On what was expected to be a cold night, that ended up being perfect weather wise, but some of the teams were ice cold when it came to hitting. With our last article on the Ramadhan 1437 tournament we bring you a recap of the games from the night where we declared our Champs and Finals MVP.
In what was expected to be a pretty easy win for the Red team, this one turned out to be anything but a walk in the park. Though the Blue team started out slow, putting up a single run in their first inning of play, and the Red team followed with a 3 run half inning of their own to take an early 3-1 lead. The top of the second was pretty well the same with the Blue team not being able to get anything going, but managing to scrounge together another run, but Red won this inning too taking an eventual 5-2 lead at the end of 2 innings.
The 3rd inning was much the same as the Red team made quick work of the Blue team bats, silencing them in a quick 3 up, 3 down inning. They followed with a 2 run bottom half to take a 7-2 lead into the final inning. You would think the way the game had been going this would be an anticlimactic ending with a quick defensive stop by the Red team, leaving them enough time to get some food and scout their would be co-finalist.
However, it seems the Red team may have thought this as well, as the top of the 4th inning proved to be a total implosion. Captain Maysum Jaffer had been preaching the same message since the start of the tournament
Everyone makes the playoffs, we just need to win when we get there!
Whatever he said to them before the start of this inning though, he should bottle it and sell it, because did it ever work.
The inning started with an error in CF that put Asif Ali Remtula on base to start things off, a deep double by Hasnain Kara scored the first run of the inning for Blue. The first out was recorded on a fielders choice and then the only walk of the inning issued to Mohamed Walli. The flood gates opened after that. Singles by everyone on the team, and doubles from protected players Minhal Jaffer, Kazim Merchant, and centre fielder Hasan Abbas Kara broke this game open. Every single player reached base in this inning and all but one scored a run. 11 runs later and the Red team had no idea what happened.
They had one chance to come back and score a measly 7 runs to win it, with the firepower on this team, that was entirely possible. Just not on this night. The Blue team came out like a team possessed and chose this last inning to hold the Red team to a scoreless finish. With the Red team visibly shaken and shocked, they moved slowly out of their dugout, with whispers of “Why isn’t there a consolation game?” being heard. But, on the Blue team’s bench you could see the team channelling their inner Kevin Garnett…
Let’s be honest after a game like that; this one was going to take a lot to get our interests piqued. However, this Black team confident with it’s late triumph over the Red team in it’s last game was out to prove that they too could produce an upset for all to see. They started this game out a little flat, sending just 4 batters to the plate and not recording more than a man on 1B off of an error. The Green team visibly shaken from what they had just seen were determined to not take this game lightly. It took 6 batters, capped off by a double from Ali-Yasir Jessa, the Green team staked their pitcher Aman Nasser an early 3-0 lead.
Black was quick to counter putting up 2 runs in the top of the second inning. They were threatening for more, but a couple of ground balls and a huge strikeout by Aman Nasser helped keep the lead for Green. Conversely, the Green bats were shut down in the second inning, allowing for a narrow 3-2 lead going into the 3rd inning. Black wasn’t quite done and with them being at the top of their order, they were going to get something going. A quick single by Sarfaraz Karmali started things off, and through some diligence from the Blacks they would eventually score him to tie this game at 3-3.
The bottom of the 3rd inning had the heart of the Green order coming up to the plate in Ali Nasser, Miqdad Jaffer, and Ali Manek. A daunting task for any pitcher and although Mohamed Somani was brilliant on this night, this part of the order gave them trouble. A single by Ali Nasser started things off, followed by a fielders choice by Miqdad Jaffer who would basically replace Ali Nasser on 1B. Then something weird happened. A double by Ali Manek, that followed by a throwing error to 3B caught Miqdad Jaffer in a temporary rundown. Ali Manek thinking the path was clear on the error was already more than half way to 3B at the time. Black made a costly error by throwing to 2B to get Manek, allowing Jaffer to score, and eventually allowing Manek to stay at 3B. A sacrifice fly by Ali-Yasir Jessa gave the Green team a 5-3 lead going into the final inning. Green made quick work, ending the game on a rare 6-10-3 double play as they switched their rover to play the 5th infielder’s position.
After a quick 30 minute break to let the teams get some food, the final was ready to begin. The Blue team’s bats got to start this one off, hoping they would lead off right where they left. With a walk to Maysum Jaffer that started this inning, followed by a pair of errors and a couple of singles, the Blue team staked themselves a 2-0 lead to start things off. However, this Green team was determined to do what it took to get a win, the first 5 batters to bat in the inning would all eventually score. Aided by a number of uncharacteristic errors that helped to keep runners on. The Green team sent all 10 of their batters to the plate in this inning, and now owned a 5-2 lead.
However, thanks to some stellar defense by the Green team, including some stellar defense that included a sliding catch by SS Ali Manek, a heroic catch in the OF by Ali Nasser and some solid work as the 5th infielder, and an altogether stellar pitching showcase by Aman Nasser, the most they saw in their offensive performance was Kazim Merchant reaching 3rd base in the 3rd inning other than that a run wouldn’t cross the plate. The Green team added one more in the 2nd inning, but that too is all they would see as the Blue team locked down their offense for the rest of the game. The game ended on 3-up, 3-down inning that started with a strike out and ended with a fly ball to CF.
The Blue team simply ran out of gas, and met a wall in Finals and Tournament MVP, Aman Nasser. Congratulations to all the teams for their efforts and for making this tournament one to remember. But most of all Congratulations to the Green Team and Captain Imran Nasser for proving that pre-tournament rankings don’t really mean anything. This game featured our initially ranked 3rd and 4th place teams, with 4th place winning it all. What do we know..
The next tournament will have to wait until next year, but for now, we return you to our regularly scheduled JMS League. See you next weekend.