NINE/FIVE/SIX: 2017 Playoffs
The playoffs began at the home of the reigning three-time league champion and we jumped out to a lead that would result in crushing last inning loss. I was unsure we could recover. We would face elimination the following night at home and handle Y/D with ease. Will Tribucher would begin his coming out party, with nothing less than 7 1/3 brilliant innings in a 6-1 win. It’s worth noting that prior to the playoffs, Tribucher’s Michigan coach encouraged him to ignore the silly pitch, innings limitations and go “pitch your team to a Championship.” I am forever a Wolverine fan. That game hinted at a resilience and resolve that would come to identify us over the next seven days.
Game three followed the same script as game one, almost too closely. We relinquished the lead late and with the game in the balance, induced one of the leagues’ best players to ground out, ending the inning, as we all breathed a sigh of relief. In extra innings with two outs, what seemed like an innocuous single by Zack Gahagan was followed by the most impactful Brewster Whitecap hit in seventeen years, a line drive RBI double by AJ Graffanino scoring his 2016 teammate with the go ahead run. The two would combine again as the games last out was a ball up the middle, AJ ranges way to his left, steps, fires to Gahagan for the final out. On to the semi-finals, there will be no four-peat (I hate when that happens) and a couple of 2016 guys, just stamped 2017 as DIFFERENT.
We were exhausted and game one was a garden variety, flat, eventless loss to Orleans.
In game two at home, we faced elimination for the third time and beat Orleans in much the same way we did Y/D in game two. Down early, with our bags packed, it would have been easy to cash in our chips and declare the season a success. NOT THIS GROUP. A huge HR by Infante, Dunn (both 2016 guys) and Chandler Taylor would secure the 8-3. Game three would be the fourth time we would face elimination in five days and we looked to some Irish kid from Marist, who had been with us for two weeks, Connor Macnamara would pitch himself into Brewster lore, Marty Costes would hit a late inning go ahead HR and that Wolverine Tribucher would close out, in dominant fashion, the game and the series. We are going to the FINALS!!!! As Creed says at the end of Rocky 3 “DING DING” #