by Luigi Natale

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Saturday was another beautiful day for baseball. Luigi Natale’s Tigers and Tim Griffin’s Indians were ready for their 3rd meeting of the season. The Indians beat the Tigers earlier in the season 3-1 and forfeited their last game just 3 days ago. Both teams were ready for a rematch. And this rematch was a nail biter!

Steven Fabiano was the starting pitcher for the Indians and was tough. He struck out the first 3 batters he faced. Ryan Maziarka pitched for the Tigers, striking out the first two and fielding a Sam Griffin shot up the middle for the 1-3 putout.

Fabiano handled the Tigers in the second striking out two, hitting a batter and then getting a third strikeout. Maziarka struck out the next 3 Indians he faced. At the end of the second inning, it was a pitcher’s duel and this game was still even at 0-0.

In the third, the Tigers PJ McMahon and Cam Esposito both walked. Jordany singled to load the bases for Carlo Crocini. Carlo cleared the bases with a shot up the right field line. Three runs scored before the Indians executed a nice relay to throw Carlo out at the plate. The Tigers now lead 3-0. In the bottom of the third, Carlo Crocini came in to pitch. He gave up a single to Luke McDonald and then settled into a groove, striking out 3.

In the fourth, Sam Griffin came in to pitch for the Indians. He gave up a single to Ryan Maziarka who after stealing 2 bases was stranded at third as Sam struck out the next 3 batters he faced. Ryan was back on the mound for the Tigers and gave up a single to Sam Griffin. Steven Fabiano hit a shot to center field that was caught by Alberto. Sam stole 2 bases but he too was stranded on third as Ryan struck out the next two batters.

On to the bottom of the 5th, the Indians were down by 3. Carlo struck out the first batter and then walked Alphie Detemple and Luke McDonald. Jacob Stein knocked in both those runners with a single. Sam Griffin hit a shot to center field that PJ McMahon nabbed for the second out. Steven Fabiano drove home Jacob Stein for the third run of the inning but the threat ended when Carlo struck out the last batter.

The game was tied at 3-3 and the Tigers were a bit deflated after giving up those runs. Tigers coach Luigi Natale gathered the team and one can only imagine what inspirational speech he gave. Did he channel Herb Brooks? Or was he more like Bobby Knight? Well, there are no chairs at the baseball field so Herb Brooks it is! “This is your time! Now go out there and take it”

And take it they did. Jordany walked and stole second. Alberto singled Jordany to third and later stole second. This puts the go ahead run on third and an insurance run at second. Carlo Crocini hits a shot up the middle for an inside the park homerun. The next batter up, Ryan Maziarka hits a long ball to left field for another inside the park homerun. Simon Brown continued the threat with a double. Joe Broderick also reached base but both runners were stranded as Sam struck out 3 batters to end the inning.

The Tigers now had a 4 run lead going into the bottom of the 6th. Carlo Crocini was back on the mound. The first batter grounded the ball to Joe Broderick who fielded the ball cleanly and got the out at first. Carlo then struck out the next two. That’s a 7-3 victory for the Tigers. Coach Natale gave the first game ball to Carlo Crocini. Carlo caught 3 innings behind the plate, his first time ever. He also pitched 3 solid innings, striking out 8. AND Carlo had 6 RBIs with his bases loaded triple and his inside the park homerun with two on. A second game game ball went to Alberto for his great catch in the outfield.