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World Baseball Classic 54 (IC thread)

A battle ground for the sportsmen and women of nations worldwide. [In character]

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Banija
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Postby Banija » Sat Apr 30, 2022 6:24 am

OOC Note: SNL and I are collabing on this game, so I will only cover up through the 5th inning with this RP, while he will do the back half of the game

Manager Isaac Oladipo, the morning of Game 3, sitting with reporters in a pre-game press conference


A manager's media responsibilities always changed when the Championship Series was being played. You were, of course, playing for a world championship. And that meant the media scrutiny was high. There would be both post-game press conferences, and his employers, at the Olympic Committee of Banija, also required him to hold pre-game press conferences in the morning. That meant, of course, there was rarely a day off. The extra day of questioning was great for the die-hard fans, and particularly for the networks who wanted baseball content all the time. The morning press conferences would tend to be much more challenging, and focus on the broader picture, rather than simply the events of the night before.

So Isaac Oladipo walked into the room, water in hand. Banijans, of course, weren't coffee drinkers- so he politely declined the offer from one of the Zwang workers for a pipping hot coffee, and sat down. He began with this statement. "Well, thank you for having me back here this morning." He looked around as he said that, and then continued. "Like I said yesterday, I'm glad to be back here, with the series tied at 1 game a piece. I think this is a series that is going to go deep. We've got two excellent, championship-caliber squads here. Our own pedigree speaks for itself, in my view, as we chase being a truly big baseball nation- we wanted to be mentioned among the great names, like Schlitzberg, Nova Anglicana, Cassadaigua, etc... We've got the multi-generational consistency and success for that to happen, in my view, and we are hoping that a series win over the best team in baseball will get us there."

Oladipo looked around, and pointed at the ABSM reporter. "Thank you, Mr. Oladipo." The reporter said. "I've got a question for you. How would you tell Xolile Gola to prepare for today's game?"

Oladipo smiled. "Well, of course, today is her Championship Series debut, although she's obviously a very experienced and veteran pitcher for this team. But I would tell here, above all, to relax." Oladipo said. "We are facing an excellent Elephants lineup, of course. Studying them can become a mind game of its own- reading through the scouting reports of each hitter in the lineup can intimidate many pitchers. They defeat some opponents simply with the name on their jerseys. But not us. She should breathe deeply, and get comfortable. Faraba Conateh's first six innings yesterday were the perfect way to get through the South Newlandian lineup. She can learn from him, but mostly- trust her stuff. Don't let the pacing get away from her, and she'll do well."

He answered a few more questions, and then, took one about his bullpen. "Mr. Oladipo." The Busukuma Post reporter said. "How do you feel about your bullpen, after yesterday's contest? Are you confident in Oyella Lagum and Yoro Coulibaly in this series?"

Oladipo sighed slightly, and then continued. "Coulibaly and Lagum have been with this team for a very long time." He told the reporters. "We've ridden them to this moment, and frankly, you're not going to win a world title, in this modern day and age, without the back end of your bullpen helping you get there. I know they had bad outings yesterday. I know that Coulibaly, specifically, has had some very up and down moments throughout this Classic. But-" And he paused before he said this- knowing that, for confidence purposes, he had no choice but to issue a ringing endorsement. "I choose to have faith in my pitchers. I know what they've done in this tournament and tournaments past. They are some of the best relievers that Banija has. I truly believe that they can put yesterday's game behind them, and improve. The pen has been such a strength throughout this tournament- despite last night, I believe that they can continue to be a strength for us."

Oladipo wasn't exactly saying it with his chest. But what choice did he have? Not like he could replace his bullpen after Game 3 of the Championship Series. You have what you have. He was simply trying to pray that the backend of the bullpen could find their command and confidence, and soon.




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The Seven Run Fifth Inning- The Play-By-Play behind the most explosive inning in Championship Series history for team Banija

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Banijan fans celebrate during the team's explosive 5th inning


SPENSEN, ZWANGZUG- Game 3 was our 13th ever Championship Series game. And well- maybe the unlucky #13 only effected Banija's bullpen. As Banija's leading sports content provider, the All-Banija Sports Magazine has all the analysis behind last nights' bullpen collapse. The cover story, of course, is the game summary. We have analysis behind Banija's pitchers, and specifically, Banija's bullpen, deeper into this edition of the magazine.

But in our 13 ever Championship Series games played, we have never scored 7 runs in an inning. In fact, we've only scored more than 7 runs in a game just once- an 11-9 extra innings thrilling victory we had, over this very South Newlandia, in Game 2 of the WBC 51 Championship Series. So let's dissect the anatomy behind Banija's offensive explosion? Let's do one better- we're going to do a play-by-play of this inning. Talk about, briefly, every single at-bat of the fifth inning, and how they led to Banija's success.

#9 JoAnna Adoyo: 2-2 count, opposite field single to right field

Always good when the #9 hitter leads the rally, isn't it? Our center fielder, at the very bottom of the order, had to work her way to a decent hitter's count. She took two strikes to start the at-bat from the southpaw, Ryan Hunter- and there were both looking. After fouled off two more pitches, she was finally able to hold and get two balls. That second ball was almost strike 3- she almost swung, but the first base ump ruled that she checked her swing. Hunter came back and delivered a circle-change that got just a little too much of the plate. Adoyo shortened her swing, and slapped it the other way, just past second base, for a base hit. Leadoff runner on base.

#1 Mesuli Calata: 1-0 Count, Lays down a bunt down the first base line for a base hit

Remember, we entered this inning down 3-0, right? And Mesuli Calata had an error in the first inning that led to the Elephants first run of the game. The ol' unearned run for Xolile Gola. And the shortstop had been 0-2 int his game, with a pair of strikeouts. Calata's a stud in every way- he plays, alongside most of his opponents, in South Newlandia. But he had been struggling mightily on this day. Could've gotten out of the fist without any runs, but when he skied a throw to get Zimmerman out at first, it created the conditions for Zimmerman to be able to score a few minutes later. And at the plate, he had been struggling on this day too- 0-2, two strikeouts. But he changed things. Keep it simple, right? Why Calata doesn't get into extended droughts. He surprised mostly everyone by laying down a perfect bunt down the first base line. Positioned almost perfectly, the catcher could not get there in time. Everybody safe.

#2 Moses Oneko: 2-0 count, Sac Fly to right field, Calata stays at first, Adoyo advances to 3rd

And now, for our 3rd baseman, Moses Oneko. He was the one who got the first out of the inning for Banija. He hit a deep fly ball to right field. Not quite to the warning track, but still, pretty deep. Fortunately for JoAnna Adoyo, she was ready at 2nd. When she saw that right fielder Fabio Ventura was going to get under it, she was always going to run on him. It was a key for the series- don't run on Zimmerman, always run on Ventura. Of course, in game 3, we did the opposite of follow that advice, and paid dearly, as Zimmerman gunned down Mbexi at the plate. But we followed it here, as Adoyo tagged up to third. It was not deep enough to right field for Calata to try and advance to 2nd.

#3 Malik Solely: 3-1 count, 2-Run Double to right center, Adoyo scores, Calata scores

And this is where things really got going. Malik Solely almost had an extra base hit in the first inning, remember. It was probably the play of the day that he didn't. Shawn Zimmerman covered how much ground to track the ball to the gap in left center? And made a brilliantly, full extension, diving catch to rob him of extra bases. Moses Oneko did tag up from first to second after that, but obviously, did not score. Solely, batting from the right side against the southpaw Hunter, did hit a sharp liner for a base hit in the 3rd inning. So he was making good contact on the day. And our star player got all of this one, mashing one the other way to right center fielder. Everybody's scooting. Obviously Adoyo scores from third, but Calata got a great jump from first. He flew all the way around the bases, and Ventura was slow getting to the baseball. Calata scored standing up, and the cutoff man went to third, as Solely had taken a wide turn around second, but decided to stay there.

#4 Luxolo Mbeki: Single to center field, Solely advances to 3rd

A 3-0 South Newlandian had just been cut to 3-2 with one swing of the bat, right? And now, Mbexi at the plate- who also plays with most of our opponents. He was first pitch swinging, as he hit a sharp single up the middle for a base hit. Now, the Banijans learning from Game 2, yes? Malik Solely took a wide turn around third, as he was going to go home. But with Zimmerman getting the ball quickly, our third base coach held Solely. That was smart, as Zimmerman's throw was on the money, and probably would've gotten Solely out by a few steps. Shoulda woulda coulda right? Doesn't really matter, as Solely was held at third. So Banija down 3-2 now, but with all the momentum, runners on the corners, and just one out. Force out everywhere.

#5 Nyaniso Hani: Full Count, single to left field, Solely scores, Mbexi advances to second

The first pitch single, of course, was when South Newlandia's manager made the call to the bullpen. Not to bring on a pitcher, of course, but start warming up a couple of relievers. Amanda Sjoberg, their pitching coach, made a visit to the mound. Hunter's last pitch had gotten far too much of the plate, and he had the platoon advantage as well, over Mbexi. But Hani was patient. This was a 9 pitch at-bat. Hani was disciplined, taking certain pitches, and fouling off stuff he did not like. On the 9th pitch of the at-bat, Hunter just got too much of the plate with his 4 seamer, and Hani slapped that into left field. Solely easily scored from 3rd, as Mbexi advanced to second base.

The best part was? This is what tied the game. 3-3. South Newlandia's early inning lead was wiped with this swing of the bat, and the Banijans were searching for blood.

#6 Ugonna Akachi: 3-0 Count, Home run to left field, Mbexi scores, Hani scores, Akachi Scores

Let's just use the transcript of our radio announcers here, shall we?

Color Commentator: "It's a 2-0 count here. Ryan Hunter's been struggling throughout this inning, as this third journey through the South Newlandian lineup is finally starting to show some fruit. Remember, the Banijans stranded 4 runners on base in the first four innings, with nothing to show for it. We had been threatening, but Hunter had been pitching himself out of jams. But not this time. We've scored three, and these boys are hungry for more. Hunter seems to be wearing down, as his command is escaping him- his trademark ability to basically paint the corners has all but vanished during this series.

Play-By-Play Commentator: "Hunter delivers the changeup anddddd..... BALL 3! The catcher tried to frame it, but the Quebecois ump was having none of it. Some words between Brad Moore and the Quebecois ump, as Moore really thought that was a strike."

Color Commentator: "Well, we've got a 3-0 count here. A perfect hitters count. Here's the thing- does Ugonna Akachi have the green light to swing? It may not matter if he has the green light- the teenager has always been a free swinger. But he might be too young to trust with the green light in this spot. But Hunter's guaranteed to give him something that he'll like.

Play-By-Play Commentator: "Hunter delivers the fastball anddd..... THAT'S A FLY BALL! HIT TO DEEP LEFT FIELD!!! GOING BACK, TO THE TRACK, TO THE WALL, ANDDDDDDDDDDD- AND IT'S GONE! UGONNA AKACHI HAS TURNED THIS GAME, AND POTENTIALLY THIS SERIES, ON ITS HEAD! A THREE-RUN BOMB HERE IN THE FIFTH, AGAINST THE SOUTH NEWLANDIAN ACE, TO GIVE BANIJA A 6-3 LEAD IN WHAT HAS SUDDENLY BEEN A SPECTACULAR INNING! Oh my, Oh my, the crowd's going wild! Akachi barely gets to home plate before Sofia Rasmussen makes her way up the steps and over to the mound- it looks like Hunter's day is done. My oh my, what a play."


#7 Cedron Aloo: 0-2 Count, Single to right field

The first batter after the pitching change. The young Sameul Vaughn came into the game, and yet, no changes. Aloo slapped one the opposite way, getting a base hit. Honestly, kind of unlucky for Vaughn. He came into the game, throwing strikes, as he got Aloo to swing through two of his offspeed pitches. But he decided to put a fastball off the plate, one that you think one normally wouldn't be able to reach. But Aloo reached outside, made contact with the end of his bat, and was able to basically bloop a single into extremely shallow right field. The pitcher's changed, it's all the same.

#8 Anathi Zimema: 2-0 count, double to left center, Cedron Aloo scores

The Banijans, being up 6-3 and having gotten all these consecutive batters to the plate, were going to continue to be aggressive. What did Oladipo call for? A hit and run. The pitch was thrown, and Aloo was gone from first- Zimema had no choice but to make quality contact, or Aloo would easily be thrown out at 2nd. But Zimema, who showed off his own power in game 2, continued to step up to the plate. With Aloo already on the move, he smashed one into deep left center fielder, lining the ball straight into the gap. Aloo was busting around the bases, and although Zimmerman eventually got to the ball, Aloo's jump made getting a throw to home plate impossible. The throw from Zimmerman went to the cutoff man, who simply held the ball at second base. Aloo slid with no play at the plate, and we led, 7-3.

#9 JoAnna Adoyo: 0-2 count, flyout, throw-out double play- inning over

With Adoyo at the plate, we had officially batted around the order for the inning. An incredible accomplishment in its own right. Of course, Vaughn came onto the mound to face his third batter, having already allowed a run and there being a second batter in scoring position. But Vaughn, after a visit from the pitching coach, Amanda Sjoberg, was able to calm down and show us all why he's on this roster in the first place. He pumped two fastballs by Adoyo, and then got her to flyout to center field.

But that's not all that happened. Remember we said- don't run on Zimmerman, run on Ventura? Well, we ignored our own advice again, as since the ball was hit to right-center, we tried to get Zimema to tag up. But Zimmerman, with the rocket launcher he's got attached to his shoulder, launched the ball like it came out of a cannon to third base. The throw, shockingly, was on time, as Hugo Brock fielded it and tagged Zimema for out #3 as he slid into third base.

A disappointing end to the inning, of course, but what a ride it was. 7 runs in a singular inning. The greatest inning in Banijan Championship Series history, is it not?
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Kriegiersien
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Postby Kriegiersien » Sat Apr 30, 2022 8:25 am

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South Newlandia
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Left-wing Utopia

Postby South Newlandia » Sat Apr 30, 2022 6:01 pm

After that disastrous 5th that caused the Elephants to trail 3-7, Rasmussen and the rest of the coaching staff had to face that it was, indeed, quite likely that for the 3rd time in 4 cycles, the Elephants would start with a 1-2 deficit three games into the Championship Series, a hole they weren’t able to dig out of either of the previous times. Gola continued to go steadily, having quickly recovered from the three early runs surrendered. A 1-2-3 bottom of the fifth was followed by a 1-out single for Fabio Ventura, only for the Right Fielder to head immediately back to the dugout following a double-play ball. Entering the 7th inning, the Elephants were still down by four runs, but while Darlene Le worked her Splitter for two strikeouts in the top of the 7th, players, coaches and fans alike noticed something odd. From inside the dome in Spenson, drops could be heard. At first, it was just a light drizzle, but quickly became a full-on rainstorm. Due to the nature of the dome, this had no practical effects on the game, but merely served as background noise.


Rasmussen was sitting next to Amanda Sjoberg, pitching coach of the Elephants. “Beautiful Splitter,” remarked Rasmussen. “That’s going to stay borderline unhittable if Moore continues calling for it in the right spots. He knows what he’s doing with it.” “Absolutely. I’ve talked to Felix, she’ll stay in for the eighth. She’s doing a good job.” “Can you hear that, outside? It’s worm weather.”


Mike Larsen was fighting against the pitches of Arad Akech. After fouling off a pair of 2-2 fastballs from the right-hander, he managed to put one into play, a one-out opposite field base hit. Daryl Dunlop continued heating up the pressure, likewise working a long at-bat, ultimately drawing a full-count walk on a pitch just a little bit outside. Shawn Zimmerman hit a chopper into right field. Bases loaded, just one out. Three consecutive base-runners and the tying run stepping top the plate was enough to end the day of Akech.
Mizpah Askari was going to take over, the infield in for a double play ball. The southpaw had to deal with Adam King, always a power threat, but he ultimately punched out looking on three pitches. Crisis averted? Not if you ask David Drum, the shortstop, who took the crucial bases-loaded two out spot, got into a 2-0 out, and then slapped a base hit down the first-base line, with Dunlop flying around third, blowing past a stop sign, and sliding in safely to cut the lead to 5-7. Amidst the play at the plate, Zimmerman was able to sneak on third base as well. However, despite Malika Bains getting hit by an errand slider, Askari was able to get Ventura to ground out to end the inning with the Lions still ahead.

The top of the eighth was largely uneventful, as Le didn’t allow a hit, again. A great outing for the young pitcher that plays domestically for the Vargas City Lions.

The bottom of the eighth saw setup man Oyella Lagum take on the bottom of the Elephants’ line-up. Hugo Brock, the light-hitting third baseman, was pinch-hit for by Perez to lead of the inning. Despite the inherent defensive problems such a move creates, Perez rewarded the venture with a double into center-left. Brad Moore, the catcher, was also pinch-hit for by Tiffany Grey, with Rasmussen staying aggressive; but Grey grounded out to third, Perez unable to advance. Back to the top of the order. Mike Larsen got ahead in the count, 3-0, but Lagum fought back, only to walk him on full count. With the tying run aboard, Oladipo was once again forced to pull the plug, and closer Yoro Coulibaly came in, tasked with getting five outs. Daryl Dunlop didn’t exactly make that easy for him, launching a double on the first pitch, bringing home Perez and moving Dunlop to third. One-run game, runners on 2nd and 3rd, just one out. The Lions chose against intentionally walking Zimmerman, who ended up hitting a ground ball, just placed right between first and second that Larsen was able to score the tying run, with Aloo forced to only get the out at first. King popped out to end the inning tied at 7.

With the 9th now tied, Rasmussen had to make some defensive adjustments. Cyclones’ catcher Hugh Marquez replaced Grey to, well, have a catcher in the game, while Ramussen chose to aggressively play Perez at third, where he was no career starts, usually playing at first; however, this had the advantage of keeping him hitting in the line-up. Abby Conrad made all that moot, with the Elephants’ pen an enigma the Lions still could not quite figure out. It doesn’t matter if your third baseman can’t actually play third if no balls are hit that way, and Conrad pitched a clean 1-2-3 inning.

The bottom of the ninth saw David Drum lead of against Coulibaly, who remained in the game. It seemed to pay off, with Drum and, later, Bains each hitting easy ground- and fly-balls respectively for two easy outs.


“Should we pinch for Ventura? He’s hitless, and we have Hurley, who slots in positionally.” “Never. Man’s clutch, just watch him.” […] “1-2 count.” “Trust me.” (Bat cracks)

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Last edited by South Newlandia on Sat Apr 30, 2022 6:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Zwangzug
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Left-wing Utopia

Postby Zwangzug » Sat Apr 30, 2022 6:07 pm

It's the Final Four(th game)!

Quebec and Shingoryeo   0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1  1
Kriegiersien 1 0 1 0 0 5 0 1 X 8


Series tied, 2-2

Banija                  0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0  3
South Newlandia 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 1 X 4


South Newlandia leads, 3-1
Last edited by Zwangzug on Sat Apr 30, 2022 6:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Left-wing Utopia

Postby South Newlandia » Sun May 01, 2022 5:40 pm

Disclaimers:
* this project would not be possible without the efforts from Super-Llamaland. The words on screen right now were made by me, but would not be possible without extensive background work from both of us. Please do grade accordingly.
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SNL Divisional Round Series (2) (Sun City Flames @ Elephant Valley Homers)

The Sun City Flames were easily the upset team that had reached this SNLDS; even more so than the Dragons. Hardly anyone would have predicted this slap-dash roster around a team with little identity would rise to dethrone the Stingrays. However, they assembled an incredibly good season, were the first team in LPB to clinch their division, and were not to be underestimated leading into this series. They were led by Drawkian coach Al Krauss, and had built an identity as a team that wasn’t only clutch, with Drawkian star closer and Reliver of the Year winner Franklin Bell leading the charge, but also as a remarkably consistent team that just kept smoothly riding to wins and rarely collapsed. Adding TJUN-ian star O’Mally at the trade deadline had already proved to be a helpful addition to an a batting lineup that was already pretty good, led by elite Banijan shortstop Mesuli Calata, Delaclav Francisco Adam, and a pair of emerging draft picks in Tiffany Grey and Llamanean Ava Llorente. This was a 94-win team that wouldn’t have to be afraid of anyone – even if they limped into the postseason, losing out on a potentially better seed by getting absolutely obliterated by the Stingrays in the last series of the season.

Their opponents would be the kings of the North. Dealing with an extremely difficult Northern division, the Homers had once again risen to the occasion, with Llamanean coach Tanya Ericsson leading the team to comfortably win their division in a season they won 96 games, just one fewer than the Blue Sox, who were really stacked beyond belief. Like in the previous season, their MO was great pitching, allowing an SNL-best 591 runs over the course of the 160-game season, led by a pair of stars in Drawkian Darien Rodriguez and Quebecois starter Buchanan, and their newly acquired closer Niles Pandolt, a Chromatik they’d just acquired in the draft. That’s not to say their hitting wasn’t good, because it was – with three South Newlandian national teamers in the lineup, it was always going to be, and they also had the services of shortstop Moyamoto, who won the MVP the season before, and a couple of other good pieces.

The two teams matched up evenly throughout the season, with both sides taking four of eight; although, notably, the Flames took the last three, when they had access to their post-trade deadline weapons. None of the games stand out particularly, except for the first game, which saw Fabio Ventura walk off the thing in the bottom of the ninth. Lastly, it is worth noting that when the Flames lost in their only SNBL Finals appearance, they did so to the other Elephant Valley team, United, in eight games. They had not made the playoffs since that season.

The Homers were still the clear favourite going into the series. They had the long-running, successful momentum, they had the better hitters, the better pitching, and home advantage. But, I mean – they still play the games for a reason.

Game one, played in the Homers’ Elephant Stadium, also the venue the Elephants play in, pitted the Homers’ Quebecois ace Kevin Buchanan against Farabeh Conateh, the Flames’ Banijan star pitcher. Even though Conateh struggled out of the gate, allowing a pair of early runs, he quickly settled in and ended up pitching a great start, seven innings, just two earned runs; a lead-off home run for Ventura in the first at-bat of the game and an RBI-hit for Lachlan Cochrine in the second. Meanwhile, the Flames eventually erased the deficit, with a 2-run double for Mesuli Calata tying the game, sending it into the eighth tied at 2. This is when total lunacy unfolded. First, Homers’ reliever Bert Hoosier allowed an RBI single for Ella Carlson that gave the Flames an eighth-inning lead. Second, setup pitcher Sally Rivera, another trade acquisition for the Flames, surrendered a two-run home run to Val Thornton, giving that lead right back. Third, Chromatik closer Niles Pandolt blew the save for the Homers in the top of the ninth when Mesuli Calata crushed a ball over the left field wall, giving the Flames a 5-4 9th-inning lead. This set the stage for Franklin Bell to get a playoff save to get the Flames ahead in game one. Franklin Bell, reliever of the year, the all-year reliable closer for the Flames. When has that guy ever blown an important save? I mean, what are the chances that surrenders a Lachlan Cochrine infield hit, walks Horace Choo, the Quebecois catcher, on four pitches, before allowing a three-run walk-off homer to Fabio Ventura. Basically zero.

Game two, still in Elephant Stadium, saw Drawkian Darien Rodriguez pitch against the Flames’ Karla Levey. They added the Chromatik pitcher last season, and she quickly became a reliable asset. In this game two, the runs poured in early, and the Flames had a 4-2 lead heading into the 7th. There, an RBI-hit for Moyamoto cut the deficit to one, but the Flames went into the eighth still ahead. Sally Rivera allowed three runs, surrendering a pair of singles before Lachlan Cochrine cleared the bases with his first post-season home run. This time, Pandolt allowed only one run in the top of the ninth. The series shifted to Desertfire Stadium, Sun City, with the Homers up 2-0.

There, the Flames started Zachariah Dean, former first-round pick, against the Homers’ Jack Beard. The Flames fell behind early, with Dean surrendering four runs in the first three innings, but they rallied back for eight unanswered runs, avoided a complete bullpen collapse (possibly because it wasn’t a save situation), and avoided a sweep, in the process finally winning another playoff game.

Game four, the Flames had Rickie McBride against Myron Pacheco. In an anti-climactic game four, the Homers shut out the Flames, won 6-0, and advanced to the SNLCS.

The Flames had their chances. They had late leads in games one and two in Elephant Valley. And then, when the bullpen needed to show up most, it all went up in – you know.

Sun City Flames             0 0 0 0 2 0 0 1 2  5
Elephant Valley Homers 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 3 7

Sun City Flames 2 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 5
Elephant Valley Homers 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 3 X 6

Elephant Valley Homers 0 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 4
Sun City Flames 0 0 4 1 0 3 0 0 X 8

Elephant Valley Homers 0 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 3 6
Sun City Flames 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

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Zwangzug
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Founded: Oct 19, 2006
Left-wing Utopia

Postby Zwangzug » Sun May 01, 2022 6:00 pm

The third-place series comes to an end here and now! Will the final continue?

Kriegiersien            1 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0  3
Quebec and Shingoryeo 0 0 0 0 4 0 2 0 X 6


Quebec and Shingoryeo wins the third-place playoff!

Banija                  3 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 1  6
South Newlandia 0 0 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 3


South Newlandia leads series, 3-2
Last edited by Zwangzug on Sun May 01, 2022 6:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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WARNING: by construing meaning from this sequence of symbols, you have given implicit consent to the theory that words have noncircular semantic value and can be used to encode information about an external universe. Proceed with caution.

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Banija
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Capitalist Paradise

Postby Banija » Mon May 02, 2022 2:30 pm

OOC Note: SNL and I are collabing on this game, so I will only start late in the 6th inning and go on from there

Manager Isaac Oladipo, with 2 outs in the sixth inning, right after South Newlandia tie the game at 3


The bottom of the sixth inning had been building a lot of tension for the Banijans. The game had been going generally well, so far. Three Banijan runs in the first inning were all the team had scored so far, and that had been enough. An Adam King RBI double to drive Zimmerman home during the fifth inning had been the only runs that the Elephants had gotten on base so far. But the bottom of the sixth inning was going poorly for Banija and their ace. Ramata Kabba had certainly had an up and down inning. Of course, Fabio Ventura starting the inning by pulling a single into left field, just past a diving Malik Solely, wasn't an ideal start to the inning. But it definitely happens, right?

In a game that, of course, was an elimination game for the Banijans. South Newlandia seemed to be putting together the type of rally worth of winning a team's first ever world title. They were due, of course- but Oladipo, obviously, wasn't worried about that. But it looked like that Ventura single would be an anomaly. Hugo Brock came to the plate, and struck out- with a nasty 1-2 breaking ball simply sinking too low for Brock to be able to try and make contact with. And then, of course, there was Brad Moore, coming to the plate. The catcher popped up to second base, which garnered the infield fly rule. Aloo actually dropped the ball, but it didn't matter- the infield fly rule had already been called. So two gone.

But then, trouble for Kabba. When leadoff hitter Mike Larsen pulled one down the left field, and just barely hit it foul, was when Oladipo made the call towards the pen to get a pitcher to warm up. "Maybe we won't need 'em- but better be safe than sorry, eh?" Oladipo said. And then, things were not going well. Larsen came back with a sharp single to right. But with Ventura running on contact, he was going to be waved passed second and get to third base without a throw. Runners on the corners, 2 outs. And then, the #2 hitter for South Newlandia, Daryl Dunlop, walked. Bases loaded, 2 outs. Oladipo had sent his pitching coach up there to try and calm down Ramata Kabba, before arguably the best player in the world, Shawn Zimmeran, came up to the plate.

Oladipo wanted to trust his ace. But it didn't work. She left too much over the plate, and Zimmerman was first pitch swinging. The only good thing Oladipo could say was that it was fortunate the ball was hit out to left-center. And were fortunate on the hop, as it bounced straight over the wall for a ground rule double. That hop is 3 inches shorter, we'd have Adoyo fielding it in center field, and Zimmerman very likely ended up with a bases-loaded, bases clearing triple. instead, he settled for the 2 run double- tie game, two out. 3-3 ball game, all the momentum, men on second and third.

"You gonna grab Ramata?" The Pitching Coach asked.

"Nah, give it a batter." Oladipo replied. "We're gonna let Adam King hit here? Please. Intentional walk to create a force anywhere." And Oladipo gave the signal. Kabba nodded. She threw the four outside pitches for the intentional walk, as Adam King jogged down to first base. David Drum came to the plate. "Alright- I'm gonna grab her." Oladipo jumped up the steps in the dugout, made the signal to the pen, and jogged out to meet Ramata Kabba- who was shaking her head.

"Coach, leave me in the game. I can get Drum." She said, just as Oladipo was arriving at the mound.

"You've done well, Ramata." Oladipo said. "But you're fading, you're getting tired. Let Akech come and get the final out."

"C'mon, Isaac." Ramata Kabba replied. "Look- I always leave it all on the line for this team. The pen's been struggling. I know I've missed on a few pitches this inning, but I swear to you, on all that is holy, I will get Drum out."

"No, Ramata, you know how this-" And he was interrupted by his veteran starter again.

"Coach. Please. I can do this." She said. She was looking at him, eyes blazing. Oladipo considered things again. He did trust his starter. And he trusted her, above all others. Akech had just opened the gate in the outfield, waiting for Kabba to start walking back to the dugout before he jogged onto the field. The other infielders were all looking at him.

This is why he was paid the big bucks, right? "Alright- I'll keep you in. Get him out." As Kabba thanked him, he signaled for Akech to go back into the pen. He walked up to the Chromatik ump, and explained what happened. The ump nodded, and yelled play ball. Oladipo got back to the dug out. Unfortunately, Kabba missed with her command on the first two pitches- two balls, both well outside, well off the plate. As Oladipo muttered to himself, Kabba slowed it down.

But this is why the grizzled veteran would go down as one of Banija's all-time great pitchers. With her command escaping her, in a game where everything was leaning towards South Newlandia, she'd still find a way to get that last out. The lefty started her motion- and then suddenly, whipped the throw to Malik Solely at first base. King, who was caught flat-footed, hesitated for a split second- and was doomed. His dive back to first base was way late, and Solely tagged him out for the third and final out of the inning.

"YES!" Oladipo yelled. Kabba thumped her chest. The wily veteran had found a way out of the inning, and prevented South Newlandia from taking a lead that could have potentially taken them to a title. Now, could Banija capitalize on this moment and extend the series?




Banijan Baseball Digest

Game 5 By the Numbers- How Banija, after being brought to the brink, kept their title hopes alive against the Elephants to force a Game 6

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Banijan players celebrate after their Game 5 victory


SPENSEN, ZWANGZUG- BANIJA IS ALIVE AND WELL! Look, we've all seen this series. We've seen our bullpen struggle mightily against the Elephants. The first four games so far, out of this series, have had a theme- in winning time, South Newlandia rises to the occasion, and Banija shrinks from it. For so long, our bullpen has patched it together. We've had some shaky moments- Yoro Coulibaly, our closer, in particular, has had his shaky moments. We saw Fabio Ventura walk it off in Game 3. We saw the pen almost blow a 7-0 lead, six innings into the game, in game 2, our only victory of the series so far. We saw Shawn Zimmerman have the game winning RBI double, in the 8th inning of Game 4, off of Oyella Lagum, to bring South Newlandia on the brink of a world championship.

It was a rough time. But here, at the Banijan Baseball Digest, we don't worry about that. Down 3-1, backs against the wall. That's when a Lion is at their most dangerous, right? We're back in this thing, lads! One game at a time. Ramata Kabba came through. Now here, we're going to do what baseball culture in this country hates to do- go through the numbers! We're going to go through the numbers that define Game 5, and what led us to what could be a historic win for this national team, if built upon.

36%- Banija's Win Probability with the Bases loaded, 2 outs, in a 3-3 game, and with a 2-0 count, bottom of the 6th

Win probability, eh? I'm sure you all remember this moment. The most high-leverage moment of the game, at that point. That'll be a legendary moment in the career of Ramata Kabba, our starting pitcher, and our team ace. Wearing down, struggling, losing her command, and going for the boldest move of all- a pickoff throw with the bases loaded. So many things could go wrong, especially for someone who was struggling for command in the inning. But did Kabba flinch? No. Did SOlely flinch? No- the pickoff was perfectly executed, the baserunner was caught off guard- game, set, inning. You couldn't ask for much more, could you? What a pickoff throw by the left hander.

Our win probability was 36% before the pickoff attempt. Honestly, considering the momentum that the Elephants had, it was probably lower than that, although the statistical model doesn't take into account things like momentum. But it got worse in the 7th.

21%- Banija's Win Probability with the Bases loaded, 1 out, in a 3-3 game, and with a 2-2 count, bottom of the 7th

It does cause people to lose a few years of their life watching this bullpen, doesn't it? I'm 25, and I may have sprouted a few gray hairs watching the late innings of this series alone. Like yeesh. Obviously, Kabba did not come back on for the 7th inning. It would be Arad Akech, who would struggle. David Drum hit a double to start the inning. And that's when things really start to go poorly. Then, Malika Bains, one of the fastest players in this entire tournament, laid down a sacrifice bunt- but then, beat it out. Everybody safe. Runners on the corners, nobody out. Oladipo ready to throw something. Normally, in a playoff game, in a high leverage moment like this, turn to Lagum, right? Except, at this point, I doubt Lagum or Coulibaly could get an out at the International Baseball Slam, let alone the WBC Championship Series.

Insert Naiser Ibeamaka, who's already got a save in this tournament. Fortunately, she got Ventura to strike out. And then, Hugo Brock at the plate. Her command, suddenly, was escaping her. Missing both in and out of the zone. Both strikes she threw, she left right over the heart of the plate. Hugo Brock, twice in the at-bat, hit balls that had home run distance down the left field line- but balls that he pulled, and were just foul. She ended up hitting him in the leg on a full count. Hit-By-Pitch, ball 4. Missing both in and out of the zone. When Oladipo climbed out of the pen, he threw his hands into the air. Can anyone in the bullpen get anybody out?

So he called upon a long reliever, who is a starter by trade and a starter at WBC 53- Zamekile Mbizo. We're going to talk more about his stunning performance, I promise. Catcher Brad Moore at the plate. He hit a fly ball to shallow left field. Nyaniso Hani got under it, and was in perfect position to gun it home. But the ball was too shallow for even the speedster, David Drum, to score on a sac fly here. Hani got under it and threw an absolute dart to home plate, with catcher Anathi Zimema grabbing it straight out of the air(no hops!) and tagging David Drum out on a bang-bang play to end the 7th inning.

What a defensive play. Somehow, we kept the game tied.

3- Number of at-bats Efulida Chazaso has had throughout this entire World Baseball Classic before her pinch hit, leadoff single in the top of the 8th

So we went to the top of the 8th, in a 3-3 game. Kramer had been pulled after six strong innings, and the Elephants were in their middle relief. They knew that they were a run away, potentially, from a world title. Banija hadn't scored since the 1st inning. Isaac Oladipo wanted to change things up. JoAnna Adoyo, our center fielder, leading off the 8th. But she was struggling. Why not change things up at the bottom of the order? We were about to be eliminated- gotta go high risk, high reward, right?

Enter Efulida Chazaso. She's mostly been a defensive substitute, late in games, for Ugonna Akachi at various points throughout the World Baseball Classic. But at just 23 year old, she can play all 3 outfield positions. Oladipo explained his thought process in his post-game press conference. "Chazaso is an excellent player- always has been." Oladipo told reporters. "Of course, its' incredibly hard to get playing time on a national team level. But to win a tournament, you ask for something from all of your players- not just the 9 in the starting lineup. We had Ebrahima Sillah hit a pinch hit home run off the bench, right? And I felt that Chazaso, whom South Newlandia's pitchers hadn't seen yet, woudl be in a good psosition to switch things up."

The last time she took an at-bat? Matchday 10 of the group stages. She's come in defensively quite a few time, like we've said. But she has not swung the bat once in any of Banija's 15 previous playoff games during this Classic. But like we said- down 3-1 in the series. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Not much, if any, of a scouting report on her hitting tendencies. And she slapped a single to left field for a base hit to lead off the inning. Of course, both Calata and Oneko struck out after that, almost making the move for naught, but we know what happened next...

445 Feet- The distance of Malik Solely's Go-Ahead 2 run home run that saved the season for Banija

First pitch swinging, eh? There's a reason that Malik Solely is the superstar of this team. Dude is always coming up clutch with dingers, key extra base hits, etc... He's one of the most clutch hitters of all time. This classic's short group stage probably robbed him of the ability to become Banija's all-time RBI leader(unless he played through WBC 56), but this guy's a bonafide superstar. Pitchers fear him. He's a free swinger who can hit anything. And whenever Banija is in a bind, who is better to call on than the GOAT himself, Malik Solely?

While Shawn Zimmerman is probably the biggest star of this series, Solely is close behind. And we saw why in the 8th inning. Man on 1st, 2 outs. Nothing doing, right? But Solely was first pitch swinging. He got something he liked, and blasted it to straight away center field. 445 feet- an absolute bomb to straight away center. Yet another picture-perfect moment for a veteran, who's career is literally chalk full of them, to put on his highlight reel. Can you get more clutch than a go-ahead home run in the 8th inning of the Championship Series?

5-- The number of yards Ugonna Akachi's bat flew on his epic bat flip after launching a 9th inning home run

And then, to the top of the 9th. WE went 1-2-3 in the 8th. And then, Ugonna Akachi comes up to the plate, one out, bases empty. Akachi is one of those new age players- he likes to swing up and try to go yard every time he swings the bat. His batting average suffers- but boy, has he come up in big moments. Right when we could use an insurance run, he blasted one over the left field well for a home run. And did you see how far he flipped that bat? He simply threw that thing- breaking all of the unwritten rules in baseball. Oladipo wasn't happy about it, saying that "while I understand his excitement, he's got to understand that the game is played a certain way."

It probably made a few South Newlandians feel some type of way. But no matter! We led 6-3 in the 9th inning. And more importantly- we kept that South Newlandian champagne in their bottles. No celebration tonight, eh?

8- The number of outs Zamekile Mbizo got in relief to earn his first win of the Classic, and keep Banija alive

And now, back to Mbizo. We covered his 7th inning. He came out, and immediately got a double play. Not a traditional double play, in fairness. The 7-2 double play to end an inning is not all that common. And all credit to both our left fielder and our catcher on the play, who made a fantastic defensive play to keep this game tied, and finally switch the momentum back towards our own squad. But we've gotta think about Zamekile Mbiko a little bit. He is normally a starter- both in the WBBL, and even for this national team. At WBC 53, he was the team's #5 starter, before moving down to the pen for the postseason. He was supposed to be a starter this time around as well. And then, when the 10 game group stage format was announced, everything changed.

Changed for the team, of course. With more off-days built into the schedule, that meant the team would only need four starters for the group stages. And that's exactly what Isaac Oladipo, in his first Classic as a manager, decided to do. Which meant Mbizo, instead of going back to the rotation, had to go back into the bullpen. Mbizo got kind of unlucky, right? No retirements in the pitching rotation to move up the list. But he didn't complain. He didn't demand a start. He simply kept his head down, and went to work. Worked on his craft, worked on being able to get going quickly, to gain the skills necessary to become a successful reliever.

He's obviously had a number of outings throughout this tournament so far. But none as big as this one. At a time when Super-Llamaland's U13s could probably get a few hits on most of our actual relievers right now, Mbizo came and shut things down. Obviously, he got the double play in the 7th. But he still had the 8th and the 9th to pitch, didn't he? And he absolutely dominated those. Remember, went straight to the top of the order for the Elephants to lead off the 8th. But Mbizo was dominant. Shawn Zimmerman was the only player to reach base, hitting a 2 out double. Otherwise? Here was the line for the rest of the game.

8th- #1 Mike Larsen STRIKEOUT looking
8th- #2 Daryl Dunlop STRIKEOUT swinging
8th- #3 Shawn Zimmerman DOUBLE
8th- #4 Adam King GROUNDOUT to Cedron Aloo at 2nd base, inning over
9th- #5 David Drum POP UP to Mesuli Calata in left field
9th- #6 Malika Bains STRIKEOUT swinging
9th- #7 Fabio Ventura FLY OUT to Efulida Chazaso in center field, game over


That's domination, is it not? 2 and 2/3s innings in relief. Just 1 hit, no walks, three strikeouts. Can't get any better than that, can it?

0- Number of actual relievers Isaac Oladipo trusts to get any outs right now

And this- this is the number that is most important for the rest of the series. Oladipo has tried all sorts of things during this Classic. Two middle relievers, with the shortest ropes ever. It's clear- Oladipo doesn't trust anyone in the bullpen. Of course, he would never say that out loud. "We have an entire horde of elite relievers in the bullpen for this team." Isaac Oladipo told reporters after the game. "A few are struggling, but of course, we're in the late stages of the World Baseball Classic. South Newlandia should get some credit- they are simply swinging the bat well, and clearly, they are doing their homework in late games against our relievers." But of course, he has to say that.

Actions speak louder than words, right? Like we said, who did not go into the game in the 7th inning, when we were in trouble. No Oyella Lagum. No Yoro Coulibaly. He went with a former starting pitcher. Zamekile Mbizo might be the only person in the bullpen whom Oladipo actually trusts right now- and Mbizo's a starting pitcher. That's how bad it is in the Banijan pen at this point. Maybe Duka Kondana as well? Kondana only has 1 career start for team Banija, but he is a starter on the domestic level, at least. It'll be interesting to see who Oladipo turns to, when/if he needs to get crucial outs in the late innings of Game 6.

Expect him to ride Faraba Conateh for absolutely as long as possible in Game 6. The 33 year old is in his fifth Classic as a starter, and has a world title. But we know this to be clear- when our setupman and closer are not brought into a close game, in the 8th and 9th innings, it can only mean one thing- that they're functionally benched. There is a question that must be answered by Games 6 and 7- can we win a world title without a bullpen?
President of the World Cup Committee. Vice President of the World Cup of Hockey Federation. 4X defending IBC champion.
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Postby South Newlandia » Mon May 02, 2022 4:40 pm

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Postby Zwangzug » Mon May 02, 2022 6:00 pm

Let's bring on game six!

South Newlandia        0 1 0 1 1 3 0 1 1  8
Banija 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0


Congratulations to South Newlandia, and thanks to everyone for participating!
Last edited by Zwangzug on Mon May 02, 2022 6:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Banija » Tue May 03, 2022 10:37 am

Banijan Baseball Digest

The Better Team Asserted itself and won a title- but the outlook is bright for Banijan Baseball

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SPENSEN, ZWANGZUG- Welp. That did not go well. This Championship Series, so far, has been a close, thrilling series, with the first 5 games of this series all coming down to late inning heroics. Too many times, of course, we were on the wrong side of these late inning heroics, as our bullpen repeatedly and consistently failed in the game's biggest moments. But in Game 6, with an opportunity to clinch their first ever World Championship, the Elephants grabbed it by the horn. We fought in Game 5, well, to ensure that we'd have a game 6 and an opportunity to force a Game 7. But South Newlandia proved exactly why they are the world #1, and why this is their third appearance in the Championship series since WBC 51. They were better in every way- on the mound, at the plate, and in the field.

We all watched that game- I've got no desire to do any sort of summary. Let's not get it twisted here- the better team asserted itself on this day. South Newlandia are truly at the pinnacle of this sport, and their consistency over the past few years, alongside South Newlandians building out and competing in the best baseball league on Earth, the LPB- along with Super-Llamaland. It is probably well past time that they were able to earn their championship. And after losing both to and in Banija in their previous attempts, in the title series of both WBCs 51 and 53 respectively, they downed us to win their first world title- one that they hope is the first of many.

While the better team did assert themselves in this series, that doesn't mean this is it for team Banija. In fact, there is plenty to come. In the post-game press conference, quite a few players spoke, and had some interesting Qs. We're going to go through some of the best answers given in the post-mortem.

Question to Ramata Kabba- will you return for WBC 55?

"I absolutely love playing this sport, and even more, I love competing for my country. The world title that I won at WBC 51 was the pinnacle of my career as a starting pitcher, and it has been a great honor to pitch for this team for all these years. I do not see why that has to end. This is the modern era- players, in all sorts of sports, are competing longer than ever before at an extremely high level. The trainers in Cassadaiuga are excellent, and I don't see why, as long as I continue to take care of myself and do right by my club in Cassadaiuga, I wouldn't be able to throw three years from now, at WBC 55."


Explanation: She definitely wants to come back. This tournament was her sixth WBC as a starting pitcher for Banija. If she pitches at WBC 55, that will be her 7th cycle as a starting pitcher for team Banija- which would be a team record. She'd have a chance, if she came back, to set all sorts of records for Banija- most starts, most wins, etc... Records that could've been set this classic, if it were not for the fact that there were 20 less group stage games than normal in this tournament. And look- she's still got it. Quality starts twice in the Championship Series? But of course, she will be 39 years old... Setting another record, as the oldest player to play for our national baseball team in team history. Can she hold up?

And even if she can, will she be able to maintain her spot at the very top of the rotation? Hard to say. Three years is a long time. An unprecedented 4th cycle as the staff ace, at age 39? Would be insane.

Question to Isaac Oladipo- How do you feel about this core?

"I firmly believe that this roster is capable of being a championship winning roster. We've got a lot of talent everywhere, but we had an achilles heel... And I have 3 years to get that fixed. When you have rosters like this one, it is not a time to be fearless. It is a time to double down, and make the bold moves necessary in order to win yourself a championship."


Explanation: He understands the bullpen stinks. That was the Achilles heel. Of course, Game 6, we just got rocked. But the Elephants continuously came out with clutch hitting against our relievers. It begs a question, however. Maybe it's not like our bullpen was terrible the whole time. We had large stretches of this Classic where most of the pen were consistently getting outs. It's just the Championship Series. But, one cannot say this without crediting the South Newlandians. It was a picture-perfect display of hitting. The hitters clearly were up to date on the scouting reports, were patient, took what our relievers gave them, and simply outworked and outplayed our bullpen at every single turn. Sometimes, you just have to give credit where it's due.

That doesn't mean there won't be bullpen changes. Yoro Coulibaly will not be closing out games at 40 years old, at WBC 55. Lwazi Fassie, who is 33 now, has already announced their retirement from the national team. But there's a ton of confidence in the important players of this core- Solely, Akachi, Mbexi, etc... That they are capable of winning a title, and soon.

The Un-asked Question: With an aging core, who will retire? Will there be a youth movement amongst this team?

This is the ultimate question over the next few years. Think of how old much of our core will be next time.

Starting Rotation
1 LHP Ramata Kabba- 39 years old
2 RHP Faraba Conateh- 36 years old
3 LHP Xolile Gola- 32 years old
4 RHP Ava Odoyo- 33 years old

Bullpen
MRP Mizpah Askari- 34 years old

Select Hitters- Numbered by spot in the Batting Lineup
1 SS Mesuli Calata- 33 years old
3 1B Malik Solely- 36 years old
4 DH Luxolo Mbeki- 34 years old
5 LF Nyaniso Hani- 35 years old

That could be potentially 9 players who are 32 or older who are important contributors for the team. Even scarier? 5 of those 9 players could be 35 or older. And those aren't just randoms either. Ramata Kabba, like we said earlier, has been our ace for the last three classics in a row. Faraba Conateh has just pitched in his fifth World Baseball Classic. 4 of the top 5 hitters in our batting order, as of right now, are all on this list as well. These people will age, they will get older. All of these players have said now, in the wake of an excruciating championship series loss, that they will come back.

But should they? That's why Isaac Oladipo is going to get paid the big bucks. He's going to have to, eventually, usher in more of a youth movement for this team. If we ran back this entire roster, there would be just 3 players under the age of 25 next time around- Ugonna Akachi(22), Naiser Ibeamaka(23), and Ipe Chafukwa(24). Ibeamaka is just a middle reliever, and Chafukwa didn't log a single start throughout this entire tournament. It will be a major challenge.

Obviously, he's not going to talk about it now. But he'll have to figure out how to do that. Scout hard in country, find the elite young players. How would you break to a potential star if they are left off the roster? Would a pitcher like Faraba Conateh or Ramata Kabba ever accept a reduction in role? That could create huge controversy. The team was largely in their prime for this tournament, and that was proven by our run back to the Championship Series. But this would officially be one of the oldest teams at WBC 55 if we ran it back, and that will create some difficult questions for Isaac Oladipo to answer, assuming these players don't answer those for him.

All in all, however? We'll remember this one for some time. What a team, what a ride, what a story! Hats off to South Newlandia- the best team in the world finally got the trophy they deserved. But rest assured- at WBC 55, we'll be back and gunning straight for that precious crown, one more time.
President of the World Cup Committee. Vice President of the World Cup of Hockey Federation. 4X defending IBC champion.
Kabaka = King
Lubuga = Queen Consort
Isebantu = Crown Prince
Waziri = Foreign Minister
Katikkiro = Prime Minister
Omugabe/Omugaba= Prince/Princess
Banija Domestic Sports | Map of Banija
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Postby South Newlandia » Mon May 16, 2022 9:16 am

The real WBC win is the friends we made along the way

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