IN AN ACTION PACKED CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF TORONTO PLAYGROUNDS BATTLE, A GRITTY TP 13U BLUE TEAM FEND OFF A TENACIOUS FINAL INNING RALLY BY A PESKY TP 13U RED SQUAD TO PREVAIL FOR THEIR EIGHTH 2023 EBA 13U SELECT VICTORY
Beneath a hazy blanket of hot and humid summer skies, the Toronto Playgrounds 13U Blue Selects prevailed 8-5 over the Toronto Playgrounds 13U Red Selects in a 5½ inning Etobicoke Baseball Association (EBA) 13U Select game this morning at Christie Pits Diamond 2.
Wheeling and dealing like Nasty Canasta, TP 13U Blue starter Emeric (34) dispatched the TP 13U Red batting order with 1-2-3 efficiency in the top portion of the first frame with two strikeouts sandwiched around a groundout.
In the bottom of the first, TP Blue staked themselves to an early 3-0 advantage.
After stroking a one out single, Jack (1) turned on the afterburners and swiped his way around the horn into scoring position with Bennie and the Jets glee. With Cool Hand Luke resolve, Nathan K. (2) followed with a RBI double that allowed Jack to motor home with the opening run of the game.
After Nathan K advanced to third base with a stolen base, Andrew (17) delivered a RBI hit that brought Nathan K home with a TP Blue run.
Following a single by Christian (33) that put two runners on the dance floor, Ethan (4) drew a two out walk that loaded the bases. Exercising patience at the dish, Noah (16) garnered a bases loaded RBI walk that allowed Andrew to shuffle homeward with another TP Blue run.
Unfazed, TP 13U Red starter Rami (29) chalked up a groundout and a pair of strikeouts to end the TP 13U Blue insurgency in the first frame.
With no desire to pussyfoot around, TP 13U Blue starter Emeric retired the TP 13U Red in 1-2-3 fashion in the top of the second frame with a pair of groundouts and a pop out that kept them off the base paths and the scoreboard.
In the bottom half of the second, TP Blue threatened again after a leadoff single by Peter (83) and a pair of walks by Emeric and Louis (27) allowed them to load the bases.
With one out and the bases packed tighter than a can of StarKist Tuna, the TP Red defence extricated themselves from the sticky wicket with a Quasimodo double play.
As the officiating umpiring crew made an infield fly call on Dante’s eight mile high pop fly for the second out, a TP Blue baserunner had wandered afar from second base at his own risk. Noticing the transgression, the TP Red third baseman tagged the TP Blue baserunner out for the third out, and a potential big inning for TP Blue went down the drain.
TP 13U Red starter Rami kept TP Blue off the scoring ledger in the second frame with a strikeout, pop fly out and a little luck.
In a case of déjà vu, TP 13U Blue starter disposed of the TP Red batting lineup once again in 1-2-3 order in the top of the third with a groundout and two pop outs.
Licking their wounds from the previous inning, TP Blue exploded for a four spot in the bottom of the third to extend their upper hand to 7-0.
After a lead off double by Jack, the TP Red defence made a concerted effort to erase the wily TP Blue baserunner with several sneaky pickoff attempts. In the end, Jack would not be denied as he completed a derring-do theft of third base.
At this juncture in the proceedings, Nathan K. stepped up to the dish and stroked a solid RBI hit to bring Jack home with a TP Blue run.
Following a steal of second base by Nathan K., Andrew stroked a RBI hit that allowed Nathan K to score another TP Blue run.
After a walk by Christian that put two ducks on the pond, Will (22) delivered a RBI single that allowed Andrew to come home with a TP Blue run.
Following a walk by Ethan that loaded the bases, Noah drew a bases loaded RBI walk that brought Christian homeward with another TP Blue run.
With no outs and the bases packed to the gills, TP 13U Red reliever Billy found the groove as he rang up two sizzling strikeouts and fly out to put a kibosh on the TP Blue disobedience in the third frame.
Kudos to TP 13U Red centre fielder Brady (7) for making a nifty fly ball catch off the bat of Nathan H (18) for the third out.
Refusing to go quietly into the scorching midday sun, the plucky TP Red Selects battled back with a run in the top half of the fourth frame to close the gap to 7-1.
After stroking a two out single, Rami utilized his speed to steal second base, As he muscled the ball into play, Jackson (22) blazed down the first baseline like a gazelle for a single. Jackson’s hustle forced the TP Blue defence to commit an error on the play which allowed Rami to charge home with TP Red’s first run of the game.
Cooler than an Armenian cucumber, TP 13U Blue starter Emeric rang up three strikeouts in the fourth inning to extinguish the TP Red resistance.
In the bottom of the fourth, TP Blue threatened again. After garnering a leadoff walk, Emeric swiped his way around the horn to get into scoring position at third base.
However, TP 13U Red reliever Billy rose to the challenge and vanquished the TP Blue threat in 1-2-3 fashion with a strikeout and a pair of groundouts.
With never say die vitriol, TP Red threatened again in the top portion of the fifth frame.
Following a leadoff triple by Brayden (9) and a walk by Calvin (11), Harrison (42) garnered a walk to load the bases.
Reelin’ and rockin’, TP 13U Blue reliever Ethan found his Mojo Jojo and sandwiched a pair of line drive outs around a strikeout to quash the TP Red rally bid in the fifth inning.
Kudos to TP Blue shortstop Andrew and Ethan for catching respective Jalapeño scorching liners in their mitts for the first and third outs.
Like a stubborn gadfly, the TP Red defence continued to play it tough versus TP Blue in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Following a one out single by Andrew, Christian slashed a liner into right field. However, TP Red right fielder Harrison (42) sucked up the ball like a Kirby vacuum cleaner and made a lightning throw to TP Red second baseman Rami, who tagged out TP blue baserunner Andrew on a sparkling 9-4 play for the second out!
However, TP Blue would not be denied. After stealing second base, Christian took advantage of a TP Red error to advance to third base. Will followed with a clutch two out RBI single that brought Christian home with a TP Blue insurance run.
With bravado, TP 13U Red reliever Brayden chalked up two strikeouts to terminate the TP Blue subversion in the fifth frame.
Down 8-1, TP Red proudly donned their rally caps in the top of the sixth inning on a mission to change their fate.
After a leadoff walk by Brady, Kale (6) stroked a single that put two runners on base.
Rami followed with a two RBI hit that allowed Brady and Kale to hustle home with a pair of TP Red runs.
After Rami deftly swiped a pair of bases to advance to third, Jackson hit into groundout that brought Rami home with another TP Red run.
With one out, Jack, Brayden and Calvin garnered a trifecta of walks to load the bases, Billy stepped up to the plate and delivered a RBI single that allowed Jack to come home with a TP Red run that trimmed the margin to 8-5.
Clinging to an apple frittered three run lead and with the game on the line, TP 13U Blue reliever Will entered the fray to chalk up two strikeouts to bring the curtain down on the gallant TP Red comeback bid and seal the deal on a hard fought TP Blue victory.