BLW’s first slate of games is officially over and it’s safe to say this season has certainly lived up to the pre-season hype. Rounding out the first of five slates was an epic series between the Eastern Extreme and Arctic Altitude. It was a battle between two number-one overall picks and two MVP candidates. One of these stars was none other than Jaxson Blum who drove over five hours from California to make his BLW debut. The other was a familiar and formidable foe in Brody Livingston, the league's pre-season MVP front-runner.
Blum made his mark on BLW early, throwing a no-hitter in game one. As if that wasn’t enough, Blum capped off game one with a walk-off home run. Nearing the finish line of game two, it seemed as if the Altitude were in full control of the series. Leading 2-0 heading into the bottom frame of the first extra inning, Blum walked two batters and recorded two crucial outs to set up a matchup between Livingston and Blum in a scenario that kids dream about. Bottom of the last, two outs, and the bases loaded. However, Altitude manager Joey Jankowski took the bat out of Livingston’s hands by giving him the Barry Bonds treatment, intentionally walking in a run. Younger brother Barrett Livingston stepped to the plate with the game in his hands. After trailing 1-2 in the count, Livingston battled back and brought across the game-tying run. It was here that the series momentum shifted from the Altitude to the Extreme. Blum worked out of the jam but to no avail as Brody Livingston walked off the game in the ensuing inning. Game three was another Livingston masterpiece, pitching a shutout and hitting a go-ahead three-run shot that ultimately clinched the game and the series for the Extreme.
Livingston and the Extreme will be back in action next week as they face the Diamonds on the second end of a back-to-back. With that said, the Diamonds will be without manager Matthew Saba who requested and received a trade following their opening series. Earlier today it was announced that Saba had been dealt to the Pacific Panthers in exchange for a top-three protected pick. The Diamonds were also cleared to sign free agent Tripp Atkinson. This move certainly places the Panthers in the conversation for a second consecutive World Series title. We’ll see just how fast this benefits them when they face the Coastal Cougars in two weeks.