The A’s finished tied for fourth in the Tri-State Baseball League, a two-spot improvement from a sixth-place finish last year.
“The past two years have ended the same way, in the respect that when it came down to pitching we just had nothing left. It doesn’t help that the championship tournament is run like a softball tournament, with us playing four games in less than 24 hours,” lamented head coach Billy Massingale. “Going into Saturday, it was a must-win for us, due to one-tenth of a winning percentage point that cost us a first-round bye.”
The A’s won game one Saturday, sending the team to the double elimination round. The A’s beat the North Georgia Tigers 2-1 in a pitcher’s duel. Steve Currie, Tyler Hogan and Dalton Montgomery held the Tigers to a single run while Hogan and Will Ellis plated runs for the A’s.
In game two, the A’s suffered a tough loss with the same 2-1 score, this time to the Dodgers of Chattanooga.
“By Sunday morning we were tired, sore and lifeless,” said Massingale. “I had no idea how we were going to do our pitching rotation for Sunday’s game. We had our backs to the wall knowing it was one game at a time for the rest of the day. Tyler Cross stepped up big time. He single-handedly carried this team on his shoulders by throwing a complete game shutout against a very good hitting team, the Chattanooga Phillies. We had just played them the week before and took a 7-5 loss in extra innings so we knew they could hit the ball.”
Cross allowed runners to reach base in the first, fifth and sixth innings, but with timely strikeouts and two sparkling double plays by Hogan and Massingale, all threats were stopped dead in their tracks.
“Tyler pitched his heart out. You hear the phrase ‘leave it on the field’ a lot, and that is exactly what he did. He finished the day with nine strikeouts and only one walk. As if that wasn’t enough, Tyler also capped off the day with a three-run blast to deep center, adding to his league-leading total of eight home runs,” said Massingale.
But, that was all the A’s could muster. The Cleveland team fell to the Nationals in game four and were eliminated from the playoffs just two games shy of a championship spot. The final of game four was 5-2 with the only offense being a two-run home run by Hogan.
“Overall it was a great year. We improved our regular season record from last year and made it five games farther into the playoffs this year. In addition to that, Cleveland also added a second team — the Charleston Indians, coached by Josh Hindman — that finished a very respectable 8-8 on the year,” Massingale stated.
“Next year we are looking to have at least one more team and if interest keeps growing maybe even a fourth Cleveland team. We welcome all skill levels from never played to just got out of the pros.”
For more information on the Cleveland Adult Baseball League, call 423-693-7319 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.