Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Zog: Hounds Repeat

The finale of the Zog Spring/Summer 2010 season brought us to Riverbank State Park and a championship showdown with Who's On First. These were the last two division champs squaring off in what was expected to be a close game. WOF had beaten us the last two times we played them, but we knew there were circumstances which prevented us from being at our best on those occasions. Our opponents came into the game very confident, one might even say cocky. But what they didn't know is that the Hounds were confident too, it was just a quiet confidence that we exuded. The setting was Riverbank State Park, also known as Hounds Field. The weather was perfect after threats of rain. After some pre-game gamesmanship by your humble Captain, it was time to play ball.

WOF was the away team and as such were up to bat first. Our starting pitcher was Juiena, who had been rock solid for us all season long and was coming off a strong performance in the semi. In the first, we were a bit jittery and committed a couple of miscues that allowed WOF to put two runs on the board. We controlled the damage though and got out of a potentially big inning. Now it was our turn to bat and the offense got right to work. MikePa drew a walk before Iain drove him in with a triple. Dave followed with an RBI double, and just like that, the score was tied. Next, WOF gifted Mega the dreaded 4 pitch walk which allowed Juiena to also walk. The Cap then stroked a 2-RBI single before being called out on a questionable baserunning decision. Wink drove in a run too and now we were up 5-2 after the first. After an uneventful 2nd inning, we blew the game open with some fantastic hitting. We would score 11 in the 3rd, with the entire lineup getting in on the fun. Pretty much everyone had a good offensive game but some of the standouts were MikePa(2-3, 2 BB, RBI, 3 RS) Cindy(3-4, BB, RBI, 3 RS), Iain(4-5, 4 RBI, 4 RS), Dave(4-4, 5 RBI, 3 RS), Juiena(2-3, BB, 2 RBI, 3 RS), and WInk(4-4, 3 RBI, 2 RS). 

Once we took the big lead, WOF started to come apart at the seams. We kept our focus though and followed up with multiple runs in the 4th and the 5th, and all the while Juiena maintained dominance over the opponents' hitters. Her high-arc stuff was working really well and her command was impeccable. WOF had little answer for her but did have one nice little moment when one of their ladies hit a solo homer. But the game was well in hand at that point and it would hardly matter. We could sense that victory was imminent and our dugout became quite boisterous aided by some wonderful support from our fans. Our defensive highlights had to be Murph and Dave turning a 5-5-3 double play, MikePa making some nice grabs in the outfield, and Iain & Cindy working the solid middle infield combo. 

In the final inning, WOF was able to muster nothing as they appeared like they just wanted the game over with. And who could blame them as it was a dominating performance from start to finish from the Hounds. The game ended on a simple 5-3 putout from Iain to Dave, and for the second season in a row, we were the last team standing. Final Score: Hounds 24, Who's On First 5.

Needless to say, the victory was exhilarating and some raucous celebration ensued. More on that in a minute. But now is a good time to reflect on what we have accomplished. We have won two championships back-to-back in dominating fashion. Hard to believe it, but we were only 3-2 at one point this season. We closed the season out with a 9-game winning streak, with almost all of those victories coming by double digits. We have put yet another rivalry to bed, as there can be no rivalry with a team that one beats by 19 runs– in a championship game, no less. We faced down a pitcher who gave us trouble in the regular season only to come out and throttle him in the playoffs, a la ZooMass last season. OK, WOF made a couple of errors, but the reality is, we hit really well all night and pretty much the entire second half of the season. We should all be very proud of ourselves because Lord knows we put a lot of hard work into this. We are a formidable opponent for anybody right now and it's time to start thinking about bumping up a division. We have proven everything we can prove in Casual Division. This Fall, prepare for a new challenge.

After the game, The Hounds entourage headed over to Dinosaur BBQ for the championship celebration. The food was plenty and the beverages flowed as we enjoyed the spoils of victory. It was a memorable night for all.