FINALS: Baghdad vs Cordoba
Welcome to the final recap of 2021 as we get set to conclude another successful season. The years Finals features the #4 seed Baghdad facing off against the #2 seed, Cordoba. This is Cordoba’s 4th finals appearance in as many as 4 years whereas Baghdad has made their way to the finals in their inaugural season. Both teams have some insane power in their bats and have rock solid defenders. This game was definitely one for the ages.
As game time neared, both teams decided to come to the field early to get some swings and have some pregame chats. You could see both teams huddled together firing each other up, getting ready for the biggest game of the year. Cordoba being the home team took the field while Baghdad got ready to put up some runs on to start things up. Both teams started off on the wrong foot as neither team could put any runs on the board. That would change in the 2nd inning as Baghdad got started by putting up 4 runs courtesy of a Fawad Sheikh Homerun, his 2nd in the playoffs and a big one. Cordoba would respond in a big way as they put up a 7-spot taking the lead. Baghdad’s outfield started off by missing some key catches which allowed Cordoba to pick up some extra bases and consistently load the bases and drive in runs while the infield was having issues of their own with routine plays. Thanks to multiple errors which seemed like there was no end in sight (9 errors on the night), Cordoba put up 18 runs by the fifth inning bringing the score to 18-5. That would change as Captain Hamid Malik called his team in for a huddle, fired his guys up and made sure they understood the gravity of the situation they were in. Not sure what he said but it seemed to have worked as Baghdad came out on absolute fire! Like they dipped their bats in Kerosine because everything they touched was finding the gap or landing on the other side of the fence. Sir Nirvaan Latif got the party started as he launched a 3 run shot over the fence getting his boys fired up. Baghdad got started and didn’t look back as they were hauling in runs in bunches. That momentum didn’t stop there as they carried that over on defense and held Cordoba to 1 run the rest of the way. Still, a mountain to climb with time running out, there was very little margin for error. Everyone on the team came up to bat and got on base, The amount of clutch hits from guys like Abdo, Thaya, Fawad, Ali, Tash, Farooq, Zain and Aslam was incredible. Nirvi and Noor both had some big shots including a pair of homeruns each which brought in a combined 12 RBI’s. On the defensive end, Baghdad tightened up and after the fifth inning, didn’t miss a thing. Everyone was sharp and ready to go down swinging hard!
In the 9th inning, Baghdad was only down by 2 and needed some clutch hitting to tie this game. The crowd was silent and in shock to see such an incredible comeback in motion but would Baghdad be able to tie the game in time and send it to extra innings? Aslam and Nirvi got on base and were waiting to be driven in as Abdo came up to bat. Like he had done all game, he stepped up and smashed a nice hit over 2B bringing in the game tying RBI sending Baghdad in a frenzy of emotions. Cordoba still had a shot to close out the game as they were the home squad but with so much momentum in Baghdad’s favour, Cordoba was shut down sending this game to extra innings. In extra innings, Baghdad had their heart of the lineup come up which was the best-case scenario as they had some of the leagues biggest hitters lined up. They started off with Farooq Sani on 2nd base with 1 out. Thaya was the next man up and with confidence he smashed one between LF and LCF bringing in the game winning run! Baghdad would put up another run but Cordoba’s Short stop Usama made an incredible play to end the inning. With just 2 outs remaining, Baghdad knew they had to shut Cordoba down or they would risk losing this game. Khawar Anwar did a great job of placing the ball right behind 2B as he advanced the runner to 3B. Baghdad was a little nervous as Cordoba had their heart of the lineup coming up with a runner on 3B in a position to close the gap. If Baghdad didn’t get this out, they were going to lose the game. The batter misplayed the ball and played a grounder right into the hands of Noor Zia who snagged it and ran to 2B for the out, completing one of the greatest comebacks in BSL Nights history, reminescent of last years Finals. Congratulations to Baghdad for not giving up with all odds stacked against them and completing the come back. That took a lot of heart, grit, and hard work. Big shout out to Cordoba for playing an incredible season and making another finals appearance. Its not easy to make the finals but to do it 4 years in a row is absolutely incredible. Big shout out to Cordoba’s short stop Usama Mahmood as that guy put on a show. He consistently put his body on the line and made snags nobody in the league could make. Baghdad had to stop hitting to him in order to get their offense going. He also had 4 RBI’s and homerun to LF. Abbas Allidina and Abdul Murad both combined for 6 RBI’s and 1 homer (Abbas hit 1 to CF). Big shout out to Bilal Javed for leading a great group of guys to the finals and battling all the way till the end.
Congratulations to the 2021 Champions, BAGHDAD! Very up and down season but they stepped up when it mattered most and played their hearts out. Big shout out to Nirvaan and Noor for their big homeruns and Abdo for his big game. Abdo had to go 4 for 4 on some very clutch hitting for Baghdad to have a chance at winning this game. He has constantly put his body on the line to make plays and is one of the reasons Baghdad was able to become champions. Thaya, had an incredible game as he had 3 RBI’s including the game winning run. This caps off an incredible first season as he played above expectations. Nirvaan controlled the mound all year and caught fire in the playoffs. Without a hot Nirvaan Latif, Baghdad doesn’t win a chip. Nirvaan Latif is Baghdad’s “2021 Playoff MVP”. Well deserved my brother!
We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for being a part of the BSLN family and we hope everyone had a fantastic season. Until next time Inshallah, take care and Asalam-0-Alaikom
Final Score: Baghdad 21 vs Cordoba 19 (in Extra innings)