This week’s HDL schedule had Prudential Tigers facing the Lost Pizza Orioles on Friday night. As players arrived at Tobey field, the sky above looked threatening to our east. But as the radar was being checked, we could see it was possible the major rain storms might shift more toward Lakeland and east Shelby County.
With the darkening clouds, Tobey field was shaded from the usual 7:00 PM intense sitting sunshine. The clouds also helped drop the temperatures to create an unusually pleasant summer evening. Perfect for a night-time baseball game.
Teams were assembled with a few fill-in players but a good majority of each team’s rosters were present to start the game. The Orioles was the Home team and with James Skinner available, Paul Baioni and Bo McMinn convinced James he should see what his fragile throwing arm could take.
So in the top of the First (inning) James surprised everyone by throwing less than 10 pitches and recording 3 straight outs – F-4, F3, 6-3. The Orioles made James feel more positive about going a 2nd inning when the O’s scored 4 runs in the bottom of the First.
A couple of errors by the Tigers helped extend the inning for Cesar Cabrera who was trying to help save Travis Hill for later in the game. Cesar only pitched the first inning for the Tigers. Travis took over in the bottom of the 2nd and for 3 straight innings, the Orioles could not score.
As some of you remember, on Sunday, July 10th, PW Burnett had recorded a No-Hitter when he faced the Tigers. So when James Skinner went into the 5th inning with a “no-hitter”, a few people paying attention were thinking, how long can Skinner go and continue to shut-out the Tigers? When James went back to the mound in 5th inning, he told Baioni that if any Tiger got a base-hit, he would be ready to play another position.
In top of 5th inning, after Carlos Medina was out 6-3, left-hand hitting, Quintell Myers, ripped a pitch just inside the first base bag for a stand-up double. Quintell also broke the run-drought for the Tigers when he scored on Ricky Duggars ground-out to the right side of the infield when Quintell stole 3rd base. From this point on, the game would get interesting as the Orioles posted 3 runs in bottom of the 5th. But the Tigers rallied for 3 runs in the top of the 6th off of O’s reliever, Sherman Edgerson. Sherman did a good job but when he started to get a little wild, Paul Baioni brought in Bo McMinn to settle things down.
The Orioles countered with 3 runs in bottom of the 6th to make the score 11-4. Each team would add one more run in 7th inning. As time was running out, the Tigers did their best to build another rally when Canelo, Travis and Medina all scored with 2 outs in top of 8th inning. The game ended on a Jason Mayrena infield pop-up. With several players contributing burgers, hot dogs and chicken, the traditional post-game “grill” was enjoyed by all players who stayed after the game.
Friday Game Box Score:
SUNDAY MARATHON – DODGERS WIN TIE-BREAKER BY SLIM MARGIN.
Starting the game at 9:30 surprised some players who overlooked all previous communication about the delayed start time. Next week we will return to the 9:00 AM start time. Rosters were once again thin for both teams. The Dodgers had exactly 9 players. The Athletics had 8 regular roster players but needed a starting pitcher. So when Kris Klinger appeared, he was welcome to pitch for the A’s. Always ready to fill-in for a team who needs him, Carlos Medina was happy to play for the A’s. William Romero who is on the A’s roster came out on a day when his fresh arms & legs were needed.
The A’s were home team and Kris Klinger was excited to be on the mound. He quickly retired Patrick Belote & Will McPherson but Brett Delk singled before Klinger got Tony Lomax to pop-up for 3rd out.
In bottom of the first, Kevin Latham was also fresh after a couple of weeks off. The second time the Dodgers line-up saw Kris Klinger they started selecting his best pitches for some solid base hits. By the time the Dodgers sent 12 batters to the line-up they had scored 6 runs. It looked at this point that the Dodgers would run away with the game. The A’s however had different plans. They battled back in bottom of the 3rd inning to scratch 2 runs on Otis Edwards RBI and a Dodgers infield error. Greg Bacchus knocked in the A’s second run.
So with the score 6-2, the Dodgers put their bats on their shoulders and took advantage of Klinger’s wildness as he walked 4 straight batters. The Dodgers also got wild on the bases as Tony Lomax took an exaggerated lead off of 3rd base and was an easy pick-off when Greg Bacchus threw behind Lomax and tagged him out 2-5-2.
Then, the craziest play of the game was Brett Delk’s attempt to steal home when Ray Reinhart was at the plate. If Klinger’s pitch had been in the strikezone, Delk would have been an easy out. But Klingers throw sailed over Greg’s head and went to the backstop. Carlos Varela had to get the ball to keep other Dodger base-runners from scoring. Greg Bacchus was shaken up on the play and had to take several “time-out” minutes to regain his focus.
In bottom of the 4th inning, Tim Wallenstrom punched a single to start a rally. Kris Klinger followed with a single. Oscar Zamudio singled to knock in Wally & KK. Otis Edwards contributed with his 2nd hit of the game to make the score 8-5.
In bottom of the 5th inning, the A’s came out swinging – Bacchus started the inning by bouncing a ball along the foul ball area outside 3rd baseline that hit the side lip and shot in front of third base of a hit. Patrick Belote followed the ball in foul territory but could only laugh as the ball rick-o-shayed into fair territory where he was positioned before the pitch. After Greg’s hit, Andy Clay singled and then Carlos Varela sent an outside pitch down the first baseline for a base clearing triple. Carlos scored on Cory Morgan’s base-hit. So now the score was tied 8-8 and lots of time left in game. With the score tied, the A’s were feeling good about their chances for a win over the Dodgers.
The A’s played good defense in the top of the 6th inning as they held the Dodgers scoreless again. The heat was starting to get to a lot of the players as time would have to frequently be called whenever a player had to run hard. Kevin Latham turned over the pitching to Brett Delk.
Then, in top of the 7th inning, the Dodgers once again was patient at the plate and forced the A’s to make a pitching change. Jose Ortiz did a good job throwing strikes but the Dodgers did a better job knocking some balls into the outfield. By time the 7th inning was over, the Dodgers were up 13 – 8. Time of the game was expiring so the A’s had one last chance to win the game, or at least tie it. And that is exactly what they did. The Athletics scored 5 runs to make the score 13-13.
Cory Morgan and Carlos Medina reached base and scored on Oscar Zamudio’s inside-the-park Home Run. That made the score 13-11 and the A’ had all 3 outs to work with. Otis Edwards singled for his 4th hit of the day. Jose Ortiz poped up for out #1. Then Greg Bacchus tripled to score Otis. When Jose Ortiz, courtesy ran for Bacchus and was thrown out at the plate, it looked like the game was abou tot end. With 2 outs and Andy Clay on 2nd base, Andy tried to steal 3rd base and when Judson Belote’s throw sailed down the left field line, the game was tied, 13-13.
Some players may not feel the new Tie Breaker rule is fair, but it gets results. Any other tie-breaker format is a high risk of re-tying the score. For the game on Sunday, it had been playing for over 3 hours in high heat conditions. The Heat Index was already over 100 degrees. Players had other games they had to go to. Umpires had other jobs they had to work and each team barely had enough players. In the extra inning, the Dodgers scored 4 runs and the A’s score 2, so for all intents and purposes, you can claim the final score was 4-2.
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