Recalling a Few of the Greatest Moments in JAL History
JAL XII is just 5 days away. In anticipation, let’s take a look at some of the most memorable moments in league history. If we’re lucky, maybe JAL XII will offer something to be put on this list.
(This list is in no particular order)
Only walk-off HR in JAL history
Believe it or not, there has only been 1 walk-off home run in all 11 JAL tournaments. The moment happened in the JAL V Semifinals by Ty Johnson (who at the time was on the Bison). The Bison were playing the Rapids, and the game went 8-innings long. The winning score gave the Bison their only lead of the game. When it happened, there were 2 outs, the Bison trailed by 1, and had a runner on base… It will forever go down as possibly the most dramatic moment in JAL history. Not to mention the Bison went on to win the WWCD Cup in the next game.
Alex Allen rips HR in first career at-bat
Alex is the only player to have ever done this. In JAL VI, rookie Alex Allen (Bison) smacked a home run in his first at bat in the JAL. What made this moment even better was that it was also the first pitch of the entire tournament.
Rapids upset over Cobras
The Cobras (Cale and Brock Johnson) went into the JAL VII Semifinals vs the Rapids on a 7-game winning streak (longest in JAL history), had completed an undefeated regular season and were the defending champions expected to repeat. The Rapids (Tierney Uhlenkott, Erika Halverson) were the bottom seed in the playoffs, but pulled off a 2-0 shocker. The Rapids went on to lose to the Bison, however, in the WWCD Cup.
Jacob Rahn’s bomb
In the most recent tournament, JAL XI, Jacob Rahn capped off his MVP winning performance by hitting a 3-run homer in the WWCD Cup vs Pitching Crown winner Jordan Halverson of the Lynx. Jacob’s hit has since been deemed the hardest hit ball in history. Because of the wall of trees that stand behind the home run line at Apple Park, we will never know how far the hit would have traveled. Anybody who witnessed it though, will tell you the ball left the park in less than a second. After the tournament, league officials measured, and when the ball left the park it was roughly 35-40 ft high… A true dinger.
Taite Kleine throws first no-hitter
In the Opening Game of JAL IX Taite Kleine (then on the Bison) threw the league's first ever no-hitter. He did give up a run via walks, but the Bison still won 2-1. Since that game there have been a handful of no-no's. In JAL XI alone there were 3, so it's no longer an incredible accomplishment, but it's still cool, especially that first one. As for a perfect game... We're still waiting for the first, and hope it happens in JAL XII.
Longest game in JAL history
This game took place pre-franchise era, between the Cinny Sticks (Ty Johnson, Karley Eaton) and Ash (Cale Johnson, Erika Halverson) in the JAL I Semifinals. It is widely regarded as the best game in league history. The contest went a league record 9 innings long (4 extra innings), and the Cinny Sticks came out on top 17-15.
From the beginning the game was back and forth. One of the most memorable plays was Ty Johnson making a game-saving diving catch along the foul line in the single boundary that would have scored a runner from 3rd base. Ty’s snatch was bobbled at first and he rolled over after gaining possession, so it was hard to tell if had in fact made the catch. This ultimately lead to much controversy and a shouting match between Cale and Ty broke out. In the end, the line judges ultimately ruled he had possession. After this game, the Cinny Sticks went on to win the first ever WWCD Cup.
Darren Ayoub’s face plant fail
This moment makes the list because it might just be the funniest thing that’s ever happened in this league. In the JAL X regular season the Fog were taking on the u-dogs. Darren Ayoub ran after a ground ball and tried to do one of his classic “golden foot” soccer kicks to stop it. Only this time, as Darren went to kick his foot caught grass before the ball and he subsequently face planted and the ball rolled from what was a single to a triple. Never has there been so much laughter in a JAL tournament.