5 Spot goes to market in pursuit of Majors

JUNE 9 - A game that began in a steady light rain and ended in a steady heavy rain was nevertheless bright for 5 Spot, which secured a place in the league championship by beating Ken's Market 15-10.

5 Spot won this game with offense, scoring every time it came up. Thadeus Tapper provided a glimpse of things to come when he led off the first by crushing the ball to left field. Among the many players with RBIs were Jack Roger, Jack Makin, Daniel Orse, Andrew Roger, Spencer Buckley, Tapper and Ian Peterson. Jack Roger pitched effectively into the fourth inning as 5 Spot built its lead. Ken's Market did not roll over, however, as they exploded for seven runs in the fifth inning, turning a rout into an interesting game.

Ken's kept the game in doubt into the final inning, when they loaded the bases, threatening another big inning. Andrew Roger came through with steady pitching and the rally was snuffed out. Although the game did not feature much defense, 5 Spot did turn a rare double play, as Jack Roger fielded a sharply hit ball to the mound, turned around and threw a strike to second, where Tapper completed the play by throwing to Makin at first.

Congratulations to the 5 Spotters for reaching the championship for the second year in a row, and to Ken's for a fine season.

JUNE 14 - The two best teams in the Queen Anne Major League - 5 Spot and Metropolitan Market - squared off on a beautiful late-spring evening to determine who would walk away with bragging rights for 2007 in the Majors championship game. The buzz was palpable, as more fans turned out to watch this contest than any other that this reporter has witnessed. Fittingly, both teams rose to the occasion, playing a tight, tension-filled game that was not decided until the final play.

A scoreless first inning featured good pitching and defense from both teams. The top of the second continued the defensive theme, with 5 Spot's Max Zincus battling the sun to make a nice catch in right field. Another heads-up play followed as Jack Roger fielded a ball hit to the mound and threw to Thadeus Tapper at second to force the runner. 5 Spot drew first blood in the bottom half of the inning, playing the small ball that won numerous games for them this season. After walks to Andrew Roger and Cameron Young, Zincus executed a perfect sacrifice bunt that, when the dust cleared, had scored Roger and left Zincus standing at second. Great defense from the Metros prevented a big inning, as their shortstop cut down Young at the plate and Zincus became trapped in a pickle between third and home. The score stood at 1-0 after two.

The third inning came up big for Jack Roger, the league's MVP as voted on by the players. Throwing with his usual precision and efficiency, Roger aided his own cause by fielding two nubbers to the mound and striking out a third batter to complete the 1-2-3 inning. Roger then led off the bottom half of the third with a triple. Jack Makin followed by tattooing a pitch off the wall in center that easily scored Roger. Brendan "Bear" Tracey followed with another single, and it looked as if the horse might leave the barn, but the Marketeers clamped down and 5 Spot led by just 2-0.

5 Spot showed grit and determination in the fourth. Tapper and Makin combined on the first out as Tapper took a high chopper at short and threw a strike to Makin to get the first out. Metro's next two batters reached second and third. A grounder to second baseman Spencer Buck-ley had trouble written all over it, but Buckley, 5 Spot's most consistent fielder all season, scooped up the short hop and threw to Makin to record the second out. Roger fanned the next batter. Although Metro had scored to pull within 1, it could have been much worse for the 5 Spotters.

Roger thwarted another Metro threat in the fifth, after Metro's big Max Bridgman doubled. Two strikeouts and another grounder to Buckley ended that threat. 5 Spot added an insurance run in the fifth, taking advantage of consecutive walks to Andrew Roger, Ian Peterson, Cam Young and Jack Noland, whose patience resulted in an RBI. An outstanding diving catch by the Metro left fielder robbed Daniel Orse of an extra-base hit and exemplified the type of alert and athletic play during the game. After five full innings, 5 Spot clung to a precarious 3-1 lead.

That lead looked more precarious in the final inning as Metro's Jeffrey Collings banged a solid double to start things off. Bridgman followed with a walk, and the go-ahead run came to the plate. Tapper fielded the next ball at short and made the smart play, throwing to Buckley to force the runner at second. A run scored, however, and Metro had pulled to within 1. The tension mounted as the next hitter reached on a walk. With the season in the balance and Jack Roger's pitch count running high, Roger dug deep and fanned the next batter. With two outs and runners at second and third, Metro tried a play that this reporter has seen work on countless occasions: stealing home after the catcher has thrown the ball back to the pitcher and the pitcher is thinking about the next pitch. It almost worked. Fortunately for the 5 Spotters, Roger's head was in the game and he threw to catcher Jack Noland, who applied the tag. After the home-plate umpire made sure that Noland hung on to the ball, he called the runner out and a giant exhalation was heard from the 5 Spot side of the field. Congratulations to Metro, which had a fine season and came so very close to winning the championship.

5 Spot may now qualify as a mini-dynasty, having won three straight Queen Anne championships. This reporter can confidentlyjavascript: openPhotoMgmt('lead'); say that 5 Spot's trio of coaches - head coach Kevin Young, along with Steve Roger and Tim Buckley - asked for and received the fullest potential of every 5 Spot player. As Young said while the team celebrated free ice cream sundaes at (where else) the 5 Spot, it was "the little things" that the team did right that added up to a great season. So now it's on to the citywide Tournament of Champions, which 5 Spot won last year, becoming the first Queen Anne team to do so in the history of the tournament.

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