FanPost

The Pride of Sandusky, Ohio (Maloney vs. Kontos)

 

JUNE 1, 2009:  This was "education day" at PNC Field.  Near as I can tell, that means a lot of school kids are there on year-end field trips. The game started at 11am to accommodate the school schedule.

That may sound like a nightmare to some, but it was actually very nice.  The kids were all in the cheap seats - in the upper deck or outfield.  I've never seen the upper deck so full.  The lower level was nearly empty, since it was a work day.  The kids cheered enthusiastically, not even waiting to be prompted by the Jumbotron.  There was nice crowd noise, without the inconvenience of an actual crowd (at least in the lower level).

It was a beautiful day for a ballgame.  I thought it would be too cold, but it was just perfect.  In the 60s, but sunny with no breeze.  I brought a jacket, but didn't need it.

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The view from my seat above the visitor's dugout:

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You can see how empty the lower level was.  There were so few people they didn't bother checking tickets. I  had my pick of seats.  (I think there were 2,000 people at the game, with 1,500 being students in the cheap seats.  So that's about 500 grownups in the lower level.  I doubt there were really that many.)

Danny Richar adjusts his socks before the game.

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George Kontos started for SWB.

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Darnell McDonald struck out to end the top of the first inning.

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He went straight from home plate to the outfield...and was displeased when Drew Stubbs ran out onto the field without fetching him his hat and glove.

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He said something, and Stubbs ran back to the dugout to get the items.  

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I gather there's a strict hierarchy in the minor leagues, and players who have been to the big leagues get to order around those who haven't.  Even if the veteran is a career minor leaguer, and the kid is a hot young prospect.

Matt Maloney, the pride of Sandusky, Ohio, took the mound for the Bats.

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Drew Stubbs came to the plate in the 4th with one out, none on.

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He doubled his number of home runs for the season:

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(Yup, he only had one.  Now he has two.)

Manager/third base coach Rick Sweet congratulates him as he runs by.

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1-0 Louisville!

Maloney looked very good.

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He did seem to give up a lot of fly balls.

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But nothing that came close to going out.

Norris Hopper led off the top of the 6th with a single.  To my amazement, it actually reached the outfield.  Still only a single, but still.

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Drew Stubbs then bunted him over.

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Sacrifice successful.  Hopper moves to 2B.

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Then Darnell tripled reached on an error tripled:

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He split the left-center gap.  Left fielder Eric Duncan and center fielder Austin Jackson both called the ball.

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Duncan was setting up under it, when Jackson ran into him at full speed.

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I think Jackson got a glove on the ball, but it fell in.

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Both outfielders went flying.

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These stills don't do justice to the violence of the collision.  It was scary.

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You can get an inkling of how fast it all happened in this last shot.  That's Jackson's glove at right, still flying through the air.

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Duncan popped up laughing, and threw the ball back in.  The trainer came in to look at them, and both were fine.  They both stayed in the game.

Norris Hopper scored, and Crabman was on 3B when the dust settled.

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It was initially ruled a triple.  Then it was changed to an error on Duncan.  After the game, it was changed back to a triple.

Kevin Barker was up next, and hit a sac fly to score McDonald.  3-0 Bats!

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Eric Duncan, apparently none the worse for wear, fields it.

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Wes Bankston was HBP, then Michael Griffin hit a broken bat fly out to end the inning.

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It went pretty deep for a broken-bat hit.

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That's the Yankees bullpen in the background.  There's a set of stairs from the bullpen to the roof, so players and coaches can sit up there and watch the game if they want to.

Darnell getting it done on defense as well as offense:

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The Bats would manufacture another run in the top of the 9th.  Maloney stayed in for the whole game, and notched a complete game shutout.

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Maloney would be called up to make his next start in Cincinnati.

The Bats celebrate their victory:

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Final score: Louisville 4, SWB 0.

They ended up splitting the four-game series, with the Baby Bombers taking the first two games and the Bats taking the last two.

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