Cookies & Cream beat the Ham Slams 5-0 in the pivotal fifth game of their first-round series, thanks in large part to Dinger, who delivered one of the best performances in a series-deciding game in EWL history. He pitched a complete game two-hit shutout while also going 4-for-4 with a home run and 3 runs scored.
Dinger came into the game 0-2 in the series and was the losing pitcher in games 2 and 4 despite turning in strong outings in both games. With Guthrie out for game 5, Dinger would return to the mound for the third time in the series.
The game’s first batter, Anthony, ripped a line drive off the fence. However, Vassallo fielded the ball quickly, gunned the ball to the mound, and Cookies & Cream were able to catch him in between bases trying to extend the single into a double for the first out. Dinger then retired Steve, and the game was scoreless after the top of the first.
Charlie started on the mound for the Ham Slams for the fifth consecutive game, and Cookies & Cream would get on the board quickly in the bottom of the first. Joey was retired for the first out of the inning, but with one out, Blose crushed a long solo homer to left-center, making the score 1-0. Charlie then retired Vassallo to end the inning.
Jamie led off the top of the second for the Slams, making his first appearance of the 2014 season in a designated hitter role. Dinger retired him, and then retired Riley to end the inning.
Dinger doubled to lead off the bottom of the second, and after Joey flew out for the first out of the inning, Blose followed with an RBI double, scoring Dinger to make the score 2-0. Charlie avoided further damage after allowing the run, retiring Vassallo to end the inning.
Dinger continued to roll in the top of the third, retiring the side in order.
Up 2-0, Dinger provided his own run support in the bottom of the third. He led off the inning with a solo homer to center, putting Cookies & Cream ahead 3-0. Charlie retired the next two batters to end the inning.
The Ham Slams continued to struggle at the plate in the top of the fourth, as Jamie went down on strikes, followed by Riley grounding out to center.
Cookies & Cream would add two more runs to their total in the bottom of the fourth. Vassallo flew out for the first out of the inning, but Dinger followed with a single. The next batter, Joey, hit a two-run homer to left, extending the Cookies lead to 5-0. Charlie retired Blose for the second out of the inning, but the Slams trailed by five runs late in the game.
Dinger retired Anthony for the first out in the top of the fifth, and Steve followed with a single, only the second Ham Slams hit of the game. But the Slams couldn’t rally, as Dinger retired the next batter, Jamie, stranding the runner and maintaining the five-run lead.
Charlie pitched his first scoreless inning of the game in the bottom of the fifth. Vassallo flew out to start the inning, and after Dinger hit a one-out single, Joey was retired to end the inning.
Trailing 5-0 and down to their final at-bat of the season, the Ham Slams needed a miracle to stun Cookies & Cream and force extra innings. The miracle didn’t come, as Dinger continued to retired Ham Slams hitters. Riley and Anthony were retired in order, ending the game and giving Cookies & Cream a 5-0 game 5 victory.
The win advanced Cookies & Cream, the defending EWL Champions, to the Wiffle Series for the second consecutive season. They will await the winner of the Questionable Outfit/Eastbound & Dahn series which Questionable leads 2-1. The Ham Slams fell in the first round for the third consecutive year. The Slams lost in 5 games to the Fish Sticks in 2012 and were swept by Questionable Outfit in 2013.
For the first time in the four year history of the Ellsworth Wiffleball League, the field was turned upside down and the game was played in an alternative direction on the wiffle diamond. Construction equipment blocked the standard center field fence, so the field was turned sideways and the game was played toward a different side of the fence. The new field had similar dimension to the left and right field foul poles, but there were a few differences, primarily a deeper centerfield, a more spacious outfield, and no tree in left field. Both teams seemed out of place at first on the new field, but they also adapted quickly to the new conditions, and the field was well received by all parties. It was looked upon so favorably that the league may adopt the secondary field for regular use in upcoming seasons.
W: Dinger (1-2)
L: Charlie (1-3)
– Dinger pitched the complete game shutout for Cookies & Cream in a historically dominant playoff performance. He allowed only 2 hits while striking out one in 6 innings.
– Charlie took the loss for the Ham Slams, allowing 5 earned runs on 7 hits in 5 innings.
– Dinger led Cookies & Cream at the plate, going 4-for-4 with 2 singles, a double, a home run, 3 runs scored, and one RBI.
– Blose and Joey also homered for Cookies & Cream.