a score in the fourth. A base-on-balls by Boyd, then an out. Jeff White was awarded first base on catcher's interference, a call vehemently argued by Hitmen catcher Reyes, to no avail. Chiqui got the next man, and then it looked as though it all wouldn't matter when Sean Gorman lofted a fly ball to short center. The Hitmen fielder took a bead on it, one-handed it... and dropped it. Boyd scored, upping the tally to 4-0.

In the bottom of the fourth, the Hitmen received a glimmer of hope. After French had retired the first two batters, Chiqui Eusebio singled. Jonathan Serrano stepped in and unloaded, sending one out onto East First Street and cutting the Lincoln lead in half, 4-2. But that was all the scoring the Hitmen would do in this game. French allowed a couple of baserunners in both the sixth and the seventh, but his teammates tacked on insurance runs in fifth (an RBI single by Selig) and the top of the seventh (another Hitmen error, allowing Vigurs to score) that took off most of any true pressure. With two men on and two out in the bottom of the seventh, French delivered to Encarnacion, who hit a slow roller up the first base line. Jeff White grabbed it, stepped on the bag, and Lincoln Tavern finished the successful defense of their 2020 crown with a victory in the final game of 2021.

Your MSSL "A" Champions, once again - Lincoln Tavern!

Back row (L-R): Max Vigliotti, Andy Hillier, Conor Gleason, Nick French (MVP), Will Brennan (Silver Slugger), Taylor Ferguson, Chris Boyd, Jeff Vigurs, and Jerry Sarro.
Front row (L-R): Mike Selig, Jared Kelly, Jeff White, Sean Gorman, and Mike Kent. Missing from photo but still champions are: Joey Fabiano, Dave Corcoran, Adam Feinstein, and Tim Murray.

Presentation of the M Street Cup was made by Commissioner Mark Senna, while individual awards were as follows: The Silver Slugger for best batting performance in the playoffs went to Will Brennan. The solid shortstop was 19-for-34 (.559), leading his team in runs batted in with 11. And the Most Valuable Player was no surprise at all. Nick French captured his third MVP award, having gone 6-0 in the playoffs with a brutal ERA of 0.66. A special honor will come French's way when, as a three-time MVP, his name and photo will be added to the M Street Cup for posterity.

A fine season by the Boston Hitmen, but a rousing defense of the title in the finals by Lincoln Tavern as they remain "The Man". Whooooooooooooooooo!

Nick FrenchMike SeligTaylor Ferguson

 

Lincoln Tavern wins series 3-2

 
Semi-Finals
 
 (6A) Loco Pirates
vs
 (1A) Boston Hitmen
Game 1: Tuesday, Aug. 31 @ 8:30  

Boston Hitmen 16 - Loco Pirates 2

The Pirates came out hitting and looked as though they might be ready for the upset. Charlie Conners, as he often does, worked a leadoff walk. After a ground out put him on second, Pat "Dub" Wilson's single scored him. Bryan Erwin singled, then Estaban Trujillo's single scored Wilson. 2-0, Pirates. However, that was the end of the Pirates' production for the evening. Jose Bonilla, with some nice defensive help, held them scoreless the rest of the way.

In the bottom of the first, the Pirates got some bad news. After retiring the first two Hitmen batters, and looking good doing so, Pirate starter Jim Pinkston walked Roger Peguero, gave up a single to Julian Alvarez, and then walked Junior Tejeda. After the walk to Tejeda, Pinkston removed himself from the mound. A previous shoulder injury had flared up and he couldn't continue throwing. Bryan Erwin, who had started at first base, was called upon to pitch. Erwin walked Brandon Lee to force in a run, but got the next man, preserving a 2-1 Pirate lead.

Top of the second brought some of that fine defense I spoke about earlier. Pat Pickup stroked one off the fence and tried to stretch it into three bases. However, Brandon Lee fired a strike from left center to cut down Pickup at third. That would be the furthest advance of a Pirate batter for the remainder of the contest.

In the bottom of the inning, the Hitmen got the winning runs. With one out, Jonathan Serrano walked. Jonathan Bonilla singled, Serrano scoring on a bad throw. This was followed by Anthony Peguero's double, bringing in Bonilla for a 3-2 Hitmen lead. They'd lengthen it to 6-2 in the third, with the biggest blow being a Luis Serret two-run double. It went to 7-2 in the fifth on an unearned run, and then it ended via mercy rule in the sixth when they scored nine more, the ending blow being a Serret (6 RBI) grand slam. 16-2 is the final, and it's a 1-0 series lead for the Hitmen.

Jose BonillaLuis SerretBrandon Lee


Game 2: Tuesday, Sep. 7 @ 8:30  *B rules

Boston Hitmen 9 - Loco Pirates 7

Jonathan Serrano's seventh-inning home run gave the Boston Hitmen a commanding two-games-to-none lead in the best-of-five semi-finals.

The Hitmen scored first when Anthony Peguero tripled to lead off the game, then scored on Vladi Camacho's single. The Pirates came back with two in the bottom of the first on a Charlie Conners single, a two-out double by Mark Preziosi, then a triple by Estaban Trujillo. 2-1, Pirates, after one. Top of the second, two outs, Brandon "Buddha" Lee singles and Serrano brings him home via a double. Serrano himself scores on a follow-up Gabriel Encarnacion single, 3-2, Hitmen, after two. They made it 4-2 in the third when Camacho singled with one out and Roger Peguero singled but was caught in a pickle. While Peguero kept the fielders busy, Camacho scored (Peguero left the game with an injury). The black-and-yellow tied the game at four on a single by Ryan McLaughlin, Gregg Bosse reaching on an error, Conners and Bret Belcastro singling, and Pat Wilson scoring Bosse via fielder's choice. A 5-4-3 double play ended any further threat.

The Pirates put two runners on to begin their half of the fourth, but failed to score. Likewise, no score in the fifth. The Hitmen were no luckier, being set down in order in both frames by Pirate starter Brian Pacheco. In the sixth, the Hitmen opened with singles by Anthony Peguero, Camacho, and sub Frankely Gonzalez, making the score 5-4. A Julian Alvarez sacrifice made it 6-4, and then Junior Tejeda singled in Gonzalez for a 7-4 lead entering the bottom of the sixth. The Pirates responded with singles by Wilson and Preziosi. After one out, Chris Armstrong tripled, scoring both men, and then scored himself on Josh Neely's double. Tie game again, 7-7, after six complete!

The Pirates brought in slinger Jim Pinkston to start the seventh. Jonathan Serrano greeted him by putting one over the left field fence and onto East First Street, giving the Hitmen a lead they wouldn't relinquish. They added an insurance run, making it 9-7, and then brought in their own closer, Oscar Eusebio. The Pirates battled the flamethrower, getting two aboard (one via walk, one via hit batsman) but couldn't score them. Final score: 9-7, Hitmen, and a two-nothing lead in the series.

Jonathan SerranoVladi CamachoChris Armstrong


Game 3: Wednesday, Sep. 8 @ 7:00 

Boston Hitmen 9 - Loco Pirates 1

The Boston Hitmen punch their ticket to the finals via a convincing 9-1 victory over an undermanned Pirates team.

Having lost the first two games of the series, the Pirates needed to show up with their best. Well, they DID show up with their best, but only their best NINE. And playing the Boston Hitmen shorthanded all night is unlikely to win you many games.

The Hitmen got on the board in the bottom of the first. With one out, consecutive singles by Vladi Camacho, Roger Peguero and Willy Sanjurjo produced a run. After a scoreless second, the men in the colorful blue shirts scored another when Gabriel Encarnacion singled and then took third on an errant pickoff throw. He crossed the plate on a groundout, making it 2-0. And in the fourth, the Hitmen scored two more, this time most definitely using their brains to take advantage of the Pirates having only three outfielders. As the old saying goes, they hit them where they ain't. Sanjurjo came across on Junior Tejeda's triple to right field. Brandon Lee doubled in the same area, scoring Tejeda. 4-0, Hitmen.

Meanwhile, Oscar "Chiqui" Eusebio was not doing the Pirates any favors. He only allowed five hits on the night. The Pirates scored their lone run in the fifth, at that time making it a still-reasonable 4-1 game, when Ryan McLaughlin walked, Brian Pacheco doubled, and Estaban Trujillo brought home McLaughlin via sacrifice fly. But in the bottom of the fifth, Camacho's two-run homer lengthened the lead to 6-1. And in the sixth, the Hitmen scored Tejeda and Lee on Frankely Gonzalez's triple, with Gonzalez later scoring on Encarnacion's single. 9-1, Hitmen, and all that was left was for Eusebio to thank the Pirates for coming and close the door, which (barring Charlie Conners' second single) he did.

Props to the nine Pirates who had the pride to show up. Bigger props to the Boston Hitmen for earning their way to the finals.

Oscar EusebioVladi CamachoJunior Tejeda


 

Hitmen win series 3-0

 
 (4A) Lincoln Tavern
vs
 (2A) STATS
Game 1: Tuesday, Aug. 31 @ 7:00  

Lincoln Tavern 10 - STATS Sluggers 4

This one got off to a bad start for STATS, then they crawled back into it, but in the end it was Lincoln's game.

The first Lincoln batter reached via error. A single by Jeff Vigurs put two runners on. STATS starter Mark Senna struck out the next man, but a bad hop single from Will Brennan (3-for-3, walk, two RBI) broke open the scoring. Singles by Max Vigliotti and Chris Boyd (3 hits, two RBI) produced another run, but Senna bore down and struck out the next two. His stuff was working - he struck out three in the inning - but it was 2-0, Lincoln. Meanwhile, Lincoln's crafty southpaw, Nick French, also showed he was ready for action, striking out the first man he faced while retiring the side in order.

Top of the second brought more bad news for STATS. Singles by Sean Gorman and Joey Fabiano put two on. Senna then struck out his fourth batter (all four outs recorded by STATS to this point had come via K). A single by Dave Corcoran made it 3-0. Vigurs singled again and an outfield error allowed more scoring. Things were getting out of hand. Taylor Ferguson stepped in and poled one deep. It appeared to now be 7-0. However, on appeal, Ferguson was called out for missing third base. The frame ended with Lincoln holding a 6-0 lead.

Senna allowed no more Lincoln runs in the 3rd, 4th, 5th or 6th. Meanwhile, his teammates attempted a comeback against French. With two out in the bottom of the third, Kevin Miller reached via error. Tad Gold singled and so did Eric Thomas, scoring Miller, and a throwing error allowed Gold to score also. 6-2, Lincoln. In the bottom of the third, Chris Amate put one onto East First Street, making it 6-3. Then, in the bottom of the sixth, STATS had their big chance. After a strikeout, Gold singled. Additional singles by Thomas and Dan Fratus loaded the bases for Phil Scirreta. Phil was hit by a French pitch, driving in Gold, making it 6-4, still bases loaded with one out. However, French was up to the task. He struck out the man who had homered in his previous at-bat, Chris Amate, and got E. J. Martinez on a foul to the third base side, ending the threat.

In the top of the seventh, Lincoln put it away with four insurance runs. STATS again loaded the bases in their half, but again left them that way as French (9 K) finished off the game with an infield fly and another foul fly out. Final score, 10-4, Lincoln, and a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five semi-final.

Nick FrenchWill BrennanChris Boyd


Game 2: Tuesday, Sep. 7 @ 7:00  *B rules

STATS Sluggers 10 - Lincoln Tavern 7

Tad Gold started it, Tom Kazanowski ended it, and in-between Dan Fratus used his bat and glove to take down Lincoln Tavern, 10-7, evening the best-of-five series at one game apiece.

In the first at-bat of the game, Gold sent one past the fielders in right center and circled the bases for a 1-0 STATS lead. The Sluggers then loaded the bases with one out, but Lincoln's Will Brennan turned a liner off the bat of Robb Scott into an inning-ending 6-to-3 double play. In the bottom of the second, Lincoln took the lead. Chris Boyd reached on catcher interference and Mike Selig poled one out near the bus station on East First, 2-1. A single by Jared Kelly, a one-out double by Micka Kent, and singles by Dave Corcoran and Jeff Vigurs put the score at 4-1. A walk to Taylor Ferguson loaded the bases and Brennan brought home Corcoran with a sac fly. 5-1, Lincoln, after two complete.

After a scoreless third, Stevie Pesapane opened the top of the fourth with a single. An Eric Thomas double put runners on second and third with nobody out. Fratus (a perfect 3-for-3 with a walk and 4 RBI) doubled in both runners. E. J. Martinez singled Fratus to third and Scott's sac fly scored him for a tie game, 5-5. In the bottom of the frame, a second Boyd sac fly gave Lincoln the lead again, 6-5. Back came STATS in the fifth. Kevin Miller singled, Gold (3-for-4, all for extra bases) doubled, and Pesapane scored Miller with a sac fly. Thomas singled, as did Fratus, followed by a Martinez double. Scott's sac fly finished the scoring, making it 9-6, STATS.

Two walks to start the bottom of the fifth for Lincoln, but Fratus (whose glovework was superb all night) snagged a Kelly hot shot, stepped on third and fired to first for the double play. I think it's fair to say that play may have saved the game for his team, as Sean Gorman singled to score the remaining runner and make it a 9-7 game. Had Kelly's ball gone through, it was probably tied with no outs and all momentum Lincoln's way. Instead, Kazanowski got the third out after Gorman's single and it remained 9-7 after five. STATS didn't score in the sixth and then opted to bring in slinger Mark Senna for the bottom of the inning. The strategy worked, as he held the top of Lincoln's order to no runs. Then STATS added an insurance run on a two-out RBI single by Fratus, making it 10-7.

In the bottom of the seventh, Kazanowski re-entered and set down the side 1-2-3. Series tied at 1-1.

Dan FratusTad GoldTom Kazanowski


Game 3: Wednesday, Sep. 8 @ 8:30 

Lincoln Tavern 10 - STATS Sluggers 1

Lincoln Tavern scored a bunch early, then cruised to a 10-1 win.

Things didn't start propitiously for STATS when Dave Corcoran's liner was dropped and not recovered in time to make a throw to first for the out. A follow-up walk to Taylor Ferguson pushed Corcoran to second, and Will Brennan's single scored him. Max Vigliotti singled home Ferguson. STATS starter Mark Senna helped himself with a 1-to-5 fielder's choice that erased Brennan at third, then a nice K for the second out, but a walk to Mike "Micka" Kent, a double by Jared Kelly, and a single by Jeff White, made the score 6-0.

Giving Nick French a six-run lead is usually deadly, and this time was no exception. Mixing knucklers, changes and other junk, while using a sparse offering of fast stuff, he didn't allow a runner past second base until STATS scored their only tally in the sixth. Meantime, his teammates had built the lead to 10-0 with three home runs in the third inning. Brennan and Chris Boyd hit solo shots, while Micka Kent brought Mike Selig home with his two-run bomb.

Cold comfort for Senna that he shut out Lincoln over the final four frames. French finishes with seven strikeouts, gave up zero earned, and STATS will have to regroup to stay alive in game four.

Nick FrenchMike KentWill Brennan


Game 4: Friday, Sep. 10 @ 7:00  *B rules

STATS Sluggers 12 - Lincoln Tavern 6

STATS forces a deciding game five versus Lincoln Tavern with a solid 12-6 win in game four.

It looked as though this one might end early. The Sluggers scored 11 times before Lincoln put anyone across the plate. However, credit to the men in black for hanging in and extending this one to a full seven innings.

STATS' first seven batters reached safely. Tad Gold started it with a double. Stevie Pesapane followed with a single. Eric Thomas tripled both of them in. Dan Fratus's single scored Thomas. Phil Scirreta tripled to bring home Fratus. E.J. Martinez walked. Robb Scott singled, scoring Scirreta and moving Martinez to third. A Kevin Higgins fielder's choice scored Martinez before a double play mercifully ended the carnage. In the bottom of the frame, STATS starter Tom Kazanowski set Lincoln down in order. Then STATS went back to work with the bats. With two outs, the next six men reached, five of them scoring. The big blow was Scirreta's second triple, which came with the bases loaded. After one-and-a-half, STATS had a commanding 11-0 lead.

Lincoln pushed two across in the bottom of the second, via Nick French's bases-loaded single, making the score 11-2. After STATS failed to score in the top of the third, Lincoln scored another on Max Vigliotti's sac fly. The score was now 11-3, and Mike Selig settled down and blanked STATS for another three innings. However, Lincoln didn't take advantage of these opportunities to catch up until the bottom of the sixth. Vigliotti singled and Conor Gleason walked. After an out, STATS elected to bring in Mark Senna to face first-time-of-the-evening batter Tim Murray. Murray doubled, scoring Vigliotti. A follow-up single by Jeff White, coupled with an error, brought in Gleason and Murray. Now the score was 12-6 and Lincoln was as close as they had been since the first inning. Senna finally shut down the rally, getting two 4-to-3 grounders to end the inning.

In the top of the seventh, the Sluggers added an insurance run. In their final chance, Lincoln put the lead man on, but then Senna completed his allowed time on the hill with another 4-to-3 grounder. Kazanowski returned and retired the last two Lincoln batters on two pitches. Final score, 12-6, STATS. There were a few harsh words exchanged near the end and we'll see if the bad feelings carry over to the deciding contest, scheduled for Monday.

Phil ScirretaEric ThomasTom Kazanowski

Game 5: Monday, Sep. 13 @ 8:30

Lincoln Tavern 11 - STATS Sluggers 1

Defending champs Lincoln Tavern advance to the finals with a decisive game five victory.

Once again, STATS could find no answer to Nick French. The southpaw struck out seven while limiting the Sluggers to one unearned run on six hits.

STATS decided to go with Tom Kazanowski to start. Conor Gleason led off with a single. After Kaz retired Taylor Ferguson on a foul pop to the first baseman, and Will Brennan lined out to left, a Max Vigliotti single brought Mike Selig to the plate. Selig laced one, scoring Gleason, but Brennan (running for Vigliotti) was cut down at the plate by a fine throw from outfielder Chris Amate to catcher Phil Scirreta, keeping the score at 1-0. In the bottom of the first, after French retired the first two batters, Dan Fratus reached via error and Scirreta was hit by a pitch. E.J. Martinez scorched one on the ground but third baseman Jeff White made a fine play on it and threw to second for the third out.

Top two, Kazanowski retired the first man. White singled. Walks to Sean Gorman and Micka Kent loaded the bases. An Adam Feinstein grounder to first baseman Kevin Higgins resulted in a force out at home. However, Dave Corcoran stepped in and tripled to right center, scoring three, making the score 4-0 for Lincoln. Corcoran was stranded on third as Kazanowski got the third out on a liner to Stevie Pesapane at second base.

STATS got their first hit in the third inning. With two out, Tad Gold tripled. He was stranded on third when French struck out the next man. In the fourth, Lincoln added a run. White singled to lead off. After an out, Micka Kent doubled, putting men on second and third. Mark Senna came in to relieve Kazanowski. He struck out Feinstein, then induced a grounder to short from Corcoran, but it wasn't fielded cleanly and White scored. The third out followed, but now it was 5-0, Lincoln.

Both French and Senna kept their opposition off the board until the bottom of the sixth. Gold reached on an error and Eric Thomas singled. French got a strikeout, but Scirreta singled to score Gold. Feeling some hope, STATS came alive on their bench, but French snuffed the rally with a fly out and his seventh K. 5-1, Lincoln, and on to the top of the seventh where Lincoln tacked on a few more runs to salt this one away.

They'll have little time to rest on their laurels as they face the Boston Hitmen in a Tuesday night doubleheader (6:30, 8:30) to open the MSSL finals.

Nick FrenchDave CorcoranMike Kent

 

Lincoln Tavern wins series 3-2

 
Quarter-Finals
 
 (8A) DRC
vs
 (1A) Boston Hitmen
Game 1: Monday, Aug. 16 @ 8:15  

Boston Hitmen 14 - DRC 2

The BOSTON HITMEN earned top seed in the Lucas ("A") Division during the regular season, and they showed why they deserved it with an opening 14-2 mercying of DRC.

Jose Bonilla got the start and gave up just one earned while striking out five in five innings of work. His opposition, Billy Botting, got out of a bases-loaded jam in the first, but the roof fell in on him in the second inning when the Hitmen scored seven times. Control was a problem for Botting - he walked nine - and the first one to cash in those free passes was Angel Pabey (four RBI for the game) whose sac fly opened the scoring. Anthony Peguero doubled in two more, a follow-up single by Brandon Lee scored Peguero, and a couple of hitters later league batting champ Cashbee Calderon clocked a Botting pitch for a three-run homer, making the score at that point 7-0. After another walk, a Tony Hutchins pickoff throw mercifully ended the inning.

DRC got one back in the third on a couple of singles accompanied by uncharacteristic Hitmen throwing errors. Josh Rivera (2-for-2) drove in that one as well as DRC's other run in the top of the fifth. Brendan Clooney also finished 2-for-2, but it was the Hitmen who deserve the applause for this one. Aside from those hitting stars already mentioned, Willy Sanjurjo had a perfect 3-for-3 including a double, and he also scored three times.

Jose BonillaAngel PabeyCashbee Calderon


Game 2: Wednesday, Aug. 18 @ 6:30  *B rules

Boston Hitmen 18 - DRC 4

The Boston Hitmen finished off DRC in two straight. It was a second mercy rule death, this time accomplished with a bit more power than the previous game.

Anthony Peguero started things by walking. A double by Brandon Lee set the table for Roger Peguero (HR, 6 RBI) to single two runs home. 2-0 was the score, but DRC got out with no further damage. And in the bottom of the first, it looked as though they might be game to go toe-to-toe. Brendan Clooney walked, an error put men on first and second, then Gio Colon singled in Clooney, making it 2-1 with runners on first and second and no outs. However, starting pitcher Hector Vega threw a strike and Tommy Clark hit a sharp grounder to third. About as quick as you can say, "5-to-4-to-3" the inning was ended by a triple play!

Jonathan Serrano's solo shot home run made it 3-1, Hitmen, after two. The third inning brought more pain to DRC. Lee doubled, then Roger Peguero put a shot out toward right center. As one DRC outfielder seemed to have drawn a bead on the ball, he was (to use hockey terminology) screened by his fellow outfielder and the ball went off a glove and both men scored. Four batters later, Francis Reyes hit a three-run homer to make the score 8-1. Two unearned runs in the fourth made it 10-1, then Cashbee Calderon hit his second four-bagger of this series to bring the tally to 12-1.

DRC admirably showed some life, scoring two on a Tommy Clark triple, and Scott Hayward bringing Clark home via his own triple, but that was it. Three Hitmen reached base via error to start the fifth, a walk brought one in, a sac fly scored another, another walk, then Roger Peguero struck again, hitting a double... By the time the cuts stopped bleeding, the score was 18-4. Relief pitcher Eric Mercedes ended it 1-2-3 and the Hitmen move on.

Roger PegueroHector VegaFrancis Reyes

 Hitmen win series 2-0

 
 (7A) Boston Braves
vs
 (2A) STATS
Game 1: Tuesday, Aug. 17 @ 8:15  

Boston Braves 10 - STATS 8

This one was highly entertaining and loud; had controversial calls and heroics; and, in the end, was decided in favor of the underdogs. Boston Braves earn a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three opening round and the second-place finishing STATS team faces an uphill climb if they are to advance.

The previous time the two starting pitchers in this game met (Rafael Ramos for the Braves and Mark Senna for STATS), Senna was the winner of a sterling 2-1 battle. This one started with the Braves' Rey Melo singling and coming around to score, after one out, on Galvin Lara's single. STATS matched that run in the bottom of the inning on a Tad Gold single and then taking advantage of three Braves errors. 1-1 after one. The Braves opened it up a bit with two more in the top of the second. Angel Pena (3-for-4) singled, as did Manny Soto (2-for-2 before leaving with an injury), and Lazaro Rivera singled home Pena with Soto also scoring thereafter. Bottom of the second saw Ramos turn up the gas to strike out three Sluggers after Tom Kazanowski had singled. 3-1 Braves after two.

The Braves' had a runner on first with two out in the third when Ramon Marte (3-for-4) singled, but a fine outfield throw cut down the runner trying to get to third on the hit, three outs and on to the bottom of the inning where STATS tied the game again. A walk, a fielder's choice, then a dropped ball in right center (fourth Braves error), a single by Dan Fratus (probably the most effective batter vs. Ramos at 2-for-3 and a base on balls), then another Braves error (fifth in three innings) and we had a 3-3 game after three.

Braves took the lead again in the fourth on a STATS error, 4-3. In the top of the fifth, they lengthened that lead via clutch hits with two out. Melo walked, a fielder's choice and unassisted play at first left a runner on second with two away, but consecutive singles by Jose Rodriguez Jr., Marte and Angel Pena scored one, with a bases-loaded walk to Angel Gonzalez making it 6-3. In the bottom of the fifth, the Sluggers got one back when Phil Scirreta was drilled in the forearm by a Ramos pitch, Fratus singled, and Kevin Higgins brought a run home via a fielder's choice. The Braves got that run back in the top of the sixth, but might have had more if not for another runner being cut down at third base by a fine throw from the outfield (the call triggering some complaints from the Braves, which would be a common happening in both halves of this inning as they felt a few of the calls that didn't go their way were not made correctly.)

STATS again came back to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth as they took advantage of two more Braves errors sandwiched by singles from Jake Smith and Eric Thomas (rbi). A sacrifice fly by Scirreta brought in a second run and the tying run also scored on the play as Tad Gold hustled around the bases when the Braves threw the ball to the backstop. Tie game, 7-7, after six complete.

Marte started the top of the seventh with his third single of the evening. Then Angel Pena stepped to the plate and laced one between the two middle outfielders, scoring Marte and also coming around to score himself with what would prove to be the winning run. Gonzalez singled and scored an insurance run on Luis Santos' sac fly, making it 10-7. STATS tried to mount a comeback after two outs in the bottom of the seventh, plating one when Cody Hill (walk) scored on Jake Smith's double, bringing the tying run to the plate in the person of Kevin Miller, but Ramos (eight Ks in the game) got the third out and the Braves had a well-deserved, if somewhat sloppy, victory in game one.

Angel PenaRamon MarteDan Fratus


Game 2: Thursday, Aug. 19 @ 6:30 *B rules

STATS 14 - Boston Braves 5

With their playoff lives on the line, STATS Sluggers got the job done, 14 -5, forcing a deciding game three.

Dan Fratus got the scoring started in the top of the first inning with a two-run homer, the first of THREE for him (6 RBI in the game). After a scoreless bottom of the inning for the Braves, Cody Hill drove in Jake Smith for the first of his four runs batted in. 3-0, STATS.

Bottom of the inning saw the Braves pull even with three of their own, but in the third the Sluggers scored another three, on home runs by Eric Thomas and Fratus. They scored another one in the fourth to make it 7-3. Meanwhile, pitcher Tom Kazanowski was doing his part, working out of a jam and holding the Braves to one in their half of the inning, then putting up scoreless frames in the fourth and fifth. His teammates scored another six in their part of the fifth, Fratus's third homer a part of that. STATS led, 13-4, after five. Phil Scirreta added a solo shot in the top of the sixth, while the Braves took advantage of some sloppiness in the bottom of the sixth to plate one of their own. The seventh saw both probable starters for game three (Ramos, Senna) come in and blank the other side, closing things out for the final score of 14-5.

Dan FratusTom KazanowskiCody Hill


Game 3: Thursday, Aug. 26 @ 8:30

STATS 5 - Boston Braves 2

This was the sort of game lovers of softball love to watch. Two pitchers on top of their game, with both of their teams fired up and passionate.

After a scoreless top of the first, STATS took a 1-0 lead when the first two batters, Tad Gold and Eric Thomas, singled. Dan Fratus delivered Gold via a sacrifice fly. They made it 3-0 in the top of the second when E.J. Martinez reached on an error and Stevie Pesapane tripled him home. Cody Hill singled to score Pesapane. Top of the third, Luis Gonzalez singled, took second on a bad throw, and came around to score on Jesus Pena's double. 3-1, STATS.

It stayed that way until the bottom of the fifth as both pitchers - Rafael Ramos for the Braves and Mark Senna for STATS - were in charge of their respective situations. Ramos was dealing gas (he ended the night with 11 strikeouts) while Senna was keeping the Braves batters off-balance with a varied selection of drops, changes and other well-placed offerings. It was a pleasure watching both of them work. In the bottom of the fifth, STATS got a couple of insurance runs when Tom Kazanowski singled with one out, a fielder's choice left a runner on first with two out, and Kevin Miller singled past the first baseman to put runners on first and second. Tad Gold grounded to second, but it went through the wickets of the second baseman and Hill scored. Thomas singled and Miller scored, making it 5-1.

In the sixth, with two out, Senna gave up a solo shot home run to deep right center by Galvin Lara, but otherwise he was on top of his form the rest of the way. He's older now, of course, but this is the type of performance Senna was known to give during his MVP runs in 2000, 2001 and 2006. It should be some fun softball to watch in the upcoming series when he faces two-time MVP (2013, 2014) Nick French of Lincoln Tavern.

Mark SennaTad GoldRafael Ramos

 STATS wins series 2-1

 
 (6A) Loco Pirates
vs
 (3A) Pat Simpson Club
Game 1: Tuesday, Aug. 17 @ 6:30  

Pat Simpson Club 10 - Loco Pirates 0

Longtime M Street slinger Joey Magee led the way in a 10-0 Pat Simpson Club victory in game one. Magee, whose playing career in the MSSL goes back to his teenage days with Hub Video in 1998, started the game by striking out the first batter he faced. After that, no Pirate got past second base for the rest of the game.

The runs Magee would need for the win came in the bottom of the first. Chris Flaherty drew a leadoff walk. After Pirate starter Jim "Country" Pinkston retired two, Pat Dolbeare singled to center. Sammy "Ballgame" MacDonald laced a double to score Flaherty and Dolbeare. A second-inning solo home run by Mejia Sanchez lengthened the lead to 3-0. All the rest of the scoring came in the fourth, as PSC had nine in a row reach base after one out. At 7-0, Pinkston was taken out and replaced by Bryan Erwin. Erwin was effective, if wild (four walks in 2-1/3) but saving Pinkston for a possible game three was probably the correct move. The Pirates weren't likely to score runs in bunches against Magee on this night.

It was a very balanced attack by the home team Simpson boys - no batter had more than two hits or two RBI in the game - and what augurs well for them going forward is that the Goodmans were the only two regulars held hitless. The brothers, as a team, have never both been hitless in two in a row this season.

Joey MageeSam MacDonaldMejia Sanchez


Game 2: Thursday, Aug. 19 @ 8:15 *B rules

Loco Pirates 15 - Pat Simpson Club 14

Our commissioner was in attendance and, after the game, dubbed this one an "instant classic". I can't disagree.

Pat Simpson Club, winners of game one, came out firing jabs in the Pirates' faces. Six singles (and an error) added up to five runs. The Pirates went back to the corner and their cutman worked on them, then they came out peppering PSC in the same way. Four walks, three singles and one double (by Jimmy Pinkston, who had four RBI on the evening) added up to SIX runs for the black and yellow. 6-5, Pirates, after one.

OK, enough boxing comparisons. PSC had two men on when Pat "Patsy" Dolbeare put one into the trees in left field, 8-6, Pat Simpson Club. Bottom two, Miguel "Lenky" Dupree, the Simpson's starter, looked to have gained control, setting the Pirates down in order, including a strikeout. After a scoreless third, the Simpsons went in order in the top of the fourth. Now the Pirates proved that patience is a virtue. With one out, they drew three walks (sandwiched around a man reaching on an infield error), and then cashed them in with a Chris Armstrong single, an Estaban Trujillo double, a Pinkston single and a single from Josh Neely. By this time, Lenky was gone and had been replaced by Big Mike Garland on the hill. After a second out had been recorded, Gregg Bosse came through with a double that scored two more, making it 13-8, Pirates.

Dolbeare, who finished 4-for-4 with five runs batted in, scored on a Patrick Triggs (2-for-2) pinch-hit double, pulling PSC within four, 13-9. The Pirates did not score in their half of the fifth, while PSC failed to get any closer in the top of the sixth. The Pirates added what would prove to be a very important insurance run in the bottom half of the inning, making it 14-9 going into the seventh.

The seventh inning was what makes this a classic. With one out, Brian Goodman came to the plate and homered. Patsy Dolbeare went yard again immediately after, bringing the score to 14-11. At this point, the Pirates elected to lift starter Brian Pacheco in favor of slinger Jimmy Pinkston, a good strategic move with MSSL rules allowing a slinger to come in for three outs in a game being played under "B" rules, as this one was. Pinkston, the league record-holder in Ks for both single game and season, struck out the first batter he faced, bringing the Pirates within one out of victory. However, Patrick Triggs delivered again with a single. So did Mejia Sanchez. Mike Bulman drove in Triggs, 14-12. Sammy MacDonald drew a walk, loading the bases for Brad Morrill. Morrill took a pitch off the ankle, scoring Sanchez. Then Matt Savage worked another walk to score Bulman. Pinkston got his groove back and struck out the next man, but now we were tied going into the bottom of the seventh.

Now Simpson Club slinger Joey Magee came on to try and preserve the tie. But Pat "Dub" Wilson led off with a big-time double. Brad Cole was sent in to pinch run. After an error put Mark Preziosi on, with Cole going to third, PSC elected to intentionally walk Chris Armstrong, loading the bases with no outs. They pulled one outfielder into the infield, for five infielders, and brought the remaining outfielders shallow enough to be able to make a throw home on a fly out. Trujillo came to the plate and Magee delivered. A roller back to the box and Magee threw to Morrill at the plate for the force out, one away. Pinkston stepped in. Magee delivered again, and another roller came back to Magee, but this time he bobbled the ball and by the time he got a handle on it and threw to Morrill, it was too late. Preziosi had crossed the plate with the winning run, 15-14, Pirates, in a thrilling finish.

Kudos to PSC for the comeback and kudos to the Pirates for the win. Game three should be a corker.

Pat WilsonJimmy PinkstonPat Dolbeare


Game 3: Wednesday, Aug. 25 @ 8:30

Loco Pirates 10 - Pat Simpson Club 3

The Pirates have started hitting. For other teams looking at facing a solid Jim Pinkston on the rubber, this is bad news - as Pat Simpson Club found out last night.

The black-and-yellow got all the runs they'd need in the top of the first. Charlie Conners set the tone with a leadoff base on balls. After one out, Joe Magee hit Pat Wilson with a pitch. Mark Preziosi followed with a sharp single, scoring Conners, and then Chris Armstrong put one onto East First Street, a three-run shot that made it 4-0. Pat Simpson Club didn't lay down. They cut the lead in half, 4-2, on one-out hits by Mark Goodman, Brian Goodman and Pat Dolbeare.

After that relatively high-scoring first inning, things settled down for a while. Joe Magee held the Pirates scoreless in the second, third and fourth. Meanwhile, his team drew to within a run on a hustled double by Chris Flaherty and Pat Dolbeare's second run-scoring single of the night. 4-3, Pirates, after four complete. The Pirates stretched out their lead in the fifth when, with one out, Gregg Bosse tripled. He came around to score on Conners' single. Conners himself scored later, making it 6-3. And now Jim Pinkston was in a groove. He allowed only three runners (two singles and a walk) over the final four innings, while striking out an equal number of the dangerous PSC hitters (Pinkston ended with six K total.)

The Pirates used their half of the seventh to give Pinkston a large amount of insurance. Singles from Ryan McLaughlin, Bosse and Conners loaded the bases, a sac fly by Bret Belcastro brought in pinch-runner Pat Pickup, a Wilson single loaded then up again, Preziosi walked to score another, then after a nice Sammy MacDonald pick and throw to Scott Simpson, a 5-to-2 force for out number two that gave hope of getting out with no further damage, Estaban Trujillo doubled to up the Pirates lead to 10-3. From there, it was just a matter of Pinkston getting three outs.

The Pirates await the result of Braves-STATS to determine who their opponent will be (Hitmen or Lincoln) in the semi-finals.

Jimmy PinkstonChris ArmstrongCharlie Conners

 Pirates win series 2-1

 
 (5A) Telegraph Hill
vs
 (4A) Lincoln Tavern
Game 1: Monday, Aug. 16 @ 6:30  

Lincoln Tavern 9 - Telegraph Hill 0

LINCOLN TAVERN started defense of their MSSL Championship with a solid 9-0 decision.

Nick French was the story. The opposition, TELEGRAPH HILL, couldn't get a handle on the veteran lefty for most of the evening, with French racking up 10 strikeouts. Meanwhile, French's teammates gave him enough breathing room to make the only suspense left by the end of the game being the question of whether or not French would hold the shutout.

All the runs French would need for the victory came on a bottom-of-the-first two-run homer by regular-season league-leader Taylor Ferguson. Ferguson had a total of three runs batted in for the night, as did Jeff White. For Telegraph Hill, left fielder Matt Doyle was the only one to consistently have some success against French, going 3-for-3, but a couple of those weren't particularly hard hit, either. It was a dominant performance by a top-flight pitcher and if Lincoln can get this from Nick every time out, they will be extremely hard to beat.

Nick FrenchTaylor FergusonMatt Doyle


Game 2: Wednesday, Aug. 18 @ 8:15 *B rules

Telegraph Hill 19 - Lincoln Tavern 18

This game was... well, we've had some great pitching performances in the playoffs so far, but this was a slugfest and it was amazing.

Coming off their opening game shutout victory, Lincoln Tavern came out loaded for bear. After one out, Jeff Vigurs homered. Taylor Ferguson and Max Vigliotti reached, and Chris Boyd brought them home with a round-tripper. Mike Selig and Andy Hillier singled, Sean Gorman walked to load the bases, and Jared Kelly (6 RBI for the night) singled to drive in more. Joey Fabiano and Nick French singled. Micka Kent drove in one via fielder's choice. Back around to leadoff man Dave Corcoran who singled to load them up one more time, but Lincoln left them loaded. No matter, it seemed, as they had jumped to an 8-0 lead against a team they shut out in game one.

To be honest, this reporter thought it might be over. No so fast. Scott Howard singled. After one out, Matt Maypother, Matt Doyle and Ryan McCarthy singled, Brody Gardner doubled, Alex Cooper singled, Kyle Dell walked, Matt Barnes singled, a Howard fielder's choice, Brendan Fox singles, Maypother singles again, Doyle singles again... At the end of ONE inning, it is now 9-8, Telegraph Hill.

Lincoln once again brings out their bats. Ferguson singles, walks for Vigliotti and Boyd, an error scores one, Hillier and Gorman single, then Kelly homers them all in for a 16-9 Lincoln lead. French, Kent and Corcoran load them up again, and there are still no outs, but - as in the first inning - Lincoln leaves them loaded. T-Hill starts the bottom of the inning with a Gardner double. Howard (3 RBI) eventually drives him in, but that's the only scoring for them. 16-10, Lincoln, after two.

A 1-2-3 top of the third gives Telegraph Hill some life. Maypother doubles. Doyle reaches on an error. After one out, Gardner takes advantage of another Lincoln error, then Cooper (4 RBI) triples! Dell drives him in. We have now had 30 runs in three innings, and the score is 16-14, Lincoln.

In the fourth, Gorman doubles and, after two outs, French singles to score him, 17-14, Lincoln. T-Hill scores one back, taking advantage of another Lincoln error that Gardner cashes in three batters later via a single. 17-15, Lincoln. In the top of the fifth, Lincoln leaves them loaded for the third time in this game. Then Telegraph goes to work. Dell walks, Barnes singles, Howard singles, Fox walks, Maypother singles. Lincoln's Chris Boyd reaches deep to get a much-needed strikeout, but McCarthy (3 RBI) follows with a single and now Telegraph Hill has not only fought back, they've taken a 19-17 lead!

In the sixth, Lincoln puts two on but can't score them. T-Hill goes in order and we go to the top of the seventh. Corcoran draws a base-on-balls, and goes to second on a ground out to first base. Ferguson singles one in, to make it a one-run game! Vigliotti walks. However, a Boyd fielder's choice erases Ferguson at third and the always-dangerous Mike Selig is handled by T-Hill pitcher Mike Araujo for the third out. Telegraph Hill wins, 19-18! For those keeping score at home, Lincoln left 15 men on base!

I don't usually use this many exclamation points in my writing, but this one deserved at least a few of them. We go to a deciding game three in this very entertaining series.

Matt MaypotherJared KellyBrody Gardner


Game 3: Monday, Aug. 23 @ 8:30

Lincoln Tavern 7 - Telegraph Hill 0

The ending of this series is unfortunate for all involved. After fighting back to even the series, Telegraph was forced to forfeit the deciding game. For the record, they were all present on Monday and more than ready to play game three. However, the skies had opened up which caused the game to get called off/rained out at the field by the plate umpire. Once that occured, the league worked with the coach of Telegraph, Scott Howard, in trying to find a date that the game could be played. Howard informed the league that members of the team were going away to Saratoga and wouldn't be available to play at all this week. At that point the league was forced to call it a forfeit in order to continue the playoffs.


 Lincoln wins series 2-1

Past Playoff Recaps (1999-2020):
  • 1999 Playoffs
  • 2000 Playoffs
  • 2001 Playoffs
  • 2002 Playoffs
  • 2003 Playoffs
  • 2004 Playoffs
  • 2005 Playoffs
  • 2006 Playoffs
  • 2007 Playoffs
  • 2008 Playoffs
  • 2009 Playoffs
  • 2010 Playoffs
  • 2011 Playoffs
  • 2012 Playoffs
  • 2013 Playoffs
  • 2014 Playoffs
  • 2015 Playoffs
  • 2016 Playoffs
  • 2017 Playoffs
  • 2018 "A" Playoffs
  • 2018 "B" Playoffs
  • 2019 "A" Playoffs
  • 2019 "B" Playoffs
  • 2020 "A" Playoffs
  • 2020 "B" Playoffs
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