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Fall League, Week 4: Hornets Sting Rats, Millers Beat Pats

Steve Ostrowski allowed 2 runs to lead the Murder Hornets to their first victory.

Diamond Rats 2

Murder Hornets 3

WP: Steve Ostrowski

LP: Rick Fleurent

It was a junkball jamboree, as the winless Murder Hornets’ Steve Ostrowski bested the undefeated Diamond Rats’ Ricky Fleurent. The D-Rats started off strong in the first. Micah Winston singled, Greg Elbaum walked, and after a fielders choice, the D-Rats plated a pair on RBI singles by Diego Ortiz and Hector Arroyo, however Ostrowski pitched out of the jam by inducing a pair of infield popups. In fact, that was Ostrowski’s M.O. the entire game – the D-Rats popped out and eye-popping 9 times!

The Murder Hornets answered with one in their half of the first. With one out, Bill Evans beat out an infield hit, advanced to 2B on a throwing error and scored on Jim Fogarty’s RBI single. In the 3rd, they tied it when Miguel Ringler reached 2nd on an E-8, and scored on an RBI singled by Jon Ross.

Meanwhile, the D-Rats put 2 runners on in the 3rd and loaded the bases in the 5th, each with 1 out, but couldn’t get the big hit against the crafty Ostrowski. The Hornets crept ahead in the 5th when Ringler led off with a single, Evans reached on an error to SS and Ross laced another RBI single.

The D-Rats tried one last time to rally, loading the bases with 2 outs in the 6th, but SS Evans snared a line drive by Stephen Higgins. The deflated Rats quickly went down 1-2-3 in the 7th, with the game ending when Ringler grabbed a sharp line drive to LF by Fleurent.

Winston and Arroyo each had a pair of hits to lead the D-Rats. Manager Eric “Noodles” Bennett was 3-3 with a double and Fogarty and Ross each had a pair of hits. Tom Neilson had the play of the day for the D-Rats, saving a sure run with a running grab of a line drive at 2B. Evans was the indisputable defensive star for the Hornets, with 6 putouts and 3 assists.

Game photos courtesy of Stu Clark

Patriots 2

Millers 3

WP: Jeff Whitehead

LP: Ken Sloat

The Patriots faced off against the home team Holyoke Millers at Mitchell Field for their 2nd Fall Ball 2023 meeting. The pitching match up between Ken Sloat and Jeff Whitehead was on course to be another classic duel between the two aces.

For three innings both pitchers were dealing. The scoring didn't start until the top of the 4th inning when the Patriots struck first, making it 1-0

In the bottom of the 4th the Millers' batters came to life, starting with a great at bat by Chris Krezmien. The first two pitches were off speed nastiness, inducing two swinging strikes. But Krezmien adjusted, fouling off pitch after pitch until finally earning a walk. Singles by John "Sulli" Sullivan and Tom Sebastyn loaded the bases for Whitehead, who hit what looked like a sacrifice fly to center that likely would've knocked in a run. But the fielder dropped the ball and the Millers plated two runs on the error. Kenny Hartwright hit an outfield shot that scored Sebastyn and the Millers were in the lead 3-1.

In the top of the 6th the Patriots came back with another run, making it 3-2. Going into the 7th the Millers held on to a slim lead, as Whitehead tried to close it out. He cruised with a 1-2-3 inning (including a strikeout) to secure the victory and a tie for first place with the Diamond Rats.

PLAYERS OF THE GAME: Ken Sloat (6 IP, 1 ER, 4 K, 1 BB) and Jeff Whitehead (7 IP, 1 ER, 3 K, 4 H)

Game photos courtesy of Jeff Whitehead

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