Bye Bye June – Hello July!
HDL 2012 Baseball Season keeps rolling along. Hard to believe we have been playing games since mid-March. Almost 4 full months of baseball. With July here already, we are at the mid-point of the season but more than halfway as far as the regular season games are concerned. All teams have played 10 games with Nationwide Blue team playing 11. During the past 4 months we have only had one (1) rainout game and that has been made-up. Baseball is a game that needs dry field conditions but when the weather is super-hot AND dry – players sometimes find excuses to do something else, hoping their next game will be more comfortable.
All season long our managers have had to deal with an overflow of players. When a team roster that has 13-15 players and they all decide to show-up, satisfactory game time requires patience and understanding. Well Friday night an overflow of players was not the case. In fact, both the White and Green teams were without several regular rostered players. At one point the managers discussed cancelling the game with the heat being a factor and realizing the lack of depth would tax all players to play the full game.
It just so happened that two (2) Blue Team players (Mike Morris and Brian Nilsen) along with one (1) Red Team player, Patrick Bellote, were at Tobey to check on pre-game field use to get in some extra practice. (That alone tells you how dedicated these players are to improving their game.) Well they got more than practice; they got to play an extra game. Lacking all the proper uniform components, an exception was made to get these valuable players in the game. Brian Nilsen and Mike Morris helped out the White Team and Patrick Belote played for the Green team.
Friday Game Recap: Metlife/Homer Skelton Ford 7 – Xtreme Transportation 5
Xtreme Green Team was visiting team and got a chance to face White Team starting pitcher, Kevin Latham. Kevin was not loose when the first inning started and as a result, Kevin struggled with control. After the lead-off hitter, Benji Autry grounded out 5-3, Cory Pratt walked. Even though Cory was the starting pitcher for the Green team, he probably felt there was an opportunity to put some pressure on the White team by trying to steal 2nd base so the big hitters following him could drive him in. Only problem, Cory under-estimated the throwing arm of White Team catcher, Travis Hill. As Cory did his slide into 2nd base, Travis Hill made sure the ball was where it needed to be – ON THE BAG! All White team shortstop, James Skinner, had to do was catch the ball and complete the tag for out number 2. But this inning was not over. As pointed out, Kevin Latham was missing some spots and after giving up a double to Kevin High, Latham walked the next two Green team batters PW Burnett and Jodie Wolfe to load the bases. Whatever control problems, Latham had at start of inning, he found his control and K’d Aaron Sinzheimer to end the early Green Team threat.
In the bottom of the 1st inning, the Metlife/Homer Skelton Ford team sent 7 batters to the plate. Lead-off hitter,Travis Hill, lined out to 2nd base. Cory Morgan singled, Kevin Latham singled, James Skinner hit an RBI double then John DiGiacomo followed with a 2 RBI single to make the score 3-0.
For the next 3 innings, defense and pitching dominated the game as runs were hard to manufacture. The White team scored a run in the 2nd inning when a throwing error from the Green team outfield allowed Brian Nilsen to trot home. Then in the 4th inning, a lead-off error allowed Mike Morris to get on base and eventually score when Kevin Latham slapped a ground ball to 2nd base to allow Morris to score.
Meanwhile, the Green team kept hitting ground balls to White team 3rd baseman, Cory Morgan who was solid gold all night long grabbing any ball hit his way and making perfect throws to record a string of putouts. Cory had six (6) assists for the game.
The Extreme Green team entered the 7th inning trailing 7-2. Kevin High, PW Burnettt, Jodie Wolfe, Aaron Sinzheimer and Larry Hunsucker all had clutch hits and before the White team could record the 3rd out – 3 runs had scored. The final score was 7-5.
White Team Leaders: John DiGiacomo each had 3 hits/2 RBI’s. James Skinner had 2 hits/2 RBI’s including his first Home Run of the season. Cory Morgan – 2 hits, Brian Nilsen 2 hits and Mike Morris 2 hits.
Green leading hitters: Cory Pratt (2 for 3); Kevin High (2 for 4); Patrick Belote (2 for 4)
Pitching Numbers: Kevin Latham – 7 K’s / 4 Walks. Cory Pratt – 5 K’s/ 5 Walks
Sunday Game Recap: Nationwide 14 – Peterbilt 7
Each team started the game with 11 players so attendance was not an issue. However, a few important players were missing. Peterbilt was missing Nick Harris, Jose Ortiz, Bruce Monti and Robert Miller. Nationwide was missing Josh Huggins and Johnny Houghton.
It was hot at start of game so everyone expected the game to be even hotter in the late innings of this game. It is unclear if the temperature was causing strange movement on the baseball but it seemed like every pitch that Charles Mister took a swing at seemed to move away from his bat or moved into the strikezone to catch Charles looking at strike 3. By the end of the game, Charles had 4 K’s and left shaking his head in disbelief. Except for the 1st inning when the Red Team scored 3 runs to take an early lead, this rash of K’s in the lead-off position came back to haunt the Red Team offense most of the game. The Peterbilt team had 11 left-on-base for the game.
The heat and some surprise errors in critical situations, helped extend several innings to make for a long 6 inning game. The Nationwide team also had 11 LOB’s but they averaged 8 batters per inning while Peterbilt only averaged 6 batters per inning.
Defensive gems were rare but Mike Morris running, over the shoulder catch of a pop-up in foul territory was a great catch. For the Red team, Jerry Merchant consistently gets to balls in the outfield when you think he doesn’t have a chance to catch the ball – but he does. Some of the scoring was helped a lot by balls hit in the outfield that took some high bounces that glanced past the outfielder when they tried to play the hop. It was announced before the game that outfielders needed to be wary of any balls hitting the ground. Lack of rain and frequent watering has made the outfield very hard. This condition will be addressed this week as a watering routine will be initiated.
Red Team Hitting Leaders: DJ Clark was 2 for 3, Double and 2 RBI’s; Four Red Players had one hit (Bellote, Ollar, Sexton, Mark Jackson.)
Blue Team Hit Leaders: Jeff Allen (4 for 4/4 RBI’s), Brian Nilsen (2 for 2), and Glen Coombs (3 for 4, 2 RBI’s)
Pitching Numbers: Jeff Combs – 4 K’s / 5 Walk & 1 HBP’s; Glen Coombs – 1 K, 2 BB’s & 3 HBP. Mike Tollison – 1 K/ 10 Walks & 1 HBP
Please make a comment if there is a key play or player who deserves recognition.