By: Scoop Carter
HAYMARKET- Baseball fans that remember that famous call know that what Jack Buck just called was a game ending Home Run from a hobbling Kirk Gibson off Dennis Eckersly. It would be the only at-bat Gibson would have in the Dodgers 4 game World Series sweep of Eck's A's and to this day remains one of the 10 most remember able home runs in MLB history!
Now fast forward to the contest tonight between the #1 seeded Waynesboro Generals and the #8TH seeded Haymarket Senators. To make even more of the David vs. Goliath angle the contest was also the defending VBL champions vs. a VBL team in search of their first ever playoff victory.
The roster limits for the teams are 28 and the deadline for adding players to your roster is July 15TH and when the hometown Senators took the field Wednesday night they had 16 players left in uniform after losing 6 position players in the past two weeks. They fought tooth and nail the night before down in Waynesboro only to fall in the eighth inning and lose 4-1.
Load up the bus and return home for the season finale and try and keep the game competitive- Not the Goal for these Sens. They sent a pitcher out to play left field (Dustin Johnson) and insert another pitcher to be the designated hitter (Shawn Ray) but still managed to defeat the regular season champs by a final score of 2-1!
For the second season in a row, Waynesboro will have to return home and win a do-or-die game against the #8 seed in order to advance to the second round of the playoffs. Last year the Generals did just that when the captured the greatest game in recent VBL history after scoring 2 runs in the bottom of the 16TH inning to edge Woodstock. Waynesboro went on to defeat Covington in the semi-finals and then Luray in the championship round to claim the 2007 crown.
Now that we know what Haymarket did, lets take a look on how they did it...
Matt Davis (Shenandoah U.) started for Sens skipper Ryan Fectaeu and Davis made sure his team would remain in the contest. Davis lasted six innings and while he surrendered 7 hits and allowed 13 General base runners he always managed to get the out he had to have. Brandon Sizemore (College of Charleston) stroked a double to right center in the third inning and fellow Cougar Austin Morgan followed with a two out walk but Davis kept the score 0-0 when Evan Webb followed with a 4-3 ground out.
Daniel Bradshaw (LSU) started for Waynesboro and had his usual dominant mixture of control and pop to his fastball. The two hits the Senators picked up over the first four innings were both infield singles and when Ryan Soares (George Mason) singled to the outfield in the fifth it was the first ball to make it past the infielders. Bradshaw shook off the single and Soares swipe of second base, striking out the next three Senators to retire the side.
The first play of the night came in the top of the fifth inning when Sizemore (walk) was on third base and Morgan had doubled with one out. Webb rolled a ball between third base and the short stop out to left field. Sizemore scored easily but the left fielder (Johnson) showed off his pitching arm by firing a perfect one hop laser to the plate to nail Morgan.
Davis would avoid further damage in the fifth and then managed to pitch around back to back singles in the sixth inning by stranding Grant Buckner at third base. Davis would not be returning for the Senators in the 7TH inning so he had three more outs to hope his offense could break through against Bradshaw.
Wayne Miller (Samford University) hustled down the line to just beat out another infield single- the third of the game for the home team. Andrew Lawrence (Boston College) sent an offering from Bradshaw down the right field line that just cleared the 310 foot sign and give the Senators a 2-1 lead.
T.J Knowlton (Marietta) came in from the pen for Haymarket and pitched around two singles in the seventh inning when Sizemore was thrown out stealing second base(Second inning in a row that catcher Chris Haynes nailed a would be base stealer) . Knowlton went on to pitch the final 3 innings and recorded 5 strike outs to earn the save for the Senators. Pete VandenBout relieved Bradshaw in the eighth inning and tossed 1 scoreless inning of work.
The series resumes Thursday night at Kate Collins Field down in Waynesboro at 7:30
Notes: Haymarket had five hits for the game- 3 infield singles, 1 single and 1 Home Run
Box score to follow! Also Al Samuels was at the game from the Staunton News-Leader and you can check out his gamer @ http://www.newsleader.com/