Bananas survive long rain delay, advance to CPL championship

Two hours and forty-five minutes. A trip to the concrete heat of Columbia, SC. Watching Avengers: Infinity War. These are things you could do while waiting for the rain delay that the Savannah Bananas and High Point-Thomasville HiToms endured in Game 3 of the semifinals of the CPL playoffs on Tuesday night.

Even with the delay, the party didn’t stop for the Bananas and the faithful crowd in BananaLand who decided to stick around. It was an incredible effort from Jesse, Shark all the way down the list to keep the vibes going. There was dancing, tarp slides and even new promotions. And of course, free food! I may or may not have taken a few trips to the concession stand in the grandstands. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the highlights that went down during the rain delay:

  • Nolan Daniel continued his smooth moves crushing the Cupid Shuffle on top of the home dugout with Man-Nana Hopper Meyers, who sadly didn’t have his Mandalorian helmet on. Can’t be rocking Beskar all the time I guess.
  • Princess Potassia give us big Disney vibes with an encore performance.
  • We had a Banana vs. Monkey float race in the grandstands. It was a tight race but the
  • Richard Simmons (aka Tyler Gray) made an appearance to get everyone loosened up after sitting a while. Phenomenal hip work from Eduardo Malinowski, Adam Moreau and Turner Pruitt.
  • Hayden Harris showed some incredible distance on the tarp slide. My man literally slid almost the entire distance of the tarp from shallow right field to the visitor’s dugout. He won the tarp slide race with relative ease over Nolan Daniel and Matt Boynton.

Wanna know what it was like waiting for the rain delay to pass? It went a little bit like this:

TheFirstFourInningsWentReallyQuickBecauseKyleLuigsIs#Good. And then the tarp came on the field.

Rain Delay

Rain Delay

Rain Delay

More Rain Delay

Nolan Daniel does the Cupid Shuffle

More Rain Delay

I make my second trip to the concession stands with Mike and Ben.

Keep Scrolling.

Keep Scrolling.

More Rain Delay.

You get the point.

It was a long time.

Luigs Gets It Going

When the Most Entertaining Team in Baseball needed a win to keep their season alive, is there anyone else the Nanners would turn to? The legend of Kyle Luigs continued to grow even into his fourth summer with the Bananas. With their backs against the wall, Luigs left it all out on the field.

The BananaLand legend cruised through four innings allowing just one hit and two total baserunners before the rain gods put a halt to the game for a two-hour, 45-minute rain delay. Apparently, the rain gods felt Luigs was pitching too well for the game to continue without a delay.

Still, Luigs finished with 4.0 innings pitched, one hit, one walks and one strikeout on the night for what wound up being a spectacular outing, weather considered.

Play Resumes

Play resumed in the bottom of the fourth inning with the Bananas leading 1-0. The inning resumed with two runners on and one out. The rain delay must have given the boys some extra juice because they came out firing. Stop me if you’ve heard this before. Jesse Sherrill laid down an unreal bunt for a base hit. That loaded the bases.

The crowd remaining may not have been jam-packed but they were impactful as the HiToms pitcher balked to score a run for the Bananas. Ty Jackson worked the count and got on via walk to load the bases for arguably the best hitter in the CPL, Dan Oberst. He proved as much, too, by smoking a ball to right center field to drive in two runs. There wasn’t a huge crowd, but BananaLand was fired up.

Seven-foot lefty Jared Beck came in to relieve Kyle Luigs after the rain delay. The swagger and trash-talking was infectious from the lanky lefty. He struck out two in his first inning of work (fifth inning of the game) and brought the momentum fully to the Nanners. Even when a HiTom would get on base, Beck used his nasty pickoff move to snag a runner. And the stare down after was simply immaculate.

Beck was incredible going 4.0 innings, two hits, no walks and four strike outs.

In the bottom of the fifth, Nick Clarno notched his second hit of the night to drive in Bryson Bloomer. A wild pitch moved Clarno to second and the Heart of BananaLand, Bill LeRoy, smoked a single to left field to score Clarno, giving the Nanners a 6-0 lead.

The always fired-up Clarno had a night to remember in BananaLand. Leading the way with three hits, Stone Cold Nick Clarno is just glad he could contribute.

“[It feels] good. We got the dub. That’s all I care about,” said Clarno after the thrilling win.

During the rain delay, it can be hard to keep focused on getting ready to play again, especially after almost three hours. But it wasn’t difficult for the Nanners to stay focused with Reggie keeping the team motivated.

“We just hung out in the locker room, kept the talk going, kept talking about the game of baseball. Reggie kept us locked in so you know he’s always going to keep us locked in no matter what,” Clarno said. “He’s a big part of our winning and big part of how good our season has been.”

Just for some insurance, the Bananas continued to rake HiToms pitching. Ty Jackson added his second hit of the night to lead off the eighth inning followed by a Dan Oberst walk. Eduardo Malinowski smoked a ball up the middle to score Jackson, who got a little twerking in after he crossed home plate. Classic Ty.

Clarno smacked a single to right in the ensuing at bat, scoring Oberst while Cole Kitchen hit a single to left to score Malinowski, putting the Nanners up 10-0. Dylan Cunningham did the rest by retiring the HiToms in order.

Crushing The Player Dance

The boys absolutely crushed it on the dance floor Tuesday night. Giving me flashbacks to watching White Chicks, there is no doubt they would win a dance-off if they ever found themselves in that kind of environment. You never know when someone’s about to step to you.

Led by Maceo on the choreography, Nanners pitchers Nolan Daniel, Andrew Armstrong and Matt Maletesta were fluid in their movements and worked as a unit as they danced to Crazy in Love by Beyonce. Learning these dances just hours before the game isn’t easy, but the boys certainly paid homage to Queen B.

Nanners of the Game

Nick Clarno: 3-3, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB

Bill LeRoy: 2-4, 1 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB

Ty Jackson: 2-3, 1 R, 2 BB

Eduardo Malinowski: 2-5, 1 R, 2 RBI

What’s Next For The Nanners?

The Bananas have moved onto the CPL Championship! They will be visiting the Moorehead City Marlins on Thursday, Aug. 5 for Game 1 and will be home for Game 2 at Grayson Stadium on Friday, Aug. 6. Game 3 will also be at Grayson Stadium on Saturday if necessary. Tickets for Friday’s game are available now on the website!

Nick Clarno is certainly ready for the challenge.

“We feel great about it. I don’t think anybody can stand with us when we’re on our game.”

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