Playoff standings are set – we were in first place last Friday, so we’re the #1 seed – but we still have a game left to play. And as it turns out, this one matters too.
We’re tied with the Maplewood Express, our long-term rivals, but since we beat them, we win the tiebreaker. But both of us have one game to play, and they’re facing the Oakdale Knights, who are 1-11. We figure they’re going to win. We, on the other hand, are up against the Little Canada Blue Jays, coached by Mike Murphy. They’re 11-2, in 3rd place. If we lose and the Express win, they’ll be in first place and we’ll be in third (since we’d be 12-2, tied with the Jays, who would have beaten us). Standings math is fun!
We’d prefer for that not to happen; there could be a trophy in it for us, and that would be a nice capper for a great season.
We have 11 guys tonight, and the Jays, who normally have 16, only have 9. This could be a good sign, or a bad one, depending on which 9 guys they have. Their coaches tell us they have 4 of their 6 pitchers, which could be trouble.
I didn’t get a shot of the scorebook, so I’m going from memory. Bear with me.
We’re visiting, so we start off at the plate. We score 3 runs, sending 8 batters to the plate. Alex starts and gives up a hit but keeps the Jays off the board.
In the second, our #9 batter, Sean, strikes out, then Joey walks, Justin gets a hit and the top of our order is up with 1 out and runners on 1st and 2nd. One pitch later, they’re on 2nd and 3rd, and two pitches after that, we’ve scored a run. We score 6 more, finishing with a monster 3-run homer to left by Sam. 7 runs is the limit, so we take the field. Alex pitches another scoreless inning.
The Jays keep us off the board in the 3rd inning, and manage to get another runner aboard in the bottom of the inning, but Alex gets the last two batters on strikeouts to end the inning with the runner stranded at third.
We add two more runs in the 4th. Marco comes in to pitch and retires the side 1-2-3.
In the 5th, we get a couple of runners aboard but can’t get them across the plate. The Jays finally break through, getting a run across the plate on a fielder’s choice in the bottom of the inning.
We add two more in the 6th. Marco stays in to pitch, and puts another zero on the board for the Jays.
We go down scoreless in the 7th. Luke comes in to close, and gets two quick outs before giving up a couple of sharp singles, a walk and a double to score 3 runs. He finally takes matters into his own hands, getting a strikeout to end the game.
A fitting end to a heck of a season. And we took matters into our own hands – we’re in control of our destiny.
Final score: Ironpigs 14, Blue Jays 4.
Season record: 13-1. First place.