The Blue Streak Ends!
Friday was tough for me. I had a strong desire to attend the game between Xtreme Green and undefeated Nationwide Blue team. But being treated to some family pride in the last 3 weeks watching my 10 year old grandson play baseball in his Bartlett Recreational league, I was between a rock and a hard spot. Like everyone else in the HDL, I expected the Green–Blue team game to be a test of game-manship between Bo McMinn’s hot Blue team and the grit of the Larry Hunsucker’s Green team who have been playing good baseball but have had to play games with patched together rosters.
Well Friday night the Green Team had luck with them when several rookie and veteran players were able to participate. Both the Xtreme Green boys and Nationwide Blue team line-ups were at the mercy of available players. The Xtreme Green team was without the services of Zack Legg and Mike Kunde and once again, Brady Benjamin. At the same time, the Blue team was missing Jeff Allen, John McPhail, Dave Pearce and Josh Huggins.
After I finished watching my grandson win his game going 1 for 1 with a triple and scoring 3 runs for his team plus come in to Close the game for his team to halt the other teams rally, I was anxious to return to Tobey Park to get the scoop on all the good plays made in the Green–Blue game. When I arrived, the first thing I asked was, “Who’s winning?” I was told, Green team is ahead 12-7. I looked up and Tim Wallenstrom was called out on strikes and teams were lining up to shake hands. That’s when it started to set-in, that all of a sudden, the Nationwide Blue team was being handed their first loss. I was thinking, “WOW!” Now the HDL is starting to see some parity. No longer was I worried about Blue team “running the table”. Now maybe the Homer Skelton/Metlife and Peterbilt teams will become more pumped to look forward to their next game with these two front-runners. I truly expect this to happen and look forward to the competition.
Game Highlights: (based on scorebook entries – remember, I was not there.)
- Both teams combined for 28 hits – 15 by Green Team and 13 by the Blue team
- Both teams combined for 22 Strikeouts – 13 by Blue team pitchers and 9 by Green team pitchers.
- Only 5 Base-on-Balls – 2 by Blue Team/3 by Green Team
- But the surprise stat was 4 Green Team batters hit by Blue Team pitchers compared to only 1 hit batter by the Green Team pitchers.
- Extra Base Hits: Green team had 6 doubles and 1 triple while Blue team only had 2 doubles.
With all the strikeouts by Green team batters, it is amazing they were able to drive in 12 runs.Thirteen plate appearances were wiped off the score board by Blue team pitchers. This is a testament to the strength of the Nationwide team. It was Green team doubles that opened up the scoring in the top of the 3rd as PW Burnett and Benji Autry each had RBI’s and put the Green team “on the board.” With PW Burnett pitching his limit in the bottom of the 3rd, the Blue team sent 5 batters to the plate but 3 of them were strike-outs. The only highlight was Johnny Houghton getting a hit off PW. Houghton had an exceptional night as he ended up 3 for 4 on the night.
In the 4th, the Green team again showed why their top 3 hitters are a handful. After 2 outs in the inning in the top of the 4th, Cory Pratt powered a Waddell pitch into the gap and waltzed into 3rd with a triple. PW Burnett followed with his 2nd double in a row to score Pratt. Kevin High made the score 5-0 when he traded places with PW as he too doubled. But the Blue team answered with 3 runs of their own in the bottom of the 4th with a barrage of hits from Bo, Waddell, Baioni and Houghton all getting hits.
As the game progressed, the Xtreme Green team continued to score runs in every inning from the 3rd inning on. Individual leaders for Green team were Cory Pratt was 1 for 4 with 3 runs scored, PW Burnett going 4 for 6 with 3 doubles; Kevin High – 3 for 4 and 1 double, Benji Autry -3 for 5 and one double. and Otis Edwards was also 3 for 5 and a double.
The Nationwide Blue team leaders were Brian Nilsen – 2 for 3, Bo McMinn – 3 for 4 with 2 doubles, Glen Coombs – 2 for 3, and Johnny Houghton broke out of his slump with a 3 for 4 night.
Against each team’s pitching, the offensive numbers in this game are impressive. But you can’t overlook a total of 22 strikeouts. PW Burnett and Andrew Waddell each recorded 6 K’s to pad their early season pitching statistics.