Lahore vs. Cordoba
Lahore started this game off right by smashing a 3 run homer (Courtesy of Shamil Khadaroo), thanks to Bilal Javed’s rookie pitching ways. Cordoba can thank Hamza Waheed for those 3 runs as he strolled in late with samosa in hand. Turns out he had to stop for fresh Samosa’s which delayed his arrival. Lahore using this momentum came out and shut Cordoba down in their first at bat. The very next inning Cordoba turned around and shut Lahore down and double wammied them with a mercy inning. Cordoba did most of its damage in the 2nd and 3rd inning combining for a 11 points which was already out of reach for Lahore. Still, they continued to scratch and claw while trying to keep their composure on defense. Lahore did have a chance at winning this game but their shaky defense lead to their demise as Lahore goes back to their losing ways. Lahore was excited to have Shahid Saya back as he contributed with 2 RBI’s. Salman Ahmad was fantastic on the mound as he struck out 3 players tonight and tried to keep the pressure on Cordoba. We caught up with Captain Lahore after the game who despite the loss was very proud of his teams performance. He thought they played hard and stayed in the game with the top team. Cordoba did their damage without clearing the fence but their team had 7 doubles which definitely helped bring in some runs! Their game was overall solid with Chu continuing to make double plays at Short Stop. Cordoba’s defense has consistently improved every game which leads captain Yusauf Chaudhry to think they can start to take it easy in preparation for the playoffs. Codroba has been known to dominate the weaker teams but has had to go toe to toe with some of the better teams in the league. although they’ve been quite successful, all it takes is one mistake in the playoffs. Will Cordoba be the Cairo of this year and make a brief appearance in the playoffs or will they go on to write their own history and prove that they are the best team in the league? we’ll find out soon enough…
Summary of Main Stats:
Aftab Sheikh – 3 / 4, 3R
Shamil Khadaroo – 1 / 2, HR, 3RBI’s
Shahid Saya – 1 / 3, 2 RBI’s
Saad Husnain – 2 / 3, HR, 3 RBI’s
Zaid Gansar – 3 / 3, RBI
Yusauf Chaudhry – 2 / 4, 2 RBI’s
Damascus at Cairo
In a rematch of week 1, where Cairo walked off against Damascus, these two teams reunited for an epic matchup in week 11. Unlike the beginning of the season, now both teams have a sense as to where they stand, and what their weaknesses and opportunities are. Since week 1, Cairo has battled (to their credit), facing adversity through injuries and players missing, finiding themselves at the bottom of the standings. Damascus has been playing like the second best team in Nights all season, having only yielded two losses (one being to Cairo).
Before the game started, players on both sides were seen warming up. Especially Cairo, who took the adjacent baseball field to practice some fielding and hitting - they looked determined to win this one. It seemed to work, as they toook the lead after the first inning 3-2. After that it was downhill, as Damascus put a 7 spot up in the second and never trailed after that.
It's been a recurring theme for the Egyptians from Cairo, and in the words of its GM Yasser Malik, Cairo has been a work in progress all year around. Outside of the top 4 hitters, Cairo did not manage to get much production from the brothers in the middle and bottom of the lineup. Defensively, the team had a combined 7 errors which is a recipe for disaster. Despite the lack of hitting and defensive, it was a great effort that Cairo should be proud of. Although the outcome was not what Cairo had in mind, this writer believes Cairo is trending upwards because brothers are consistently coming out and putting up a good effort (except for Miqdad who showed up just in time for his first at-bat - j/k Miq, the writers adore you). As three weeks remain in the season, does Cairo have enough time to figure things out? Rumour has it that Cairo is securing various fields in the Peel region to hold day/night practices
Damascus played well enough to get the victory in this one, though Cairo made it easy for them by committing 7 errors. Damascus may think they are championship material, but they have had one of the easier schedules this year, as they face league leading Cordoba twice more, in the last three weeks of the season. Call it luck or skill, or a bit of both, Damascus finds itself sitting pretty in second position. In this game, Ahmad Ammad kept doing Ahmad Ammad things, clubbing another two homer game. Unfortunately he went only 2/4 and saw his average drop to a disappointing .830 - he will need to pick up the slack for next game. Surprisingly, out of no where, Neal Irfan has shown immense power this year... rumour has it that he has enrolled in Ammad's patented workout regime and it looks to be working. While the hitting was decent for Damascus in this game, the writing group believes Damascus is at where they are because of the super play of none other than Tanseer Khawaja, who has recovered from his left shoulder strain, to put a strain into the rest of the league with his pitching and hitting. Damascus continues to roll on, but faces a tough test in week 12 as it squares off against Cordoba, who will look to avenge it's earlier loss to Damascus. Will Damascus continue to get lucky or will reality finally settle them back to Earth?
- Awais Malik made some brilliant catches in RF.
- Ali Chaudhry with two XBH including a HR
- Baseer Yasseen continues getting on base by getting hit after hit... he had 3 in this one
- Jav Ahmed one of the most versatile players in our league he can pitch, play outfield and can hit, despite not getting any hits this game
- Abdu Shark looking healthy
- Bilal Khan getting that 2018 confidence back, in which made him a .500 hitter
- Adnan Yusuf went perfect 3/3 with two doubles in his BSL Nights debut as a regular
- Talal Hayat produced three clutch hits... he may be one of the best bottom hitters in our league
- Neal Irfan has a smoking hot bat
- Akif Waheed is a great role player, going 3/5
- Hatf Sohail been balling since the trade
- Defense was decent in this one, but if they faced a team with a calibre like Cordoba then it's a different story
Medina vs Istanbul
After a 2-week layoff, Istanbul entered this week looking to add to their point total and try to secure a playoff spot with the season coming to an end very shortly. Unfortunately, things started off rocky with as many as 5 Istanbul players calling in not being able to make the game, including GM Zain Malik. But with a bit of luck, the men in red got back one of their best players, as Rameez Siddiqi was able to make the game last minute. Meanwhile, on the flip side, Medina almost boasted an entire team if it weren’t for a last-minute issue at the airport causing Ismail Akhtar to be delayed on his flight. Rumor has it, his younger brother Abdullah, called in an extra security search on Ismail to ensure he missed the game.
As is the case in most of their games played, the game quickly got out of hand from Istanbul early on. Medina quickly scored 2 runs in the 1st inning and added another 5 spot in the 2nd to push their lead to 7, coming from a monster home run by WK. with their backs against the wall, Istanbul responded with their own big bats and put up 9 straight to go up by 2, courtesy of Istanbul’s week 11 hero, Saoud Ramjaun, who finally broke out of his slump, and went down the line for a 2 RBI double. The highlight of his hit though came shortly afterwards while standing on 2nd, when you could hear Istanbul’s dugout breaking out in one of the best team chants in BSLN history: “SOOD SOOD SOOD SOOD SOOD”, chants could be heard all the way to the parking lot, and it was this type of energy that Istanbul would rely on for the rest of the game. Saoud was also very instrumental in the field, making plays at 2nd including a key tag on a player stretching a single to a double.
With their lead evaporated, Medina’s bottom order decided it was their turn to step up, and with runners in scoring position, with 2 outs, Abdul Butt knocked a double right to the fence, bringing 2 runs in and closing the gap, while Hannan Uppal had himself a solid day at the plate going 2/3 and a key RBI. With Medina up 11-9, GM Mo Kala could be heard shouting to his team to preserve the lead, while Zahid Merchant was playing stellar defense all day at SS to ensure they were going home with a win. With Istanbul being all pumped, they slowly chipped away 2 more runs and with the game tied, found themselves in the envious position of having home field. In the bottom of the 7th, with 1 out and Fuzail Thakur sitting on 2nd base (winning run), Arif Iqbal came up to bat, and with 1 swing of the bat, he was able to find the gap between OF’s. The entire Istanbul team were jumping up and down, calling for Fuzzy to come home, but unfortunately, as he was rounding 3rd base, his foot got caught and stumbled ever so slightly. With that stumble, Medina’s SS Zahid, was able to gun him out at home by half a step. All was not lost, as Istanbul still had a shot with a man on 3rd and 2 outs, but a slow grounder ended the game at 11’s, giving both teams a much needed and much earned point on the night.
With no further bye weeks, and 3 games to go, both Medina and Istanbul are fighting to remain in a playoff spot with only 2 points separating these 2 and 2 more teams for the final 3 spots. Medina solved an issue by trading for a full-time pitcher in Zia “Doc” Beg, but did they give up too big a bat in the process? As for Istanbul, the main issue has been attendance. With GM Zain still missing a few weeks, can AGM Riyad Ramjaun rally the troupes that show up in time to secure that playoff spot? Only a few weeks left and still too many questions remain for both these teams but gaining that 1 important point was extremely valuable to both clubs. Final score: Istanbul 11 – 11 Medina.
Summary of Main Stats:
WK: 2/4 – 1 HR – 3 RBI’s
Abdul Butt: 2/3, 2B, 2 RBI’s
Hannan Uppal: 2/3, 1 RBI
Fuzail Thakur: 4/4, 1 RBI
Tamour Sheikh: 3/4, 1 HR, 3 RBI’s
Saoud Ramjaun: 2/4, 2B, 2 RBI’s