(photo by Paul Holdrick)
The Red Roosters were on the verge of an incredible achievement, but they slipped up in the final league game missing out on the top spot. Despite this they can be very pleased with their effort as they leaped over White Lightning to avoid the dreaded Wild Card game on the final day of the 2014 Hunlock Series.
The Roosters started the day in third place, three games back on the leaders with 12 games remaining. They had the best possible start with four wins over the Blue Dogs and then two wins and two draws against the league-leading Black Widows. This elevated them into the first place for the first time in the Series.
It came down to the final series of the day between the Reds and the Whites who were also in the running for top spot after three wins earlier in the day over the Blue Dogs. At the end the Reds and Whites split the series 2-2 which was the worst-case-scenario for their hopes of a first place finish. All they could do now was to hope for a Blue Dogs win over the Black Widows. They were halfway there after picking up a well-deserved 1-0 win. They followed this by taking a 2-run lead in the final game. With two outs, up stepped Black Widows manager, Colin Whitton. In the previous week he played a key role with a walk-off hit. This time he came through a 12-pitch at-bat which ended with a hit which drove in the tying run. Another week-one walk-off hero was about to step up to the plate. Jimmy McCormick added to his reputation with yet another walk-off hit to give the Back Widows a 3-2 win which secured first place for them.
ELIMINATION GAMES NEXT SUNDAY, 28 SEPTEMBER
This means that the Black Widows will go into the elimination phase of the Hunlock Series in pole position. They can sit back next Sunday and wait while the other 3 teams have to go through two gruelling games.
First up fourth-placed Blue Dogs will play third-placed While Lightning. Whoever wins this game will face the second-placed Red Roosters and the winner of this game will go into the final against the Black Widows.
Each of these three games will be played over 6 innings. The 9-outs restriction on pitchers will still be in force therefore the Blues, Whites and Reds managers will have some very difficult decisions to make as they try to save their ace pitchers for the Final, but they need to get there first. It will be very tempting for White Lighting to put one of their secondary pitchers in the game against the Blue Dogs who are seen as the underdogs. This could provide a lifeline to the team in Blue, so don’t write them off just yet.
We are all set for an exciting end to the season in front of a large audience as the three games will be played on one diamond, unlike the games in the first two weeks.