The 2020 Hounds’ run came to an end on Sunday, losing a close-but-no-cigar game one, 8-5 and an about-as-far-away-from-a-cigar-as-one-can-get game two, 16-0. The Hounds travelled well, assembling a loyal fanbase comprised of the Kiefer family unit, Kruse girlfriend Talia, CCO (chief compliance officer) Anne O’Neill Riggenbach, Kitty and Carl Riggenbach, the Lehmans and hound Patches, the Reinke folks (that includes 2021 prospect Amanda), scorekeeper alternate Mike Kruse, Mrs. Faezelle, and “Big” T and Linda Correa, among others.
Alec Reinke (#14) took the mound for game one and did manage to force the Marlins to a WEAK% of .529 (WEAK%: % of batted balls weakly hit (fly balls and ground balls)). However, despite the majority of their contact being weak, the Marlins still teamed up for 7 hits and 7 runs against the righty’s pitching cornucopia. In relief, Nick Schmidt (#23) kept his 2020 strike percentage high, recording 73.1% strikes, tamping down the opposing offense to 3 hits and 1 run. The pitchers were helped by errorless defensive play. Perhaps indicative of the day as a whole, both a spectacular diving play made by Hans Hetrick (#18, 2B) and a tremendous stabbing grab by Brian Lehman (#2 SS) did not result in outs, as the long-haired veteran’s toss did not beat the runner and the sophomore’s glove irretrievably ate the well-struck ball. The Hounds did edge the Fish in the hit column for game one (11-10) (surely not aided by Joe Johnston’s (#20, DH) fancy bookwork). The Doggo offense was led by Tim Riggenbach (#8, LF) who smacked his way to base in every appearance with a double and two singles, although according to the Riggs patriarch, Tim should have advanced to second on one of those singles. Lehman was not far behind the hammy outfielder, smacking a double and single of his own (if it weren’t for his league-leading eye, he may have tallied a hit instead of a walk in the first). The Hounds’ rally was cut three runs short in the seventh, and the final score in the day’s only competitive game was 8-5.
In the second game, as Mike Kruse put it, “I don’t think [Hall of Fame Pitcher] Steve Carlton could have stopped those guys from hitting”. The Hounds threw everything they had at the Marlins, a former team Cy Young (Tim Riggenbach), a suspiciously-not-in-a-minor-league-somewhere Garret Eddy (#17), and 2020 Hounds Cy Young contender Mike DiCola (#28). The lone bright spot in the game was a double play by then center fielder Garret Eddy, who rocket-lasered a 3rd base runner tagging for home by such a margin it nearly became a run down (following an expletive yelped from the runner).
Despite the disappointing end, the season had many ups, very few downs, and despite unforeseeable challenges the team rose to the occasion and seized the number three seed in a crowded top of the league. The 2020 Hounds’ final record of 22-7-1 was a franchise best. Following the game, many team members assembled at sponsor K’s Dugout for buckets and pizza on the city-mandated outdoor patio. As they digested the suds and pie, they happily digested the successful season with an eye towards the next. We will see you next year.