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STAMPEDE Takes TITLE at War at the Shore!
Jul. 17, 2016
The Mission: Championship. The way: Think. Concentrate.
The Smithtown STAMPEDE advanced to the War at the Shore Championship game after their defeat of the Shoreline Riptide (1-0) earlier in the day. Smithtown finished their semi-final game at 10:30AM and would have to wait until 5PM to play for the title. Waiting six plus hours is a tough task for any team, but Smithtown was up to the challenge with some big-time complete-game heat from Frankie on the mound... and another late-inning clutch blast from Nick the Stick that would produce the go-ahead/winning run.
The All Pro Rebels college team took the field first as the home team, #1 seed. #3 Smithtown would take a bit to get a threat going, but let the Rebels know fairly quickly they were coming out swinging. Nick (2-3, 3B) sent his calling card in the 1st with a laser single to CF. Salvatore rifled a one-hop liner just left of the Rebell SS in the 2nd, but a wicked hop had the ball sail over his head into LF for a single. He was stranded after a steal of second. The 3rd had Smithtown's Wesley work a leadoff walk and Franklin SAC bunt him to 2nd. Anthony battled out a full-count walk, but Jason's fielder's choice forceout and Nick's atom-ball bullet to the Rebel CF ended the inning. (0-0 after 2 1/2)
Frankie did a little bobbing and weaving himself over the first 3 innings. After a popout and groundout, a walk and single had the Rebels looking to score in the B1st. A key strikeout got Smithtown back to their dugout unscathed. Frankie got a groundout to SS Nick to open the second. A single to RF was the Rebel "door opener", they thought. A Rebel liner up the middle was snared by Nick on the edge of the CF grass. With a perfect throw to Big Red on first base, Frankie found his best friend, the double-play. Bottom 3rd, Frankie got a pop out to 2B Rob, and a mil-high fly out to a long-ranging Wes coming in in left field. A double to LF and a walk to the leadoff hitter had the Rebels ready to take the lead. A scorched single to RF had the Rebel runner rounding third and heading home. RF Anthony bolted in and just to his right, fielded and hit Big Red with a missile relay throw. Red spun and fired a strike to Franklin who applied the tag for the momentum-stopping bang-bang out (9/3/2 in the book). 0-0 after 3 innings.
T4th the STAMPEDE would strike first. They would get their first break of the game. With one out, Frankie reached on an E6. Salvatore's (2-2, HBP) hot bat lined a single to right center, advancing a speeding Frankie to third base. Smithtown went old-school after Josh took a strike at the plate. As soon as the Rebel lefty started his stretch, Frankie sped home -- the suicide squeeze was on. Josh got the bunt down perfectly for the RBI, but was nipped at first base by the catcher's throw. Rob reached on an E3 bobbled grounder, and took second when the 2B finished the play with an errant throw for another error. The ill-advised throw allowed Salvatore to hustle all the way around from second base to make it 2-0, Smithtown. Rob was stranded, but Smithtown now had the lead.
Frankie had a busy bottom of the 4th. A walk and sure-fire rocket DP ball to SS Nick was fielded and flipped to Rob at 2B for a forceout as Rob could not get the DP turned. Frankie hit the next 2 Rebel batters as he tried to regain his command. He got a pop out to Salvatore at third base, but the Rebels took advantage of the extra out they were given. A single to left field made the score 2-1. Further trouble was averted as Anthony ran down a liner in RF to end the 4th inning.
Top 5th, Franklin (1-1, SAC, BB) led off with a single down the LF line, just inside the third base bag. Wes ran for him, but on a hit and run with Anthony (1-3, BB) at the plate, Wes started early and was tagged out in a run-down. Anthony singled to LCF, but Jason smacked a liner behind Anthony -- right on the bag -- for a "gimme" DP for the Rebel first baseman.
The Rebels had 2 quick outs hung on them by Frankie in the B5th. However, Frankie was tagged for a home run to LCF by the Rebel leadoff batter to tie the game at 2 all. A strikeout for the third out stirred the STAMPEDE. Smithtown's three-hole hitter, Nick, would strike again after a 2-2 count. He connected, launching a long drive into the LF corner. With Smithtown body-English trying to keep it fair and Nick already gunning it around the bases, the ball struck the foul pole just below the fence=line. Just shy of a home run, but fair and in play, it ricocheted into fair territory, behind the chasing Rebel outfielder. In a post-game interview Nick said, "I saw the throw coming in and missing the relay man as I neared third. I veered right to let the ball hit me as I got the signal to slide. It hit me and bounced away as I jumped up from my pop up slide to run home." That triple and E7 throw to allow Nick to score would decide the game. After 2 outs, Salvatore was plunked in the hip to reach first, but nothing would develop. 3-2 Smithtown after 5 1/2.
Frankie nailed down his only 1-2-3 inning B6th. Smithtown would again put pressure on the Rebels in the 7th. Rob whiffed, but hustled safely to first base on the dropped third strike. Wes' SAC bunt got Rob to second and Franklin walked. Two groundouts to 2B ended Smithtown's chances for an insurance run. Smithtown was now 3 outs away from the title.
The Rebels would send 6-7-8 to the plate in the B7th. SS Nick fielded a 2-hopper and fired to Big Red for the first out. A single to RF and another to LF had the Rebels knocking at Smithtown's door. A fly to deep center was caught by Jason, but the Rebel runner at second base erred by not tagging up. The throw to Nick had the runner trot back to the bag. 2 outs. Frankie fired a strike to the next batter. A high pop-up just to the first base side of the mound was resting in Frankie's glove after the next pitch. That put the Title in Smithtown's hands by the winning score of 3 to 2.
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