Grinder of the Pacifics made a unfathomable play to keep the Pacs ahead of the Haywards Journals.
San Francisco Bay Area, 7 May, 2017
The Bay Area Vintage Base Ball League has never been more exciting. The last two weekends saw six of eight matches resolved by a single ace, two in extra innings. The league has never been more competitive, nor more closely and evenly contested.
On Sunday, April 30th, the San Francisco Sea Lions, in their second year, traveled to Mosswood Park in Oakland to take on the veteran Oakland Colonels. The match required all of the Colonels’ experience and nous to defeat the fledgling Sea Lions by the razor-thin margin of 5-4. It was an encouraging result for the Sea Lions, led by Naji “Skip” Ali, and a professional win for the Colonels, led by Matt “Chops” Siee.
In the match of the weekend, between the two top teams of 2016, the San Francisco Pacifics rallied to defeat the Haywards Journals, 5-4, in a tense, tactical battle. Both teams played exquisite defense behind excellent hurlers. For the Journals, Berto “Rocky” Morales fired darts to the other half of his battery, Alex “Padre” Morales; whereas the Pacs were led by ace Eric “Jumbo” Petit. The game was decided in the end by grit, determination, and as always, a bit of luck; Pacs’ outfielder and commissioner of the league, Matt “Ranger” Petty won man of the match for timely hits and gingers in the garden.
Later that day, the San Francisco Barbary Coast eked past the San Francisco Pelicans, 4-3. It was a tense affair, with runners thrown out at the plate and at every other base; fittingly the game was won with the home team Pelicans threatening with a man on third and two hands, only to have a trailing runner caught in a pickle between second and an occupied third, for the final out. Base Ball is a game of fine margins and questionable decisions- inches, as they say.
In the East Bay game of the day, the San Jose Dukes and captain Dan “Dipper” Smith visited their cousins, the Dublin Aces, and the home Aces came away with a hard-fought 9-7 victory, behind captain Casey “Fingers” Hammonds.
Never had there been a weekend with slimmer margins of victory, until…the following Sunday, May 7th.
In the East Bay, the Haywards Journals skimmed past the Oakland Colonels at Mosswood, winning by the slender margin of 8-7. It was another battle of veteran minds, Jamie “Junior” Ramirez leading the Haywards, and Matt “Chops” Siee leading the Colonels. It could not have been closer without ending in a draw.
At Big Rec, the early game was a thirteen-inning thriller between the San Francisco Pacifics and the San Francisco Pelicans. Both teams had chances to win but defense and close plays kept the teams neck-and-neck for the length of almost two complete games. In the end, the Pelicans plated the winning run in what is now the longest game in BAVBB history.
Solid defence has helped the Sea Lions close the margin of aces in their games. Einstein flashing the leather here. The league in general is playing the best defence we've seen in the league.
The second game at Big Rec featured the San Jose Dukes visiting the San Francisco Sea Lions. Despite acquiring veteran and all-star second baseman, Mike “Bearcat” Lewis, the Sea Lions were no match for the Dukes and their star hurler, veteran and co-founder of the league, Corey “Pup” Gazay. The match finished 14-2, in favor of the Dukes.
In the final match of the day, which lasted until sundown, the San Francisco Barbary Coast battled the Berkeley Clarions through 9 innings and finished with a walk-off by Greg “Sparks” Castro, starting hurler, to win 11-10. And as excellent as were the hurlers, the true stars of the match were the Behinds- Wes “Dread Pirate” Goodman Levy for the Coast, and “Nemo” for the Clarions- both played all nine from the squat and both pegged out runners and had timely hits. Matt “Milkman” Peterson and Dan-O “Small Plates” Owens had key RBIs for the Coast prior to Sparky’s walkoff two-RBI final nail in the coffin.
Cranks, don’t miss another weekend of Bay Area Vintage Base Ball! It is the best free show in town. Guaranteed!
No matches will be played this weekend out of deference to all the wonderful Mothers out there, but play will resume the weekend of May 21st, though not at Big Rec, owing to Bay-to-Breakers. Stay tuned to the website for schedules and scores, pick a team to back, and come out to your local park and see why the BAVBB is the best show in town!
Yours, in Faith,
C. Emerson Winchester III
Top: Carl officiated 29 innings of base ball on May 7th. The day ended with the Coasters defeating the Clarions in 9 innings.