Northwestern Press

Monday, December 10, 2018

Bulls-Giants knotted at 1-1 in BML

Wednesday, August 15, 2018 by TODD KRESS tkress@tnonline.com in Sports

Heading up to the Blue Mountain League championship series, the Northampton Giants had coasted throughout the playoffs. The Giants took Game 1 of the finals against the Limeport Bulls last week to continue that hot streak.

And while Game 2 wouldn’t decide the series, Limeport took it as a must-win situation. Then, the Bulls did what no other team could do in the postseason thus far: they beat the Giants.

Limeport got a complete game five-hitter from Cooper Michael on Saturday, and the Bulls used an early lead to defeat top-seeded Northampton, 7-1. Game 3, originally schedule for Monday, was postponed due to heavy rain again on Tuesday and rescheduled for Wednesday.

“Game 2 was an absolute must win for us in our mind, being that we were at home, had our ace on the mound and were down in the series,” Bulls player-manager Mike Cudwadie said. “So, I feel like we came into the game knowing we had to win that one.

“Cooper has been our ace all year long, and we know exactly what we’re going to get when he is on the mound. We knew if we could get him a few runs we would probably be in a good spot, and I know he enjoys the run support. He threw an incredible game shutting down a very good offense in Northampton.”

Northampton had been the hottest hitting team in the league all season, and that continued throughout the playoffs. The Giants scored four runs in the Game 1 victory and their 205 runs scored in the regular season were the most of any squad.

But Michael had Northampton’s number on the Bulls’ home field. Other than a run in the top of the fourth inning that got Northampton on the board and cut Limeport’s lead to 3-1, Michael was efficient and effective.

Limeport, which struggled to put runners on base in Game 1, bounced back in a big way out of the gate. Three runs in the bottom of the third inning, including an RBI-single from Damin Muth, gave the Bulls that key early lead they so desperately needed.

“Unlike in Game 1, we got runners on base early and leadoff guys on, which allowed us to play our style of baseball with bunting guys over and bunting for hits,” Cudwadie said. “We put pressure on their defense. They made a couple of mistakes which led to more runs for us.”

After Northampton got on the scoreboard in the fourth inning, Limeport added two more runs in the bottom half of the frame to end any threat of a comeback. CJ Salisbury recorded an RBI-single in the sixth, a part of a two-run inning that ended Limeport’s scoring day.

“Jumping out to the lead was extremely big for us because it allowed Cooper to go right at them,” Cudwadie said. “It was also very important to add on and not just sit on the 3-0 lead, but to also add runs and get to seven was huge.”

Two games have already been postponed in this series. With each of the past two rounds of the BML playoffs being interrupted by weather postponements, both teams are just hoping to get back on the field shortly.

“It’s now down to a best-of-three series, and we know we have to go and steal a game at Northampton,” Cudwadie said. “Our goal is to go up and grab Game 3, so we can come back to Limeport with a chance to win it. Hopefully the rain allows us to play these games sooner rather than later.”