Saturday, August 15, 2009

MAJA: Hounds Prevail on an Epic Playoff Saturday

After a very successful regular season, the 2nd season was upon us. We were faced with a challenge right off the bat, forced to play a single-elimination first round game against the 8th-seeded team, WOJ. The field was immaculate, the sun was shining bright, and we were eager to get on the field. Amy H. came out despite still nursing an ankle injury to support us. After a testy pre-game exchange between the two teams, it was time to play ball.
We were home team, so we took to the field first. Margaret was our starting pitcher and she had a quiet top of the first. Then it was our turn to bat, and we quickly got on the board through a base hit from Jason T. and a home run by Dave. However, after that, we found it difficult to score. Their pitcher was arcing the ball well and handcuffing our batters. Luckily, Margaret continued to pitch very well and the defense behind her was outstanding. 
WOJ found a way to tie the game on a 2-run home run midway through the game. Then the contest became an exchange of great defensive play. WOJ stayed with us blow for blow. We entered the bottom of the last inning tied at 2-2. Iain came up with one out and nobody on. He then drove a ball deep to right, and once it got over the rightfielder's head, we knew the game was over. He circled the bases for a game-winning solo home run. We mobbed him at home plate and all let out a huge sigh of relief as we knew our season would continue. Alan had been saving some shaving cream just for a moment like this, and we all had some fun with Iain as you can see below. Final Score: Hounds 3, WOJ 2.
Our victory against WOJ meant that we moved on to the best-of-three semi-final against Double D's. They were the defending champs and had given us a tough game in our regular season meeting, so we knew we were in for a fight. Some members of their team had been talking a lot of smack in the build up to this meeting, so the tension between the two teams was high. No one had any way of knowing though the battle that would ensue.
For Game 1, Margaret once again got the starting nod. Double D's was up to bat first, and they came out strong with the help of some suspect Hounds defense. Before we knew it, we were in a 10-3 hole in the 2nd inning and it looked like the game might be getting out of our reach. Fortunately, Double D's pitchers could not find the plate and they walked us back into the game. We exploded for 8 runs in the bottom of the 2nd to storm out in front. We would never look back. The defense settled down, we tacked on some more runs, and we entered their last turn at bat with a 15-10 lead. They scored a couple of meaningless runs before we closed it out. Final Score Hounds 15, Double D's 12.
For Game 2, George took to the mound looking to continue the momentum we had from our big comeback in Game 1. This time, we were up to bat first, and jumped out to a big lead. Dave and Jason C. each had a home run in the top of the 1st, a 3-run shot and 2-run shot respectively. Unfortunately, George's command was off and he walked too many batters. This allowed Double D's to get back in the game. They made it close before the skipper decided to put Margaret in the game in the bottom of the 5th to close it out. She did a phenomenal job, inducing their best player to pop the ball up to 3rd with the bases loaded and two outs. In the 6th, we closed them out 1-2-3 to seal the win and the series. Final Score Hounds 12, Double D's 10.
This was a hard fought series between two good teams. I tip my cap to Double D's as they pushed us to the limit. It's unfortunate that some of their guys chose to act like complete jerks, but that was beyond our control. I am just glad we were all able to keep our cool and let our play do the talking. 
The only thing left between us and the championship is a 3-game series next Saturday afternoon. I know that if we play up to our capabilities that no team in this league can keep us from the Chip. Onward to glory, Hounds.

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