Dateline: Dawes Hill Field
It was a wonderful day — about 72 degrees which is mighty warm for these parts and the #1 seeded Nats took the field against the 5th seeded white sox. The White Sox had just come off a big come back win over the Pirates where they won 11-10 in the last inning. They were riding high.
Kenta came on in the first and looked great. The first batter hit a hard grounder to short but Alex made a great play and fired across the diamond where Marek caught it to get the leadoff man by a step. The next batter walked and with one out the third batter lined out to Ely who caught it and fired to first for a double play. Three up and three down. Bottom of the first and it was business as usual fro the Nats offense who had pounded out 86 runs in 12 games. Hunter led off with a single. Alex singled and Marek singled to load the bases. Kent waled to score Hunter. With two outs and the bases loaded Isaac made great contact and hit a hard grounder that skipped right to the first baseman and out three. After 1 it was 1-0 Nats.
Top of the second and the cleanup man popped out to Ely at third who made a great catch in shallow left for out one. A single, a walk and an error on a grounder back to the mound loaded the bases. A walk tied the game. Aother walk gave the White Sox a 2-1 lead. Marek come on out of the bullpen and struck out the first batter he faced for out two. An infield single scored a run and Marek did a great job striking out the leadoff man for out three. The Nats immediately retaliated. AJ smashed a single to third. After two strikeouts, Hunter singled and then Luke singled for a huge RBI to score AJ. The White Sox starter settled down to strike out the next batter. After two it was White Sox 3 Nats 2.
Top of the third and Marek threw heat. He struck out the first batter. Ely came on and the next batter popped out to short fo rout two. Two singles put runners on at first and second bu Ely got the next batter to bounce back to the mound where he calmly threw over to Alex at first for out three.
Bottom of the third and the Nats were ready to take the lead. Marek drilled a single to center. Kenta walked and Ely walked. With the bases loaded and no outs the White Sox manager went to the mound and signaled to bring in his biggest pitcher. He warmed up swiftly.
Isaac went to the plate. First pitch a high fastball that Isaac turned on and fouled back beyond the backstop and way out of play. Second pitch, another fastball over the meaty part of the plate. Isaac turned on a drilled a solid smash right over second base. The center fielder misplayed it and it rolled to the wall. Three runs scored. Isaac made a wide turn at second and the third base coach sent him back as the ball was almost in the shortstops hands. It would have been close to send him to third, but alas, he was just tagged out by a step as he was coming back to second. The next two batters struck out to end the inning. After three it was 5-3 Nats.
Top of the fourth and Ely gave up a single and a walk. With runners on at first and second the next batter grounded back to the mound but the tying run moved to second. A walk to the 10th batter loaded the bases. The next batter reached on an grounder that got past the second baseman and one run scored. Ely did a great job of settling down to strike out the leadoff man. Two outs, only one out away from advancing to the final. Bases loaded. First pitch was a strike. Second pitch was inside. The batter jumped out of the way and this reporter saw no contact. The umpire asked the player if it hit him and the player claimed that indeed it had. The umpire awarded the player first base and thus tied the game. Tie game two outs, the next batter doubled to clear the bases. Ely settled down and struck out the cleanup hitter. After four it was 8-5 White Sox.
The Nats didn’t give up. Bottom of the fourth. The first batter struck out. Next Hunter smashed a single. Luke waked. Alex walked to load the bases. Marek hit a hard line drive back to the mound for out two. Kenta walked to score Hunter. This put the tying run on second. Ely hit a hard shot back to the mound that was caught for out three.
Coach Grossman said, “Well that was an awfully tough one to lose. We made great contact at the plate and Ely’s catch in the field was so good the White Sox coach told me he thought it was unfair for us to have such good fielders. Our pitchers threw plenty of strikes with only 6 walks. Give the White Sox credit, they improved dramatically throughout the year and it wouldn’t surprise me if they do well in the final.
I thought our players improved quite a bit over the season. Its great that we were able to use six different pitchers. I hope we get a lot of players to come back next year. Editors Note: The White Sox lost 2-1 in a very close final game. The Tigers had a great run as the #3 seed. The defeated the Cubs the #2 Cubs 8-1 while not using their best pitcher and then won it all in the final.