GLENDALE, AZ - The Latin Stars hosted both the Glendale Gophers and the Bisbee Bees for an afternoon of base ball in temperate weather. The Latin Stars, formerly the Knickerbockers, were unable to secure a home field of their own, and asked the Gophers and Bees if they could use Gopher Field for Saturday's festivities. An agreement was made, and the three teams met at noon, the first time any of the teams have played the others this season in league play.
The first game was to be the Bees against the Gophers. It started a few minutes late as the boys from Bisbee waited for a few more players to arrive, while the Gophers warmed up with their nearly full roster of 12 players. Finally enough Bees came, and the game was ready to begin.
Because of the delay, the Bees had to forfeit their 'home' status, and batted first. They went down quickly, setting the stage for what became a defensive struggle. Although the Gophers were able to score twice in the bottom of the first, they never were able to put away the Bees. The two teams went back and forth before finally the Gophers were able to go up 5-3. From there Glendale was able to hold the Bees and earn their second victory of the season.
The second game had the Gophers square off against the Latin Stars. Things looked ugly quickly, with the Stars big boppers up first, and hitting the ball hard and far. They quickly grabbed a 2 run lead, but the Gophers managed to cut it in half in the bottom of the first. For the next two innings it appeared the Latin Stars might run away with it, racking up a 5-2 advantage. The Gophers got their heads together and shored up the defense, though, not giving up any more runs.
Still, there was a deficit to be overcome if the Gophers wanted to sweep their doubleheader, and climb to 3-3 for the year. In the bottom of the 5th, still down 5-2, a window of opportunity opened. It was started by the Gophers' hurler, "Shrapnel" Smith, who poked a two-out grounder through the infield. A pinch-runner was called for, and "The Rabbi" Jeffcoat checked in to run. "Half-Pint" Busch stepped up, and pushed The Rabbi over to third on a single. The lead runner managed to avoid the out at third to end the inning on some fast running, and was declared safe by the arbitrator.
From there the Gophers piled on the hits, putting up a crooked inning of 5 runs to take a 7-5 lead. Still, two defensive stands would need to be staged if Glendale hoped to prevail. In the top of the 6th, the Stars put runners on first and second with two outs, both saved from advancing by a decent effort to trap the ball by the second-baseman Jeffcoat. Shrapnel induced another fly-out, and the inning was over.
The Gophers couldn't score any more in the bottom of the inning, so the game went to the top of the 7th. If Glendale could stop the Stars here, then the game would be over. The first batter for the Stars stepped up. First pitch, and he shows bunt, but fouled it directly back to the catcher, Half-Pint. The next two batters wouldn't fair any better, both also fouling back to the catcher, and the game was over.
Results haven't come in for the late game, Bees/Latin Stars, and will appear in the morning edition of the Arizona Snakepit.
Winning makes everything more fun, of course, but even better was the fact that both games were close for their entireties. Either team could have won either game, and the play was largely good.
One disadvantage to having almost your entire team show up is that everyone gets to bat if they want, regardless if they're fielding that game. So I only 4 at-bats for two games. I did managed to score two runs, but other than that my presence at the plate wasn't anything special. I think we were able to 'keep up' with the Bees and Latin Stars, though we certainly were able to take advantage of the Stars not knowing the vintage rules that well. We got two gifted inning-ending outs because their runners didn't go back to their base after a foul.
No pictures this week, as my wife didn't come and kishi only stayed around for the first game. Huzzah!