RANDOLPH, NJ- Using a double elimination format this season for the Babe Ruth playoffs, any team that loses a game gets a second lease on life. The championship game then pits the last team left in the "Winners" bracket against the last team left in the "Losers" bracket. If the team from the losers bracket wins, they force an "If Necessary" second game to determine who takes home the title.
The Orioles bested the Angels played a wild first game Sunday night, by a 13-7 margin . Both teams had positives to take away from the result. The Orioles can feel good that they made another game "Necessary", and the Angles can feel good that they too, will now get a second lease on life.
It was a great night for baseball as the Angels and Orioles took the field both looking for a victory. The game exceeded expectations and set up what is sure to be a thrilling game two.
In the first inning pitcher Nicolas Rosenbergen struggled with the command of his pitches. After a series of walks left the bases loaded, the Angels quickly capitalized and scored three runs on three singles. Rosenbergen got out of the inning without any further damage, and pitched well shutting out the Angles over the next few innings.
Resiliency would be a key factor in this game for the Orioles. They answered the three runs the Angels put up in the first with two of their own in the second. Michael Green got on base for the Orioles and proceeded to steal second base. Luke Spingarn drove in his teammate with an RBI single, and then scored on a fielder’s choice. The scoreboard read Angels 3 Orioles 2 after two innings.
The two teams each made key defensive plays to keep the game close. A timely double play got the Angels out of a bases loaded jam in the third while the Orioles got some stellar defense themselves. Right fielder Joshua Fitzgerald threw out a runner trying to score saving a run.
As the game proceeded into the fifth inning the Orioles would threaten with a lead off double, but could not capitalize on the opportunity. Michael Green picked his team up in the bottom of the inning by striking out the side.
The sixth inning belonged to the Angels. It all started with a great play by first basemen Henry Taibi who sprinted back behind the first base line and made a diving catch along the fence. The Angels would use that momentum when they got up to bat, as they scored three runs on a costly error. They would add one more and the score was 7-2 going into the top of the seventh.
Most team’s spirits would be broken going into their last at bat down five runs. That was not the case for this feisty group of Oriole hitters. They roared back, pushing 11 runners across the plate in the top of the seventh inning. It was a parade of hits from everybody in the lineup, one through nine, as they batted through the order. Up comfortably Henry Taibi was able to close the game out for the Orioles giving them a 13-7 victory and bringing them one game closer to being champions.
Orioles manager Pinto Naravane was proud of the way his team did not give up and had confidence in his players going into that seventh inning. “We have a good lineup one through nine, I told them to come out swinging and that’s exactly what they did.”
Game two will be played at Freedom Park in Randolph Tuesday night at 7 PM.