Fallon Sports Park, Dublin
The New Almaden Cinnabars are back for 2015 after a years’ sabbatical, and the Aces relocated to Dublin, but neither team missed a beat in playing out an epic match on Sunday.
The Dublin Aces started Ramsay "Doc" Rhodes in the Hurlers’ Box against the very tough Eric "Tumbleweed" Epperson for the Cinnabars. "Tumbleweed" held the Aces scoreless through the first four innings, while recording seven of his nine strikeouts during that span. "Doc" and "Tumbleweed" punched out a combined ten of twelve batsmen in the second and third innings. Impressively, “Tumbleweed” hurled all 8 innings for the Cinnabars.
On to the scoring: The Cinnabars plated two men in the 1st, 4th and 5th innings before the Aces finally rallied for two of their own in the bottom of the 5th, making the score 6-2 in favor of the Cinnabars heading into the homestretch.
Tumbleweed fiercely and relentlessly missed the Aces’ bats until the bottom of the seventh, when the Aces finally put wood to ball. The Aces sent nine Strikers to the box and plated four of them, tying the score at six, and sending the game into extras.
Next came the exciting 8th inning. Aces’ rookie, Ryan Smith, after blanking the Cinnabars in his first two innings of work, looked like he was about to make it three in a row; the bases were loaded with two outs and young Mr. Smith struck out the last batter. His tricky hurl, however, escaped the Behind, Corey "Pup" Gazay. Mr. Smith correctly covered Home Plate while Pup retrieved the ball, and in a bang-bang play at the plate, the Sir, Riley Rhodes, called out the runner barreling in from third. Yet the play was so close that the good Sir, in his infinite wisdom, requested a Cranks’ Call. The Cranks ruled in favor of the visiting Cinnabars, and their runner was accorded an ace.
Bravely battling on, Mr. Smith and the Aces achieved the third hand with the next striker, keeping the score at 7-6 Cinnabars, with all to play for; and with the onus on the Aces to come back again in the bottom half of the inning.
For the Aces, Captain Chris "Snakecharmer" Jensen led off the bottom half of the eighth and reached with a single. Mike "Stallion" Serafini struck the ball sharply up the middle, but the ‘Bars nimble shortstop, Ryan "Husker" Svrdlin, made a fantastic block and deflected the ball to Scott "Fly" Epperson, who threw the speedy Stallion out at first. Yet the well-struck ball advanced Aces’ captain Snakecharmer to second on the Fielders’ Choice. BAVBB veterans Steve "Hammy" Journeay and Steve "Cappy" Gazay, and rookie Travis Setter, then produced successive singles to tie the game at seven apiece.
Cue the drama: with the bases loaded and one Hand down, "Dipper" Dan Smith stepped into the Striker’s box. Down in the count and with two strikes against, “Dipper” Dan swung mightily and CRUSHED the ball down the first base line. Players from both teams and the many Cranks looked on in AWE as the ball rolled thirty, maybe forty feet from home plate. Never in the history of Base Ball was there ever a more timely swinging bunt, than on this day, at that moment. “Dipper” sprinted ably albeit slowly to first, while “Tumbleweed” showed spirit in fielding the finely-struck ball. Yet despite the Hurler’s athletic play, the fleet “Hammy” beat the play to the plate and scored the winning ace, without reinjuring his eponymous leg muscle.
The Aces, for the first time in their long history, gave the game ball to their man-of-the-match, “Dipper” Dan. Not only did he win the game with his massive walk-off single, but he also made a spectacular running catch earlier in the game in the right-center field gap.
Yet credit must be divided evenly for a fine day of Base Ball; the Cinnabars played an excellent match, and honorable mention goes to their Behind, Vinny "Uno" Pellegrini, for holding down the dish as the ‘Bars Behind. Also, compliments to Cinnabars’ Rookie right-fielder Mark "Chester" Tellez, who recorded his first hits for the Cinnabars, stroking two balls deep into the left-center gap.
Cranks look forward to the rematch in San Jose, Sunday June 14th, at 9.30am in Paul Moore Park.
-Quincy Samsquanch, Dublin Recorder