Game three of the Como Blitzball season featured a highly anticipated rivalry, along with a few other interesting things of note. Former Steamroller, Jake Short, would finally get an opportunity to face his former captain, Joey Dimeo, who shipped him off for extra draft picks. Hudson Borgmeyer would finally get his opportunity as a captain in the league, and Lastly, Josh Bradley would make his return. This game was sure to be a tight one until the final pitch.
This game wasted no time to increase the hostility between Jake and Joey. The Riptides won the bat toss, so Jake had his opportunity to pitch to his former captain in the first at-bat of the game. Short was able to work the count up to four balls and two strikes and after a fastball placed firmly on the inside part of the zone, he was able to strike out Joey. Jake made sure to let Joey feel it as well, providing a mere 10-second glare into Joey’s soul. Jake then went on to strike out Matt Foster and Noah Swafford, effectively striking out the side.
Matt, who has been labeled by many as Jake’s replacement, would be the starting pitcher for the Steamrollers. Matt would have an identical inning to Jake, as he was able to strike out all three batters he faced. Foster showed excellent movement on his pitches and looked unhittable.
In the top of the second, Hudson came on to pitch. He had an impressive inning, only allowing one hit to Joey, effectively ending the no-hitter. Joey pitched in the bottom of the second and this is when the game started to get exciting. Hudson would walk on a full-count pitch and make his way to first. Josh Bradley then stepped up and hit a weak dribbler on the first baseline, just making it to first. During this play, Hudson was able to make his way to third, so now the Riptides had runners on the corners with one out. Unfortunately for the Riptides, Joey was able to get out of the jam after strikeouts to Jake and Dayton, stranding the runners on the corners.
The first and only run of the game came in the top of the third inning after a Joey home run. Joey was able to foul off a few of Hudson’s fastballs and after getting the timing down, hit an absolute pimp job to center to put the Steamrollers on top. Hudson was able to get out of the inning preceding the unfortunate event, but the damage had been done.
The Riptides had quite the opportunity to tie the game in the bottom half of the third, but a controversial base-running decision from Hudson eliminated the opportunity. Dayton hit a beautiful liner towards third. Matt would field the ball and make the throw to second to attempt to get the force out, but the throw was low and the ball sailed past. Hudson sprinted towards third and began to run home, but shortly decided to return to third, a decision costing his team. “I honestly forgot that the strike zone needed to be hit. In the past, it’s always been the backstop, I definitely should have gone home.” Borgmeyer said.
The Steamrollers stranded the bases loaded in the top of the fourth and now the Riptides had one last opportunity to continue, or even win the game. Josh was able to put a ball in play off of Matt. Richie’s throw from third sailed over Joey’s head and Josh made his way to second. Joey made an incredible throw and was able to throw out Josh by a mile. Matt then went on to strike out Jake and Dayton, giving the Steamrollers a 1-0 record to start the season and giving Joey bragging rights.
This game was the epitome of a pitching duel. Only one run was scored and both teams were efficient on the mound. If it weren’t for a few questionable base-running decisions from the Riptides, maybe this game could have ended differently. Unfortunately, “if” will remain unknown. Both teams will surely be tough opponents for each team they play this season.