As we went into the last month of play, our division was in
a three team scramble to the championship and mediocrity(none of us are likely
to finish over .500). But in a
series where Boston was playing at the Buckeye, seemingly for a playoff spot, an
incredible and incalculable thing occurred.
These two non-juggernauts, whose managers each had highly limited usage
waged a titan struggle, in of course, you guessed it game four of a four game
series. As I went to the last
game, Boston had about eight relief innings left, with the fluff arm starter
Heredia starting, but surely he’d get through an inning before becoming a
victim. This was highly unlikely
given the Buckeye’s season long inability to hit even the worst #5 starter.
But the great equalizer was on the mound for Buckeye.
Yes you guessed it the Titan struggle for the playoffs came down to a
struggle of #7 starters, as the Buckeyes cupboard was entirely bare and out came
the four million dollar man, Jose Lima. Capably armed with a sole victory in his
ten pitiful starts. Even that one
victory was a fluke as he was averaging an incredible two hits per inning, prior
to the game. Game four was lost for
sure for the Buckeye, as Boston has a formidable line-up of bashers scheduled.
Of course the game went as expected as Lima was shelled in
the first giving up four runs rapidly. But
in the bottom of the second the quiet bats of the Buckeye came alive to tie the
score. The two pitchers did their
best giving up runs and hits, but in equal amounts, so each of the managers were
able to milk their tired warriors for essential innings.
Heredia struggles through five complete and gave up 8 runs on 12 hits,
but he left with just a two run defict. Boston’s
bats and Lima still on the mound, guaranteed that the lead was not safe.
Hal suddenly came into action and began replacing Boston pitchers and
miraculously kept up with the inning limitations quite well for Boston.
Lima wound up going 8.2 innings, but would not get a win, as Boston would
take a lead into the bottom of the ninth of one run.
A well fought game four would surely be Bostons now as the anemic Buckeye
could count on one clumsy lumberjacks hand the number of come from behind
victories they had celebrated. But
something magical was bout to occur, as the Buckeye tied the game in the bottom
of the ninth. With five pitchers
used for Boston, extra innings were just not needed, especially considering the
two teams had just met in the previous series in Boston and played a marathon 15
As the successive innings started, usage was carefully
calculated and Boston relievers were removed as they used up their available
innings, victory was an after thought for each team, as we were trying not to
get fined. The playoffs were no
longer on the line, but a million dollar fine was.
Boston and Buckeye exchanged tired relievers to the 12th
inning, when both teams scored and faced the unlikelihood of a thirteenth
I sensed that something special was going on, I was remembering back to a
game I witnessed when I was a young boy and the Phillies and Cubs met up in
their titanic marathon. I stopped the game at that point to try and figure out
available pitching and knew that Quantrill had five innings left for Boston, so
I made the no brainer decision that he would be used for the last couple of
innings. The Buckeye bullpen still
had four relievers avaiable, due to the awful, but lengthy effort provided by
Lima. So overusage was not a
problem. The batters were checked
for overusage and substitutions were made as needed to avoid fines. These new
players and pitchers brought fresh life to the game and each side began to pull
off miracles in keeping the game tied at 10.
Boston would pull off five double plays in the next six innings to keep
Buckeye at bay. As an assortment of
Buckeye pitchers would go to the mound and miraculously throw eight scoreless
innings against the big bats of Boston. During
this scoreless streak Boston ran out of relievers, so an earlier series starter
was brought in. Having been bombed
in his early start, the Buckeye fans saw victory likely but they would be put
down in successive innings. Finally,
in the 21st inning Boston would score the winning run and an
incredible game would come to an end, but fate was not done yet, as the scrappy
Buckeye would tie the game on what would wind up being one of Mirabelli’s
eight hits for the game. The
struggle would therefore continue to it’s incredible 22nd inning.
The 22nd inning would turn into the 23rd when
Boston would seal the game with a run in the top of the inning and a win would
finally be garnished by Boston’s 12th pitcher S. Etherton.
But the Buckeye had another miracle in the ready, as Mirabelli would once
again come through and tie up the game.
Boston would durely lose this game, but Etherton would resort to Vaseline
and spit in extending the game by getting out of what was now the fourth bases
loaded situation for Boston pitchers. Buckeye
fans, fooled twice before into a sense of confidence, were now in the catbird
seat, as Boston’s depleted pitching was looking at having to use a position
player to pitch, should Etheroton falter. Buckeye
pitching was equally feeble though, as only lefty specialist Venafro remained to
keep Buckeye from bringing back an earlier games starter.
But Etherton and Venafro would incredibly match each other pitch for
pitch for three innings by pitching through bases loaded situation and through
the hearts of each of these lineups. Venafro
would look at his manager, having been declared tired by the game sense the 25th
inning, but would still get the nod and come out of the dugout for an incredible
Venafro simply had nothing left when he staggered out to
the mound to face the heart of Bostons order.
Bostons murders row had already teed off on eight Buckeye pitchers for 12
runs, four homeruns, and 25 hits, in the previous 26 innings.
Looking at the tired pitcher, the Buckeye Manager, began warming up game
two starter Cordova for his last eligible inning.
Venafro would walk his first batter, before starting batting practice for
Boston. Down four runs, but knowing that the incredible was now
possible, the Buckeye Manager summoned his tired game two starter and hoped that
he would put out the flames. Unfortunately,
Cordova brought out a batting tee for Boston hitters and they slugged successive
homerun after homerun, until the twelfth run of the inning would cross home
plate, equaling the total they’d scored in the previous 26 frames.
All told Boston would hit five homeruns and collect twelve hits in the
inning. A tired Etherton would take the mound in the bottom of the 27th
to face the anemic bats of Buckeye and after giving up three runs, this
incredible game would conclude. Incredibly,
nineteen pitchers would be used over the 27 innings, with 15 homeruns, 67 hits
and 39 runs being tallied.
This loss would likely be the coffin nail in Buckeye
play-off hopes, but the incredible game made the moment unforgettable.
Below is the Box Score of the single greatest game I’ve ever had the
honor to play and ultimately lose. Troy
Glaus was undeniably the player of the game as he collected 3 homeruns, seven
hits, stole his 20th base of the season and reached base an
incredible ten times.