Sunday’s game between the Astros and the Dodgers had the potential to be a duel for the regular-season title and the top seed in the postseason tournament.
It was, until the Royals knocked off the Dodgers on Wednesday 7-4 in a make-up game from earlier in the season.
With that, the Astros clinched the regular-season title and their only motivation in Sunday’s game was to continue an unbeaten season.
The Dodgers, however, were still playing to earn the second seed in the tournament, and clinched it with a 13-5 victory over the Astros at the Legion Post 38 field.
The Astros (5-1) get a first-round bye in the tournament. The Dodgers (4-2) get to play the seventh-seeded Diamondbacks (0-5-1) in the first round and won’t have to face the Astros again until the championship game.
The Dodgers, Cardinals and Royals all finished 4-2. Since they all went 1-1 against the other two teams, the tie-breaker was run differential.
The third-seeded Cardinals will play the sixth-seeded Orioles (0-5-1) in the first round at St. Helena Park, while the Royals face the fifth-seeded Rays (3-3) at Patapsco High.
The Royals-Rays winner gets the Astros in the second round.
The Astros and the Dodgers featured the Eastern Baltimore County Over-40 League’s best offensive teams and the best defensive team.
The Dodgers finish the regular season having allowed a league-low 26 runs in six games, while the Astros scored a league-high 78 runs.
The Astros also gave up 46 runs, more than any other teams except the winless Diamondbacks and Orioles.
Nark Miller held the Astros to three runs through the first five innings. Chuck Collison took over with no outs and two runners on base; he blanked the Astros the rest of the way.
Collison got out of the sixth-inning jam with a strikeout and a 6-4-3 double play.
He gave up a leadoff single in the seventh and faced a bases-loaded, one-out situation in the eighth. A grounder back to the mound resulted in a force at the plate, and a grounder to first ended the game.
(It was already past noon, and Over-40 league rules state a new inning may not start past noon.)
Collison did have quite a cushion, entering the game with a 12-4 lead.
The Dodgers scored six runs in both the fourth and fifth innings to build their lead.
Trailing 1-0 entering the bottom of the fourth, the Dodgers sent eight batters to the plate and the inning ended when they scored the maximum six runs allowed by league rules prior to the seventh inning.
Mike Miller led off the inning with a double. Stu Anthony had an RBI single, while Steinart and Mark Killingstad each had two-run singles.
In the fifth, 10 batters produced six runs for the Dodgers.
The Astros were missing four players and only had nine at the game. An injury had them playing the last inning with eight players.
In Sunday’s other regular-season finales, the Royals beat the Orioles 11-6 at Patapsco High, and the Cardinals beat the Diamondbacks 25-2 at St. Helena Park.