What a Day – What a Day!
I don’t knowabout everyone else, but I have worried about today’s game for the last week, knowing the weather controlled whether we play or wait another 6-7 days to get the game between the Blue and Red in the books. Last night the radar was scary. Widespread rain was advancing for a direct hit on the Memphis area. Recent forecasts were proving to be unreliable. As I hit the sack last night, the skies over Memphis were clear. At 3:15 AM I woke up thinking I heard rain. So I checked the radar and there it was – a wall of rain was getting ready to flood across Memphis. By the time I woke up at 6:15 AM, I looked outside and could see wet pavement and drips from my roof. So I hustled to Tobey to inspect the dirt areas of the field. It was still dark but from what I saw, the infield looked amazingly good. No puddles anywhere. After text messages to Bo McMinn and Robert Miller with a quick update of what I was seeing, a plan was formed as to how we would attempt to get the field playable for today’s game. Starting time was estimated for an 11:00 start. When we all agreed, I went to my PC and sent an email to all players and updated the Blog. Our key challenge was confirming availability of umpires since moving the start time to 11:00 had earlier caused my scheduled umpires to tell me they were committed to other baseball games during the middle of the day.
But I kept calling other Umpire contacts and found out the “other” baseball games had been cancelled due to weather. So I went back to my original umpires and locked them into our 11:00 start time. Everything was coming together. Even the wind was helping by creating condusive drying conditions to help remove moisture from the ground.
Between 8:30 AM and 10:30 AM, Bo, Miller, Sexton and later, Jeff Combs, were busy scratching the soft areas to get them to dry faster.
As we approached 11:00 AM, the players from both teams were rolling into Tobey and starting their pre-game warm-up. We started the game at 11:15 AM.
The visiting team, Peterbilt Red, must have just come from the batting cage because they came out blasting against Nationwide Starter, Bo McMinn. Coming into the game Bo was sporting a 6-0 record. Bo had been successful against the Red team a couple of times earlier in the regular season. But this time, Bo was still recovering from his pulled torso muscle from 2 weeks ago. Bo had high expectations that he would help his team more if he was on the mound so his defense behind him could make the plays. What Bo didn’t count on was how well the Red Team batters hit the ball, especially in the 1st & 2nd innings.
After Patrick Belote bounced out 5-3, Tim Harris was hit by a pitch. Nick Harris, batting 3rd in the Red lineup, hit a double to put runners on 2nd & 3rd. Ceasar Singled and that allowed DJ Clark to knock in Tim and Nick for the Red team early lead.
After the Blue team failed to generate any offense in the first inning, The Red team got their offense rolling in the 2nd inning when Jose Ortiz led off with a base hit. Ryan Hogan was safe on an infield error. With 2 on base, Patrick Belote popped up for an out. Tim Harris then came to the plate and quickly made the score 4-0. With Tim Harris on 2nd, Bo McMinn made the “Call to the bullpen” and brought in Andrew Waddell. Andrew loves facing tough hitters but he had to face the hard swinging Nick Harris who sent a shot in the gap to knock in Tim and make the score 5-0 in favor of Red.
For the first 2 innings, Nick Harris gave up 2 hits but struck out 3 and was helped by a 1-6-3 DP. The Blue team found a spark in the 3rd inning as Mike Morris led off with a double and scored on Jeff Allen’s gound out RBI. With the score 5-1, a four run difference is not a big lead, unless your offense is struggling. The Blue team knew that Andrew Waddell would not allow the Red team any big innings so all they had to do was keep getting on base and the runs would come. In the bottom of the 5th, the Blue team spark-plug, Paul Baioni singled, stole 2nd and reached 3rd base on a wild pitch. So with one out, Jeff Allen popped up in third base territory and on the play, nobodu covered home plate and the speedy Baioni took advantage of the situation and scooted home untouched. Now the score was 5-2, Blue down only 3 runs.
In the top of the 6th, the Red team got a lead-off triple for catcher, Chris Ollar. It looked like Ollar would stay there after Charles Mister and Mike Tollison K’d. But Jose Ortiz ripped a Andrew Waddell fastball for an RBI base hit and extend the Red team lead to 6-2.
In the bottom of the 6th, the turning point of the game for the Blue team was a dissapointing one run that came from a lead-off double by John McPhail who scored on Bo McMinn’s base hit. During this inning the Blue team loaded the bases but never scored as Paul Baionipopped out to pitcher
and Jeff Combs K’d. From this point on, The Peterbilt team was in the driver’s seat as they simplified the game with good pitching, solid defense and quality at bats. When Peterbilt added 3 runs in top of 8th, the game was definitely out of reach.
In this game there were a total of 31 hits; 18 by Peterbilt and 13 by Nationwide. Following players had big days:
Peterbilt stars: Chris Ollar (4 for 5 with 2 singles, double & triple); Jose Ortiz (4 for 5); Tim Harris, Nick Harris, Cesar Roman each had 2 hits.
Nationwide Stars: Brian Nilsen (3 for 5); Glenn Coombes (3 for 4); Mike Morris and Dave Pearcewith 2 hits each.
Nick Harris gave up 3 runs on 13 hits while striking out 11. Andrew Waddell gave up 5 runs while striking out 9.
So now we are down to 2 teams. Peterbilt Red will play Extreme Transport Green team at 9:00 AM next Sunday. If Peterbilt wins, there will be an “if necessary” game on the following Sunday. If the Green team wins, the season will end.
I hope all interested players will come out next week to see this match-up. Both teams have pitching, defense and plenty of fire power to make it an exciting game.