I am going to start right out with the reason this game was somber rather than sweet. The game today was played with heavy hearts over on the other side of the field. Tragically, Jacob Robinson, senior infielder and pitcher for the Spartans lost his father yesterday in an accident that was likely preceded by a fatal medical event that caused him to lose control of his vehicle and strike a building. He was driving by himself at the time, and my understanding is that there were no other injuries. When something like this happens, it is hard to imagine playing a ball game. But that is what they did to honor their teammate, and that took heart and strength of great magnitude. My cap is tipped to the Spartans. Hug your kids extra tight today. And your parents too boys.
We were the visitors today at shared Mansfield Stadium as the 9-4 Regents were hosted by the 8-7 Spartans. TJ Greene was on the mound for the Spartans while we wielded Aiden Burgess.
In the first, Shortstop Austin Cotharn led off with a double and advanced to third on a ground out to short by right fielder Tommy Hill. Catcher Drake Baldwin fouled out to third baseman Tyler Austin, and DH Otto Treichel was called out on strikes.
Memorial countered in the first with a flyout to right by leadoff man and left fielder Sam Smith, and right fielder Sam Sieloff reached on an error. DH Will Gustafson grounded out to Aiden Burgess 1-3 and SS Billy Wilson, son of former Badger baseball star Jim Wilson was thrown out by Cotharn on a 6-3 groundout. Zip-Zip.
In the second, left fielder Donovan O’Flahrity struck out swinging, as did third baseman Charlie Met. Centerfielder Eli Sorensen singled sharply to right, but was cut down trying to steal second, with a strong throw from Spartans catcher Owen Greene.
Sparty came out for their rips in the second with a single by CF Jack Krumbach. He was balked to second when Burgess was accused of not pausing between his set position and pitching. Not only was he accused, he was convicted, and the sentence was a base. Umpire = Judge AND Jury. Anyhoo, Tyler Austin followed with a single that advanced Krumbach to third, and second baseman Isaac Blum hit a sacrifice fly to left to score him. The first baseman Jack Lemberger singled, but Owen Green flew out to center to end the threat. 1-0 Spartans.
In the third, West started when our first baseman Owen Christensen reached on an error, and was sacrificed to second base on an excellent bunt by our second baseman John Frehner. Austin Cotharn then reached on an error as well. Tommy Hill lined out to center and Drake grounded back to the pitcher.
Memorial’s third was mostly quiet other than a single by Gustafson which followed a Sieloff strike out. Wilson reached on an error, Krumbach K’d, and Tyler Austin flew out to right. Still 1-0 Memorial.
Regents led off the top of the 4th with a single by Otto, a bad hop single by O’Flahrity that I think may have bad-hop-bounded off the lip of the infield near short and then careened off the melon of Billy Wilson at short, ending up in center field. Otto ended up scoring on the play, and Donovan hustled to second. Billy waved off the medical staff with a flip of his glove and stayed in the game. Those Wilsons are tough as nails. Charlie Met then singled in Donovan, but was quickly removed from the bases on a nice 4-3 tag and double play by Ike Blum, off the bat of Sorensen. OC then grounded out to Wilson, who fired a bullet to first for the out, showing he was no worse for wear after using his head.
In the Memorial fourth, Colin Pulkrabek was on the hill for the Regents in relief of Burgess. Blum singled and went to second when the ball was bobbled a bit in left field. Lemberger strolled to first after finding no pitch that met his needs. Austin Cotharn was then called on to do the pitching. Owen Greene sacrificed both runners to the next base, and Smith knocked one in with a single. Sieloff walked, and Gustafson grounded out to Frehner at second, but Lemberger scored. Wilson grounded out to Met at third for the final out. 3-2 Spartans.
Our 5th featured fine hitting by Cotharn who led off with a single, along with Tommy Hill who doubled him over to third on a shot to the RF wall. Drake was intentionally walked to load the bases. Otto was also intentionally walked after a wild pitch that scored Austin. The bases were still racked with Regents. O’Flahrity went down on strikes, and pinch hitter Jens Shager walked to the plate. Many of you may not know that Shager is a talented musician. What type of music you ask? ROCK. Coincidence? I don’t think so…..he ROCKED a fly ball deep, deep, deep to left center. Back, back, back went the left fielder. But then he appeared to give up and peel away from the ball. Out of nowhere Jack Krumbach, their gifted center fielder, called him off and zipped in front of him for the catch. Man, that was close. 3-3 tie folks.
Memorial had a short 5th inning, with three fly balls induced by Cotharn, one to right, one to Nate Millmann at shortstop, and one to center. Still 3-3.
The top of the 6th saw the Regents go down 1-2-3. Eli started things off with another single, but to quote the great Yogi Berra, it was Deja vu all over again as he was gunned down stealing by Owen Greene. Owen Christenson struck out and so did John Frehner.
Memorial’s bottom of the 6th featured a Lemberger strikeout by Cotharn, followed by Owen Greene reaching on a throwing error. Smith popped to Christenson at first, and Sieloff lined to Hill in right for the third out. We are still knotted at 3. And if you find yourself knotted at 3, I recommend Metamucil.
But seriously folks, the seventh inning was West’s winning one. Tsering Dorjee was pitching for the Spartans. Cotharn grounded out, as did Hill, but little did everyone know they were just secretly setting things up for West’s favorite scoring situation this year which is of course having two outs. Some might say they did this on purpose as their senior wisdom kicked in to play the leading role by any means necessary. One could say that. Drake then earned a base on balls, followed by Treichel who did the same. Liking what he saw, O’Flahrity bravely battled to a walk as well. 3 men on, 2 outs, what could be better? I’ll tell you what could be better. A wild pitch to score Drake from third for the go ahead run. Not only could that be better, it was indeed better.
The Spartans were down by one as they took to the plate in the bottom of the 7th. A strikeout looking took down the mighty Gusty, and Wilson was retired after a deep fly to right, leaving Krumbach as their last chance. He lined a zinger to center that was caught by Eli for the third and final out. West 4, Memorial 3.
Our hearts go out to the Spartans and the Robinson family.