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Tigers Lose Thriller to Arfuso to End Playoff Drive


Written by: Bill Martin
Sunday, June 12, 2005

The Detroit Tigers took a 19-10 lead into the bottom of the 5th inning Sunday afternoon, but could not hold of an onslaught by the Arfuso team, losing a heartbreaker 20-19. The Tigers started off hot, scoring 5 runs in the first when Griffin Foster led off the game with a hit, James DeLaurentis followed with a double, and a string of hits by Ryan Simalchik, Matt Canuso and Billy Martin loaded the bases. Max Iles knocked in two runs and Mikey Iles followed with an RBI hit to end the first. Arfuso came right back and scored 4 in the bottom of the inning, and a fifth run was saved by a great scoop at first base by Jake Askin. The Tigers scored 5 more in the second, behind the speed of Jack Sanborn and the smart hitting of Alec Sozio, who had 3 hits in the game. But Arfuso banged out 5 runs in the bottom half, leaving the score 10-9, Tigers. The Tigers then left the bases loaded in the third without scoring, but shut down Arfuso 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning to maintain the 1-run lead. Jake Askin had an unassisted put out, Billy Martin threw a runner out from second, and Ryan Simalchik fired out a runner from the mound. In the top of the fourth inning, Louis Sarandoulias stroked a hit to right, starting a 5-run rally. Foster and DeLaurentis got two more hits, Simalchik, Matt Canuso and Martin singled, and Max and Mikey Iles drove in a run a piece to give the Tigers a 6 run lead. The Arfuso team could only muster 1 run in the bottom of the inning, as the Tigers defense stiffened. In the fifth, Askin nailed a hit, Louis Sarandoulias, Alec Sozio, and Jack Sanborn reached base with singles, and all four scored to extend the Tigers' lead to nine runs. Unfortunately, Arfuso started a rally in the fifth with several seeing-eye hits, and the runs started to mount. When Arfuso closed the lead to 19-18 with runners on first and second, Billy Martin fielded a sharp grounder to second, threw to Jake Askin at first, registering the second out. On the final play of the game, with runners at second and third, a weak ground ball down the third base line was fielder nicely by Ryan Simalchik. The only possible play was to try to get the runner moving to third. Ryan tossed the ball to a covering Matt Canuso at third, but the runner slid into the ball, knocking it free. As the ball trickled toward the dugout, Tigers players could not locate it, and the runner went home with the winning run.

Coach Martin was very pleased with the team's performance today and this year: "Our boys played their hearts out. We worked all season long to become a real baseball team, and I'm glad to say we made it. I am so proud of the guys and the way we played today. They are definitely winners."

The Tigers ended the season 7-4 with a 6-game winning streak, and a magnificent effort in their first playoff game.

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