Dodgers out of over-40 base­ball play­offs

The Dundalk Eagle - - FRONT PAGE - By BILL GATES bgates@ches­pub.com

It looked to be a mean­ing­less play in a lopsided game. But it ul­ti­mately kept the de­fend­ing cham­pion Pi­rates alive in the east­ern Bal­ti­more County Over-40 League play­offs.

The Cubs led the Pi­rates 9-1 with two outs in the bot­tom of the eighth in­ning and a run­ner on sec­ond. Dale Hunter sin­gled to left field, and Pi­rates left­fielder Feio Fran­cis threw to catcher Marc Killingstad to nail the run­ner at the plate for the fi­nal out.

The game ended three bat­ters later as the Cubs clinched a spot in the league semi­fi­nals with a 9-1 win.

But that out at the plate also earned the Pi­rates a spot in the semi­fi­nals.

The Roy­als, Rays and Cubs all ad­vanced to the semi­fi­nals by win­ning their re­spec­tive groups with a 3-0 record. The fourth spot was filled by the team with the next-best record.

The Pi­rates, Dodgers and Di­a­mond­backs all fin­ished 2-1 in group play. The first tiebreaker was fewest runs al­lowed. The Dodgers, who lost to the Roy­als on Sun­day 17-8, gave up 28 runs while the Pi­rates and the Di­a­mond­backs each al­lowed 20.

The next tiebreaker was mar­gin of vic­tory. The Pi­rates were +18, the Di­a­mond­backs were +15.

So the top-seeded Rays will host the Pi­rates on Sun­day at the Post 38 field in one semi­fi­nal, while the sec­ond-seeded Cubs will host the Roy­als at CCBC Dun­dalk.

Had that run not been thrown out at the plate against the Cubs, the Pi­rates would have al­lowed 21 runs and the Di­a­mond­backs would be ad­vanc­ing to the semi­fi­nals.

“All we want is an­other chance,” Pi­rates man­ager Mickey Kocur said.

(The Di­a­mond­backs beat the Gi­ants on Sun­day 21-4. Had the Di­a­mond­backs won 4-3, they would be ad­vanc­ing.)

The Dodgers’ loss to the Roy­als means the team will not ap­pear in the Over-40 League cham­pi­onship game for the first time in the his­tory of the league (which be­gan in 2010).

The Rays, which beat the Astros 18-2 on Sun­day, al­lowed only seven runs in their three group games. The Cubs al­lowed eight.

Count­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son, the Rays are 11-1-1 over­all, while the Cubs are 9-3. The Roy­als are 9-3 and the Pi­rates are 8-4.

The loss to the Roy­als was the first of the sea­son for the Dodgers, who fin­ished 9-1-1.

“The Roy­als out­played and out­hus­tled and out­smarted us,” said Dodgers man­ager Tony Ranoc­chia. “We made 11 er­rors.”

The Cubs took a 2-0 lead in the first in­ning against the Pi­rates and led 3-1 af­ter five in­nings.

Dave Hoyle led off the bot­tom of the sixth in­ning with a walk, was bunted to sec­ond by Scott Palmerino and scored (or rather, his pinch-run­ner scored) on a dou­ble by Mike Sa­muels.

It was the third dou­ble of the game for Sa­muels.

The Cubs put the game away in the bot­tom of the eighth in­ning with five more runs.

Hoyle had an RBI sin­gle, Scott Palmerino knocked in a run with a dou­ble and Chris Mirabile’s sac­ri­fice fly made it 7-1.

Mark Palmerino ended the scor­ing with a two-run sin­gle to left field.

Mark Palmerino started on the mound for the Cubs and held the Pi­rates to one run on three hits in five in­nings.

The Pi­rates had five hits for the game, all sin­gles. Dave Cun­diff pitched the last four in­nings for the Cubs.

The Cubs de­fense turned three dou­ble plays.

“Palmerino threw real well to­day,” Cubs man­ager Todd Knud­sen said. “Pitch­ing and de­fense have been do­ing it for us.”

PHOTO BY BILL GATES

Dave Hoyle of the Cubs sin­gles dur­ing the 9-1 win over the Pi­rates.

Pi­ra­tres first base­man Mike Miller stum­bles over Cubs baserun­ner Rich Dorn dur­ing a pick­off play.

Had Pi­rates catcher Marc Killingstad missed this tag on Cubs baserun­ner Todd Knud­sen, the Pi­rates would not be ad­vanc­ing to the Over-40 League semi­fi­nals de­spite los­ing to the Cubs 9-1.

Pi­rates left­fielder Feio Fran­cis snags a fly ball in a light rain dur­ing the loss to the Cubs on Sun­day. Fran­cis threw out a run­ner at the plate to help keep the Pi­rates alive in the play­offs.

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