The wet conditions didn't stop the boys from taking the field this Sunday. Here is what transpired in week 4:
Recaps have been written by members of the rumours committee
Seljuqs v Ayyubids: The Seljuqs came into this Sunday coming off a huge win against the Ottomans and were looking for revenge against the Ayyubids for an opening day loss. Unfortunately for the Seljuqs, the game did not start off as planned as the Ayyubids put up a five spot in the first inning courtesy of Ahmad Ammad grand slam. The Seljuks would fight back with three of their own in the bottom of the inning, however, the Ayyubids’ bats continued their relentless hitting and by the end of the fifth inning, they were up 16-7. Due to some uncharacteristic errors from the Ayyubids in the last inning, the Seljuqs were able to put together a short rally scoring four runs. In the end, however, the Ayyubids were able to shut the Seljuqs down and preserve the win. The Seljuqs had no answer for Ahmad Ammad as he torched them by going 3-3 with 3 homeruns and 6 RBIs.
Final Score: Seljuqs - 18, Ayyubids - 11; Star of the Game - Ahmad Ammad 3-3, 3 HRs, 6 RBIs
Mughals v Mamluks: Game 1 on Birchwood 2 featured a rematch of Week 1 where the Green Machine fell to the Badshah’s 10-3. The Mughals were anticipating missing Hassan Chaudhry due to his Nikkah happening on Saturday, however, in true BSL form, Hassan made the game and the Mughals were determined to gift him 2 wins as a wedding gift. As the rest of the season has gone, the Mughals came out of the gate slow as the Mamluks put up 2 runs in the first to take a 2-0 lead. The lead would continue to grow with WK hitting a HR in the 3rd to break the game open (or so we thought) giving the Mamluks a 9-0 lead after 3 innings. With the game seemingly getting away from them, the Mughals decided to start scoring with HR’s from Ismail Akhter, Nadeem Hussain and Rookie of the Year candidate Aqib Khokhar to take a 12-10 lead into the bottom of the 5th. After the Mamluks tied it with a Rizvan Merchant 2 run HR in the 5th, the game was tied heading into the bottom of the 6th. This game featured a lot of HR’s and the Mamluks didn’t disappoint, with Jibran Waqar and WK hitting solo’s to put the Mamluks up by 2 for good. The Mughals need to right this ship fast or the season may be lost soon as they suffer loss number 3 on the season. More alarming, the Mughals only scored in 2 of the 7 innings played, while the Mamluks seemed to have hit their stride just at the right time. WK continues to show off his batting prowess, batting 3-4 with 2 HR’s and 5 RBI’s to take player of the game honors.
Final Score: Mughals - 12, Mamluks - 14; Star of the Game - W K 3-4, 2 HR, 5 RBIs
Mughals v Ayyubids: The Mughals came in desperate in the second game after a narrow loss to the Mamluks while the Ayyubids were riding high after taming the Bulls in the first game. The Mughals for once jumped out to an early 2-0 lead but the Ayyubids bounced right back to go up 3-2 after 1. The Mughals would tie the game up in the 3rd on a Faraaz Alvi single. The Ayyubids would break the game open in the bottom of the third on a Ahmad Ammad HR (his 4th of the day) and a Faheem Kotwal 2-run long ball. Mo Kala would hit a 3-run shot in the 4th to give the Ayyubids a commanding 10-4 lead. The Mughals showed fight as they tagged on 3 runs in the 5th. In the 6th, with the tying run on 1st with Ismail Akhter up, Ismail hit a long drive to CF where Imran Merchant would rob him of extra bases with a jumping catch. The Ayyubids would score 3 in the bottom of the 6th with time expiring to give them another impressive victory. The Mughals once again showed potential but it was too little too late as they fall to under 0.500 for the first time in franchise history. The Ayyubids soar to 7-1 on the season with the ability to lock up a playoff spot next week.
Final Score: Mughals - 8, Ayyubids - 13; Star of the Game - Faheem Kotwal 3-4, HR, 3 RBIs
Seljuqs v Mamluks: The second match up during the matinee portion of week 4 showcased the Mamluks and Seljuqs on Birchwood 2. Both teams were coming off tight finishes in their first games of the afternoon, so the level of competition was ramped up quite a bit. It was the Seljuqs however that started the game off with a bit of a bang, chipping in runs chipping in runs in each of the first 3 innings, to hold a 7-3 advantage. Zaid Ghansar and Shoaib Gaya hit a pair of loud home runs to build up that lead. However, on the other side of the dimaond, the Mamluks were struggling to find any rhythm against Hamza Waheed, and it wasn't until the bottom of the 6th that the Mamluks exploded for a 7 runs to not only tie the game, but also take the lead on a clutch Baseer Yaseen home run. The momentum charged the Mamluks and had their energy level soar, but it was quickly struck down as Omer Dhaduk and Rameez Siddiqi hit back to back shots to restore a one run lead for the bulls. The beauty of Birchwood 2 continued as in the bottom half of the final inning, that Atif Khan decided it was his turn to go yard in a clutch way, as he tied the game up with a single swing of the bat, with two outs in the inning. After Taher Mirza reached base, the game concluded in a Jibran Waqar thunderous fly ball that just failed to leave the yard. This back and forth, ping pong like affair, with plenty of home runs and surges of energy ended in a 12-12 draw.
Final Score: Seljuqs - 12, Mamluks - 12; Star of the Game - Shoaib Gaya 2-3, HR, 2 RBIs, Atif Khan 2-3, Game tying HR
Ottomans v Sultans:
Another week, another shorthanded Sultans squad looking to overcome the odds and come away with a couple of wins. Coming off a week in which they went 0-2, the Horsemen strode onto Diamond 1 to face-off against the storied Ottomans franchise. The Turks split last week 1-1 and were looking for any excuse to put their finishing WWE move, ‘The Empire Fire’ on their opponents. This game was circled on every copy of the BSL Calendar that Commissioner Zahid Merchant possesses…even the one taped to his bedroom ceiling (above his race car bed adorned with Mughals themed sheets) as it was supposed to have it all; raging offense, a revenge story and most importantly, kebabs. Between Rehan ‘The Wrecking Ball’ Ahmad, Shaheen ‘Call Me Dada’ Limbada and Omer ‘Hit Homers’ Chaudhry, this game featured some of the greatest hitters in BSL history…surefire first ballot hall of famers.
The game started in its usual manner with the Turks shouting their pre-game cheer dubbed ‘We Are Ottomen, We Are Problem, Men!’. Unfortunately, that was the last exciting thing to happen for the next 60 minutes…unless you’re a Denver Broncos fan and love defensive games. This game remained at 1-0 THROUGH FOUR INNINGS with the only run coming off a sac-fly. The game broke open in the top of the 5th with the Ottomans’ heavy top order (seriously…like Yokozuna heavy) getting on base for Hammad ‘The Beef’ Afif who promptly went Grandy. That 5-0 lead would not last long as the Sultan bats finally decided to come out of their coma and put up 5 of their own including a Limbada Long Ball which led to a bit of relief as Shaheen was working himself up to Beatrix Kiddo levels before the game. But the grogginess from the comatose bats held a lingering effect as the Sultans were only able to put up three more runs the rest of the game while Hammad’s banger seemed to awaken a fasting beast who started doing ifthaar with softballs like it was friggin’ Hungry Hungry Hippos. The Ottomans put up 10 more runs to make the final score 15-8.
While many players went 3-4, this game came down to two things. On the W side, Taha ‘SO Sick’ Iqbal, who went 4-5, was putting the ball wherever he wanted…he also slid into third for a triple while deciding elbows aren’t necessary to enjoy the rest of your life. This writer is convinced that Taha’s patented ‘LET’S GO!’ battle cry is used in many facets of his life….’LET’S GO!’ before eating biryani, ‘LET’S GO!’ before a meeting at work and ‘LET’S GO!’ before doing oolti when he’s sick. On the L side of things, this loss can be blamed solely on AGM Shahzad Ahmed who has done a poor job in GM Shamil Khadaroo’s absence. If he doesn’t correct his lineup decisions, lead by better example and focus more on the team, then this season could quickly unravel.
Final Score: Ottomans - 15, Sultans - 8; Star of the Game - Rehan Ahmad 2-3, 2 HR, 5 RBIs
Final Score: Ottomans - 15, Sultans - 8; Star of the Game - Rehan Ahmad 2-3, 2 HR, 5 RBIs
Abbasids v Nasrids: Week Four saw the Abbasids enter a tough match-up with the Nasrids still looking for their first win of the season. With the Abbasids brain-trust feeling that their offense let them down in Week Three there was a lot of talk about how to get their offense going so some tweaks were made to move players around in the batting order to see if it sparked things – a forced change was to their pitcher as starter Zia Beg was not available this weekend forcing Fuzail Thakur into the spotlight. The Abbasids got off to a strong start in this one as they put up six runs to open the game and seemed to be feeling good about their chances. The Nasrids responded with a pair in the bottom of the first as Osman Buttar launched a mammoth two-run homer into the ravine of Birchwood Two. The Abbasids continued to hum along and after the top of the sixth had built a solid 16-5 lead and just needed to close the game out. The Ottomans put up a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning to make it a 16-7 game going into the seventh where Ibrahim Sardar shut down the Abbasids bats giving his team a chance to make a game of it. The pressure was on the Nasrids to open the final frame and who better to show them that "Anything is Possible" than Sir Nirvaan Latif who led off with a single to the wall that just missed going over by a couple of feet. From there Nasrids bottom of the line-up found a way to battle as they went small ball and knocked singles all over the field. After grinding out four runs they brought up Osman Buttar with the bases loaded and one homer run already under his belt, Buttar hit a sky high ball that managed to drop by virtue of the Abbasids outfield playing on the warning track. A pair of Abbasid miscues on the infield gave the Nasrids runs and second chances to keep the rally going. After another single to tie the game up, the Abbasids finally got the third out to end the game but not before squandering a nine run lead to end the game in a 16-16 tie. While the Abbasids broke their six-game losing streak they left the game knowing full well that they allowed their first win of the season to get away. The Nasrids showed some great perseverance to keep battling despite being down big right to the end of the game which bodes well for their team morale.
Final Score: Abbasids - 16, Nasrids - 16; Star of the Game - Sameer Rafique 3-3, HR, 4 RBIs, Salar Rasoul 3-3
Abbasids v Ottomans: The Ottomans looked to build on their big win against Sultans with a matchup versus the Abbasids. The Abbasids came in with a mixed bag of emotions, having tied their previous game to collect their first point of the season after giving away a ten run lead. The Orangemen once again looked to Fuzail Thakur to man the mound against one of the League's top offences. Fuzzy showed his best stuff, allowing only one run in his first round of the OTT lineup. His got some run support in pieces throughout the game, notably with Ahmed Butt picking up three RBIs and AGM Kashif Irshad bringing three in as well. Irshad had the biggest hit of the game after smacking a two-run shot for added insurance for his boys. With the Abbasids up two going into the last inning, Fuzail had to shut down the Ottomans 2-3-4 batters to seal the deal and taste victory. The Ottomans brought in two runs to tie it up and had runners on the corners with two away and their GM Hashim Ghazi at the plate. Thakur worked Ghazi into a full count, and forced Hashim to fly out to shallow centre to end the game in a deadlock. The Abbasids, despite not getting a win, take away a lot of positives from the game, most notably Fuzail Thakur's performance on the mound - holding the Ottomans to single digit runs shows he's got what it takes to pitch week-in, week-out. On the other hand, the Ottomans once again came out flat in game two, and have yet to go 2-0 since week 1 despite sitting second in the League. Rehan Ahmad collected 5 RBIs for the Turks.
Final Score: Abbasids - 9, Ottomans - 9; Star of the Game - Kashif Irshad 3-3, HR, 3 RBIs, Rehan Ahmad 3-4, HR, 5 RBIs
Sultans v Nasrids: Coming off a huge come-from-being tie, the Nasrids dugout was amped while preparing for the Sultans at Birchwood 2. The Sultans, who once again were short some key players, were coming off a disappointing loss. Not surprisingly, the Nasrids picked it up right where they left off with a 6 run first inning including a Sir Nirvaan homer. Shazzy's boys didn't let that deter them as they scored in each of the next 3 innings, capping it off with 6 run 4th. With their bats clicking through the lineup, the Sultans seemed to have gained control of the game with a 10-7 lead. The Nasrids wouldn't quit despite leaving the 3rd inning with the bases load and no outs with zero damage. They responded in the bottom of the 4th with a 5 run tally of their own to regain the lead and set up a nail biting finish. The Sultans managed to get a HAYUGE 1-2-3 inning in time to setup a 6th and final inning down by 2 and the top of their order batting at the turn. Shahzad let out a DEAFENING Taha Iqbal-esque roar in an attempt to fire up his squad. His team responded and the moment was all all set for Omer Chaudhry to regain the lead for the White's down by 1 with a runner on base and two outs. Disappointingly for the Sultans, Omer flew out to RF Salar Rasoul to end the game with a 12-11 victory in favour of the Nasrids. The Nasrids had some great contributions defensively in the outfield and with the bat from Asad Syed, Nirvaan, and Salar, but player of the game honours go to Osman Buttar who hit two homers and collected 3 RBIs. Hopefully for the Nasrids that signals an end to his Birchwood 2 hitting woes. Faisal Khan and AK, meanwhile, were the top contributors with the bat for the Sultans. Both teams did a poor job taking advantage of runners on base with the Sultans leaving 14 stranded while the Nasrids left 11. The Nasrids managed to get big results this weekend with the Salaam Cup scheduled for next weekend while the Sultans are now fighting for a playoff spot with four straight losses. They will be hoping to get their full squad back for the final weekend before the midseason break.
Final Score: Sultans - 11, Nasrids - 12; Star of the Game - Osman Buttar 3-3, 2 HR, 3 RBIs