Week 12: Goats Stun Phils, Grays Beat 'Topes, Plugs Whallop Wonders
Todd Neumann delivers a pitch against the Phillies Wednesday night at Herlihy Park.
WP: Todd Neumann
LP: Max Strubel
The last place GOATs* had nothing but pride left to play for on Wednesday night when they faced off against the Phillies, but the underdogs, cherishing their spoiler role late in the season, brought their "A" game, cruising to a 5-2 win against their rivals.
The GOATs* sent Todd Neumann to the mound and the Phils countered with Kenny Sloat.
A leadoff single by GOATs* shortstop, Tom Conway set the table in the first, and singles from Tony Maspo and Jerold Duquette, brought Conway around with the game's first run. The GOATs* took the early lead and the score remained 1-0 through four.
Neumann was cruising, allowing just two hits through five, but Phils' reliever, Max Strubel was equally as impressive until the fifth when the first four batters reached and scored, propelling the GOATs* to a 5-0 lead.
The Phillies made it interesting, scoring twice in the bottom of the 7th with two outs, but Neumann caught a mile-high pop up to the mound for the final out to end the threat and earn the victory. Tony Maspo was 2-3 for the GOATs*.
*In keeping with custom, the Goats are referred to as the GOATs after wins.
Game photos courtesy of Stu Clark
Game photos courtesy of Patrick Johnson
WP: Ricky Fleurent
LP: Gary Webber
The Isotopes came in to Thursday night's game against the Grays with a chance to regain the #1 seed. In a game that felt like a playoff matchup, the outcome wasn't settled until the final out of the game.
Ricky Fleurent got the start for the Grays against 'Topes ace, Gary Webber.
The 'Topes jumped out to an early lead after leadoff hitter, Ed Cauley singled and was driven home by Dave Warner.
After a scoreless first, the Grays broke it open in the 2nd, when the first six batters reached base and scored. The Grays tacked on a run in the fourth to make it 7-1, and it looked like this ballgame might be over...
But, with one out in the fifth, the Isotopes banged out four consecutive hits and plated three. With momentum building, the 'Topes offense drove in two more in the sixth to close within a run.
Not to be outdone, the Grays' bats responded. Back-to-back singles and a walk loaded the bases in the bottom of the sixth. A wild pitch and a costly error scored two, and the Grays' led 9-6 heading in to the seventh.
Steve Ostrowski walked and scored in the top of the seventh and the table was set for a dramatic Isotopes comeback, but a huge double play and a game-ending groundout secured the win for the Grays.
This victory clinched the #1 seed for the Grays in the upcoming playoffs. Congratulations to manager, Jay Sadowski and his squad!
Game photos courtesy of Stu Clark
Plug Uglies 9
WP: Greg Elbaum
LP: Chris Ciepiela
It was playoff showcase time at School Street Park in Agawam as the Plug Uglies and the Wonders vied for a leg up in the standings, both teams deadlocked at 5 wins and 4 losses. But in this battle for playoff positioning the Uglies were shorthanded. Due to a combination of covid protocols, injuries, or providing emergency services, the team was without their manager and standout players Jeff Cabana, Mo Partee and Jeff Whitehead. Still the Uglies were able to field 9 players and everyone contributed in a 9-3 win over the Wonders.
Chris Ciepiela toed the rubber for the visiting Wonders, and Greg Elbaum for the Plug Uglies. A couple of early Ugly miscues in the field led to the Wonders taking a quick 2-0 lead, but in the third the Uglies cut it in half on an RBI single by catcher Matt Boulanger. After the Wonders plated a run in the 4th the Uglies answered back to tie it on a clutch 2 RBI single by Jack Wileden. Then in the 5th the Plugs poured it on with five more runs and they never looked back.
Starter Greg Elbaum went six solid innings on this sweltering July afternoon for the win with 2 Ks and 1 earned run. Plug Ugly veteran Jonny Adolph closed it out with a hitless, two strikeout 7th for the save.
Bill Evans (2-4, 3 runs), Matt Boulanger (4-4, 3 RBI), and Mike Olkin (2-3, 1 run, 1 RBI) led the Uglies' attack.
Game photos courtesy of Jeff Whitehead
The regular season wraps up next week with three makeup games and the #2 seed is still up for grabs. Three teams, the Plug Uglies, Wonders, and Isotopes are still in contention. While the Isotopes wrapped up their regular season this week, the Wonders and Plugs each play twice next week, including a head-to-head matchup on Wednesday which will have major playoff implications. The season is nearly over, but the action is just heating up!