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Week 5 Recap

Here is what transpired in week 5:
 
Recaps have been written by members of the rumours committee
 
Seljuqs v Sultans
Two teams that were headed in opposite directions took the field for the early game on Birchwood 1.  The Seljuqs, trending upwards with a few ties and wins in their last couple of weeks after not getting off to the start they wanted, and The Sultans, losers of their last five after getting off to a decent start. The afternoon looked to start off rough for the Horsemen as they would be missing their star pitcher and looked to AGM Shahzad Ahmed to do something right for once and hopefully not add to his BSL history worst ERA…but as he approached the mound (Former WWE announcer Jim Ross voice) ‘WAIT A MINUTE!  OH MY GAWD…THAT’S AK’S MUSIC!!!’ there was a glimpse of glowing white charging down the runway as ‘The Amazing’ AK was able to attend last minute. With hope renewed, the battle was now on.  After the Seljuqs’ opening at-bat provided them with a four spot due to excellent hitting from Zain ‘Filthy’ Khilji, (who went 3-4 in the matchup and whose graceful stride when he’s sprinting leaves gazelles jealous) and Rameez ‘Cheeky’ Siddiqui who also went 3-4 while providing the kind of commentary that the BSL Bugle Editorial section is always hiring for. The Sultans responded with 2 of their own in the bottom of the inning.  And then their defense went to work. Stopping the Seljuks in the next two innings from putting up runs, the Bulls were only able to muster up two runs in the 4th thanks mostly to three straight bloop hits, the worst from Umair ‘Pappu Jaan’ Jabbar. They had one more run in them in the 5th where they put up three…highlighted by work from Zaid ‘The Answer’ Ghansar, who this writer believes is the most underrated player in the league. Tune in to the weekly podcast, ‘Gabbin’ About Ghansar’ to hear more about his achievements.  
Meanwhile, the Men Who Fight in Blue and White, put up innings of five, six and two runs led by their stellar one-spot hitter ‘Courageous’ Kamil Haider.  Kamil, who took a ball to the nose, bravely fought off dizziness to make stellar plays and continue to help his team. It is said that the famous Salt N Pepa song ‘What a Man’ is based on Kamil’s BSL career. Speaking of inspiration, Hamza ‘William Wallace’ Waheed also took a line drive off his leg and powered through it to continue pitching for the Sels. The return of ‘Handsome’ Hassan Chaudhry 2.0 was another great story after injuring his leg a few games ago as he went 3-4 including a beautiful double. The combination of Omer ‘Oppo’ Chaudhry going RF yard and Zain ‘Zindabad’ Malik returning to a comfortable spot in the lineup and dropping line drives like Drake albums was too much for the Seljuks to overcome. To top it off, Taqi ‘Yucky’ Ahmed (so named because the gorgeous plays he makes cause people to make that nasty face) came through with both offense and defense. This all resulted in a final score of 15-9 to give the Sultans there first win in five games. Not taking anything for granted, both teams returned quietly to their dugouts knowing there was still one more game to go…
Final Score: Seljuqs - 9, Sultans - 15;     Star of the Game - Kamil Haider, 2-3, 3B, swollen nose
 
Abbasids v Mughals: The Abbasids came into the Sunday looking for their first win but were without their GM who suffered a shoulder injury. The Abbasids got on the board first on a Kashif Irshad solo HR. The Mughals reponded in the third inning with a 2 out rally that scored them four runs. Nadeem Hussain would hit a 2 RBI triple to add to the lead. Bilal Javed tried to bring the Lions back with a two run homerun to cut the lead down to two but the Mughals scored in every inning to add to their lead. The Abbasids offence was held in check once again where they scored only 5 runs of which 3 came off the long ball. The Mughals finally outhit their opponents in a game and took home a comfortable victory. 
Final Score: Abbasids - 5, Mughals - 10;      Star of the Game - Nadeem Hussain 3-3, 2B, 3B
 
Abbasids v Sultans: Game two for both teams.  Coming off different results, the feelings for both squads was positive. The Abbasids, knowing full well they’re only a few hits and defensive plays away from winning their games, led a cheer in their dugout to get the team pumped up. The Sultans on the other hand, losing perennial all-star Omer ‘It’s Not MY Wedding’ Chaudhry for game two, had an in-depth conversation about positioning, lineup and what needed to be done…this had them confident and coming out of the dugout like silent assassins.  The Abbasids took advantage of batting first by putting up three runs to start the game off the strength of the top of their lineup. Unfortunately, this would be only one of two innings in which the Abbasids would put up runs as the strength of the lineup had days like 1-for-3s and 1-for-4s…the only highlight coming from a Bilal ‘The Banger’ Javed shot that went off the fielder and over the fence. The Sultans on the other hand, after not being able to score in the first inning, put up runs in every single inning afterwards, topped off by Hassan ‘CHAKKA!’ Chaudhry 2.0 going Grand Delight in CF.  That was part of a seven-run mercy inning that the Stallions would not look back from. Being short in the OF seemed to have no effect on the bigger diamond as instructions on how to play each batter were being yelled back and forth and back-up coverage seems to be everywhere. This win for the Dudes With Might in Blue and White, resulting in their first 2-0 Sunday of the season, allowed them to leapfrog into 6th place where they hope to continue to climb from. Another 0-2 Sunday for the Abbasids has them down but not out as they are still mathematically in the playoff hunt. GM Ahmad ‘The Hustler’ Hussein may need to put the nickname to action and look for ways to better the team through trade.  Rumour has it that his sleep is full of nightmares involving violently swatting away trade offers…this writer believes that may be how he separated his shoulder.  The saga continues… 
Final Score: Abbasids - 7, Sultans - 17;      Star of the Game - Hassan Chaudhary 2-4, Grand Slam and a wedding to attend.... 
 
Seljuqs v Mughals: The second match up featured the Seljuqs looking for a big victory against the Mughals who were looking to climb up the rankings. The Seljuqs struck first with a mercy inning to take a 7-0 lead that featured a Rameez Siddiqi grand slam. The Mughals replied with three in the bottom half on an Ismail Akhter HR. The Seljuqs were playing with 3 outfielders but the Mughals offence couldn't find the gaps. They chipped away with 1 run every inning while the Seljuqs offence was halted. In the top of the 7th, the Seljuqs were up 9-6 with two on and two out. Zain Khilji hit a deep flyball that was going over the fence until Nadeem Hussain pulled it back but was unable to hang on which produced a run. Omer Dhaduk hit a groundball that should have been the third out but resulted in another run. The Mughals went into the bottom half needing 5 runs to tie. They loaded the bases for Ismail Akhter who sac flied. Faraaz Alvi hit an oppo field homerun to bring them within one run with two outs. The next two batters popped up and ground out to end the game. The Seljuqs earn a huge victory to keep them in the playoff hunt while the Mughal offence continues to sputter. The Mughals will have to go the rest of the way without AGM Nadeem Hussain who will be departing for Hajj to make dua for his lads. 
Final Score: Seljuqs - 11, Mughals - 10;      Star of the Game - Zain Khilji 4-5, 2 2B, RBI
 
Ayyubids v Mamluks: 
The afternoon match on Birchwood 1 featured a few heavy hitting teams squaring off as the Mamluks hosted the Ayyubids. Both teams were shorthanded for the match, and there were a number of players playing out of position. However, the Ayyubids were able to score 5 uick runs in the first inning, batting around following the resurgent Faheem Kotwal's lead. He led the team, getting on base regularly, just waiting for the Ayyubids bats to bring him in. Unfortunately, after the first inning, Rizvan Merchant and company decided to put a clamp on things as they limited the Ayyubids to just 2 runs the rest of the game. With Jibran Waqar quarterbacking the defense, the Mamluks have been the stingiest team defensively this year. This was also the first game that Ahmad Ammad did not go yard. On he flip side, the Mamluks responded to heir 5 run deficit and put up a 7 spot in the first and third innings. Their patient approach, drawing a total of 14 walks and having 8 of 9 hitters reaching base at least times, along with timely hitting pushed them out in front and they never looked back. It looks like the Green Machine might have all cylinders being primed and ready to go.
Final Score: Ayyubids - 7, Mamluks - 15;      Star of the Game -  Jibran Waqar, 3-4, 3 RBIs
 
Nasrids v Ottomans: The Nasrids got a big lift just before game time with news that Osman Buttar would be available to play.  Better yet, Buttar would be in a foul mood after his Greenbirds were eliminated early from the Salaam Cup, and the Nasrids hoped he would take out his frustration on the Ottomans.  In the top of the first, Buttar and company just did that, scoring 7 runs in the inning off of homeruns by Osman, Ibrahim Sardar and Salar Rasoul.  Not to be outdone, the Ottomans answered right back in the bottom half of the inning with 6 runs of their own off a 2 run homerun by Rehan Ahmad and a big RBI double by Zia Ali.  Fans thought they were about to witness a barn burner, but the Ottomans pitching and defense were having none of that.  The Nasrids were not able to score again over the next three innings, while the Ottomans used a combination of small ball and a 2 run homerun by Zia Ali to put up 7 runs over the same period.  With the score 13-7 Ottomans heading into the fifth, Osman Buttar hit a solo homerun for his second dinger of the afternoon.  The Ottomans blew the game open in the bottom half of the inning, starting with a line drive solo homerun by Taha Iqbal, followed by a 2 run homer by Owais Ansari and capped off by another 2 run homerun by Zia Ali (his second of the game).  The Nasrids were only able to muster up 2 runs and 5 hits over the final 5 innings, while the Ottomans scored at least 2 runs in every inning of the game. 
Final Score: Nasrids - 9, Ottomans - 18;     Star of the Game -  Zia Ali, 3-3, 2 HR, 5 RBIs
 
Nasrids v Mamluks: The latter match of the evening on Birchwood 1 had the surging Mamluks facing the fizzling Nasrids. There was talk that the Nasrids may have suffered the loss of superstar Usman Buttar, and first round pick Usama Mahmood, although Buttar came through. Perhaps the entire team felt sluggish after an unfortunate GreenBirds loss as the Nasrids were unable to get anything going. They were unable to string together many hits, and the Mamluk defense thwarted any potential attacks. In addition, the Mamluks seemed poised to take this game as they built a 12-0 lead, powered by the middle of their lineup. W K is quietly putting up an absolutely monster year and he was displaying it all against the Nasrids, going yard, driving in runs, and even making a few plays in the outfield. This was another game where the Green Machine was humming nicely, until perhaps the final inning, where they let up a tiny bit, and a grand slam off the bat of Asad Syed made the score look a little bit more respectable.
Final Score: Nasrids - 7, Mamluks - 12;      Star of the Game -  Yousaf Chaudhry, 3-4, HR, 3 RBIs
 
Ottomans v Ayyubids: The battle for top spot in the league highlighted the final game of the afternoon on Birchwood 2, with the Ottomans trying to hand the Ayyubids their second loss on the day.  The Ottomans have been coming out flat in the back end of double headers, playing down to their opponents, and were hoping that trend didn’t continue versus a short-handed Ayybuids team. The top of the first saw Tanseer Khawaja hit a grand slam homerun staking the Ottomans to an early 4-0 lead.  Ahmad Ammad, who entered the week with an amazing 11 homeruns, hit another monster shot scoring 3 for the Ayyubids.  The Ottomans exploded for 7 runs in the top of the second off the strength of a 2 run home run from Owais Ansari, a bloop 2 run single by Kashif Waheed, and capped by a 2 run double off the bat of sub Abdullah Akhter.  Akhter filled in admirably going 2 for 2 in the game with 4 RBI and 2 walks.  It should be noted that Akhter only became available to the Ottomans once Osman Buttar became free to play (assist to Nirvaan Latif for letting the Ottomans pick him up).  The Ayyubids did not have an answer for “CAPTANSEER” as Khawaja looked locked in on the mound.  The Ottomans had their second mercy inning in a row in the top of the third, which included a 3 run homerun by Rehan Ahmad, his 50th HR in his BSL career.  The real story however was the Ayyubids pitching unfortunately.  With Ali Jabbar driving across Canada, and Humza Hussain dealing with an injured back, the Ayyubids had to turn to their third string pitcher Umer Jabbar.  Jabbar’s control would escape him over the next two innings, and would finish the game with 18 walks (a BSL single game record).  The Ayyubids did try and fight back, but the Ottomans defense wouldn’t allow it, highlighted by a perfect relay play from Furhan Azmat (RF) to Kashif Waheed (2B) to Owais Ansari (SS), gunning down Mohamed Kala trying to stretch a base hit into a double.  With the score 24-3 Ottomans heading into the bottom of the fourth the Ayyubids tried to make the game respectable scoring 5 runs with AR hitting a 3 run homerun and Mohamed Kala hitting a 2 run homerun as well.  The Ottomans order showed great plate discipline, and had a BSL record 20 walks in the game.  The Ayyubids will exit the weekend upset with the two losses, but aware that they were missing their ace starting pitcher as well as their lead-off hitter Umair Sheikh and his .750 OBP.  The Ottomans on the other hand finish the weekend with two wins for the first time since opening week, and see themselves in first place overall.
Final Score: Ottomans - 24, Ayyubids - 10;     Star of the Game - Mohsin Zubair, 2-2, 2 RBIs