With the championship game scheduled to start at 5pm and the semi-final ending at 4, the Knights took a quick deli break and tried to relax (see Pictures). The championship game pitted ace against ace, Joe Lankford for the Knights versus Randy Rapp for the Cardinals. Even though Joe attempted to hide a very painful elbow, Manager Paxton Provitera was aware and holding a very short leash. No leash was needed as Joe more than came through, pitching 7 innings giving up no earned runs on 4 hits and 1 walk with 4 strikeouts.
Facing hard throwing Randy Rappp, the Knights offense, while muted, hit the ball hard and showed what an offensive juggernaut they truly are. The Knights struck first scoring a run in the second inning when Bobby Gruttadauria lead off with a walk, was moved around by a Pat Conway singled and scored on a Ryan Cox fielder's choice. The Knights then extended their lead in the fourth when Hector Rolon walked with one out then scored when Pat Conway and Ryan Cox both doubled. With second and third and 2 outs, Sean McGuire stepped to the plate and continued to hit bee-bees with this one falling in for a 2 RBI single. In the bottom of the inning the Cardinals took advantage of 2 Knights errors (our usual quota) with 2 hits scoring 3 runs bringing the score to 4-3. The rest of the game was in the pitchers' hands as both starters went the distance. Oh wait a minute, I take that back, there was the top of the seventh call by the A--H-LE Umpire that despises our team (the feeling is mutual). Cardinals' Manager and league rule keeper George Rhein approached the umpire as Dan O'Shea was about to bat and pointed out that Paxton had used the DH as an EH by moving Bobby Molinaro and Dan O'Shea in and out at second base. As Paxton told Joe Lankford he would have to bat, the umpire decided that he didn't know anything and hated the Knights so he incorrectly called Dan out. Dan then got thrown out as he yelled a little. none of that mattered as the Knights went down 1-2-3 then a revitalized Joe Lankford put the Cardinals down 1-2-3 to solidify the first Long Island Championship for the Knights. Congratulations all!!
After the Knights won their Citibank Game against the Brookhaven Braves, the two teams that were left in the winners bracket, the Nassau Mets and the LI Cardinals, took the field. In an excellent game the Cardinals were able to win and earn a place in the Championship game by a score of 4-3. The Knights now knew who they'd have to face first, the Nassau Mets.
Once the games were finally scheduled for Sunday, 2pm and 5pm at Tanner Park, everything was ready. Dan O'Shea took the mound for the Knights, pitching 7 innings allowing 4 earned runs on 4 hits while striking out 5 and walking 3. The Knights offense was once again befuddled, scattering 10 hits throughout the game. The Knights took a first inning lead when leadoff batter Sean McGuire doubled and was promptly picked off of second, but the errant throw allowed him to score. In the fourth inning Pat Conway extended the Knights lead with a solo home run making the score 2-0. In the top of the fifth, the Mets were able to score bringing the score to 2-1. Dan O'Shea then helped his own cause in the bottom of the inning when he walked, stole second and scored on a John Bosch single. All seemed fine as the Knights took a 3-2 lead into the top of the seventh after the Mets scored in the sixth and the Knights went down 1-2-3.
With an ominous feeling the Mets leadoff batter singled putting the tying run on base. The next batter also singled, then took second, making it second and third with no outs. A sacrifice fly and a wild pitch later and the Knights were down 4-3 going into the bottom of the seventh with the top of the order coming up. Sean McGuire hit a bullet, just right at the third baseman, 1 out, Dan O'Shea then singled and stole second. Tommy Reilly singled making it first and third with 1 out. John Bosch then hit a blast, but the sea winds at Tanner kept it in the park, so the blast became a sac fly tying the game at 4. Bobby Gruttadauria then singled putting runners at first and second with 2 outs. At this point in the game there seems to be one guy who the Knights can always count on, Mr. Clutch, Hector Rolon. What does Hector do? Well there's a championship summary isn't there?!?! Hector singled in Tommy for the game winner.
The Knights go unconventional, for the Knights that is, and it works!! In what looked like it would be a pitcher's duel, Dan O'Shea stepped to the plate in the top of the second with John Bosch at third and Hector Rolon at second with one out. After the best signs in the game were flashed, Dan proceeded to break the 0-0 tie by squeezing Johnny in. The score remained 1-0 until the Braves scored the tying run in the bottom of the sixth. Tommy Reilly then broke the tie with the Knights' third and final hit, a home run making the score 2-1. Greg Holmes was able to hold onto the one run lead allowing the Knights to advance. Hector Rolon continued his EAB/Citibank streak by going 2 for 2 with a double (he's 4 for 4 in his career at Citibank).
The Knights took revenge on the Mount Sinai Rangers on Wednesday night for knocking the Knights into the loserís bracket on Sunday. Joe Lankford pitched a dominating 7 innings allowing 2 unearned runs off of 6 hits even though he was trying to nap in the dugout due to his Fireman training. Possibly more important was the fact that the Knights offense has begun to show life again. After scoring 9 runs in a barn burner of a game against the Phillies, the Knights scored 10 runs against the Rangers, with offense coming from throughout the lineup. Highlights included Pat Conway going 3 for 4 with 2 doubles, an RBI, and 3 runs scored; Tommy Reilly going 3 for 4 with a double, 2 home runs, 6 RBI's and 3 runs scored; Bobby Gruttadauria going 2 for 3 with a sacrifice fly and an RBI; and Dan O'Shea going 2 for 3 with a double, an RBI, a stolen base, and a run scored.
Tuesday pitted the Cinderella team, Suffolk Phillies, against the struggling Knights. Tommy Reilly started the game with a hurt arm, trying to gut it out so the Knights could continue in the playoffs, but after 1 inning relief was needed. With no rested pitchers in site, Dan O'Shea, after pitching 7 on Sunday morning, took the ball and said, "I got it." Dan did all he could, allowing 6 runs on 10 hits and 4 walks, but he needed the slumbering Knights offense to wake up, and that it did. Going into Tuesday, half of the Knights lineup were batting .111 or lower. At revival was definitely needed. The Knights came up in the bottom of the first down 2-0, but struck back quickly when Sean McGuire and Pat Conway both singled, and Bobby Gruttadauria drove in both runs with a single then scored on a balk. In the second inning Sean reached on an error and was moved to third on a Pat Conway single. Sean then scored on another balk. The Phillies never stopped hitting though, as they scored 4 runs in the third to take a 6-4 lead. Ryan Cox found his grove and desire again, stroking a lead off homerun in the fourth. After the Phillies extended their lead to 8-5, the Knights got recharged in the bottom of the fifth. Tommy Reilly led off with a homerun, John Bosch and Bobby Gruttadauria singled, then Wig, Hector Rolon, stepped to the plate showing his "other team" what he's made of by smashing a 3 run homerun giving the Knights the 9-8 lead. Fireballing closer Rob Maier took the mound in the 6th and that was the end of the Phillies as Rob allowed 0 runs on 2 hits and struck out 5 in 2 innings.
Thank goodness the Knights' pitching doesn't like to give up more than 1 hit, and thank goodness the pitchers get pissed then throw better when errors are made, because the bats have fallen asleep. Greg Holmes pitched a 1 hitter allowing 1 unearned run, walking 2 and striking out 13, all of which enabled the Knights to beat the Sayville Gators 3-1 in order to advance in the playoffs. Offensively, the Knights scored 1 run in the third after Tommy Reilly reached on an error and was moved to third by a pair of walks to Sean McGuire and Eric Cox. With the bases loaded and 1 out John Bosch hit a sacrifice fly to break the 0-0 tie. In the fourth inning, Dan O'Shea doubled and was singled home by Ryan Cox, who later scored on a Sean McGuire single. Dan O'Shea and Tommy Reilly both went 2 for 3 with a double, Sean McGuire and Ryan Cox then accounted for the other 2 Knights hits...let's start hitting, please!!
Nine am proved to be too much for the Knights to handle, especially after presumably long Saturday nights. Dan O'Shea pitched a 1 hitter allowing no earned runs, but errors lead to 3 early Ranger runs that the Knights couldn't overcome. In the fifth inning the Knights put a few hits together after a Dan O'Shea single and a Sean McGuire walk, Eric Cox singled in O'Shea and Sean stole home when the centerfielder lobbed the relay throw into the cut. Pat Conway then singled, but on a disputed call from the umpire, Eric was called out at the plate. That was the last threat the Knights could muster. Offensively, the Knights had seven hits; Sean McGuire singled in the third, Eric Cox singled in the fifth, Pat Conway was 2 for 3 with a leadoff double in the fourth, Dan O'Shea helped his own cause going 2 for 3 and scoring a run, but was also thrown out at the plate trying to score on a shallow right field pop up, and Bobby Molinaro singled in the third.
The Knights finished the regular season in first place in their division, but in third place overall matching them up against the 14th seeded LI Mets in their Playoff Tournament opener. Rob Maier threw a complete game scattering 7 hits, allowing only 1 run, warming up in the first inning because he got there at game time, and striking out 9. Behind Rob, the Knights didn't do much, but were able to score six runs on 4 hits, a 2 run home run from Dan O'Shea, and 2 throwing errors by the Mets' catcher. Sean McGuire stole 4 bases and score 2 runs while only getting on base twice. Overall, not a normal Knights Mashing party, but good enough to advance.
The Knights all-stars showed the rest of the league what the hype is all about. John Bosch and Tommy Reilly started the game at third and shortstop respectively. Tommy made a tremendous play ranging deep into the outfield to snag a pop-up. Hector Rolon, Dan O'Shea, and Bobby Gruttadauria rounded out the rest of the Knights Shea stadium all-stars. Dan played first and pitched 1 1/3 innings allowing 2 runs on a homerun after walking a batter then bringing the count full. With the score 6-5 against us, Hector singled in 2 runs giving us a lead that we wouldn't lose. In the bottom of the 6th and John Bosch on first, Tommy almost knocked Bobby's leg off with a foul line drive then hit a 2 run blast for the first home run of the day extending our lead to 10-6.
In the second All-Star Game, Sean McGuire showed his speed by just missing an amazing catch in centerfield and then scoring the first run for the National team by stealing second and going to third on the overthrow, then scoring on a groundout to short; Bobby Molinaro played a flawless second base; Joe Lankford pitched the first inning allowing 1 hit and striking out 1; Rob Maier pitched the eighth inning striking out the side allowing a run on 2 hits (the Knights would have caught them); and Jay Harmon closed the game out by pitching the ninth allowing 3 unearned runs on 1 hit as the shortstop had some trouble committing 2 errors in the inning. Manager Paxton Provitera increased his All-Star record to 2-0 and has retired from the All-Star managing career that looked so promising before all the hassle started.
* The playoffs are here, let's MASH!!
* Anyone going to Cooperstown needs to bring $50 to next game...also all OTHER MONEY IS DUE IMMEDIATELY!!
WP - Joe Lankford (2-0)|
LP - Randy Rapp
2B: Pat Conway (4); Ryan Cox (1);
RBI: Sean McGuire 2 (2); Ryan Cox 2 (4);
WP - Dan O'Shea (2-1)|
LP - Feldnica
SB: Sean McGuire (8); Dan O'Shea 2 (5); Pat Conway (1);
2B: Sean McGuire (2); Dan O'Shea (3);
HR: Pat Conway (1);
RBI: John Bosch 2 (4); Hector Rolon (4); Pat Conway (2);
WP - Greg Holmes (2-0)|
LP - Moises Cruz
SB: Hector Rolon (1);
2B: Hector Rolon (1);
HR: Tommy Reilly (4);
RBI: Tommy Reilly (8); Dan O'Shea (4);
|Mount Sinai Rangers||0||0||0||1||0||1||0||2||6||2|
WP - Joe Lankford (1-1)|
LP - Adam Wesley
SB: Sean McGuire (7); Dan O'Shea (3);
2B: Pat Conway 2 (3); Tommy Reilly (2); Dan O'Shea (2);
HR: Tommy Reilly 2 (3);
RBI: Pat Conway (1); Tommy Reilly 6 (7); Bobby Gruttadauria (4); Dan O'Shea (3);
WP - Dan O'Shea (1-1)|
LP - Jordan Kipling
S - Rob Maier (1)
SB: Ryan Cox (1);
2B: Bobby Gruttadauria (1);
HR: Tommy Reilly (1); Hector Rolon (1); Ryan Cox (1);
RBI: Tommy Reilly (1); Bobby Gruttadauria 2 (3); Hector Rolon 3 (3); Ryan Cox (2);
WP - Greg Holmes (1-0)|
LP - Gary Schor
2B: Dan O'Shea (1); Tommy Reilly (1);
RBI: John Bosch (2); Ryan Cox (1);
|Mt Sinai Rangers||1||0||2||0||0||0||0||3||1||0|
WP - Selano|
LP - Dan O'Shea (0-1)
SB: Sean McGuire 2 (6); Dan O'Shea 2 (2);
2B: Pat Conway (1);
RBI: Eric Cox (1);
WP - Rob Maier (1-0)|
LP - Keith Otto
SB: Sean McGuire 4 (4);
HR: Dan O'Shea (1);
RBI: John Bosch (1); Bobby Gruttadauria (1); Dan O'Shea 2 (2);
All-Star Games Boxscore:
SB: Sean McGuire (1);
2B: Bobby Gruttadauria (1);
HR: Tommy Reilly (1);
RBI: Tommy Reilly 2 (2); Hector Rolon 2 (2);
|Dan O'Shea||1 1/3||1||2||2||1||1||10.50|