Playoffs Round 1
The Rangers began their defense of the MVABL crown as the fifth seed taking on the fourth-seeded Mad River Machine on Saturday, August 20 at Action Sports Center.
Ben Schubert got the start on the mound and was solid over five innings of work. The only blemish came when the Machine used a two-out rally in the third to plate a pair of runs on Pat Beyerle's double.
The Rangers got one back in the top of the fourth as Schubert drove home Robert Riley, who doubled earlier, to cut the deficit to 2-1. The Rangers tied it up in the sixth on a costly fielding error.
Shawn Schmitt relieved Schubert in the sixth and promptly loaded the bases with nobody out. But Schmitt buckled down getting a popup to shortstop, a strikeout and a flyout to right to keep the game tied.
Eric Becker started the seventh inning with a base hit. After stealing second and moving to third on a fielder's choice, Brandon Riley singled home Becker for the 3-2 lead.
Schmitt worked out of a two-out, second and third, jam by getting Matt Sullivan to line out to first to end the game.
Playing with only 8 guys in game 2 proved to be not so much of a burden, but the lack of offense was. After waiting out a rain delay to start Game 2, the Rangers sent Schmitt to the mound once again to try and ride the momentum.
But the Machine countered with a 3-spot to start the game and the Rangers once again had to play from behind. The Rangers took advantage of an error and 4 free passes to make it a 3-2 ballgame after two innings.
Matt Sullivan launched a home run for the Machine to increase their lead to 4-2. The Rangers answered with a run of their own on an RBI single from Schmitt. However, the Machine didn't let down and added two more runs in the fifth to take a 6-3 lead. The Rangers got their final run in the bottom of the fifth after a fielding error allowed Steve Marshall to score.
In one of the more exciting playoff games in MVABL history, the Machine ousted the Rangers 16-15 in 12 innings at Wright State's Nischwitz stadium.
It was a see-saw battle for the latter half of the marathon, as the Rangers blew a 3-run lead in the bottom of the ninth, only to rally to take the lead in both the 10th and 12th innings before the Machine pulled away with the walk-off winner.
A battle of MVABL veterans took the mound in reigning MVP Paul Wilson for the Machine and All-Star starter Joe Becker. The Rangers drew first blood in the top of the first. Brandon Riley led the game off with the first of his 5 straight hits. After Robert Riley was hit by a pitch, Todd Peck doubled home Brandon for the first run. Robert would score on a wild pitch for the second run. After a walk and HBP loaded the bases, Joe Becker singled to right to give the Rangers a 4-0 lead.
The Machine countered in the bottom half of the inning with a two-run, two-out double from Matt Sullivan. Paul would settle down and blank the Rangers in the next three frames. Meanwhile, the Machine tacked on runs in each of the next three innings to take a 9-4 lead after four complete. The Machine scored four times with two outs in the second keyed by a run-scoring double from Matt Clark and an inside-the-park home run from Pat Beyerle. Nick McGill and Paul Wilson added RBI singles in the third, and Brennan Sokowoski tripled home Jake Wilson in the fourth.
The Rangers chipped away in the fifth as Brandon Marshall led off with a triple and scored on Eric Becker's single. Brandon Riley added an RBI double to cut the Rangers' deficit to 9-6.
In the sixth, Paul Wilson was relieved after hitting the first two batters of the inning, and gave way to Jonathan Webb. Webb allowed an RBI groundout to Jonmarc Lippincott and a run-scoring single from Marshall to limit the damage and preserve a 9-8 Machine advantage.
The Rangers also turned to the bullpen in the bottom of the sixth, handing the ball to Ryan Meinert. Meinert worked his way out of a pair of walks and a single to induce a double play and a popup to see if the Rangers' bats could get hot. Brandon Riley led off the 7th with his second straight double and scored on Nick Gilmore's triple. Robert Riley followed with an RBI double to give the Rangers its first lead since the first inning. The Machine turned to its bullpen again and set their eyes on Game 2 winner Matt Clark. Clark was able to produce two quick outs before serving up an RBI single to Marshall as the Rangers built an 11-9 lead.
Tyler Bundy led off the bottom of the 7th for the Machine and promptly doubled to deep left center. Bundy scampered to third on a wild pitch and the throw down to third was too high and trickled into right field, allowing Bundy to score.
The Rangers continued to hold its own and with two outs, Brandon Riley reached on a throwing error. After Gilmore singled and stole second, Robert Riley smacked a two-run double off the center field fence to give the Rangers a 13-10 lead which remained that way until the bottom of the ninth.
The Machine's first three batters coerced walks. Paul Wilson singled home Nick Montoya to make it 13-11. A double play ball forced in another run to make it 13-12 with the tying run on third with two outs. Meinert then uncorked a wild pitch, allowing Jonathan Webb to score the tying run and send the game into extras.
In the 10th, Gilmore drove home Joe Becker to give the Rangers a one-run cushion. But the Machine wouldn't go away quietly as Nick Montoya smacked an RBI single with two outs, plating Sullivan with the tying run. The Rangers had the bases loaded with one out in the 11th, but Clark got a popup and a strikeout to thwart any rally. The Machine went out 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 11th.
In the top of the 12th, Brandon Riley was hit by a pitch and Gilmore followed with a single. Robert Riley then produced his 5th RBI since the 7th inning to give the Rangers back the lead. Clark then got a popup and a double-play to end any more scoring chances.
Pat Beyerle smoked a double to get the Machine operating in their half of the inning. After an out put Beyerle at third, Sullivan delivered with a deep sac fly to center to tie the game at 15-15. With two outs and nobody on, Sokowoski laced a single to left sending up the 10th inning hero Nick Montoya. Montoya pounded a deep fly ball down the left field line where the Rangers' left fielder raced over to make a sliding catch, but the ball glanced enough off the end of the glove, causing the ball to ricochet into the corner, allowing Sokowoski to soar home with the game-winning run.
Hats off to both teams as it was obvious that both teams put it all out there on the line and neither side backed down and neither side showed they wanted to lose.
Offensive highlights: TBD
Historical Notes: Jonmarc is 5 RBIs shy of 500 career RBIs.