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Monday 23rd Oct 2017

Ok, so it was not Game 6 of the 2011 Series, but the Wednesday contest between the Desert Dogs and the Solar Sox at Phoenix Muni was a wild and somewhat sloppy game.

And, like Game 6, it was also wildly entertaining.

In a game where there were no less than nine stolen base attempts, with just three being successful, that alone was enough to raise eyebrows and invoke head scratching.

But, the game also featured one outfield assist, three errors, three wild pitches, one balk, and a hit batter, with that latter gaffe busting the chance of Oakland center fielder Grant Green to hit for the cycle.

Green did have a fine day at the yard, homering his first at-bat, doubling his second, and tripling in the seventh after flying out.

That set up runners on second and third with two outs in the bottom of the eighth, bringing Green to the dish for the fifth time, and though the outfielder did get on base, after getting plunked, first baseman Chad Huffman--who also had a great day going 3-for-4 with five RBI and a pair of runs--crushed a Brandon Kloess pitch for a Grand Slam, pushing the Dogs to an 11-8 lead from a one run deficit.

As you can guess, with 27 hits, pitching was not exactly overpowering.

The evening contest shifted to Scottsdale where the Scorpions hosted the Surprise Saguaros in a much tighter contest (5-4), and though the vaunted Scrops (who feature Bryce Harper and Mike Trout on their roster) committed a troika of errors, some fine defense was displayed nonetheless.

Phillies property Tyson Gillies banged a single, and also showed a great arm, while a Texas third base prospect made a couple of Mike Schmidt-like plays and also got on base three times: once via a walk, once from a hit, and once from an error.

Nationals catcher Derek Norris had a pair of hits for Scottsdale, while another Ranger, right fielder Ryan Strausborger collected four hits and an RBI as part of the winning effort.

Though pitching was better, still no particular arm jumped out. Although Tampa potential closer Kirby Yates threw hard and earned a save, he also allowed a pair of hits, then struck out two, then allowed a walk followed by a two-run single (to Norris) before inducing a fly to left by Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford to close out the game.

That performance by Yates was pretty typical of the pitching I have witnessed over three days and five games of AFL play. He got the job done, but it was hardly pretty.

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