Opening day of the 2022 Como Blitzball season was destined to be quite the spectacle. The long-awaited matchup slated two potential championship contenders against one another in the Crushers and the Mustangs. The Crushers, led by longtime captain and 3x MVP Caden Sartain, were prepared as ever. The Crushers made vast improvements over the offseason, adding both Aidan McDermott and Connor Thoma. The Crushers finally had their second pitcher. The Mustangs, led by Sammy Reazer, were ecstatic to play their first game as a franchise. The Mustangs oozed talent with the acquisitions of Matthew Zuppardi, Sam Koske, and Tyler Davis. So with all this being said, one could make the reasonable assumption that this game was sure to be a tightly contested matchup and could even go to extras right? Well, that’s where you would be wrong.
With both teams being projected to finish at the top of the standings, it is no question that each captain felt very confident in their respective teams. Reazer is a new captain this season and holds an extremely dynamic team, an explosive one if that. “My team is new, I’m new to being a captain, but I've got some really good players and it’s a scary lineup. I'm expecting to win lots of games this season.” Mustangs captain Sammy Reazer stated confidently. Caden Sartain and the Crushers have been a force in the league for years and with new key acquisitions, look to make a title run for the first time since 2020. “Well, we are already considered to be one of the best teams even without Aidan and Connor, now adding those two players is huge for us. Everyone on our team is capable of hitting a homer, so this team can be scary.” Caden said.
After each captain spoke on behalf of their team, the match was set. The Mustangs won the bat toss and were the home team. Sammy Reazer would start on the mound. In the first at-bat of the game, Sammy walked Caden but then was able to strike out a .600 hitter in Quinn on three beautiful pitches. Connor Thoma was able to get a base hit towards Sammy, but after an error, Caden advanced to third and now the Crushers had runners on the corners with only one out. Fortunately for the Mustangs, Sammy pumped some gas both to Aidan and Caden and was able to strike out both to end the top of the first.
Going into the bottom half of the inning, Aidan McDermott, acquired in FA, would be the starter for the Crushers, a move that proved to be costly right away. Matthew Zuppardi would hit an absolute tank off of Aidan. Matthew immediately made his presence felt for his new squad and immediately set the tone for the game. “Yea, it can’t get much worse than that, unless it becomes back-to-back home runs,” Quinn said. Well, Quinn, you’re foreshadowing skills are perfect, because immediately after saying this, Reazer hit a grazer over the left-field fence to grant the Mustangs a 2-0 lead with 0 outs. “Could be worse,” Quinn said. Next up, new addition Sam Koske, a .636 hitter last season would step up to the plate. Koske managed to hit a weak dribbler towards the pitcher and reach first. The game just seemed over and it wasn’t even a quarter of the way through. After this sequence of events, Caden came in to relieve Aidan.
To add to the wounds for the Crushers, after a Tyler Davis walk, Reazer would hit an oppo taco to expand the lead to five. After a walk to Zuppardi and another hit by Reazer, Sartain was able to strike out Koske to finally end the inning. Woefully, the damage had already been done. New Mustang pitcher Tyler Davis would go on to pitch a scoreless inning in the 2nd and the 3rd respectively. In the bottom of the 3rd, spirits crushed, Caden made the bold move to put in Quinn. Mr curveball promptly gave up a home run to reserve, Lucas Whitworth, to improve the lead to 6-0. After another home run by Zuppardi in the next at-bat to grow the lead to seven, Connor Thoma came into pitch. After a sequence of base hits and walks, the Mustangs put up three more runs to lengthen the lead to ten. The Crushers were able to finally end the onslaught, but the game was already over.
In the top of the fourth, the Crushers were finally able to get on the board after a run on a walk, and even a grand slam from Connor. Reazer was able to force a groundout to Aidan which ended the game. The Mustangs came out on top 10-5 and put on a dominant performance. The Crushers on the other hand… extremely underwhelming and that’s an understatement.
Player of the game Sammy Reazer went 6/6 with two home runs and two earned runs on the mound. Here's what he had to say about his team's performance: “The question for our team was whether or not Tyler could pitch. Rewind the video and you’ll see that my lord he can pitch. That was the difference-maker and of course, we went crazy at the plate.” Reazer remarked.
Sartain kept confidence in his team and believes they can improve on their performance. “We just played the best team in the league right there, that’s the team to beat. Overall, Connor did well. We will play worse teams and get some wins, don’t overreact because we will be ok.” Caden stated.
With a very offensive heavy and dominant performance from the Mustangs, it’s a credible assumption to make that the Mustangs are the frontrunners to win it all. The Crushers have work to do, but despite a 10-5 loss, don’t be shocked to see them bounce back and get another shot at the Mustangs in the playoffs.