Lightning Bolt….or A Shower of Gold
Bay City vs. Saginaw
Walnut Grove #1, Greenfield Village, Dearborn, MI
World’s Tournament Championship
August 10, 2014
Bay City 4, Saginaw 7
Having bested the Brooklyn Atlantics in their previous match, the Independents of Bay City now progressed to the Championship Match against a familiar opponent, the Old Golds of Saginaw. The Old Golds had progressed to this point by making their way through the Chadwick division allowing an average of only 2 1/2 runs a contest, which was only slightly more than the previous year when they permitted only 2 runs per match on their way to the title match, which they would win besting Bay City 23-8. Bay City was also playing fairly good defense on their side of the Championship bracket allowing only 6 runs per contest. Offensively, Saginaw had averaged almost 14 runs per match, while Bay City was tallying nearly 19 per game. It would appear that each club had an advantage over the other, either defensively or offensively. Thus, as it seemed, a good match might be made for the Championship on this day.
Bay City would win the coin toss, and elected to take the field. This allowed Saginaw to strike whilst the sphere was hardest, and strike they did. The lead batter, Whiskers Endert, would lose his hand on a daisy cutter to short stop to kill the Golds first hand. The real fun began then, as Jason “Tree Trunk” Leckrone then drove a howitzer into the garden in center field that put him safely at third. The next striker, John “Lumberjack” Piersall, then went against his natural grain, and placed the ball neatly in his pull field of left. Piersall would make his first, and bring home Leckrone with the first run. The Lumberjack would then lose his hand when Bolt Funcheon pulled a daisy cutter to the short stop, Tanner LeRoux, who then flipped to second to force the second hand. An attempt was made at a twin-killing, but Bolt was too fast for the relay and made his first. This brought Dennis “The Vanilla Gorilla” Konuszewski to the plate, and The Gorilla was out to prove that a two year absence hadn’t hurt his game, and by that we mean his powerful striking. Well, strike he did depositing a howitzer into the left center garden that drove home Bolt, and put him at third with two hands dead. The rally would end there as the next striker’s hand would be dead thanks to a sky ball bottled in left by Jeremy Schoolboy Stedry.
The Bay Citys were now down in the contest by two runs, but looked to try and match if not surpass, the Saginaws efforts. Tanner LeRoux would take his first, and then move on to second thanks to back to back muckle shots from both he and Kid Garcia. Then Jeff “Silverback” Rahl would drive a howitzer deep into the left center garden that put him squarely at first, and drove both LeRoux and Garcia home to tie the contest. That brought Logger Leppek to the plate for the Independents, and Leppek looked to help Bay City take the lead in the contest by driving the onion deep into the trees into right center field. Rahl, sensing the trajectory of the ball and it’s almost certain exit of the field of play, turned and began to leg his way home. Unfortunately for the Bay Citys the ball struck high upon the tree and then shot back into the field of play very near to where the right fielder was standing. This allowed the Saginaw gent to fire the ball toward home where it was intercepted by the pitcher, and then relayed to the Golds catcher, Adam “Squints” McCauly where he was able to put the tag on the hustling Rahl. Logger would most adeptly make his second on the throw. The next hand would be lost to a sky ball handled by John Smith in left field, and then Leppek would progress to third on a safety lined into the long field by Butterfly Becerril. Becerril then stole his second, but both he and Leppek would be stranded when Buttons McInerney’s sky ball was bottled by the Saginaw right fielder. The Saginaws would escape the innings with Bay City leaving runners at second and third, and the match tied.
The next four innings would be filled with whitewash on both sides, but the striking was far from lacking, rather it was the fielding that was phenomenal. A fine case in point happened in the Saginaws third innings when their lead striker Copper would make his first on a safety into the garden. He then progressed to second on an infield daisy cutter by Jon “Boozehound” Smith. The next striker, Chuck “Ducky” Mahan hit a sky ball that was bottled on the run by Sean “Tanner” LeRoux, and the runners at first and second were forced to hold their positions. That brought Toby “Scoops” Larkin to the plate for the first time in the match, and true to his form Larkin lashed a liner into the long field that nearly lacerated the larynx of the left fielder, Jeremy “Schoolboy” Stedry. Stedry, showing the sand that he has played with all season, took the ball off his throat, bobbled it momentarily and then bottled it on the run killing Larkin’s hand. Thinking quickly Stedry then launched the ball to the Bay City second sacker, and killed the Copper’s hand, as he had strayed too far from his base of origin.
In the fifth innings the Independents would turn away another threat thanks to more fine plays by the long fielders. The innings would begin with Bull Diag losing his hand to a sky ball gathered by Jason McInerney in short center field. Then Whiskers Endert would make his fist on a garden grabber, and then took his second on a muff. That brought Tree Trunk Leckrone to the plate for the second time in the contest. In his previous effort he was able to make his third on a howitzer to center, and he hoped to torch Buttons McInerney again, but the stout Bay City fielder was more than up to the task this time. Leckrone lashed the onion into the garden, but not as deep as previously, and so McInerney came charging in and made a one handed grab to kill the striker, and send Endert back to second. Now with two hands lost John “Lumberjack” Piersall would attempt to drive home Endert with one of his patented, opposite field strikes, but Alan “Kid” Garcia, who was manning the hill in right field, would have none of it. Garcia charged down the hill, and made a sliding, one handed grab of his own to swallow the pill for the final out of the innings, and thus ended the next Saginaw threat.
Bay City wouldn’t be without their chances in the contest either. In the fifth innings, Butterfly Becerril, the Independents pitcher on this day, made his first on a fine drive into left field, but he would proceed no further as Bryce “Bolt” Funcheon, the Saginaws center fielder, would make three acrobatic catches in a row of howitzers from the bats of the Bay Citys that most certainly would have made extra bases, and would have created quite a frenzy on the pillows for the Independents.
Following his fifth innings defensive display Bolt Funcheon would lead off the Golds innings with a deep drive into the garden that allowed him to make his third. He was then driven home by Konuszweski , who also made his first. The next striker, Adam “Squints” McCauly would then hit daisy cutter that dribbled down the line, and was scooped up by the pitcher, Becerril, who then flipped to first to record the first hand lost. The Gorilla was able to make his second, due to the slow rolling ball, and would then tally when Copper, the Golds third base tender, punished the pill and then made his third himself. Jon Smith would drive home Copper with a sky ball placed into the left field that was captured by Schoolboy Stedry to record his hand as well. Ducky Mahan would then end the innings with a ground ball handled by LeRoux who then threw to Leppek to shoot the duck. Saginaw now held a three run lead.
Bay City would get back one of those runs in their sixth, when Jimmy Arnold, would scramble home after a series of safeties, and ground ball outs. Saginaw would then add another run in their seventh, and one more in their eighth to take a 7-3 lead. Bay City would then mount their greatest threat since their first innings, when their first four strikers in the innings, Logger Leppek, Cat LeRoux, Butterfly Becerril, and Buttons McInerney, would all make base safely. However, only Leppek would tally, as the next three strikers all lost their hands to sky balls bottled by either the short stop, or the second base man for Saginaw.
Frustrated as they were at their failures to cut deeper into the Saginaws lead, the Bay Citys took to the field undaunted, and dispatched Tree Trunk Leckrone on a sky ball to second base, Lumberjack Piersall on a sky ball handled by Garcia in right, and finally a line drive grab by Tanner LeRoux at short stop killed Bolt’s hand for the first time in the contest. Recording three quick outs, the Bay Citys now came to bat in their ninth with the bottom of their order. The first hand was recorded by Ryan Dost, the Saginaws first sacker as he bottled a sky ball, and the next was lost when the Golds captain, Adam McCauly captured a slow roller behind the plate and threw out Constable Gerken at first. Matt “Barrel Roller” Barnard now strode to the stripe with a great determination not to be the final out, and his striking as well as his concentration was not faulty as he placed the ball beyond the grasp of the Copper at third, and made his first. This brought the final striker in the lengthy Bay City order to the plate, and Adam “Ca-Ca-Nuts” Johnson would come through with a liner over Larkin at short stop that put Barnard at second, and Johnson at first. The excitement, and anticipation on the benches, in the field, and in the crowd was now quite palpable, for the top of the Bay City order would now get their chance for glory yet again. For those unaware, or those who may have forgotten, Bay City found themselves in just such a situation some eleven months previous in the State Championship match held in Bay City. The Independents entered the ninth innings that day down to these same Old Golds by the same margin, only the tally that day was 5-2. The Independents were able to rally, and win the day with 4 runs in their ninth. The same hopes seem to be lining up today, as Sean “Tanner” LeRoux made his way to the stripe as the nerves on either side grew even more frayed. LeRoux waited out his at bat through several pitches, whilst the shadows of Kid Garcia, Silverback Rahl, and Logger Leppek loomed, waiting in the wings for their turn at whipping the willow. Pitch after pitch went by, until LeRoux saw one of his liking, and he drove it in through the center of the field, but the orb caught too much grass and therefore slowed enough to be snagged by the second sacker for Saginaw who then flipped to short stop to kill Johnson for the final out of the thrilling contest.
It was a remarkable match, truly befitting of the moniker of Championship, and the Golds, having dodged another bullet, had fairly won the day and showed that they had earned their title of Champion. So would end another tournament run for Bay City, the accolades would not end there for them, as one of their own, Branden “The Rope” Revette would be honored by those in attendance as the finest catcher of the weekend. It was an honor well won, and one long past due.