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Summer is finally here, so is Cubs baseballBack to Back to Back...Again

by Jake Boehler
Cub veteran, in need of elbow surgery!! ...and drawings that I can recognize...

 

Back to Back to Back...Again

Standing left to right: Dan Busch, Austin Carrol, Jake Boehler, John Devine and Kevin Hatley. Kneeling: Micah Stedge, Christian Schreckengost, Brian Mueller, James Davisson and John Diem.


Hello again Park County. Once again the Cubs season comes to a close. After the last few days I was beginning to think that summer was closing the doors early, trading sun rays for spring like rain and chilly mornings. Just four days after the GVMABL season tournament, I had retreated to my couch with thoughts of turning on the thermostat, more like a bad dream really, looking out the window at the thick falling rain. It was eerily similar to the rain that cut short game one of the Cubs tournament.

That’s where we will start. I’m going to be throwing a lot of numbers and stats out with a little recall of that games action.

Game 1. Cubs 6 Mustangs 3
Friday night the 3 seeded Cubs took on a tough 2 seed in the Mustangs. The Mustangs had the Cubs number for most of the season with the Cubs only winning one out of five meetings. The Cubs mantra that whole weekend start early in the dug out with Kevin Hatley stating, “This whole summer doesn’t mean (expletive)! Today is a whole new season!”

The Cubs ran with it. Hitting has been slow all season and the Cubs struggled to get timely hits in this first game. The Cubs could only muster four hits. The Cubs had to find another way.

“Seems like the only way we score runs and win games this season was by getting walks”, stated Cubs utility man Brian Mueller. That seemed to be true, again with the Cubs patiently waiting out 10 walks. With key base running and capitalizing on the defenses miscues the Cubs were able to score more than the Mustangs.

This in turn was accompanied by Cubs pitching. Jake Boehler took the hill in game one. The Cubs strategy was, as they say, ‘one game at a time’. Personally I’ve been a firm believer in that mantra.

If you don’t win that first game in any tournament, you have a lot of work to do to accomplish anything.

It’s not a superstitious thing, it’s a fact. Speaking of superstition, my father had shown up and about fifteen minutes before game time he threw me a ball. Now, Scott, is a collector and refurbish-er of baseball gloves. He often finds old bats and balls as well. Now, I caught this ball and looked it over and asked, “What do you want me to do with this?”

“It’s a patina ball!”, Scott stated.
“What the hell is a ‘patina ball’?”, I recoiled in question. Now four or five of the other guys looked up to him to hear his explanation of this ‘patina ball’.

“It’s just an old ball. Like how an old knife collects colour as the metal ages or old glove turn colour after usage. It’s a good luck patina ball!”, said Scott.

I trusted my old man and took his word for it. I started to rub the ball down as if it were a pearl right out of the box. He was right. It had aged. The leather was tight and dry like after a long day floating and but three decades of life behind it. So, I tossed the ball in to my baseball bag and the game began.

Boehler pitched seven strong innings. This game was shortened due to rain and field conditions. The Mustangs could only muster three runs on five hits. Boehler was locked in walking zero Mustangs and dealing 14 strike outs to give Boehler his second win of the season and by far strongest outage of the season.

Cubs come from behind to upset the 2 seed Mustangs.

Game 2. Cubs 8 Black Sox 4
Game two started and finished quite similar to game one. Cubs hitting was timely. Scratching out eight hits and had a much tougher time scoring on Black Sox pitching.

swimming in the Yellowstone River, The Cubs took the lead 7-4 after chasing the starter in the top of the seventh inning. The Cubs were on base less this game, surrendering 13 at bats to the strike out and only drawing six walks. Leading the way for the Cubs were Austin Carrol, Dan Busch and Brian Mueller combined 5/10 with three rbi’s.

On the other side of the ball, Dan Busch was on cruise control from the get go. Busch held the Sox to

three earned runs while keeping the high scoring offense off balance with 11 strike outs. With a complete game under his belt, the Cubs make another big upset.

The Cubs came from behind again.
Now there’s a reoccurring theme here. The Cubs have been behind all year. Behind in hitting. Not the top pitching staff any more. But, as Kevin Hatley stated before, the real season starts now. Now, the Cubs made it to the Championship game with strong pitching and turning the opponents actions back on themselves. The situation was that the team from the loser side of the bracket would have to play a loser out game in the morning then face the Cubs and have to win twice to with the tournament. As, the likely of likelys, the Cubs would be facing the number 1 seed of the tournament for all the marbles.

Now, this was the first season for the Cubs being swept by a team all season long. The Sox had the Cubs number. Zero wins and six losses. The Sox punished the Cubs.

With the Cubs short on pitching, Brian Mueller was the last regular season guy with any success against the Black Sox. Now, the Sox just got done playing a game.

They used a pitcher. We knew they had one guy left to throw that was what I considered to be their best arm. In lieu of a play at the plate the night before, the young hurler had hurt his hamstring to the point of not being in the line up for the big game. This is how things happened.

Lets just say that after two pretty poor baseball innings for the Cubs things didn’t look good at all.

Walking in to the dugout guys were hanging their heads wondering what just happened.

“That was not the hard ‘D’ we needed. It was the softest ‘D’ we’ve had all season”, Kevin Hatley said as he was putting his helmet on...and I agreed.

The Cubs were down 0-11. There was more of a hole to climb out of, but a grave with dirt starting to pile up. Everybody in the dugout knew that they would get to this pitcher. The Cubs have had success against him in the past. In the third inning things started to come around. They push four runs across in the third. Mueller holds them. The Cubs get two more in the fourth. Mueller gives up one in the top of the fifth. Then the Cubs blew the game open with an eight run inning, taking the lead and chasing the Black Sox starter. Up 14-12, Mueller pitches one more scoreless in the sixth.

Now, back in the third inning, Boehler had come out from behind the plate to stay fresh with things looking like a second game was in the making. With the lead in the top of the seventh, Mueller came out with the lead and high Cubby morale. Boehler gives up one run right away in the top of the seventh giving the Sox momentum. After getting out of the inning only surrendering one run the Cubs come right back and put two more on the board, 16-13 Cubs advantage. Boehler would settle. In the next two innings he would only allow one more hit while having two pick-offs at first base that took the wind straight out of the Sox sails, not once, but twice.

The Cubs get an insurance run in the eight and blanked the Sox in the ninth. With a pop fly to Kevin Hatley to end the game the Cubs threw mitts, hats and high-fives in the air.

The Cubs came from behind again to win it all!

I’ve decided that most of the season stats and other tidbits could be written in the next issue. I’m probably running short on room here as far as I know. I will add that the Cubs pushed 17 runs across with 16 hits in the championship game. In all six losses combined to the Sox in the regular season, the Cubs could only push 11 runs across.

This is the second time the Cubs have won back to back to back tournament trophies. It’s the eight championship in the past 12 years.

Thanks for all the support from everybody over the year.

CHAMPIONS!
RUDY UP! GO CUBS!

 

 
 
 
 
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