November 28 , 2005 Indoor Action Dome, Bernardston, Mass.
Duse took the mound for the home-team Hitmen and Nightman's Nightmen sent Mike Mahan to the plate to start the 2005-6 Domeball season. Tonight's Chief umpire was Artie Burke, and with a point to Duse and a "Play ball!", the game was on. Strike one!
Duse got ahead of Mike, but that didn't stop Mike from picking up where he left off last year, base hit.
For those unfamiliar with Arena Baseball, the top of the first gave them a good taste. With Mike leading off first, Aaron blasted a baggie single just past the infield. Terminator then drew a walk off Duse. Bases loaded. Nightman then blasted a baggie riccochet to short left center, the alert X-Man forcing Aa at 3rd, Hector taking the throw, Mike scoring. One out, one in. Mon Capitan walked, loading the bases again. Steve Merklein hit an infield chopper, the throw home was late, run scoring. Lich walked forcing in a run and 2-Tee was out at first on a nice play by SuperJ, Mon Capitan scoring. Duse took a deep breath and K'd the tough Ed Sabelawski for the 3rd out. 4-Zip Nightmen before the crowd had even taken their seats.
2-Tee had the Honours for the Nightmen, and he was lookin' pretty sharp in one of his Florida uniforms. After retiring reigning MVP X-Man on a pop up, MediocreJ singled, Joe LeBlanc grounded out to short, 2003-4 MVP SuperJ singled, and John Sanders walked. Uh OH ! Jam, bases loaded, two outs. Tee buckled down and K'd John Graves to escape the jam. After 1, 4-0 Nightmen.
Basically Duse pitched lights out. The runs the Nightmen got were opportunistic, on 2 singles (one a Baggie job) and 3 walks. Oh!, those bases on balls!! After Lich walked with 1 out in the 1st, The Hitman hurler retired 11 of the next 12 Nightmen. The only baserunner was a Mike Olkin single in the 2nd. But let's not underestimate the Mahan leadoff table-setter. Mike would haunt the Hitmen all night.
Meanwhile, the Hitmen were pecking away at the Nightmen, touching up 2-Tee and the Terminator for single runs in the 2nd and 3rd.
Duse drew a walk of his own leading off the bottom of the 2nd. I'm sure that felt good. Duse would steal second and score on Hector's RBI single. The rally never got off the ground as Hector was forced at 2nd on one of those Dome 'Base Hit' forceouts, robbing Mike Arbour of a hit.
The Hitman third inning began with the 2005-6 season's first Wedge Tater off the bat of the esteemable X-Man himself. X'er smoked a Terminator fastball into the right Quadrant of the Wedge to make it a 4-2 ballgame. The base umpire Fluffy was briefly confused by the majesty of the blast and failed to signal Tater. After conferring with UIC Burke, the HR was signaled, and X-Man was sent home. Joe LeBlanc and SuperJ would reach 2nd and 3rd with 1 out after the X-Man Tater, but as we have seen 100 times before, Terminator takes those scoring position situations and "Terminates" them. That's why he is the Terminator. Sanders, K, Graves, K. Both of those guys are good hitters. Inning over; Nightmen 4, Hitmen2 after 3. The 4th inning would be quiet.
With Johnny Sanders taking the ball for the Hitmen in the 5th, the Nightmen added to their lead. After Britt and Mike Olkin singled with one out, John K'd leadoff man Mike Mahan. Aa then collected a big 2-out clutch hit for an RBI.
The Hitmen matched that run in their half of the 5th, but it could have been more. The story of the game for the Hitmen; the couldas and shouldas. With the bases loaded on 3 Nightman walks and 2 outs, SuperJ singled to left scoring Mike Arbour. X-man was thrown out from left field by a beautiful throw from Brit Baker (I think) and tagged nicely by Aaron as X'er slid in. Another clutch play by the Nightmen.
The N-Men took control of this game in the 6th. It was a busy inning, and could have been busier.
Nighter led off the top of the 6th with a single. Al poked what looked like a sure hit into left. But Joe LeBlanc came up firing to John Graves to force a very very unhappy Nightman. It's possible umpire Fluffy missed this one. A Steve Merklein single and a Litch drilling later, the bases were full for 2-Tee. John got 2-Tee to bounce back to him for a force at home. 2 outs, the Hitmen are 1 out away from escaping unharmed. But Ed S drew a RIBBI walk and Britt poked a clutch 2 ribbi single and it was 8-3 before Johnny could strike out Mike Olkin. Nighter retired the Hitmen in order in the 6th. After 6, 8-3 Nightmen.
The Nightmen added an insurance run in the 7th on a Terminator RBI single and went down quickly in the 8th, SuperJ now hurling. The Hitmen went quietly in the 7th.
It was do or die time for the Hitmen, and they were going to have to do it against the high Gas of Danny Lichtenfeld. X-man led off reaching on an error. MJC, Joe leBlanc and SuperJ singled, Joe and Supe collecting RIBBI's. The Hitmen were back in business. With Hitmen on 1st and 3rd, no outs and 2 runs in, Supe had every intension of stealing 2nd, and everybody in the house knew it. But on the 3rd toss to 1st, Danny caught Supe leaning and Steve Merklein dropped a good tag from a perfect throw on Supes arm and he was OUT!... Killer
The Nightmen tacked on a run in the 9th and Mon Capitan made his DomeBall Debut on the mound by holding the Hitmen scoreless in the bottom of the 9th.
Game 1 is in the books with the Chicago Nightmen defeating the South Side Hitmen, 10-5, in a good baseball game in the Dome.
See you December 12th with Game 2 of the 3 Game Series