Metro Minute

Toledo Day 3

By Bob Totterer
Saturday, August 1st, 2015

Quarterfinal Game: Dodgers - 9, Astros - 8

Saturday, August 1st, 12:00 PM - What was that I said yesterday? Oh, yeah - "Even when they're down, they're rarely down and out." That was certainly the case in this quarterfinal matchup. The Dodgers drew first blood with a run in the first inning. The game stayed 1-0 until the Astros batted in the top of the fifth. 7 runs would cross the plate before the third out was registered. With one out, starter Tyler Greene was lifted in favor of Josh Rye, who also exited after struggling with a handful of 'Stros batters. Enter Wesley Pyles. The lefthander came in with one out, two runners on base and a peck 'o trouble happening on the field. He promptly retired the first two batters he faced to put out the fire, and would go on to pitch scoreless baseball through the eighth. His performance on the mound was the key to what the Dodgers would pull off in this do-or-die matchup.

Any competitor knows the importance of answering offense with offense. The Dodgers didn't disappoint, scoring two in the bottom of the fifth and two more in the sixth to make it a 7-5 game. All of this occurred while Mr. Pyles was working his magic on the Astros hitters.

In the bottom of the eighth, Matt Spradlin drew a walk in front of a Garrett Taylor basehit. Dashawn Lindsay popped up on the infield and Keith Grieshaber drove Spradlin home with a single. An error on the third baseman put Luke Bakula on first to load the bases. Sean Ullrich singled hard to drive in Taylor with the tying run, while Grieshaber steamed hard around third base, trying the outfielder's arm. Though the throw arrived early, it was out in front of the plate. Keith beat it with a hard, head-first slide, jack-knifing around the catcher's tag, and swept the plate with his hand - an outstanding individual effort. The Dodgers had regained the lead, 8-7.

Manager Gus Lombardo lifted Pyles in favor of Louis Garza. With two outs, a runner on third and two strikes on the batter, one got away, striking the front of the plate and bounding high over catcher Garrett Taylor to score the tying run. The batter struck out on the very next pitch, but the stage was set for the bottom of the ninth. After a Sean Murley fly out, Collin Holton walked and Matt Spradlin singled. That brought Garrett Taylor to the plate, who broke the tie with an RBI single.

The Dodgers had pulled one out of the fire. Down by six in the fifth inning, you wouldn't have expected such a comeback - the Astros certainly didn't. The on-field celebration was brief; they had more work to do today. The winner of the Cardinals/Gamecocks game would come a-knockin' at 3:00 ... and the Dodgers would be waiting.




Semifinal Game: Dodgers 4, Cardinals 3

Saturday, August 1, 3:30 PM - The wait turned out to be longer than expected, as the Crystal Lake Cardinals had to travel from their quarterfinal game across town to get to Bowman Park. As they piled into the third base dugout, they were a sight to see. They were all as big as Ponderosa Pines. Good god, where did they find these guys? They could hit - that much was readily apparent, as they had scored an average of nine runs in their previous four games. Things began to look a bit bleak here, as the Cardinals quickly scored two runs in the top of the first on three hits and a Dodgers error.

The boys in blue once again answered offense with offense, plating one of their own in the bottom of the second as Sean Murley and Collin Holton both singled to set the table. Taylor then ripped an RBI basehit to score Murley. It was a 2-1 game entering the third. The Cardinals struck back on a double and another Dodgers error to regain their 2-run lead. It would stay that way until the Dodgers sixth when they would draw within a run once again, on a basehit by Luke Bakula, a wild pitch and two Cardinals errors.