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Torland Star League - A Fictional Baseball History: 1961 Star Series

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1961 TORLAND STAR LEAGUE SEMI-FINALS

 

1 Waterdee Ducks vs 4 Engor Flying Tigers

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The Tigers started off hot, upsetting the Ducks in Game 1 in Waterdee to spoil the playoff debut of Dillon Callender. The Ducks however, showing their newfound resiliency, proceeded to tame Engor with fundamental play and long at-bats resulting in lots of walks and ground down the Tigers the next four games to a series win.

 

The Vertex Exclusive: Flying Tigers

A disappointing result for this Tigers squad, who had bigger dreams after their surprise debut season. They made a better showing than in 1960 but still couldn't solve the postseason puzzle against a surging Ducks team. Coach Warren Miller said after the final Game 5, "It's tough. We liked our chances and I think our guys fought hard but we came up short again. We can't thank our fans in Engor and North Cabriga enough. We want to get back here and win one for them." Typically short-answered ace pitcher Mike Pollack was more loquacious in lament. "After that first game we all felt really good. But that's kind of all we've been good at, just one game in a series. I think next time, and I believe there will be a next time, we've gotta focus on more than one game. We can't rest on our laurels, you know? We'll see you guys next year."

 

The Oracle Post-Game Report: Ducks

The Ducks reeled off four straight wins after a Game 1 upset loss to tame the Tigers and advance to the '61 Star Series. Rising ace Dill Callender showed moxie after the upset with a great performance in Game 4 on the road. He will be key in how far the Ducks can go. Two big positives: Callender is pitching like an ace. Third baseman Douglas Davis is hot at the plate. Two big negatives: While the bats have been hot, the gloves have been cold and team defense has been a recurring problem for the Ducks. The clubhouse is moody and unpredictable, headlined by the sour personality of Anderson Crouse. Team chemistry goes a long way in the postseason and the Ducks brass hopes it doesn't become a problem.

 

2 San Ferrio Tars vs 3 Cobantle Bears

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In a fireworks-filled series, both teams battled back and forth. The vaunted Tars bats were flaky between offensive explosions. A short-rest start by Manny Herrera in Game 4 proved to be the turning point as the Bears battered him and were able to start a rested Gilbert Shultz in Game 5 to gain momentum in the series. A walkoff home run by Alex Peters in the 9th inning of Game 6 sealed it for the Bears.

 

The Vertex Exclusive: Tars

The Tars have yet to discover a clutch gene in their clubhouse. The big MVP George Howard was apprehensive to call anyone out after the bitter series loss to the Bears. "I think we're all to blame, it was a team effort and a team loss. Our coaches put us in a great position and we couldn't follow through. We will get better and improve because of it." Pitcher Manny Herrera wasn't as forbearing. "Nah man, we got our asses handed to us. We're better than that. I hope we all think about this one long and hard and think about why we want to be here. Anyone who doesn't want to play their ass off needs to get on a bus outta town ASAP. We'll figure it out. Bank that."

 

The Oracle Post-Game Report: Ducks

The Rollercoaster Bears have turned into a well-oiled machine, posting bombs of 14 and 13 runs on the hapless Tars pitching staff. They're playing loose and aggressive and look locked-in mentally as they advance again to the Star Series and avenge their previous loss. Two big positives: Number two starter Richard Griffin is pitching lights-out which gives the Bears plenty of rotation length. Centerfielder Craig Edwards Jr. is producing web-gems at a prodigious rate. Two big negatives: The back of the bullpen has been shaky at times, closer Arnold Alvarado needs to shore up his game. All-Star Scott Salvatore is in a mini-slump. We don't expect it to last but he is their biggest key for success.

 

 

Up Next: 1961 Star Series featuring a return of the vengeance-minded Cobantle Bears versus the hated regional rival Waterdee Ducks!

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Can't believe it's been a month! Life has been pretty crazy, I'm a recording artist in real life and I'm preparing to release my next album next week! Anyway, I have the next couple of seasons already written up so I'll probably post them fairly quickly so we can get to some fun new concepts!

 

 

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1961 STAR SERIES

 

1 Waterdee Ducks vs 3 Cobantle Bears [2-4]

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Game 1: Bears 2, Ducks 5

The bitter rivalry between Waterdee and Cobantle only intensified as the 1961 Star Series matchup was set. The roar in Union Park was palpable as Game 1 started with Dillon Callender on the mound for the Ducks. It was tied 2-2 in the 6th until Ducks 3B Douglas Davis smashed an RBI double through the right alley and SS Anderson Crouse followed it directly with a massive blast deep into the left field stands to chase Griffin out of the game.

 

Game 2: Bears 12, Ducks 0

As has become almost standard Bears tradition, Game 2 was a complete rout. The Bears posted 10 runs in the very first inning as the Ducks burned through four pitchers to stem the tide. The game was a wash after that as Shultz only pitched 3 quick innings and was sent to the showers to get ready for a potential short-rest start. The clubhouse in Waterdee was somber afterward, Anderson Crouse even refusing to speak to the media, only pointing at the boxscore.

 

Game 3: Ducks 2, Bears 5

Pride still stinging, the Ducks fought admirably in Game 3 but came up short as Scott Salvatore had 3 hits including a solo home run and the Bears kept constant pressure on the base path in The Cavern with 3B Jeffrey Olson notching 2 steals. Both bullpens have been strong and Waterdee coach Lenny Knox was confident afterward saying, “We'll turn this around, I have faith in my guys here.”

 

Game 4: Ducks 5, Bears 4

In a crucial game for the Ducks, Dillon Callender pitched a gem after first serving up a 1st inning meatball for Alex Peters to send into the centerfield stands. Callender exited in the 7th with a 3-1 lead and a man on 2nd but reliever Fernando Glover immediately allowed back-to-back doubles by Craig Edwards Jr. and Randall Phillips to blow the lead. In the top of the 9th, a weird bounce off the wall from a hit by 2B James Roberts allowed a triple and the Ducks were able to score two runs off Bears closer Arnold Alvarado. In the bottom of the 9th, the Bears stormed back on a Salvatore RBI double to get within a run. With two outs and Salvatore at 3rd and Edwards at 2nd, Ducks closer Mark Rogers walked Randall Phillips to load the bases. After an 8-pitch at-bat, second baseman Jeff Long struck out to end the game and rally.

 

Game 5: Bears 11, Ducks 1

Cautious after Bailey's shellacking in Game 2, the Ducks elected to start Merlin Gainey instead but the Bears scored 6 runs in the first 4 innings to back up an electric performance from Gilbert Shultz. After allowing a sac-fly in the 1st inning, Shultz was untouchable for 8 innings and Alvarado avenged his previous mistake with a 9-pitch 9th inning to close it out. Anderson Crouse struck out four times as he appeared to have trouble seeing the curveball. The Ducks blundered into three errors, the worst of which a routine flyball that CF Dale Morgan completely whiffed on in the 2nd inning, allowing 2 runs to score. After the game, Craig Edwards Jr. wryly stated that he wouldn't make any guarantees but he'd let his bat do the talking and felt confident they could close out the series on their home turf. A grouchy Crouse heard the statement and fired back that Edwards was an idiot and would have to “get through me first.”

 

Game 6: Ducks 7, Bears 8

The Ducks scored first but the game quickly became a see-saw affair, both teams trading big runs for the first 5 innings. Bailey pitched better than his forgettable Game 2 debacle but the bats were hot for both dugouts. Anderson Crouse broke his hitless streak with a bomb in the 3rd but Craig Edwards Jr. answered back with one of his own and pointed a finger at Crouse as he rounded the bases. Both benches cleared and several punches were thrown but nobody was ejected. Scott Salvatore continued his torrid pace, racking up 4 hits and 5 RBI's. The benches cleared several more times as the game grew increasingly testy. Ducks reliever Darius Ritchey whizzed a heater near Edwards' head and was immediately ejected. In the 8th inning, Douglas Davis sent a line shot just past Edwards diving glove in centerfield and as he coasted into second base he threw double middle fingers toward centerfield. An all-out brawl broke out and 7 total players were ejected after that, including both coaches. After a very stern warning by the umpires, the now-sparse benches finished the game in peace as the bullpens kept the score at 8-7 for the remainder of the game. It was an ugly end to a great series but the Cobantle Bears showed plenty of moxie to return to the Star Series and win it. Scott Salvatore took home series MVP honors after his stunning stat line in the playoffs.

 

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The Vertex Exclusive: Bears

The Bears were on a mission all season and rose the occasion when it counted most. Series MVP outfielder Scott Salvatore after Game 6 said, "It's a good feeling. We wanted this bad. I'm real proud of this team to climb the mountain and get to the top. We were close enough to taste it last year, now we get to eat. Let me tell you, it's good eatin'!" Bears coach Wilson Gibbs concurred, "It's satisfying because of how much hard work and effort it took to get here."

 

The Oracle Post-Game Report: Maroons

The sour feeling out of Waterdee is only compounded by the bush league antics of the bullpens and childish petulance of the dugout. All-Star shortstop Anderson Crouse has been tabbed as a future player-manager but his lack of leadership and self-control probably sabotaged the Ducks' chances to extend the series against Cobantle. The Ducks ownership and top level staff have to be concerned with the lack of discipline in the clubhouse moving forward. Starter Dillon Callender's ascension is encouraging but the sour note will persist until the Ducks can overcome adversity.

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