On a blazing afternoon at Rose Field, the Altitude and Wolves squared off in what would be a series filled with emotion and controversy. After an unexpected 1st inning with a combined twelve runs walked in, both squads regrouped. Despite runners in scoring position in both the top and bottom half of the 2nd inning, both pitchers exited the inning with a scoreless frame. This all set the scene for arguably the most controversial and dramatic inning in BLW history.
Joey Jankowski stepped up to the plate, runners on 1st and 2nd base, only 1 out. With two strikes on him, Jankowski managed to hit a jam-shot off the hands full of spin just over first base. Luke Rose, playing right field at the time, attempted to field the ball after it had landed fair and spun into foul territory. Initially, Jaxson Blum looked as if he would hold at 3rd base setting up a bases loaded opportunity for Shawn Green. However, as soon as Blum recognized Rose had bobbled the ball, he darted for home. Rose fired the ball directly at the backstop only to go through the net, leading Braeden Lewis to round 3rd base and score at home. This bang-bang play led to a set of questions: Was Blum safe or out at home? Was Lewis at 3rd base when the ball went through the backstop? Blum was originally called out at home but a review was sure to come. As if that wasn’t wild enough, the main camera had overheated on the previous pitch and the camera behind the pitcher was blurred due to the heat. This left absolutely no footage to review the play, leaving it entirely up to three eye witnesses. The initial play at the plate was upheld, ruling Blum out. The remainder and majority of the fifteen minute review focused on the positioning of Braeden Lewis when the ball broke through the net. It was eventually determined that he hadn’t reached 3rd base, therefore awarding him 3rd base instead of home plate.
Feeling betrayed, Shawn Green stepped in the box, looking to prove something. On an 0-2 count Green made contact on a slow chopper, forcing a tough decision for Logan Rose. He chose wrong as his throw to the plate was late in another controversial play that featured a lengthy review. Blum and the rest of the Altitude team let the emotion show in praise of their clutch teammate. The Altitude now led 8-7 heading into the bottom of the last. It seemed as if Blum had found a rhythm on the mound, striking out Jake Tucker in a hurry. With 1 out and a runner on 2nd base, Luke Rose dug into the dirt, looking to break out of an early slump. Rose jumped on the first strike he saw, driving it over the left field bushes and out of the park. Once again, emotions flared as Blum dropped to his knees and Rose rounded the bases in celebration.
The remaining two games of the series certainly didn’t disappoint but nothing compares to the controversy that went down in game one. Next week, we’ll recap Panthers-Cougars, a series that will look very different from that of years past. It’ll be fascinating to see if the renewed rosters of both squads continue the rivalry of the past.