A Black Cloud Descends on Ox Fest as Lagers Prevail
In the heat and the wind of a Vermont summer's day, the Lagers and the Loggers treated the Ox Fest fan(s) to a marathon classic filled with controversy, intrigue, and incoherence.
The Lagers rolled into Burnham Field coming off the bitter loss endured at the Friendly Confines Epic. Many questions surrounded the team following a chaotic two week departure from play, with Hot Rod apparently changing his name to Black Cloud and the surprise release of the all star Lonichiro.
The revamped teams hit the field a respectable hour and a half late with the visiting Lagers sending The Commish, Black Cloud (Hot Rod), The Surgeon, and Hideki O'Leary against the home Loggers of The Ox, Sonny Rawlings, El Guapo, and Lonichiro.
Ox started on the mound for the Loggers making short work of the 1st inning, including a flexible snag off the mound that would have resulted in a double play if Lonichiblauch had found the target. The crowd could sense the drama early as an argument broke out over another argument, the infamous Beerman Argument.
The Surgeon got the start for the Lagers with a low Gin and Tonic that typically means a short inning. The Loggers would have other plans as first time rookie Sonny Rawlings drifted an opposite field double to start his LowBall career. Man of the hour, The Ox stepped in next and slammed a shot to center left that just cleared the wall, 2-0. There were whispers in the stands about both the new position of the wall and Ox's supposed age.
The Loggers didn't hold the lead for long as Black Cloud put the hurt on an Ox fastball sending it through a swirling wind and over the wall to even the score in the top of the 2nd at 2 a piece.
The score would stay knotted despite both teams putting ample runners in position, "that's a major squander." The crowd was able to release their collective breath as Guap's record breaking Karate Kid quote streak continued with a "put him in a body bag Johnny."
Sonny Rawlings lumbered to the mound to open the 4th while Lonichiblauch "marinated his meat." He made a sensational diving grab with two on for what would have been a double play had El Guap made a successful turn. Bases juiced. This may have been the game changing play. Rawlings would get the Commish on the next at bat but would give up a RBI single to Black Cloud, 3-2 Lagers.
Commish made quick work of the bottom 4th as Lonichiro returned from his meat mission to pitch his 2nd inning. The game started to get a bit loose, the Loggers threw the ball around mid at bat while Skimmer executed the first of two crowd pleasing tantrums. With the crowd of one still on his feet, the battle between Lonichiro and The Commish took center stage. One and done, The Commish exploded into a tantrum of 2007 quality. Inning over.
Veteran rookie, Hideki O'Leary, took the mound for the low side of the 5th. With a man on first, a sharp grounder was hit up the middle. Skim made an amazing play and stepped on 2nd and threw home for what appeared to be an unassisted double play. Skim, "My brain actually worked." Both teams flew off their respective benches as an epic argument broke out. Commish, fresh off the tantrum of the year, launched into a tirade of reasoning that included the unprecedented "Jig and Jerk-off" defense. No one is quite sure what happened as the Beerman had made many stops by the bench, but we think the 2nd out was awarded but a runner got on. It was confusing at best. However, a single from the next batter apparently pushed in the tying run, 3-3. Hideki showed veteran rookie pose, striking out the next two batters.
Sonny returned to the mound in the top 6. He showed some guts hanging a K on old nemesis Black Cloud followed by a fly-out on Hideki. However the Surgeon got on and moved to 3rd on a double from the cool calm Commish. Walks to Black Cloud and Hideki brought in the go ahead run, 4-3 Lagers on top.
After 3 seasons as a rookie, Hideki is making noise and may finally get to card status. He handled the bottom of the 6th like a pro strike-out, ground-out, strike out, finishing with an impressive 4 k's on the day.
Guapo survived another double from the Commish by getting three straight batters to fly-out and then the black clouds rolled in. The player formerly known as Hot Rod took the mound wearing a blank black jersey and carrying an undisclosed substance. With a grimace, he let the first batter on and then proceeded to sit the next 3 down with a powerful array of pithes. In the top 8, Guap once again relied on his defense as he sat the Lagers down on a ground-out and two flys. The final fly was a deep strike from Black Cloud that would have been a dagger triple had a spry Ox not crashed into the wall to rob the bomb.
As Black Cloud took the mound in the bottom of the 8th, a crowd gathered behind the backstop to scout the revived pitcher's curve. Another inning and another 3 strike-outs. Once again the pitcher refused any interviews. The head LowBall Scout, George McNeily, was heard saying, "we haven't seen him pitch like that in 2 seasons." We will see if the traditionally inconsistent pitcher can keep this rolling.
The Surgeon closed the books on the Loggers in the 9th ending yet another classic game of LowBall.