With nearly hourly feedback about the weather, and the potential for thundershowers and rain at >90%, there was no way we were going to play. However, other than a last minute pouring we got in the final game, the weather was nearly pristine for our games this past weekend. So without further delay, we bring you the recaps from this Week 4’s (June 5th) games.
In what was expected to be a close game with the top two teams in the league, this one did not deliver as promised. The Lions were noticeably shorthanded as assistant captain Zane Hussain pulled himself from the game after a near collision in the outfield, and captain Asad Hussain was playing with only one good leg – but even on a single leg he was still able to hit a home run to the street behind the diamond. All that said, the Tigers weren’t giving out any mercy on this day.
Most noteworthy was the play of pitcher Abbas Allidina, who was responsible for 66% (10 out of 15) of the outs on this day. Fielding ground balls back at him, catching line drives hit right back at his face, or the more conventional pitcher approach by simply striking out batters. The word is that this MVP like play can be attributed to the absence of captain and brother Hussein Allidina, whose use of a helmet in the field is distracting for not just Abbas but the rest of the league as well.
Meanwhile offensively, the Tigers bats were on fire as Mohamedabbas Walli had 3 triples on the day, and though this team didn’t hit any home runs, they kept putting runners on the bases with a barrage of hits. The score in this one is actually due to some late inning rallying by the Lions who finally found their stroke in the 4th and 5th innings, but it was too little too late as the lead was already insurmountable.
If you’re sitting there wondering, what about the play of super-sub Mark Javaheri, though present and contributing with singles and doubles of his own, this truly was a team win.
This was a nail biter that ended in walk off fashion. While the Wolves had this date circled in their calendar for a potential rematch from opening day, the Tigers were largely looking past this game to a potential post game meal. The Wolves wanted to make sure their presence was felt, taking an early lead in this one with a towering 3 run home run from Shane Worthington the Wolves made it known that they weren’t the same team from Week 1. This coupled with the brilliant pitching from Mikael Ratansi who was able to record two strike outs to start the game, including one on the Tigers’ first overall pick, Miqdad Jaffer.
The Tigers made a lot of fielding errors in this one, with errors in the infield, outfield, and every where in between. It seemed like the Wolves taunts of “You need Mark” were going to be validated. However, this Tigers team isn’t one to give up, slowly chipping away at the lead one inning at a time, and coupled with some great hitting throughout the lineup, the Tigers saw themselves staked to a one run lead going into the final inning.
These Wolves, however, are relentless, seeing their chance to get the victory they put up a 3 run inning of their own, to take a two run lead going into the bottom of the last inning. The Tigers defense was getting overheated in the sun but thanks to a huge swing and miss strikeout by assistant captain Imran Nasser, it looked as though the Tigers got the little bit of refreshing wind they needed.
The goal at the start of the bottom of the inning was to get 5 singles to win this game, it didn’t take that many as Mahmood Kara started things off for the Tigers, followed by singles (or errors) that allowed Hussein Allidina, Bobby Bharwani, and Abbas Allidina to reach base. With the game now tied, and the winning run standing on third base, the Tigers’ Irfahn Khimji came to the plate and in walk off fashion his base hit found the outfield grass as the winning run crossed allowing the Tigers to keep their undefeated record in tact and now in full control of 1st place in the standings.
59 minutes, that’s how long this one took. Usually the first game of the double header, both teams start out a little slow as they get warmed up. This Owls team started out with a couple of base runners, and a quick run on the board, but a base running error killed any momentum they had in that inning. Conversely, the Falcons came out with a take no prisoners attitude. Starting the game off for the Falcons was Riaz Champsi who had an uncharacteristic hit, we thought the league’s walk leader would do as he usually does and collect some more walks, but it seems he can swing a bat as well. The inning featured back to back home runs from assistant captains Mohez Kamalia and Abbasali Kermalli – this sequence is going to be a nightmare to deal with all year, as both these balls were deposited at and beyond the shed in left field. Staking themselves to an early 6-1 lead, the Falcons never took their foot of the gas.
Their defense was on display as well as they didn’t let more than 4 batters come to the plate in any inning until the 5th and final one, the Owls couldn’t solve the pitching of Altaf Champsi who was throwing a first pitch strike 52% of the time. He was keeping hitters off balance the whole game.
The Owls weren’t helping themselves with a second inning that was largely faulted due to errors, making a number of fielding and throwing errors during the inning resulting in nearly all of the 6 runs that inning being unearned. The Falcons slowed down, but never did let up, and if there was any doubt a bomb to left field by Abbasali Kermalli in the 3rd inning took all of that hope away.
The Owls would put up two more runs in the top of the 5th inning thanks to some timely hitting by Mehdi Hassan Najarali, Hassnain Chagani, and Hussain Raza who tried to start the rally off strong, but the Falcons defense eventually shut that door as well.
It seemed like the long break between games didn’t benefit the Falcons, they started this game off sloppy making some infield errors, coupled with some timely hitting by the Eagles gave them an early 5-0 lead going into the bottom of the inning. But don’t count these Falcons out just yet. With Riaz Champsi back to his walking ways (he has 9 walks now), the Falcons started this one off with an early base runner.
As an aside, looking at the stats today, you’ll see that the Falcons have the top 4 players in walks, and it’s not even close. Message to the rest of the league, maybe you should give them something to hit.
But back to the story, the Falcons would get a run before having 2 runners on for Hassanein Bhaloo, who surprised us with a home run to left centre field. The inning ended with the Eagles holding a 5-4 lead. The Falcons defense would step it up a notch now, getting their bats back in a quick 3 batters – Eagles assistant captain Asif Ali Remtula is struggling with his bat and will need to figure it out if this team is going to have a chance. Meanwhile, self proclaimed “1A” draft pick, Ali Manek gave the Falcons a comfortable cushion with a home run hit way outside of the park – he sent us a map of where it landed after the game, but we don’t accept blatant self promotion like that.
The Eagles played this one pretty close, eventually bringing the score back to an even 9-9, but the Falcons bats were not to be stopped in this one continually adding to their lead, the 20th run of their barrage came in the bottom of the 5th inning where assistant captain Mohez Kamalia came up with the bases loaded. Having never hit a grand slam in his life, he swung with all his might, the ball was hit high enough, deep enough, to easily get over the fence. As he rounded the bases with utter jubilation, fist pumping and jumping with joy, he turned back to hear the umpire say “Foul Ball”. Crushed and making every appeal he could, he ended up settling for a sacrifice fly. Maybe next time ;-).
This game ended unceremoniously with the rain coming in full force, it stopped the comeback the Eagles were putting together, but they still had a long way to go before making up the 11 run disadvantage.