SHINE bRIGHTLY ALL YOU DREAMERS
Tropical depression Gordon hung low as the wind swirled and the skyline was filled with pink, blue, and purple luminescence. Some gentle soul had already decorated SkyDome with pastel streamers as though they knew that the Dreamers would be taking the field for an extra special occasion. It was the magic of playoff baseball, where puppies grow to be puppers and bugles sound the coming of fall. Where Valley Cats howl at the night sky and Comrades prepare for the October Revolution. Where Blush ready themselves for homecoming and Humdingers…um….keep humming? Anyway, it is a beautiful and glorious time and the rains held out so that for yet another week we could all make baseball together.
In the spirit of the playoffs, captains readied themselves, with one sending out this little sweet note, ” Not that I think we are in short supply of generosity as a team at all but, sometimes the play-offs bring out our more competitive sides. While it is certainly fun and engaging to have high stakes situations and to perform at one’s best, we also want to remember the priorities of this league. Let’s keep being generous to the other teams and to one another. We’re still all in this together!”
And together they began under the grey dusk of fall.
If you are curious as to the results then you’ll have to keep reading to find out!
(4) ROUGE RIVER BLUSH vs. (1) CREDIT RIVER COMRADES
The heavily favoured Comrades took the field with marching orders from central command to share baseball like it was the final loaf of bread, while the Blush made it known that they weren’t just a bunch of pretty faces. In the first inning the teams combined for 9 runs on the strength of excellent base-to-base running by LJ Robinson, Peter Demakos, Yogi Acharya and some powerful swats off the bats of Darren Puscas and Johann Juarez. The Blush meanwhile countered with their own special kisses thanks to the speed of Joseph Bautista and Jenny Chan and the “she’s so extra” lip liner swing off the bat of Craig Fortier that resulted in a 3-Run Home Run! After the first inning Credit led 5-4.
This back-and-forth continued inning after inning with the Comrades rationing their swats for the exact moment when it was time to give according to each other’s ability, so to speak. Gita Madan and Robyn Letson dropped flies in the outfield as Rachele Gottardi and Nav Sidhu ran the bases like a nationalized oil refinery – efficiently, with purpose, and not scared of getting a little dirty. Tanis Franco cracked rbi singles and the Comrades were out in front 9-7 after 2 innings. The third inning saw the Blush walk the runway with a 5 run inning that was highlighted by Andy Smith’s towering 2 run Home Run that scored TH Vega who was playing a spirited 3rd base on the night. But the Comrades met the Blush ruble for ruble and by the end of 3 innings the score was Credit 13-Rouge 12.
It was beginning to look like a familiar story as the Comrades had defeated the Blush in all 5 of their matchups this season by a combined scored of 68-50, but perhaps the Blush has simply been waiting all season to apply the kiss of death – a SEPHORA exclusive we’ve been told. The Blush came alive in the 4th and 5th innings scoring 10 runs including a memorable double by Lisa Wong, a perfectly placed single by Lainie Basman, a key sacrifice fly by Terrance Luscombe, and a drop shot into the outfield off the bat of Umar Saeed. Going into the home half of the last inning Rouge led Credit by a score of 22-14. In the 5th, the Blush engaged in a final hush, hush, cheer in order to prepare for the task at hand. Despite the 8 point lead, the underdogs had seen their games sleep away to defeat time and time again this season and they entered the 5th with more than a little bit of stage fright. But on this night, the queens of the diamond were playing like they were filled with diamonds, and a catch on a pop fly and two ground outs to short made quick work of the Comrades who will be playing in the consolation game in 2018.
Moving on to the finals, for the second straight year, is the 4th place team, this season’s Rouge River Blush. Rouge now has the chance to become the first team to repeat as Field of Dreamer’s champions following, perhaps ironically, in the footsteps of the Rouge River Ballsheviks of 2017!
(3) DON RIVER VALLEY CATS vs. (2) HUMBER RIVER HUMDINGERS
To give you a sense of how evenly matched these two great teams have been this season – they finished with identical records of 6-7-1 – the only tie of the season was between these two teams – they went 2-2-1 against each other in 5 meetings – with an overall score of Humber 69 – Don 61. The last game resulted in a Don victory by the score of 16-15. So it was with great interest that the admittedly small crowd of onlookers stayed in the cold weather to observe what was sure to be a fierce battle with the Valley Cats clawing at a chance to play in the championship and the Humdingers trying to keep on tune after a defeat in their final game of the regular season.
As expected the Cats came out to play. Led by their fight and flight offence Phill Morgan wheeled around the bases like there was a mouse in the house, Giibwanisi laid waste to softballs like they were balls of puff attached to a string, Katie German continued to meow at the most opportune times, Amanda Saunders never left a kibble on the basepaths, and super sub Aylwin Lo roamed the field like a tabby looking for just the right stoop to perch upon. It was no wonder that they scored 4 runs to kick the game off.
But those Humdingers have been singing a surprisingly consistent playlist all season long and it meant that Rachel Small’s first inning single rang out “started from the bottom now we here” which was quickly followed by Natalia Saavedra who was laying out “la modelo”. Devin Clancy’s first inning single had everyone groggily screaming, “because he’s soooo smooooottth” and Ryan Hayes’ RBI single came from the underground like MIKE out in NYC. This was the tenor of the evening and the Humdingers took a 5-4 lead. But the back and forth continued all game as Comrade turned Kitty Yogi Acharya doubled to get into scoring position and Caren Weisbart opened up a can of Whiskas to help Don to a five run third. Meanwhile Stu Schussler and Andrew Stokes were not forgotten as they meow meow meow meowed their way to a combined 6 RBIs and by the end of 5 the Don River Valley Cats held an 18-16 lead.
The umpires, who were surprised by the quick inning were in a pinch as they had assumed the 5th would be the final inning. This created a tense situation with a conference on the mound between the two umpires and captains for the Cats and the Music Makers. A classic Dreamer situation arose as the teams did their best to be kind and generous in the face of possible victory and defeat. But with 20 minutes left, the Commissioner’s office stepped in to suggest that the game go on – after all – we are in the business of making baseball – not in the business of closing up shop early. So we played on.
A tense affair, the Valley Cats were stymied in their half of the 6th and the score remained 18-16. In the bottom of the 6th the Humdingers saw Susannah Mulvale, Colin Hastings, Annelies Cooper, Jo Jefferson, and Rachele Gottardi all bounce on a beat so awkward you might think it came out of a Kanye West production..but they were able to tie the score at 18-18 with 2 outs in the inning. With Natalia Saavedra up to bat, a looping fly ball was dropping in the night sky….but out of nowhere Yogi Acharya flung into the air trying to make an acrobatic catch that would end the game – and force the Commissioner’s office to make a final call as to how to decide the winner – the glove went up and the ball rattled in it momentarily but in the end…Yogi couldn’t keep his claws on it and it dropped, with Humber scampering home with the winning run 19-18.
The Valley Cats despite a heartbreaking loss that was pulled away from them moments after smelling victory, were gracious in the result and will live out one of their remaining eight lives to face the Comrades in the Consolation round. And for the first time in league history the Humber River squad will vie for the championship after narrowly squeaking out victory.
See the game box scores here
See player stats here
See league standings here
See all-time career statistics file (updated for August 1 2018) here
LJ Robinson – see oddities below!
Peter Demakos – becomes the 15th player in league history to reach 60 career runs batted in (61)!
Darren Puscas -becomes the 6th player in league history to reach 15 career triples!
Tanis Franco – becomes the 68th player in league history to reach 20 career hits (21)!
Yogi Acharya – becomes the 12th player in league history to reach 85 career singles!
Rachele Gottardi – becomes the 35th player in league history to reach 30 career runs scored (31)!
Nav Sidhu – currently tied for 10th on the all-time list with 88 career singles!
Robyn Letson – currently ranks 22nd on the all-time list with 87 career hits!
Johann Juarez – see oddities below!
Gita Madan – currently ranks 25th on the all-time list with 78 career hits!
Laura Pin – becomes the 43rd player in league history to reach 45 career hits!
Phill Morgan -becomes the 61st player in league history to reach 50 career at-bats!
Katie German – currently ranks 29th on the all-time list with 66 career hits!
Amanda Saunders – becomes the 88th player in league history to reach 10 career hit plateau (11)!
Richard Peters – currently leads the league this season with a .839 batting average and needs 4 more at-bats to reach 35 and qualify for the batting title!
Caren Weisbart – becomes 74th player in league history to reach 15 career hits!
Stuart Schussler – becomes 27th player in league history to reach 75 career hits!
Andrew Stokes – becomes 23rd player in league history to reach 125 career at-bats!
Rachel Small – becomes the 4th player in league history to reach 125 career singles!
Jo Jefferson – see oddities below!
Annelies Cooper – see oddities below!
Ryan Hayes – currently ranks 3rd this season with 27 runs scored!
Natalia Saavedra – is currently tied for 19th on the all-time list with 13 career doubles!
Devin Clancy – becomes the 9th player in league history to reach 135 career hits!
Colin Hastings – see oddities below!
Joseph Bautista – becomes the 24th player in league history to hit at least 10 career doubles!
Jenny Chan – see oddities below!
Terrance Luscombe – becomes the 12th player in league history to reach 175 career at-bats (176)!
Craig Fortier – currently leads the league with 8 home runs this season
Lainie Basman – currently ranks 23rd on the all time list with 86 career hits!
TH Vega – becomes the 50th player in league history to score 20 career runs!
Umar Saeed – becomes 40th player in league history to reach 50 career hits (51)!
Andy Smith – becomes the 33rd player in league history to reach 50 career singles!
Aylwin Lo – becomes 101st player in league history to reach 6 career hits!
Susannah Mulvale – becomes 79th player in league history to reach 13 career hits!
THE CORNER OF ROBINSON & HASTINGS
LJ Robinson (150) and Colin Hastings (151) become the 4th and 5th players respectively in league history to reach the 150 hit plateau! Colin also becomes the 7th player in league history to reach 200 career at-bats (201)!
A DELICIOUS CUP OF JO
Jo Jefferson becomes the 15th player in league history to reach 100 career hits!
With a solo Home Run in the 4th inning of the last game, Johann Juarez becomes only the third player in league history behind Craig Fortier (477) and Ryan Hayes (370) to reach 300 career at-bats (301) spanning every season from 2007-2018.
Annelies Cooper currently leads the league with 42 singles this season, 4-away from the all-time single season record that Annelies set in 2017 when she hit 46 singles as a member of the Don River Mastodons
ONE IS THE LONELIEST NUMBER, BUT TWO CAN BE AS BAD AS ONE
With a single in the 5th inning, Jenny Chan has hit 139 career singles moving into 2nd place on the all-time list and trailing only Ryan Hayes (156).