Bananas look to even series after dropping Game 1 in front of sold-out crowd

Everybody loves a good comeback story. Robert Downey Jr. Seabiscuit. Now, The Savannah Bananas.

Despite being the team that finished with the best record in the CPL for the summer, the Nanners now get the chance to prove their ability to be the comeback kids. Though they fell 4-0 to the visiting High Point-Thomasville HiToms on Sunday night in Game 1 of the CPL West division semifinals, these Nanners should never be counted out.

Southpaw Ryan Kennedy got the call for the Nanners in Game 1 and was lights out for the first three innings. Rocking the pants up look (a great look btw Ryan), Kennedy’s slider was untouchable. He struck out the side to begin the game and had six punch-outs through the first three innings. Easy, breezy, lemon squeezy.

Then Kennedy ran into a bit of bad luck. After allowing his first hit of the game on a line drive to left field, the following HiToms hitter slapped a hard chopper bounced over the head of Dan Oberst at first base and went down the line. Not even his luscious flow could give Oberst enough hops to grab this ball. It turned into a triple and a run scored. Not really anything you can do about it. Sometimes the ball just bounces the wrong way. Kennedy then allowed a sac fly to center field but limited the damage to two runs.

The man with the best ERA (0.73) in the entire CPL for the 2021 summer gave the Nanners his longest outing of the season. Kennedy finished the game with 7.0 innings pitched, six hits, three runs (two earned), no walks and seven strikeouts.

Outside of that fourth inning of bad luck, it was a very strong outing for Kennedy. The Bananas kept the theme of lefties for the game as Andrew Armstrong came on in relief. He quickly showed the HiToms his unbelievable move to first base is not to be trifled with.

It was all defense for the Bananas on Sunday night. The viral Bill LeRoy did his best impression at being an assassin in the top of the fifth inning. We’re talking Bucky Barnes, Winter Soldier, level of assassin when he shot down a would-be base stealer with this laser.

The Nanners offense threatened a few times early in the game but couldn’t string enough together to push any runs across the board. In the third inning, the ever-scrappy Jesse Sherrill, whose golden locks likely give him a Fast & Furious type boost when he’s running, slapped a two-out single to left while smooth-as-silk Eduardo Malinowski followed that up with a single of his own. It seemed the Nanners were cooking with gas, but they were unable to capitalize.

Also, in the third inning, Nolan Daniels crushed with the Banana toss from the bleachers to a fan on the field with oversized pants—like Aladdin style baggy. The Dublin, GA native showed impeccable accuracy tossing bananas into this fan’s pants from halfway up the bleachers. I don’t have the stats on hand but I’m pretty sure he had something like a 90% accuracy rate. Someone fact-check me on that.

Back to the game, in the bottom of the fourth inning, Bryson Bloomer’s swaggy aura must have been intimidating as he took a hit by pitch ever so gracefully on a 1-2 pitch with two outs. Ty Jackson got the grandstands rocking when he shot a ball to right-center, moving Bloomer to third base. Still, the Nanners couldn’t get the ball to bounce their way and the inning ended without a run.

At this point in the game, the pie count was up to five, just in case you were wondering.

Things got a bit chippy in the ninth inning at Grayson Stadium. Lefty Andrew Armstrong, who had come in relief for Kennedy, let an errant pitch hit Vaughn Seibert to lead off the inning. Seibert took his time walking down to first base as he and Armstrong exchanged words.

Then Dan Oberst, oozing with pride for his teammate, had some choice words for Seibert when he got to first base—likely letting him know how ridiculous it is to think Armstrong would intentionally put a runner on down 3-0. This fired up just about everyone in BananaLand. After everything settled down, Armstrong used that ridiculous Andy Pettitte-like pick off move to catch Seibert leaning and steal an out.

The HiToms wound up pushing another run across to take a 4-0 lead going into the ninth inning. Even with the sold-out crowd in BananaLand pumping with electricity, the ball simply didn’t bounce the way the Nanners needed it to.

No stress, though. This team can’t and shouldn’t be counted out just yet. Everybody loves a good comeback story.

Nanners Of The Game

Ryan Kennedy: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R (2 ER), 0 BB, 7 K

Andrew Armstrong: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K

Bryson Bloomer: 0-2, 1 BB, 1 HBP

What’s Next For The Nanners?

The Most Entertaining Team in Baseball will be on the road Monday for Game 2 against the HiToms at Finch Field. First pitch is set for 7:00 p.m. with Biko Rico Suave on the pregame at 6:50 p.m. ET.

No doubt about it. We will see you back here in BananaLand on Tuesday for Game 3.

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