THE HARLAN'S GAME

HUSTLIN' HOGS HUMILIATE HARLAN'S - THE REAL STORY!!

By Dave MacFarland - July 29, 1983

The Stables Hogs continued dominance over the powerhouse Harlan's Suds Mill remains as one of the great anomalies in the field of sports today.  Playing with the courage that legends are made of, nine Spartans disguised as Stables Hogs played what is destined to be called the greatest softball game of all time.

The rag-tag Hog lineup of has-beens and never-weres fell behind 4-0 after the first two innings.  Many fans who had stayed from the first game started heading for their cars as any chance of an upset seemed extremely remote.  Early Hog joking about playing with nine players as an intentional handicap to even up the odds began to ring very hollow as Harlan's appeared headed to a 10-run romp.

But in the top of the third, the magic started when the Hogs scored three runs.  By the time Harlan's came to bat in the bottom of the fifth, the Hogs were rolling with a 9-4 lead.  But Harlan's came back, rocking Hog pitcher Dave "Moses" MacFarland for six in the 5th and two more in the 6th to take a 12-9 lead into what appeared to be the Hogs last inning.

But the Hogs would not be denied as they ripped three runs in the top of the inning to tie the game.  All the Hog heroics appeared to be wasted as Harlan's got their leadoff man on base in the bottom of the 7th.  But the foolhardy runner tried to tag up on a deep fly to left. Left fielder Steve "Areno" Centrella gunned the runner down at second as Johnny "Pung" Rugh placed a dubious tag on the runner who had overrun the bag.  Harlan's came right back with two outs by putting men on first and second with consecutive singles.  This set up the play of the game.

The next man up smashed a hard single right up the middle.  All but two Hogs were headed to their cars.  Gary "Briggs" Brignola made a perfect hard charging play on the ball by scooping it up then throwing an even more perfect one-hop strike to catcher Bruce "Booze" Crowly.  The runner attempted to hook- slide around Stonewall Crowly, who had blocked the plate with his imposing, titan frame.  Crowly whirled and applied the tag with machine efficiency.

For an instant you could hear the dust settle as both teams stared in dumbfounded disbelief as the umpire gave the Harlan's runner the thumb.  The instant of silence was crushed by the Hogs explosion of what could best be described as wild pandemonium.  The heart-broken Harlan's team must have sensed at that moment that they were playing a team of destiny.

Game MVP Jack "Sturg II" Sturgeon (4 for 5) led off the 8th with a rope down the left field line which kicked up the chalk.  Sturgeon was awarded third as the ball went out of play.  Centrella followed up with a walk to put runners at the corners.  Moses MacFarland used his Spalding Guide swing to loop a smash over the second baseman's head.  This proved to be the game-winning RBI.  Infield up, Eggs Demiter grounded to second.  Centrella was thrown out at the plate leaving runners at the corners with one out.  Moses then scored on Rugh's sacrifice fly to end the scoring.

In a move some would call "managerial genius", Demiter flip-flopped second baseman Rugh with first baseman Stan "The Man" Clark.  This proved to be the difference as the rangy Clark figured in the last two outs of the game.  When Clark flipped a hot grounder to Demiter for a force at second to end the game,  the Hogs marched off the field laughing and chanting "Zip Who?" as they headed to their watering hole.

Notes: Jim "Logs" Loughran was picked up by police for weaving on and off the road after leaving the Stables with a stomach fill of kamikazes.  He was escorted to Manager Eggs Demiter's house where he spent the night in Demiter's dog house.  He received the dickens but no citation.

Rookie "Briggs" Brignola drove his car into a ditch. He also received the dickens but no citation.