From Champ’s Chatter, courtesy of Mark Loehndorf:
It was time for a new champion! After five consecutive years on top the Galway Hitmen had to settle for second place. It was not easy as the resilient East Hans Bar and Grill Shooters Mastodon played amazing. They had some unreal heroics from Nick Shailes and Justin Schofield. Schofield beat Galway twice and Shailes played out of this world.
The Rustlers seemed to have more zip throughout this game. A good crowd of well over 1000 fans could not get the extra energy into the Host team. Cory Krahenbil’s single scored Peter Hill in T1 for the early Bulyea lead. Devon McCulough’s triple score Brett Casavant to tie it up in the bottom of the inning. Angels starter Partick Burns never really looked settled as he gave up runs in T2 and T3.
Suddenly in B5 the life came back to the Angels. Zach Pierce who had replaced Burns in the 4th, had got a couple of zeros and the offense came to life. One -out singles by Kalyn Robinson and Brett Casavant followed by at Patrick Burns double had the game even and 2 Angels on. base. After a key strike out of pinch hitter Brett Casey, Justin Laskowski drilled a ball down first base line that would have scored 2, but first baseman Troy Gordon made an incredible catch to end the threat.
An uneventful 6th led to the big T7. With one out Josh Jordan managed to barely fit a fly ball between the left fielder and short stop for a double. The Angels wanted nothing to do with Corey Krahenbil and walked him to put runners on first and second. Pierce got Joran Graham on a grounder but could not handle Michael Jordan. He launched a single into center scoring the winning runs. Rustler starter Joran Graham who looked tired earlier got some life back as he easily handed the Angels #2,3 and 4 hitters to end the game. Bulyea guaranteed themselves a medal and earned the right to play the DC for the right to go the final.
These were the two top teams all week. They split two games played to this point and beat everyone else So this was the final everyone expected. Two key things came out of this one: just how good are Brad Ezekiel and Nick Shailes. Ezekiel went 2 for 3 with a homerun and a walk, hitting .583 for the championship round. The only player that outplayed him was Nick Shailes. He was only pitched 2 once and he hit a 2-run shot, ending with 2 RBI and 2 walks to go with his homerun. He hit .750 for the playoff round and was constantly being walked. His defense stood out, as time after time he made almost impossible plays look routine. He robbed. Shane Boland of a base hit diving to his left and scooping up a ball that was blasted. Immediately after that play Ezekiel hit a homerun, that could have tied the game if not for Shailes’ play.
For the first three inning the teams matched each other, with deuces. B1 Nova Scotia gets 2 on Shailes’ homer, matched by 2 for Hitmen in T2. The Hitmen get 2 in T3 on a Jason Hill homer, and Nova Scotia matched it with 2 of their own when Jeff Ellsworth and Jay Duffy hit homeruns. When Nova Scotia scored 2 in B4, the Defending Champs could not even up. They did not score again until T7 when Ezekiel’s solo shot that could have tied the game if not for Shailes’ play.