Fleetwings rally for 9-9 tie
Facing elimination and a 5-run
deficit, Woodlawn takes lead before Yankees tie Game 2.
SCHERERSVILLE -- There are good ties and there
are bad ties.
No, I am not talking about my wardrobe.
I am referring to the 9-9 tie in Game 2 of the best-of-3
First Round series between the Fleetwings and the Northern Yankees.
Considering the Fleetwings looked to be
beaten early in this game, down 7-2 after three innings and down 8-3 after 4
innings, Woodlawn backers would probably say it was a "good" tie, while Yankees'
backers would probably say this was a "bad" tie.
Regardless of anyone's opinions, this six-inning playoff game certainly had a lot of offense and intrigue and was
fun to watch.
The Fleetwings bats came out blazing as hot as the weather (if that's possible)
right out of the gate as Scott Garger laced a single to center to open the
ballgame, Justin Godusky singled to right, and four pitches later, his brother
Matt Godusky singled to left, which would have loaded the bases, but the
left-fielder bobbled the ball, which allowed Garger, who was initially held up
at third base, to score on the play (so no RBI given) and it was 1-0 Fleetwings.
After a pop-up, a walk to Brian Martin loaded the bases with one out.
And here is where reading the Trico scouting reports paid off, as Yankees'
Manager Brian Polaha moved right-fielder Pete McCaulley in to cut off a possible
line-drive hit from Jeremy Arner.
Sure enough, on a 1-2 pitch, Arner slapped a shallow line-drive to right, where
McCaulley was in position to come in and make the grab and then get a bonus as he
was able to double off the runner at second (who thought for sure that the ball
was falling in for a hit) to end the inning without any further damage.
Dan Hemberger then took the mound for Woodlawn in the home half of the first and
he was as sharp as a tack. Every pitch he threw in the inning was a strike, with
the exception of the one that had radar-lock on Brian Farrell's left foot, which
went in the books as a hit-by-pitch. However, a nifty 6-4-3 double-play followed
to end the inning as Hemberger had an efficient eight-pitch opening frame.
Things would be much different for the southpaw the next two innings.
Still trailing 1-0, George Kressley and McCaulley walked on nine total
pitches to start the second for the Yankees. After a perfect sacrifice bunt by
George Hutson, Ian McCutcheon got an infield single to deep short to tie the
game at 1-1. McCaulley advanced to third base on the play, which was big because
he then scored on a fielder's choice ground-out by Dave Sandt and it was 2-1
Yankees after two innings.
The Fleetwings answered immediately in the third as Justin Godusky ripped a
double to left and Matt Godusky walked on four pitches. Big Ben Swatsky then
singled up the middle, tying the game at 2-2, but on the play, center-fielder
Chris Watts smartly threw behind the runner rounding second, catching him in a
run-down for the first out of the inning. After Swatsky stole second base,
Martin then singled up the middle and Watts charged the ball hard and threw a
laser strike to the plate, where McCutcheon hauled it in just in time to tag out
the speedy Swatsky to keep the game tied at 2-2. It was Watts' second assist in
as many batters as the Fleetwings lost two runners on the base paths in the
And things were about to go from bad to worse for the Fleetwings in the home
half of the third.
The inning started off innocently enough, as two routine ground-balls were hit
to start the frame, but the second one took a wicked hop off Adam Maini's
shoulder at third base for a tough error. That unfortunate hop for the
Fleetwings seemed to turn on the switch to the Yankees' carousel.
Darrin Lenhart smoked a single to left and Kressley followed with a sharp liner
that also fell in left-field to load the bases with one out. McCaulley singled
to right to regain the lead for the Yankees, 3-2. Hutson then singled off the
glove of a diving Justin Godusky in the hole between first and second and it was
4-2 Yankees. McCutcheon followed with a RBI single to center and Sandt ripped a
RBI single to left and it was 6-2 Yankees. Steve Benavage got a RBI ground-out to
first base to round out the scoring in the frame and it was 7-2 Yankees after
The Fleetwings would keep answering.
With one out, Tom Williams hit a towering pop-up that would have been a home run
in a silo, but this pop-up actually landed safely on the infield dirt at the
shortstop position for an error. Matt Nuhfer followed with a single down the
third-base line and Garger walked to load the bases. But the Fleetwings would
only get one run out of this rally as Justin Godusky hit a scorcher down the
third-base line that a diving Kressley somehow knocked down to get a force out
at third, but Williams scored on the play and it was now a 7-3 Yankees lead. A
strikeout would end the visitors' half of the fourth.
Ryan Palos was now pitching for the Fleetwings and he promptly retied the first
two batters he faced in the fourth inning, but a 7-pitch walk to Kressley, an
infield hit by McCaulley and a RBI single to left by Hutson made it 8-3 Yankees
after four innings.
The Fleetwings were not going to go away.
Swatsky smashed a single to left to start the fifth. Martin hit a one-hopper off
the fence in right for a double and Arner laced a two-run single down the
left-field line to cut the Yankees' lead to 8-5. Maini then singled to
right-center to make it 8-6, and that was it for Yankees' starter Josh Ziegler
and Matt Goldman came on in relief. Goldman got a fly-out and then made a nice
snag of a ground-ball to start a 1-6-3 double-play to end the inning.
After Palos had what turned out to be the only 1-2-3 inning of the game,
striking out a pair of batters in the fifth, the Fleetwings went right back to
work in the sixth.
Garger stroked a single just fair down the right-field line to start the sixth.
Justin Godusky walked and both runners moved up 90 feet on a wild pitch. Matt
Godusky then followed with an RBI single, making the score 8-7 and putting
runners on the corners with still nobody out. Goldman buckled down to get a pair
of infield pop-ups and was on the verge of getting out of this huge jam, but
Martin worked a tough 9-pitch walk to load the bases, and then Maini followed by
lofting a two-run single to right-center to give the Fleetwings their first lead
since the second inning, 9-8. A ground-out ended the inning.
But now time was a factor in this game.
8:00 was fast approaching, so the Yankees would need a run quick or risk having
the game called after six innings due to darkness and losing the contest.
Lenhart drew a one-out walk and was promptly lifted from the game for
pinch-runner Marshall Garger. A ground-out advanced Garger 90 feet into scoring
position with two outs. And McCaulley delivered his third (and biggest) hit of
the game with a sharp single to center. An accurate throw by the center-fielder
would have gotten Garger at the plate, but the throw sailed high and the game
was tied at 9-9 as McCaullley smartly moved up to second base on the throw.
Maini was now called in to get the final out, and by now, it was obvious that
the game would be called after the sixth inning. Maini did get a strikeout to
end the sixth inning, and with the time being about 8:10, the game was called
due to darkness, ending in a 9-9 deadlock.
Game 2 will be replayed in its entirety on Wednesday at 5:45 right back at
Scott Garger, Justin and Matt Godusky, Swatsky, Martin and Maini all had two
hits apiece for the Fleetwings. McCaulley was 3-for-3 and Hutson and McCutcheon
each went 2-for-3 for the Yankees.