We’ve been switching our recaps to the form of video – if you haven’t caught any of the previous ones check out our IGTV channel. However, for this week our Insider decided to go on a vacation and you’re stuck having to read about what happened. So sit back, relax, grab your favourite flavour of Ovaltine and let’s catch up on the week that just passed.
So some preamble before we get into the games – this week concludes our first past through a round robin. Every team saw each other once, and because there were 6 games, each team saw at least one other one twice – Falcons v Eagles, Owls v Wolves, and Tigers v Lions were the repeat games. So we now know a little bit about each team, what they bring, what their strengths are, and where they need some help. At this point in the season everyone can now go home without the worry that their muscle soreness the next day will prevent them from beckoning for their morning cup of coffee (or chai – I don’t know what you drink). That means, this week that just passed might have been the first time we actually saw what the potential of the players on the field could be. However, playoffs will always be the true test. Ok, enough pre-amble let’s get to the main course.
Game 1: Wolves 10 @ Falcons 15
This game featured teams that haven’t played yet, we had Abbas Allidina pitching against Miqdad Jaffer – Abbas being picked 1 spot before Miqdad in the draft. For the Wolves they were without the league’s batting leader in Raza Jafary and captain/human cheer squad in Imran Virji.
The Falcons were actually short handed and playing with 9 players. Though if you watched this game you wouldn’t really know they were short. The Falcons took an early lead 4-1 after the first inning and kept the pressure on for the first 4 innings scoring either 4 or 3 runs in each inning. The Wolves started to get rolling in the 6th inning scoring 5 runs with no outs, but the mercy inning squashed their momentum and they could never really mount a reasonable challenge for the Falcons.
Standouts in this game for the Falcons were the captain and his trusty assistant – both Ali R(e/a)zas were in top form going 4 for 5, combining for 8 hits and 7 runs scored. Ali Raza Nasser dedicated this game to Riaz Champsi, who was somewhere on a golf course scoring an 8 of his own (that’s not good). Even more impressive in this game was that every single Falcon recorded at least 1 hit, imagine what they can do with a full squad.
For the Wolves this might have been the first game Aadil Jaffer looked a little like his old self – maybe this trade for his brother Irfaan was all he needed to feel normal again. As for that aforementioned pitching matchup, Abbas Allidina clearly took home the win on this one – showing he was the right pick all along.
Game 2: Tigers 9 @ Lions 8
The Lions had this game circled as they were looking to avenge a 1 run loss to the Tigers previously. As you can tell from the score, it was a strong case of deja vu. The Tigers took an early lead but then were held off by the impressive defensive presence of the Lions. The Lions did get an 8-4 lead after 3 innings, but it seems like they wasted all of their energy building the lead, but couldn’t hold it. And that’s really the important part anyone can take the lead, but it’s the holding that really matters – kinda like reservations (If you don’t get that reference, I’m sorry this is just not going to be the article for you – stop reading, go watch Seinfeld and come back when you have a thorough education on the 1990s).
The Tigers seem like they’re tinkering with their lineups as they continue to tinker to find out what works for them – Azad Najfi leading off was the change in this one and it must have messed with “Super Rookie” Ali Zia because he went 0 for 3, but his brother Noor seemed to have picked him up almost hitting for the cycle in this one – just missing that elusive homerun. But if you’re looking for homeruns, look no further than the Lions Abbasali Kermalli – he’s hitting at least one a game and these are no doubters on any field.
The Lions seem to be coming together as a team, and really doing a good job of laying out their defence. Mohamed “Biggs” Walli seems to be finding his groove with pitching and though he hasn’t broken through on the offensive side of the ball – his captain maintains that he’s just knocking on that door and ready to break it down.
Game 3: Eagles 8 @ OWLS 7
Shorthanded the Eagles reached out for a waitlist player to bring their total roster to 9. Meanwhile the Owls almost had a full squad at 11 players – their only missing player, Tanveer Husnani, was on the golf course with Riaz probably shooting an 8 of his own. Unfortunately, the 8 was what the Owls needed to stay in this one and just fell short of that mark.
This team did feature an impressive pitching matchup in Hussein Allidina and Mikael Ratansi – both let in an equal 5 ERs, had 1 K each, but it was Mikael Ratansi’s 3 walks that were the biggest differential between these two. Imran Nasser, Sarfaraz Karmali, and Arif Jaffer carried the offensive load for the Eagles accounting for 7 of the team’s 8 RBIs. Wait read that back. Arif Jaffer was on that list – obviously showing some growth he was brought in as someone that could make the team better through some quad stretches, his offensive form is coming along and he even got an XBH to add to his stat totals.
Meanwhile on the Owls nobody really got going. Aqil Najafi new to the squad did his best to prove his captain’s correct in trading for him accounting for 2 of the team’s 6 RBIs, but certainly not enough for a team that seemed to go pretty quiet on the bats. Ironically, they had more hits than the Eagles but the Eagles were just more timely with theirs.
Game 4: LIONS 11 @ WOLVES 11
A tie, more of these this year than expected and the Wolves seem to be involved each time. So maybe this is a sign of them not being able to close. In the earlier tie against the Tigers it was a comeback, in this tie with the Lions it was a loss of the lead and then a mini recovery that didn’t make it all the way back. So let’s talk about the Lions first they had a slow start to contrast with their fast start in the previous game, and instead they seemed to be getting going at the end.
Their outfield defence is looking stellar and their infield defence comes across as a Hajj exhibition. I know we’re in the month of Zilhajj but Abbasali Kermalli doing his best impression of running between the mountains of Safa (3rd) and Marwa (Home) to try and cover the plate is a hilarious sight to behold. Maybe that’s why they made the trade for Minaz Noormhamed, because if is an event that was going to take place every week I think teams would start to exploit it for a few extra bases.
Almost everyone on the Lions got a hit in this one, and they exploited the Wolves outfield (not named Aadil Jaffer) as there were a lot of XBHs to be had. Most notably was an Abbasali Kermalli HR that is still probably in the air somewhere, which later resulted in a decision to walk him to face Sasha Al-Joundi a decision nobody of sane mind would ever make. Couple that with triples from Arif Hirji and Muzammil Jaffer – both of whom are probably still sore from having to run so far so quickly – were big contributors to some of the big innings the Lions put up.
For the Wolves the big stories here are the play of Aadil Jaffer who kept on hitting, and Shahid Rahemtulla that batted a perfect 3 for 3 and kept the team rally’s going. Ultimately this one ends in a tie and both team’s seem happy with the result – Lions are happy they came back, and Wolves feel like they figured out who they are. Ultimately – a tie isn’t a win, so this one doesn’t really do anything for anyone.
Game 5: Eagles 9 @ Falcons 1
These last two games are a bit of a head scratcher – just for the simple question of – how do you only score 1 run in slow pitch softball. For the Falcons the way they scored 1 run was 8 hits and a double by Abbas Fazal, which was ultimately scored because of a single from Ali Raza Nasser. The latter of which got called out for not generating enough RBIs – he responds by generating 100% of the team’s RBIs – and without knowing the score that’s actually an impressive stat – but because we do know the score we also know that the Eagles’ Umair Ali generated 6X the RBIs of the Falcons.
The Eagles had a star performance pitching wise from Hussein Allidina throwing only 6 balls in this whole game. For those that know Hussein know that during playoffs 6 balls are usually the first 6 pitches he throws just to announce his appearance. This however, was a masterclass in shutting down a team. Eagles played a great game – Taleb Zaidi showing supreme patience taking 3 walks and filling in at SS for the absent Ali Manek. Umair Ali hitting everything in sight and scoring runs – but he’s able to get those RBIs because the Eagles Shaan Shamji continues his tear and goes 4 for 4.
The nice thing about Shaan is that if he ends up on base, his speed makes it so that even a dribbler to the pitcher will allow him to score a run. For most players you have to throw one base ahead of them to slow them down, for Shaan you have to stay 2 or 3 bases ahead – this is mind you while he’s nursing an injury – it’s scary to imagine what he can do at full strength. There’s not a lot of redeeming qualities on the Falcons so we’ll just skip that part of the recap and say this was an anomaly that we won’t see again.
Game 6: Owls 1 @ Tigers 9
Now I said we we won’t see again, but the Owls decided to show that scoring 1 run in a game is not an anomaly and something they would be able to replicate. So how did the Owls score their 1 run – looks like the strategy is the same – 8 hits, and a double from Maysum Jaffer that allowed the run to score. This one is odd because there were certainly base runners for the Owls – with 5 walks issued – but they just weren’t able to do anything after that first inning.
The Tigers meanwhile did everything they could to help – they even let Ali Zia pitch – but even he couldn’t be touched. Nothing the Tigers do goes wrong and they’re a scary team. Also who is Indi Campbell – casually goes 2 for 3, with a triple and 3 RBIs. Now while Ali Zia still hit a homerun and got an equivalent 3 RBIs, he’s actually had an off week. Looking up and down this Tigers roster, nothing they did was that scary – maybe it was the Zia family’s sherbet that gave them that extra lift because they were relentless early, they seemed to relax after the 3rd inning but by then the game was already out of hand.
As we head to moving day, the Tigers with these two wins this week have almost locked down 1st place. they’ll have the chance to play the Lions again who always seem to fall short, and they will face the Eagles who are looking to prove the impact they can make – but the Eagles will be without Imran Nasser, so we’ll see how much of an impact he really has on the team. Regardless next week should be exciting.
That’s it. That’s our recap – check out the previews this Friday at 9:30 PM on IGTV as we go back to video. But let us know in the comments what you thought – agree, disagree, let’s hear what you think 👇🏽