HANCOCK - With the fourth-seed in the Twilight League playoffs already locked up, Mosquito Inn (Toivola) entered Wednesday's doubleheader against the streaking Pat's Foods (Hancock) with nothing to play for but the love of the game and the schadenfreude of the spoiler.
Apparently, it's a role that suits them well.
Toivola jumped on Pat's starter C.J. Lepisto from the get-go in Game 1, hanging 10 runs on the Finlandia right-hander in the opening frame with some of the hottest hitting Mosquito Inn has put together all year.
Robert Brooks, right, of Mosquito Inn-Toivola celebrates his three-run home run with teammate Will Williams in the first inning of game one of a Twilight League doubleheader Wednesday at Hancock Driving Park. (DMG photo by Michael Bleach)
Rexx Janowiak and Will Williams doubled, Robert Brooks clubbed a home run over the left field fence and Toivola scored five runs before Pat's managed to record an out.
Though Lepisto settled down from there - allowing just three runs over the next four innings - the hole was too deep for Pat's to climb out of and the possibility of an outright Twilight League title went out the window when Toivola put up a double-digit first inning en route to a 13-5 win.
"It's just fun winning a baseball game, that is all there is to it," Janowiak said. "I told the guys just to relax, we know where are going to be (in the playoffs) so let's go and just hit the ball and have some fun. That's what we did."
In Game 2 - with Pat's fighting for a tie at the top of the standings with BlueSky Health and (possibly) Stanton - Toivola kept the hits coming, scoring 10 runs through three innings before the contest was suspended on account of darkness with Toivola leading 10-6. The game will resume today.
"Pat's has been playing real good, they came out of nowhere to contend for the league title," Janowiak said. "But we just jumped on them. It felt good. And it wasn't just little dinkers and dobbers falling in, we were hitting line drives, we were hitting the gaps and running the bases. It felt good."