The Thai Tigers softball team had a tough task at hand playing the so far unbeaten number one in the BISL league in Bangkok on Sunday, November 15. The mighty Hit Squad team was not only the number 1 in the league but also the best offensive team with an average of 18.8 runs per game. To counter that, the Pattaya based Thai Tigers could offer the best defensive record in the league so far, only allowing their opponents an average of 8 runs per game, so it was to be a contest to decide what wins Slo Pitch Softball games – offense or defense.
In the first game the Tigers did look like an offensive machine, coming out swinging and hitting 2 bombs for home runs in the bottom of first inning and driving up the score to 4-0 after just 1 inning. This seemed to rouse the Hit Squad into action and they came back strongly to score 6 runs themselves in the top of the next frame, blasting 3 HRs in the process.
It looked like the scoring machine of the Hit Squad powerhouse had started rolling but this was not what the marvelous pitching and skillful defending Thai Tigers had in mind and no more runs were scored by the hosts for another 3 innings, while the Tigers plugged in another 2 runs in the bottom of the 5th frame to tie the game at 6 all.
The Hit Squad suddenly looked vulnerable and beatable, though they scored 1 more in the top of the 6th inning and 2 more in the top of the 7th to take the lead once more at 9-6.
Trailing at the bottom of the 7th and final inning it was all or nothing for the Tigers who have in past games shown a capacity to challenge late in the game. Once again they came through like a well-oiled machine, scoring 4 runs in the bottom of the 7th and only recording 1 out to win a thrilling game by a margin of 10–9.
Thai Tigers’ batter Oaf smiles after hitting a home run in Game 1.
The Tigers ignored the wise adage to “never change a winning team” and made some alterations to their selection for Game 2. It took them a long time to get into the grove with the new lineup as suddenly their offense fell quiet. Nevertheless, the Pattaya team almost pulled off a double upset on the day as the Tigers’ defense kept the normally monster scoring Hit Squad under control, although they did take advantage of a few Tigers’ mistakes to lead 4-0 after 4 innings. Then something clicked in the Tigers and they exploded for 6 runs in the top of the 5th frame to put them ahead 6-4 in the game.
As previous noted, waking up the Hit Squad can prove costly as the first 2 batters up in the bottom of the same inning blasted solo HRs to tie the contest at 6 all. No one else from the Hit Squad team scored, though they managed to load the bases with 1 out in the next 2 innings, thus the game ended regulation still level at 6-6.
With an extra innings to be played, the Thai Tigers made a costly base running mistake in the first extra inning and the Hit Squad capitalized, loaded up the bases and their #4 hitter came through with the game winning clutch hit to end the game 7-6.
Pitcher Ron Moss was voted MVP against the Hit Squad.
The Thai Tigers left Bangkok having achieved a great split for the day, though a bit of sadness was felt as they were so close sweeping the #1 team in the league.
Note: If you would like to get involved in some fun baseball or softball in Pattaya, contact the Thai Tigers player/head coach Dirk at [email protected] Or you can also drop by at new team sponsor Fraser’s Sports Bar and Restaurant on Thappraya Road and ask Stewart on how to contact the Tigers.