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Pitching, Defense Key to STAMPEDE / Team Valle Tie
Jun. 11, 2016
Visiting Smithtown jumped ahead in the 3rd inning after only knocking one hit over the first 2 frames. Jeremy roped a leadoff single in the 2nd, stole second, but was erased on a ball in the dirt & perfect throw to 3rd by the Team Valle (TV) catcher. Rob's (CG, 7 IP, 5 H, 9 SO, 1 BB) commanding pitching performance was backed by a solid STAMPEDE defensive effort... all 8 positions and himself. Allowing 2 two out singles in the 2nd, Rob faced his first threat.
SS Nick tallied the first out, bolting left & charging a hopper up the middle; Rob fielded a swinging bunt near the 3B line and rifled a bullet to Jay at 1B for the 2nd out. An FC grounder to Nick was flipped to Alec at 2B to stymie the TV threat. Alec fielded a one-hop rocket to end the 6th. Meanwhile, the TV defense just made outstanding catch after catch. Wesley"s liner was nabbed on a diving play by the TV 2B in short RF to start the game. Wesley was also robbed, same TV 2B, with the game on the line in the T5th, as Franklin walked with 2 outs and courtesy runner Alec stepped in. He stole second and was motoring around 3rd as the go ahead run with the catch looking like instant replay.
Smithtown struck first T3rd. Rob legged a leadoff infield single. Jay's perfect SAC moved him to 2nd. An FC SS to 1B groundout moved the runners up. Wesley sizzled a liner to RCF for 2 RBIs. Hit Man Anthony followed with a single, nailed fairly deep nto the RCF gap. Wesley going full tilt, was waved home when the ball took a funny bounce, ricocheting off the RF's shoulder. On the bounce and relay in, Anthony rounded first without hesitation and sped into 2nd standing up. Smithtown now had a 3 - 0 lead. T3rd.
Team Valle had 9-1-2 coming to the plate. A whiff and long flyout that CF Salvatore corralled on the warning track put 2 outs in the book. The TV cleanup hitter changed the "story" for Rob and his defense. A 1-2 pitch was lofted inches over the Moriches LF fence with LF Wesley waiting underneath it, bumping the fence. The 3 run dinger tied the score at 3 apiece... just how it would end. Unphased, Rob bore down. He retired the next 13 TV batters, 6 on strikeouts. Goose eggs to go the distance in robotic fashion.
The STAMPEDE had several more scoring chances snuffed by the TV defense. Salvatore stroked a 1 out liner to LCF for a single in the T4th to get the offense in gear. After stealing second, the afrorementioned TV 2B (1st, 4th, 5th inns.) used his leather again to grab the final 2 outs of the inning. In the T7th, the TV RF took a turn to save the game and the day for his pitcher, who also went the distance. With 2 down, Rob sparked Smithtown. His grounder had eyes and went through the hole into RF for a single. Jay offered at the first pitch and sent a pop fly into short RF. Rob was flying and approaching third... and rounding. The RF dove, avoided a collision with the 2B, and somehow snared the ball before it hit the ground. 3 outs and Smithtown now knew it was tie or lose time.
Rob punctuated his day with a 1-2-3 7th,ending the contest with a punchout and a 3 - 3 tie. Despite almost 20 minutes remaining on the game clock, Baseball Heaven tournament (non-playoff) rules deprive teams of playing to time limits when 7 innings are completed.
1 through 9 seeding for Sunday action should be in place later this evening.
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