Sticking Points 2038.21: Rockville Begins Quest For Three-Peat With Doubleday Win

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Sticking Points 2038.21: Rockville Begins Quest For Three-Peat With Doubleday Win

Post by aaronweiner » Sun Jun 02, 2019 6:09 am

The Rockville Pikemen had some reason to be concerned about their first round series on the road to becoming the first team in the BBA to win three straight titles. Rockville lost the regular season series to the Mexico City Aztecs, one of two teams against whom the 106-win Pikemen had a losing record, and while the Pikemen were healthy and throwing their best pitchers at Mexico City, it felt like a dangerous series for the two-time champions. That's why Rockville fans have to be relieved that the Pikemen dispatched the Aztecs in five hard fought games to advance to their fifth straight Cartwright Cup.

"We were definitely focused and fought very hard in this series," said Doubleday MVP Yi-ke Zang, one of Rockville's multiple upcoming free agents. "We have a lot at stake and the pressure's on, so we're fighting through it."

The series could have gone a lot longer if not for the heroics of Manuel Marino in Game 2. After handing Mexico City a 14-6 Game 1 shellacking, the Pikemen were down 5-3 in the ninth inning at home with Mexico City closer Pedro Castillo on the mound. Larry Blake would go up hacking and fly out on the first pitch, but Zang knocked a single through the hole into left and Pedro Diaz doubled to send Zang to third base, where he was held up. With runners on second and third, Chip Puckett grounded out to Castillo, which kept every runner in place.

That brought up Marino, who wasted no time at all, rocking the first pitch into the right field stands, a three-run walkoff home run that sent the crowd wild and the Pikemen to Mexico City with a 2-0 lead in the series. Marino jumped wildly down the first base line as the ball flew almost 400 feet for the gamewinner.

"I came up there ready to swing, and Castillo left me a fastball over the plate, and as soon as I hit I knew it was gone," said Marino, who finished second in the JL in OPS and hit a career-high 36 homers in 2038. "I just started leaping and jumping and couldn't contain myself. You always dream of hitting a gamewinning home run in the playoffs."

Dave Martin would put the screws on Mexico City in Game 3, throwing eight innings of 6-hit baseball, and the Pikemen would close the Aztecs out in Game 5 on a vintage Arthur Dempster performance. Next up for the Pikemen is a tough test against the Las Vegas Hustlers, the franchise that has all the records the Pikemen are aiming to break.

"Doesn't get much better than a Rockville/Las Vegas Cartwright," said Rockville manager Chet Rouse. "We've knocked out the Hustlers in two of the last four playoffs so they're going to be very hungry, especially with all the history that's on the line."

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Re: Sticking Points 2038.21: Rockville Begins Quest For Three-Peat With Doubleday Win

Post by Rubaboo » Sun Jun 02, 2019 7:53 pm

Yeah, that walk off in game 2 really took the wind out of our sails. My heart sank as I was watching the live sim.
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