Boasters League Quarter Finals~~
It was an excellent turnout for the first round of the Boasters League finals. The majority of matches were played on Wednesday; we had a healthy crowd of on-lookers, and the results were back and forth all night on the two match-ups. As I have said before, if only the regular weeks had the same level of commitment as the finals, the league would be out of control! (In a good way!) We had more matches completed on Wednesday with 4 teams, than any week of the regular season with 8. That speaks volumes.
I must say, I have enjoyed the level of enthusiasm. Overall, the second half of the season was lower than usual in regards to participation, but as the finals approached it seemed to kick just about everyone into high gear. The interest in making the play-offs was better than I have ever remembered it, and there is a lot more zeal for success. Support for team-mates was certainly elevated. The question remains, how to emulate that type of fervor throughout the season as well. It’s a discussion for another day. For now, let’s look at the results…
Butter Nutz v Nick at Night
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: Get your bonus points. “Butter Nutz” did exactly that. Captain Sante Fratarcangeli e-mailed his team relentlessly over the week and it paid off. A team is difficult to beat of they start off with 17 points before a ball has been struck. Picking up all bonus points, it gave them a 4 point advantage – significant in a head-to-head battle. Made even more important because they lost more matches than they won.
Sante was worried early in the evening as the results came in and the close losses were piling up. Ryan Bendzinski, Matt DiDio, Brain Bartes, Tom Healy, Jason Massey, Andy Combs all losing by the skin of their teeth 1-2. On paper it didn’t look particularly healthy reading down the results, but the bonus points kept them in it. Sante did what captains do – lead by example and playing (one of) his nemeses in Jim Stroh, he played a good controlled match to take all 3 games. Marc Lakin also improved “Butter Nutz’s” chances with a solid 3-0 victory over Chris Webber, and by the time the last 3-4 matches were to be played, “Butter Nutz” actually held a slim lead.
But “Nick at Night” weren’t done. Dino Ricci pegged a few points back with a convincing 3-0, and captain Patrick Petz made Tom Healy suffer under his working drop shot to win a strenuous 2-1 encounter.
However, in a duel of the dames, Liz McClure (“Butter Nutz”) held off the improving Lauren Kirchner for an important 2-1 victory, putting “Nick at Night” out of reach. The final match was still completed and “Butter Nutz” won it 3-0 as well. With 8 wins, 9 losses, 100% of bonus points, “Butter Nutz” move on to the semis with a 45-36 triumph!
Vivio’s v Mongoose
This one was a little closer, and it actually came down to the final match. Probably the most unexpected result came at the top level for “Mongoose” when John Rakolta beat Ryan Covell 3-0. Ryan and beaten John twice this season 2-1, and it wasn’t so much that John won, but the 3-0 margin definitely was a major boost to their hopes. On the other side of the coin, “Vivio’s” captain Rich Stimson took care of business against Justin Jacobs with a 3 game whitewash as well. I did expect that result to be closer, but I was surprised to find out that this was actually the first time Justin and Rich had played a ‘meaningful’ match in league or ladder situation.
Bonus points were not so much a factor here, “Vivio’s” did hold the slight advantage 13-12 in case a tie was recorded. It didn’t help “Mongoose” that they did need 2 subs for the evening, neither of which are allowed to earn the bonus point.
It was a scuffle of many 2-1 results. For “Vivio’s”, Scott Langenburg was able to push a few too many angles for “Mongoose” captain Paul Huth to cover deep into the front corner for a 2-1 win; Ward Detwiler was able to defend the onslaught from the hard-swinging-switch-hitting Sean Moran; Niko Ahee got off to a lightning start against Terry Lang taking the first 2 games before relinquishing the third; and Larry Lipa kept up his team’s hopes taking out substitute Jeff Gierlach 2-1.
And “Mongoose” fired back nicely: Chris Tipton hustled his way to a 2-1 win over his just-as-hustling-opponent Bryan Welsh; Brandon Linton managed to hold off Paul Gormley to take the 2-1 victory; Anil Kathuria proved to be too much to handle on this occasion for the long reach of Greg Baker as he snatched all 3 games; and Tom Shafer reversed a 3-0 loss earlier in the season to beat Anthony Kalogeridis 2-1.
Once all 17 results were in, the team with 8 wins and 9 losses once again pulled though. “Mongoose” have the honor of tackling the “Winky-Dinks” next week with a 40-37 nail-biter.
The semi-finals are as follows:
“Space Geckos” v “Butter Nutz”. They played each other in round 2 with the “Space Geckos” winning 30-24. But, “Butter Nutz” won 8 of 13 matches that day… if they can repeat the bonus point perfection again, they look like favorites going in here.