Game six of the season has the utmost potential to see itself as the game of the year by far. The Riptides and the Crushers are both coming off of losses and are both seeking to claw their way into the win column. Each team is overly similar, featuring both solid pitching and hitting, but nothing truly sticks out. It's sure to be a battle of two teams in the middle of the pack, so let’s analyze some keys to the game for each team.
Get hits when it matters: Last game vs the Steamrollers, the Riptides found themselves with two massive opportunities to drive in a few runs, but as we know, they managed to score none of those. In total, the Riptides stranded four runners on base, two of those runners occupying third. It truly doesn’t matter if you can get guys on base especially if you can’t get hits when it matters. The biggest key for this team is to capitalize on their opportunities and execute in the clutch. Hudson, Jake, and Josh are serviceable hitters, so there is zero doubt in my mind that they are more than capable.
Get on the board first: Blitzball is an extremely mentally taxing game. Any player in the league will tell you this and as a former player myself, I'll admit firsthand that it’s stressful. Due to the culmination of factors that make this game so incredibly difficult, it’s important to strike first and strike early. I think that a huge aspect of winning a game is taking the momentum and running with it and that’s exactly what the Riptides need to do. Set the tone on the mound, rake at the plate early and they could witness the Crushers struggle with adversity. We saw it last year that when the Crushers don’t score first, they have issues with finding a stride and making a comeback. We even saw it against the Mustangs. Until we see a change in that, don’t expect any sort of change.
Dominate on the mound: While I believe that this is important for just about every team in the league, it’s glaringly obvious that this applies to the Crushers. In-game one, the Mustangs hit back-to-back home runs off of Aidan and it just continued to spiral downhill from that point on. We need to see lots more consistency from Aidan and just in general, throwing more strikes. The Riptides are a solid hitting team, but they are nowhere near the caliber of the Mustangs. If the Crushers can dominate on the mound, Quinn, Caden, Aidan, and Connor can do some solid work at the plate and lead the team to a 1-1 record.
Overcome adversity: I think that it’s reasonable to point out that this team gave up against the Mustangs. They went down early and they stayed down, not even attempting to get back. Blitzball is a game that cannot be predicted easily and things happen unexpectedly. If the Riptides are to take an early lead, the Crushers need to be ready to regroup, calm down, and just play their game until they see themselves on top. Caden needs to make sure that he is staying positive and reminding his team that they are not out of the game, no matter what the score is.
My pick: So, wrapping up, it's excruciatingly hard to choose a winner. These teams are immensely balanced and exceedingly similar. But, in my opinion, I see the Crushers winning this game in a tight one, 2-1. I think that Aidan and Caden have solid performances on the mound, but so do Jake and Hudson. Crushers will go up 2-0 but the Riptides will score one late but unfortunately will leave a runner on to end the game.