That wasn't the "We will win" from Messier when he guaranteed a win against the New Jersey Devils in 1994 and then backed it up single-handedly. But his next line came close.
"I almost made a guarantee."
Unfortunately, the left-fielder has little to do with the outcome, going 0-for-5.
First baseman Tim Brown summed the situation up exactly:
"The difference between the regular season and the playoffs is all that matters is winning. During the season sometimes you can worry about your stats but when it comes to the playoffs all that matters is winning, whether you went 0-for-4 – it doesn't matter as long as you get the win."
Brown didn't have to worry about going 0-fer – he singled in a run in his first at bat in the bottom of the first – with an extra run scoring on an errant throw to push the Storm lead to 3-0. He added an RBI single in the seventh to push the Storm lead to 8-6.
As for the advice Hundley gave starting pitcher Matt Buschmann before the game:
"We went out to dinner last night and I just said, ‘Pitch like it was a game in college, like it is a game in the regular season. There is a reason he is pitching for us, go do what you do."
Buschmann allowed three runs, two earned, over six innings to earn the win.
"One of the things I told them is to keep doing what you are doing," pitching coach Steve Webber added. "Don't do anything different. There is no magical formula. You go out and pitch your game and pitch to your strengths."
"The biggest thing was to stay in the zone with these guys and not give them anything easy," said Buschmann. "Tonight was all about my defense. Kaz made what I think was a game-saving play. I have to give it up to him with what he did."
A month ago, Buschmann, a 2006 MLB Draftee, was in the Northwest League with Eugene and now he is in the playoffs for the Lake Elsinore Storm.
"We have to grind through this playoff thing and win the Championship."
Hundley agreed, and not for personal reasons.
"We want to win," he said. "We want to win for the coaching staff, for the front office who have been great to us."
Instead of making it a big ordeal, Renteria simply asked his squad to "get it done."
"The emphasis might be on this being an important game but when we go out there it is just a baseball game," Renteria said afterwards. "You can't play scared. If you play scared you are going to make mistakes. The truth is it is just a baseball game. If they execute they will have their chances."