Bananas Drop Tough One in Wilmington 5-2

Written by Biko Skalla:


An unfortunate call from an umpire, a lack of hitting, one untimely defensive miscue, and a couple two-strike pitches that caught too much of the plate cost the Bananas Wednesday night’s game in Buck Hardee Field.

It looked like everything was turning up Nanners early on as Bryson, Socks Out for the Boys, Bloomer, stroked a single to left to leadoff the ballgame. Armando, I Walk so I Can Run, Becerra, and Livan, Hitting Zone > Strike Zone, Reinoso, both walked to load the bases with nobody out. Beau, Their Shortstop is Good, Brewer, bounced a ball towards the six hole that was cutoff by Andrew, Oh I Know, Ciufo, who made an excellent play to snag the ball and make a jump throw to second to get an out as Bryson scored. Bryce, Sick of Hitting Pillows, Madron, stung a ball to left for a sacrifice fly that scored Armando to give Savannah a 2-0 lead. In the bottom half, Gage, Strikeouts are Overrated, Voorhees, worked around an infield single and got helped out by a sweet sliding catch from Bloomer in right to toss a scoreless frame.

With one out in the second, Dylan, Bro What?, Kurahashi-Choy Foo walked, then Danny, Are You Serious?, Gutcher, worked a walk as well and the next hitter David, What Are We Even Doing Here?, Meadows, took a free pass too. That marked the end of the night for Alex, Sometimes You Don’t Have the Good Stuff, Logusch, who was replaced by Peyton, NO RUNS FOR YOU, Consigli. Bloomer lined the first offering from the new pitcher to right for an easy sac fly scoring Dylan from third, but also trying to advance on the play was the Bananas catcher Danny Gutcher who is significantly slower than Choy-Foo. Because of that, Dylan scored well before Danny arrived at third, and a really nice throw from Wyatt, This Went Better Than I Ever Could Have Expected, Crenshaw, made it a close enough play that Gutcher was ruled out even thought he and Tyler, This One’s Beyond Belief, Gillum, were certain the tag didn’t come close to him. But all in all, it was an acceptable ending to the inning as the Bananas scored a run and were now up 3-0. BUT WAIT. The home plate umpire inexplicably ruled that Danny had been tagged out at third before Dylan touched home plate, meaning the run would not count. Gillum rightfully exploded with confusion as to how that could be the call, but no matter how Tyler doth protest, he could not break the iron will of the man calling balls and strikes. Here’s the picture that explains it all…

As you can see, Dylan is done with his slide onto home and looking back to watch the rest of the play before Danny has even started his slide into third base. I hate to harp on a play so much that I have to offer up picture evidence to tell the story of it, but this play completely changed the course of the rest of the game. As I explained in my first sentence tonight, the Bananas lack of hitting, one costly error, and a couple two-strike pitches that were too meaty for the moment are the main reasons the Nanners lost this game. But this play is the straw the stirs the drink of the entire rest of this game, as every ensuing situation is transformed by the Bananas having two runs and not three. Also, nothing gets Biko angrier than stats being incorrect, and I feel for Bloomer more than I probably should for the fact that this goes into the book as a 9-5 double play that hurts his batting average instead of a sac fly that would reward him with a well deserved RBI and not lower his average at all. Okay, I’ll get off my soap box now. What can you do, everybody knows it was quality at-bat by The Boomer and that’s that.

Gage would retire the last ten guys he faced, ending his night with four innings of shutout ball, only allowing the infield single in the first inning and avenging that hit by notching his one strikeout of the night against Ciufo.

Peyton Consigli was devastating on the bump for Wilmington too, scattering two hits and one walk across 5.2 scoreless innings of relief while striking out six Nanners. Jestin, Mad Hatter, Jones, tossed a scoreless bottom of the fifth and then gave up a leadoff single in the sixth. The next man up, Pat, Man Teeth, Monteith, ripped a one-hopper up the middle that D.R. made an insane diving play on but Choy Foo couldn’t handle David’s flip to second base, so instead of a man at first with one out there two on and no outs. A sac bunt pushed both runners over and then Andrew Ciufo flared an 0-2 curveball into rightfield for a game-tying two-run single. Jestin notched a strikeout and then gave up a liner for a single to right setting up first and third with two down, triggering Gillum to bring in Nolan, I’d Rather Cease to Exist Than Allow an Inherited Runner to Score, Daniel, who induced a flyout to end the threat.

Armando led off the eighth against new man on the mound Nash, This One’s for 2021, Bryan, and worked a six-pitch walk. Mando stole second and then advanced to third on a soft grounder to short from Livan. With the infield in, Beau tapped a 3-2 pitch to short, Becerra broke for home on contact and was narrowly gunned down by Ciufo. Brewer would swipe second but a flyout to deep left-center from Madron would keep the boys off the board. Nolan gave up an infield single to start the bottom half of the eighth on a grounder to first from Ciufo, who may be the current fastest man in the world. Somebody’s gotta send him to an Olympic qualifier. A sac bunt pushed Andrew to second and then AJ, Take 5, Mendolia, took a walk on five pitches, setting up Wyatt Crenshaw who stroked an RBI double deep to right to give the Sharks their first lead of the night. Nolan induced an infield grounder with the fellas in on the grass to hold Mendolia at third base, and Gillum went to Leighton, I’m Sorry Nolan, Finley. With a 1-2 count on Mason, Thanks for Coming, Landers, Finley left a breaking ball in the zone that was bounced back up the middle for a two-run single giving Wilmington a 5-2 lead.

Caiden, Dodges, Wood, came in for the save opportunity and Justus greeted him with a screaming line drive down the third base line but was robbed of extra bases by Mendolia who made a phenomenal full extension diving play. KFC grounded a hard hit base knock through the right side but Gutcher struck out and Meadows was retired on a sharp grounder to first to end the ballgame.

The Nanners only would scratch across the two runs in the first inning, with the three walks in the second being spoiled by the bizarro no-run call and then the guys failed to come through with runners in scoring position in the fifth and eighth. Everything that happened after the top of the second inning was heavily influenced by what occurred in the top of the second inning, but in the end the fellas lost the game because of a stifled offense, the untimely error, and a pair of two-strike pitches that just caught too much of the dish and were capitalized on by Wilmington.

The Bananas return to Grayson looking to bounce back, as they have done after all six of their previous losses. The boys welcome the Florence Flamingos into town who have played them tougher than any other team in the CPL. The good news is the Nanners are 12-1 at home. The bad news is they’re 8-6 on the road, and will need to get back to their winning ways outside of the friendly confines of Grayson Stadium if they want to win the race with Morehead City for the best record in the league and the home field advantage throughout the playoffs that comes with it. We’ll be live at 6:30pm eastern tomorrow night and first pitch will be at 7:00pm, as always on Bananas Insiders. 

Shoutout, Adam, That Man was Trying to Bait Me!, Moreau, and Josh, I’ll Never Forget Winnie’s, Talevski, for help with our nicknames tonight.

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