Fall League, Week 1: Millers Outscore Pats, D-Rats Defeat Hornets
Ken Hartwright drives in the winning run for the Millers
Murder Hornets 4
Diamond Rats 6
WP: Mark Caputo
LP: Steve Ostrowski
The first game of the TNB50+ Fall League was a ruthless mano-a-mano battle between the home team Diamond Rats and the visiting Murder Hornets. Each Hornets blow was met with a response by the D-Rats. When the dust had cleared, the D-Rats had prevailed 6-4. Greg “G-Bomb” Elbaum started on the bump for the D-Rats and the Hornets countered with Steve “Bass” Ostrowski.
The D-Rats struck first on singles by G-Bomb and Mark Caputo (4-4!), with the former scoring on an error. Meanwhile, G-Bomb was spectacular, mowing down the first 8 batters before rookie Luke Steiner doubled and then came around on Bill Evans’ mammoth double to RF. The D-Rats immediately answered with a run, when Caputo, who had singled, came in on an RBI groundout by Stephen Higgins.
G-Bomb tired in the 5th, allowing doubles to Mitch Gaslin and Mike Martindell and an RBI hit by Steiner. John “Ski” Malikowski relieved and got out of the jam, thanks to Higgins throwing out a runner advancing to 3rd, who was alertly tagged out by Caputo after he overran the base.
Not to be outdone, the D-Rats came right back with a pair of their own in the bottom half. Caputo singled, and Ski doubled and both came around on a blast to deep CF by Diego Ortiz (3 RBI’s on the day). Ski loaded the bases with one out in the top of the 6th, so Caputo relieved, striking out a pair while walking in the tying run in between.
The D-Rats bats pulled ahead for good with a bit of small ball. Micah Winston led off with a bunt single, and G-Bomb also laid one down, with Winston alertly taking an uncovered 3rd. Caputo doubled in Winston, and after Ski walked, Ortiz crushed a SF to deep LF. LFer Miguel Ringler saved more damage by making a full-on diving catch off the bat of Tony Maspo with bases loaded and 2 outs.
In the top of the 7th, the Hornets threatened yet again off Caputo, when Jon “JR” Ross and Ostrowski singled. Next up was Jim Fogarty, who skyed a pop-up that fell between SS & LF, but LFer David Poppie alertly threw to 3rd to force the runner who had to hold up to see if it was caught. The final batter grounded a ball down the 3rd base line, which hit the base and died, giving Ski an easy force out to end the game.
WP: Jeff Whitehead
LP: Morriss Partee
Opening Day of TNB+50 Fall Ball at Anniversary Field in Holyoke, with a match up between the Millers and the Patriots, featured two of TNB's finest pitchers: Kenny Sloat for the Patriots and Jeff Whitehead for the Millers.
The Millers started off the scoring in the top of the first with a Mike Krezmein single, who eventually scored. Jeff Whitehead reached on an error that scored Chris "Chaka" Scanlon. In the bottom of the 1st the Patriots struck back. Mike Dietlin walked and went to second when Tim Bombard reached on an error. Then Andy Klepacki reached on a fielder's choice that scored Dietlin, and Matt Boulanger reached on another Millers error (both Klepacki and Boulanger eventually came round to score). After one inning it was Patriots 3, Millers 2.
In the top of the third Mike Krezmein led off again with a single and scored on a Whitehead double. Scanlon was out on a 4-3 but was able to knock in Whitehead. In the bottom frame Mike Dietlin and Ken Sloat singled, then Bombard hit a pop fly to center that scored Dietlin. After three innings it was tied 4-4.
In the bottom of the 4th Marin Goldstein led the inning off with a single, then Shawn McMillan reached on an error. Jack "The World's Most Interesting Man" Wileden singled and brought Goldstein home. Mike Dietlin singled again to drive in McMillan, and at the end of four the Patriots pulled ahead 6-4.
In the 6th Sloat gave way to the Patriots' bullpen: in came reliever Morriss "Mo" Partee, who was able to sit the Millers down 1-2-3. On the other side Whitehead seemed to get stronger as the game went on, retiring the side 1-2-3 in the 5th and 6th innings.
It was do or die for the Millers in top of the 7th. Tom Sebastyn singled and Pres Pieraccini walked, then both advanced a base on a passed ball. Jack Eisenstadt hit a big single that scored Sebastyn, then Whitehead belted one to the outfield to score Pieraccini to tie the game. But when Whitehead landed on second base there stood Eisenstadt! The base running blunder caught the two Millers in a bizarre pickle that eventually induced a Patriots error, leaving Whitehead on second and Eisenstadt on third. Up came big Ken Hartwright with the play of the game, hitting a shot to the outfield that scored Eisenstadt and put the Millers up 7-6.
Whitehead came back for the bottom of the 7th and quickly took care of the Patriots, inducing a fly ball and striking out two. Final score Millers 7, Patriots 6.
PATRIOTS PLAYERS OF THE GAME: Mike Dietlin (2-3, 2 R, BB), Marin Goldstein (2-3, R) & Ken Sloat (5 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 3 K).
MILLERS PLAYERS OF THE GAME: Mike Krezmein (2-4, 2R), Jeff Whitehead (At The Plate: 2-4, 2 RBI, 2 2B. On The Mound: 7 IP, 3 ER, 6 K), & Ken Hartwright (game winning RBI in the 7th).
Game photos courtesy of Jeff Whitehead