Saturday, June 9, 2012

A Gray Day for Baseball

Finally! Baseball!

My 5th post into this blog will finally be related to an actual baseball game I witnessed. Spending my first couple weeks just talking about what other people were talking about was fun, but that’s more ESPN’s shtick. I’ve kicked off my 2012 summer ball coverage by enjoying the first two home games in DC Grays (Cal Ripken Sr. League) history.

If you’re wondering, yes, that name DC “Grays” is a reference to the old Josh Gibson, Buck Leonard Homestead Grays. Many baseball fans (like myself and…. well Rob Neyer is the only other I can think of) felt the Grays would’ve been a fitting name and respectful nod to Washington’s baseball history back when the old Expos moved to Washington. However, I guess the team board or directors (or whoever named the team) felt nothing exuded community pride quite like the name “Nationals.”

Anyway, here’s what I’ve had a chance to see in my two trips to Hoy Field, located on the campus of Gallaudet University (home of the Division III Gallaudet Bisons).

 Don’t worry; he preferred to be called “Dummy.”

Two days, two great games.

The inaugural game (Wednesday, June 6) in team history was a one-run affair that included an 8th-inning botched double steal that lead to a bang-bang play at the plate, throwing out what would’ve been the tying run. The Alexandria Aces held their 2-1 lead in the ninth after Steven Schuler (Junior, St. Joseph’s) was brought in for the save. Schuler was bringing the heat, very high velocity (I don’t have a gun and am not buying one just for this free blog) on his fastball which he blew past Grays hitters on multiple occasions. Also pulled the string on a nice breaking pitch. Two K’s (with a hit batsmen and caught stealing mixed in between) and the southpaw had secured the save. Final score: Alexandria Aces 2, DC Grays 1.

Other notes from Wednesday’s action:

Aces second baseman Adam Forrer (Soph., Richmond) is one scrappy little bugger. The 5’7” infielder has an odd, very compact stance with his feet open. He ended up with a walk and two stolen bases in the game, getting great jumps on both attempts (catcher didn’t bother to throw the first time).

Grays LHP Jarred Forestieri (Junior, Felician College) has an off-speed pitch that can be clocked with an hour glass that he seemed to only throw to right handers. He had a few control issues (3 walks, 1 HBP in 5 innings), and tended to have his pitches float up in the zone.

DC reliever Cory Spera (Soph., Lafayette College) has a delivery that almost looks like he’s throwing sidearm, only to bring the heat with a 3/4 slot.

On Friday the action was even better. After trading runs in the third inning, the Grays and Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts (who the hell thought of that name?) remained tied, 1-1, going into the 8th inning when the T-Bolts rallied with two outs to score three times, fuled by an two-run triple from Bobby Vitulano (who apparently is without a school). In the bottom half of the frame the Grays started things off with back-to-back walks followed by a huge, game-tying, three-run homer from Joshua Powell (Senior, Alcorn State). Powell hit the ball on the screws every at bat, but prior to the homer only had a single and two line outs to show for it. A Mike Genovese (Senior, Seton Hall) single, wild pitch, Billy Bissell (Junior, Gallaudet) sac bunt, and Troy Marrow (Junior, North Carolina Central) RBI-single put the Grays on top, 5-4. The T-Bolts made things interesting in the 9th, getting two on with two out, but the sidearmer Genovese picked up the game-ending strikeout. Final Score: DC Grays 5, Silver Spring-Takoma Thunderbolts of Anaheim 4.


Grays 3B Troy Morrow muffed a routine grounder in the 9th, but prior to that had made some impressive plays at the hot corner and was aggressive when charging slow rolling grounders. Overall he seems like a talented defender. He also had a booming triple on Wednesday to go with his game-winning single on Friday.

T-Bolts LHP Devon Davis (Senior, Montevallo) had a solid start, going six strong innings and only allowed one run. He showed a good pick-off move (should’ve had two pick offs in the game but his infield misplayed the run-downs). His fastball’s velocity wasn’t anything special but the pitch seemed fairly deceptive with good life.

T-Bolts backstop Hunter Boudreaux (Senior, New Orleans) is listed on the team website as 5’10”, which seems fairly generous. He didn’t show the world’s greatest arm from behind homeplate, either, although he’s listed as the only catcher on the roster so it looks like he’ll have to be the Bolts stalwart.

I’ll hopefully have a few more games to report on next week, and maybe some token commentary on the Cal/Northwoods/Alaska leagues since there’s a few Dirtbags taking part in those. Also just five days away from Cape League action!

But for now, it’s back to rooting for Stony Brook to pull off the upset. Go Seawolves!