Law Dogz Lose in Fantastic Finale
By Peter Willcox-Jones
In what will go down as the greatest Lawyer’s League championship of all time, your Dogz lost to Garvey 6-5 in 9 innings. It was a fabulous game – diving catches, double-plays, clutch hitting, towering home runs, controversial calls, and the suspense of two extra innings to decide the victor. If you missed the game, I’m not sure I have the ability to do it justice – it was that good. If you were there, up until the final run, it was as fun/exciting as it gets.
The game started off like everyone expected. The Dogz failed to score in the first, and Garvey scored 2 runs with relative ease. Garvey 2, Dogz 0 after the first.
In the second inning, the Dogz managed to plate one run to cut the deficit to one. But fell farther behind after Garvey scored 2 more runs to take a 4-1 lead. But those would be the last runs Garvey would score until the end.
The comeback began in the middle of the game – and was keyed by two fantastic plays one on defense and one on offense. In the top of the 4th, Marc Carlton led off the inning with a home run for the ages – the ball went so far it hit the public restroom 100 feet from the playing field on the bounce. That cut Garvey’s lead to 4-2. In the bottom of the following inning, Zack made the catch of the year – Zack was playing deep left field and the ball was hit to shallow left. Zack charged in at full speed and at the last possible second extended his glove as far as he could and dove – the ball landed softly in his mitt, batter out, inning over, no runs scored. What a catch – you had to see it to believe it.
The Dogz remaining three runs were scored by Zack, Stephanie and Nick. Zack managed to manufacture a run, nearly all by himself – turning a single into a double and then managing to scrap for home – it was Rickey Henderson-esque. Glenn, the Dogz first MVP, in a pressure at-bat, drove in Stephanie and Nick.
The Dogz went into the bottom of the last inning up 5-4. Garvey’s lead-off batter reached on a single to left-center, and Garvey was ready to rally. But their rally was immediately snuffed out. The next batter hit a line drive near second base . . . The runner on first broke for second, thinking the ball would make it through. But Anna snagged the liner and threw it to the Skipper at first – two outs. One out from a championship. The next man up for Garvey was one of their best hitters. First pitch – a screaming liner down the left field line, just foul. The second pitch a screaming line drive to deep left that hung in the air just long enough to get over Zack’s extended mitt. Home run, game tied, extra innings.
The Dogz were unable to score in the top of the 8th. However, Garvey was also held scoreless in the bottom of the inning – shut down by the stellar Dog defense (which, by the way, is something I never thought I would say).
In the final inning, controversy struck. John got into score position with 1 out. On a single to the outfield, John tried to score – in what was clearly a blown call the catcher applied the tag high and John’s foot touched the plate before the tag was applied. But the umpire did not see it that way and called him out at the plate. The Dog Pound howled in anger, but it was of no use. In this writer’s opinion, that call finally tipped the scales in Garvey’s favor.
In the bottom of the inning, Garvey’s first three batters reached base on three straight singles – two of them had eyes. The final batter singled to left and the game was over. The Dog Pound applauded, the teams shook hands and the game was over.
We don’t hear the old saying, “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game,” too often anymore. Which is too bad, because it captures last night’s game perfectly. The Skipper was dejected after the loss. We were one out from dethroning the 8-time champion – the only champion the Lawyers League has ever known. But upon reflection, I came to see that my disappointment was silly. If you had asked me before the game if I thought we would win, I would have said the odds are against it. Garvey was bigger, stronger and faster. But we came within one out of beating them – the closest anyone has ever come to beating them. And what a game, I wish I had time to talk about all of the great plays, by both teams.
So, with that, another Dogz season comes to an end. I would like to thank Linda (CVK alum) and John Davis for their help again this year. Linda dutifully showed up for the games and kept score, like she has been doing for years. Her husband, John, stepped up and coached first base – and was always quick with encouragement and advice.
Thanks to everyone who showed up for the game last night. And thank you to those folks who showed up for the games before last night. The Dogz always enjoy when their colleagues come out to watch them play.
Finally, this year, I decided to take the final awards out of the hands of the voters and award them myself. I’m the Skipper after all.
Co-MVPs – Marc and Zack . . . Too close to call between these two, so I decided why bother.
Rookie of the Year – Andy, one of the best rookie campaigns I can remember.
Most Improved – The Team. Considering we were down 7-0 after the first inning of the first game we played this season (to OTLA of all teams), to end up one out from the title is quite an improvement.
Thanks to all for a great season. We’ll see you next year.