Single Games Friday and Sunday (6/8 & 6/10)
Friday Game – Nationwide Blue Team 15 – Peterbilt Red Team 4
On Friday night, Nationwide Mgr, Bo McMinn made this a special game by allowing HDL Legend, Gene Brady, to be an honorary member of the Blue Team for one inning. Many HDL veterans know how much the HDL means to Gene Brady. So I am sure you will appreciate this good-will gesture by Bo McMinn.
I was not there but when I heard this event had happened I knew Gene was elated to get this opportunity to face the Red Team. Even though Gene has not played on an HDL regular season team since 2002 (10 years ago), he continues to work on his pitching. If he does not call Larry Rutledge to meet him at Tobey to throw for 30-45 minutes once a week, he is playing for one of the MSBL Over 40 Wood Bat teams on Sunday afternoon.
In the first inning of Friday’s game, Gene worked his “stuff” for 2 quick outs. But two back-to-back errors by Nationwide infielders (E4 & E6) allowed an un-earned run to score before Red Team DH, D.J. Clark popped out to shortstop. Gene Brady walked off the field with something to smile about. Bo was probably feeling, “whew, we dodged a bullet.” or, “that old fox still has it.”
Peterbilt starter, Nick Harris, shut down the Blue Team in the bottom of the 1st. After Red Team went down 1-2-3 off Blue Team reliever, Bo McMinn, in the top of the 2nd, the Blue Team offense scored 2 runs on 3 hits in the bottom of the 2nd as Dave Pearce singled, Glen Coombs tripled and Paul Baioni doubled for a productive inning for the Blue team and establish a 2-1 lead. For the next 3-1/2 innings, both teams scratched for runs and the score was tied going into the bottom of the 6th inning. This is where Nationwide Blue team unleashed their offensive weapons. Five hits and 3 or 4 walks made for a long inning for Nick Harris as 7 runs crossed the plate and make the score 11-4. This lead was devastating to the Red Team offense as Bo McMinn continued to entice their hitters into ground ball outs.
Top hitters for Nationwide were Brian Nilsen (4 for 6 & 4 runs scored); John McPhail (3 for 6); Glen Coombs (3 for 5 & 4 RBI’s). Top hitter for Peterbilt Red was Nick Harris ( 2 for 3 & 2 runs scored).
Unfortunate Injury: In the bottom of the 6th inning, Peterbilt catcher, Ryan Hogan injured his thumb on a hustle play when a wild pitch rolled away from the plate, Brian Nilsen raced home as Ryan retrieved the ball and made a valient dive to the plate to try to tag out Brian.
Unfortunately his thumb took the brunt of the contact and was broken. Ryan hopes he will be back before the end of the season.
Sunday, June 10th – Homer Skelton/Metlife 8 – Xtreme Green Team 7
An unusually overcast morning at Tobey Park made for great baseball conditions on this Sunday in June. Light drizzle that lasted for 2-3 innings only added to this comfortable day.
The Xtreme Green team had a strong lineup at the start of the game with P.W. Burnett making his 4th start of the season and move him closer to becoming eligible for unlimited innings. Missing from the Green team line-up was Cory Pratt, Johnny Birkenstock and Josh Avenshine. The Homer Skelton Ford/Metlife White Team was missing Cory Morgan, Kevin Nilsen and Don Hinkle(late).
This was a big game for the White team who just a week ago got their first victory and had a chance to make it two-in-a-row, especially with Kevin Latham on the mound.
As the game started, White team lead-off hitter Travis Hill set the tone for an aggressive and opportunistic offense when Travis slapped a PW Burnett fastball into center for a base hit. After James Moroschak and Kevin Latham K’d, James Skinner knocked in Travis to take the early lead. In the bottom of the 1st, Kevin Latham worked around a dropped pop-up to first by Kevin High before the inning ended when Jodie Wolfe fly’d out to James Skinner in right field. Kevin Latham would continue to pitch effectively for 2 more innings as the Green team failed to push any runs across the plate.
With the White team leading 3-0 in the 4th inning, Xtreme Green team found a power surge when Kevin High doubled to start the inning. Jodie Wolfe grounded out, Benji Autry hit a line-drive over White team left fielder, Rick Haygood’s head to score Kevin High then Benji scored when Aaron Sinzheimer’s single rolled under centerfielder, Chris Slayton’s glove to move Aaron to third who scored when the peg throw to 3rd base sailed toward the 3rd base dugout for 2 errors on the same hit.
With the score tied, the White team loaded the bases in the top of the 5th. With 2 outs and the bases loaded, White team 3rd baseman, Larry Rutledge, deposited a Kevin High pitch into centerfield to score James Skinner and Rick Haygood for a 5-3 lead. This crucial hit allowed Kevin Latham to challenge the Green team hitters and keep them from scoring going into the 8th inning.
In the top of the 8th, the White team used 4 hits (Shaq, Latham, Skinner and Slayton) plus a walk to Travis Hill to create an 8-3 lead. When Kevin High led of the bottom of the 8th with a solo Homerun (Kevin’s 1st of the season), Jodie Wolfe doubled and stole 3rd. With Jodie on 3rd and Benji on 1st, Jodie scored when Benji Autry was thrown out attempting to steal second base.
Going into the bottom of the 9th, Kevin Latham was still mixing his pitches and challenging the bottom of the Green team batting order. Jason Nilsen who had struggled to make solid contact in earlier at-bats, managed to slap a slow roller to the 2d baseman and beat out the throw. A great play by John Murray on a slow ground ball got Mike Kunde at 1st to make 2 outs. So with nobody on-base and two outs, Zack Legg, who also struggled at the plate in earlier innings, hit a laser shot to right center that allowed Zack to stand-up at 3rd base. Now the score was 8-6. Larry Hunsucker was at his determined best in his at bat after only reaching base on walks earlier in the game. But Hunsucker hit the ball hard into the hole between 3rd & Short to score Legg. The game ended as Otis Edwardsfly ball landed in Rick Haygood’s mitt. Game over – White team wins 2nd game of season.
Offensive leaders: For White team – James Skinner (3 for 5 & 2 RBI’s), Shaq (2 for 3 & 2 RBI’s), and Travis Hill (2 for 3 & 3 runs scored). For the Green team – Kevin High (2 for 4 with HR), Jodie Wolfe (2 for 4 & 4 SB’s)
Pitching: Kevin Latham struck out 9 for White team. For Blue team, PW Burnett had 5 K’s but allowed 2 runs. Kevin High struck out 2.