Monday, July 15, 2024

Crew hold off Storm in rematch

After not playing each other in the entire first half of the season, Storm and the Crew faced off for the second time in three nights and it was similarly thrilling, though vastly different than the first game. 


It was a seesaw affair. Storm jumped out to two runs in the first inning, but the Crew scored three to take an early 3-2 lead. They got a few extra at bats from plays that could have been made, but weren’t. Storm stormed back in the second with a max six led by a blast by Duran. Storm’s defence tightened up and The Crew put up a goose egg and Storm led 8-3 after two.


The third saw Storm struggle to hit and they put up only one. The Crew scored three making it close at 9-6. Storm seemingly pulled away in the top of the fourth. They scored another max 6 as the team batted through the order. However, the large lead didn’t last long as Crew came right back and mercied Storm to make the score 15-12. Storm managed one in the 6th and The Crew scored five runs to tie the game.


The top of the 6th was a missed opportunity. The bases were loaded with nobody out. Jeff hit a sac fly and then Al popped up in the infield. This turned into an inning ending double play as Sam was doubled off again.


I am Sam. Sam I am.

I will not run on a pop fly

I will not stop to wonder why

The next time I will stay right here

And listen to my whole team cheer.

I’ve learned my lesson now I swear

Next time I won’t run anywhere.


The Crew carried that momentum into the bottom half of the inning and scored five more to take a five run lead into the seventh. Storm wouldn’t go down without a fight, however. With one out, Storm strung together a bunch of hits. Mills singled, Kevin and Brian doubled, and Duran hit another home run. Storm was now just one run down with only one out and Joey and Lance coming up with home runs to hit. However, they did not hit home runs. Joey hit a long fly ball to left and Lance ended the game.


On Friday, Storm played excellent defence making all the plays they should have and making some plays that nobody would have expected. On this night, there were many plays Storm could have made that they didn’t. Some questionable decisions on where to throw the ball, some balls just out of reach, and The Crew hit the ball very well. 


At 18-2-1 Storm no longer has a chance for this to be their best season ever. We’ll see how the rest of the second half plays out.

Storm    21  -   The Crew 22

Boxscore

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

Total

Crew

3

0

3

6

5

5

x

22

Storm

2

6

1

6

1

1

4

21


Storm handles balls well in win over triple play

In the top of the first inning, Storm put a couple on the board as Jeff hit a two out two run triple. In the bottom of the first, Storm struggled defensively as they had a number of balls go off the tips of their fingers. Defence has been one of the main reasons Storm has done so well this season, so it was tough how Storm couldn't keep their balls in their hands. Triple Play scored six for an early 5-2 lead.

In the top of the 2nd, Duran broke out of his mini slump with a massive three run home run to put Storm back on top 6-5. In the bottom of the 2nd,  Storm did a much better job handling balls, or at least Brian did. He has a lot of experience handling balls and fielded a grounder cleanly, tagging the runner and stepping on first for an unassisted double play. Brian also has a lot of experience doing things unassisted.

Storm couldn’t score any runs in the top of the 3rd, but also kept Triple Play off the board in the bottom of the 3rd. Mills wanted the balls all to himself (does he always want balls all to himself) and recorded the first two outs. Triple Play wouldn't play along and hit the last out to Duran who often fights over balls with Mills. He was able to keep this ball in his glove. Maybe his glove had overheard him saying he was going to sell it, and decided to step up its game.

Storm scored one in the top of the 4th, and the bottom of the 4th saw more solid defence as Mills covered more ground to handle a ball, Jeff extended his shoulder to get a ball in his hands, and Duran camped under a lazy fly and kept the ball in his glove. Triple Play did manage to score two runs, though, and after four it was a 7-7 tie.

The tie didn’t last long, though. Storm exploded in the top of the 5th with an eight run inning. What was impressive about this was that all of the runs were scored with two outs. After Brad led off with a single, Mills and Kevin got out and it looked like it would be another short inning. But Brian led the charge with a single before Duran launched his second three run homer of the game. Joey then launched a solo, and Storm kept the line moving all the way to Brad, who got his second hit of the inning bringing it back to Mills and Kevin. Mills avoided being the first and third out of an inning by walking, and Kevin avoided being the second and third out of an inning, by poking a single. The inning finally ended at Brian, but Storm suddenly led 15-7. Storm scored three in the sixth and then exploded for another eight run inning in the 7th to go on to win 26-12.

Storm won the game because of great ball handling (shout out to Kevin who also handled a number of balls really well, but didn’t make it into any of the specific inning comments) and had some very timely hitting. 

There's a new name written down in glory

Storm's single season records are dominated by two names (Duran and Joey). In fact, they are dominated by two seasons (Joey’s 2015 and Duran’s 2018 seasons). However, there will be a new name added to the single season record holder list. It’s not a particularly glamorous record that has been broken. It didn’t take a lot of power or really skill,  and in fact, it is quite confusing, but Jeff has broken Joey’s single season walks record. And he did it only one game over the halfway mark. It is unclear why teams are walking Jeff at the rate they are. Maybe it’s because he’s wearing his socks high and being confused with Duran, but there have been many games where he has been walked multiple times without seeing a single strike in the at bat. It isn’t a prestigious record, but it is a record nonetheless. 

Storm    26  -   Triple Play 12

Boxscore

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

Total

Triple Play

5

0

0

2

3

1

1

12

Storm

2

4

0

1

8

3

8

26

 

Friday, July 12, 2024

Storm holds off Crew

 Storm started the game against The Crew like they had somewhere else to be. In the first inning, Storm went three up three down on four pitches, and in the second, they only did marginally better sending four runners to the plate. Thankfully for Storm, The Crew weren’t accruing many runs either and only managed two hits, though one was a two run home run.

Things started to pick up in the third. The Crew scored two more to take a four run lead, but Storm remembered that it’s more fun to actually hit and they scored two more runs to get back in the game.

The Crew scored two more in the top of the fourth to get back to four runs up, but Storm answered in a big way, scoring the maximum six runs to take the lead. Storm did it playing small ball with a number of singles and then a couple of sacrifice flies to keep the runners going and they almost batted through the lineup to get six runs. Storm then shut the door on The Crew in the fifth and added three more runs in the bottom of the 5th. The Crew added one in the top of the sixth to make it 11-7, not a particularly comfortable lead. Storm sought to extend their lead with the top of the order up, but they hit like they did in the first, and Storm scored no insurance runs. It might have been a good strategy, though, because The Crew had hit two home runs in the beginning of the game, and were unable to hit any home runs in their comeback bid. They scored one and Storm held on to go 17-1-1 in the first half of the season.

Storm    11  -   The Crew 8

Boxscore

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

Total

The Crew

2

0

2

2

0

1

1

8

Storm

0

0

2

6

3

0

x

11


Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Lance lifts Storm over Hanet

It was a relatively low scoring affair, but tempers were still running high in Storm’s matchup with Hanet on Tuesday night. 

In the first two innings Lance provided nearly all of the offence for Storm launching a two run homer in the first and a grand slam in the second. He accounted for six of the first seven runs Storm scored, and actually single handedly produced enough runs to win the game as Hanet only managed five runs all night. Storm would have another big inning in the fourth, scoring five runs on a sequence of singles, and they would hold on to win 14-5.

There were a number of interesting plays throughout the game though. 

The infield fly rule is a rule that is designed to protect the runners, though it protected the defence in a strange situation. Brad came up and popped the ball up the first baseline. With runners on first and second, it should have been called an infield fly. It wasn’t. The ball was then missed by Hanet’s pitcher, and it took a funny hop and landed harmlessly in foul territory. Except it wasn’t so harmless. Hanet complained that it should have been called an infield fly. They were right. It should have. But batters are also only called out on infield flies if the ball is fair. The ball was foul. The umpire compounded his first mistake like the interest on a mortgage and then retroactively called Brad out for an infield fly, which led to a whole lot of yelling on both sides of the ball. Brad was warned that he could get suspended and it would go on his permanent record, which was a terrifying thought. Eventually everyone calmed down and something else happened that inning, but it’s hard to remember what. What’s even more disappointing, is that nobody seemed to learn from their mistakes. Brad came up again with runners on first and second. It was like he was looking for a De Lorean to travel through time and erase his wrongdoings, except he doubled down on them by popping up to third base earning the nickname, Brad “it’s still in effect MacInfield fly.” Now if that wasn’t bad enough, it was the second straight infield fly that wasn’t called by the umpire. 

Things go both ways, though, and Hanet had a runner leave early on a fly ball that wasn’t seen by the umpire, which was forgivable, but there was also a strange play at the plate where a ball hit the plate then hit the runner in the leg and rolled fair. Kevin picked up the ball and tagged the runner who was called out. The explanation was that the ball rolled fair, which means it was fair. However, since the ball hit the batters leg (which the ump clearly didn’t see) there are only two possible calls. Either the ball hit the batter in the batter’s box and the ball is foul, or the ball hit the batter in front of the batter’s box and the batter is out for coming into contact with the ball in fair territory. But neither of those are the explanation the umpire gave, and Hanet was nonplussed yet again.

Other interesting moments sprinkled throughout the game.

Sam was doubled off second on a line drive. This happened immediately after one of Brad’s infield flies. Sam now has to learn this baserunning Mantra.

I am Sam. Sam I am. 

I will not run on a line drive.

I’ll stay right here to stay alive. 

I think I know just what to do

I’ll only run if it gets through!

Lance started the game in dominant form with two home runs, but once Storm was plus two, he didn’t know what to do with himself, and popped out to the catcher. 

Duran had been struggling (for Duran) with some light contact throughout the game. Before his last at bat, he warned Lance in the on-deck circle that he was going to try to pull the ball. Mills reminded him that we had no more home runs to hit, but he replied “I just want to hit the ball hard.” And he did. Hard over the fence for a home run out. Storm proved they are a full team and are not just a couple of big hitters as Storm won while Duran and Joey combined for only two hits in ten plate appearances. 

On another note, Ken has now been a late scratch in consecutive games. Ken is no longer on a sign out basis. He is now signed out and must sign in if he wants to play.

Storm    14  -   Hanet 5

Boxscore

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

Total

Broadway

0

0

2

2

1

0

0

5

Storm

2

5

1

5

1

0

x

14