Bay City vs. Saginaw
Carroll Park, Bay City, MI
September 8, 2012
Bay City 14, Saginaw 12
The ground was as forgiving, as the grass was high at Carroll Park. Thus denoting the return of fall to the Bay area, and a coming of full circle for the season as the grounds, not yet colorful, had begun to have a feeling of the freshness of spring-time. However, it is only wishful thinking that would have us see the beginning in the end, and truly this was the coming of the close of a fabulous season for the Independents of Bay City, and one they hoped to send out in style. The opponent on this day was a familiar one, the Saginaw Old Golds. Bay City had bested them in the Mackinac Tournament in July, and in Saginaw during a State Championship Cup challenge in August, but then fell to them at the World's Tournament in a legendary match. This dust-up between the two clubs would either call the match-up a season draw, and have Saginaw walk away with the State Cup, and the number one seeding spot in the season ending State Championship Tournament, or have Bay City dance off with a season series win, retain the Mantle of State Champion, and secure the top seed for the Tournament themselves.
The coin toss to determine the order of striking was presided over by Gary "Judge" Gerken, the umpire for the day, and was won by the Saginaw captain, Adam "Squints" McCauley, who chose to allow Bay City to strike first. The Independents wasted no time flexing their muscle sending thirteen strikers to the mark, making extra bases with four of their first seven strikers, and plating eight aces. Strikers of note in the innings, each of whom made their second and were brought to tally, were Jason "Buttons" McInerney, Jeff "Silverback" Rahl, Tom "Cat" LeRoux, and Justin "Doc" Garcia. The Saginaws were able to add one ace to their ledger thanks to the fine striking of Jon "Boozehound" Smith, Adam "Squints" McCauley, and Toby "Scoops" Larkin. After one innings the Bay Citys held an 8-1 advantage.
The second innings saw both clubs swap the whitewash, and each club was able to keep the ledger equal in the third as well adding one run apiece. Bay City pushed their tally across with a howitzer into the garden from the willow of Alan "Kid" Garcia which had him take his second. The next striker would lose his hand to a fly ball into the center garden, but Garcia would tally when Jeff "Silverback" Rahl made his first safely. The Saginaws run was made by none other then, Richard "The Founder" Curry, who made his first, moved to second on a ground out, and then tallied on a second consecutive safety from the bat of Jon "Boozehound" Smith. After three innings the match stood at Bay City 9, and Saginaw 2.
Saginaw would skunk Bay City in the fourth and the fifth innings, wasting a Justin "Doc" Garcia innings opening triple in the fourth with their fine fielding. While Bay City struggled, Saginaw did as well only adding one run to their tally, keeping the match in the Independents' favor at Bay City 9, and Saginaw 3.
In the sixth innings both clubs seemed to liven up. Alan "Kid" Garcia originated the offensive explosion for both clubs with an inning opening safety into the garden. The next hand was lost to a fly catch made by Jon "Boozehound" Smith in the left field. The next striker though, was Jeff "Silverback" Rahl, and the Saginaws had not yet been able to kill his hand in the contest. Rahl took a pitch that teetered on the rim of the plate, and promptly deposited it into the right field garden where it was momentarily lost in the fauna and flora of Carroll Park. The scrambling Saginaws attempted to retrieve the sphere in time to prevent the Silverback from circling the bases, but their efforts were for naught as both he and Garcia would tally on the home run. The next two Bay City hands were lost on foul bound outs, one to the catcher, one to the third base man, and just like that the rally was squelched by the Golds.
In the Saginaw sixth, the first hand was lost on a sky ball bottled in style by the Bay City second sacker, Jeremy "Schoolboy" Stedry. The next striker, John "Lumberjack" Piersall, would make his first thanks to an infield safety. This brought Adam "Squints" McCauley, the Saginaw Captain, to the plate. McCauley drove a sky ball deep into the left garden that sent a spectator scrambling, as Jason "Buttons" McInerney struggle to snatch the sphere. The Bay City fields man's actions were inhibited by the intruder, and the onion exceeded his reach allowing McCauley to take his second, and Piersall to tally. The next striker, Jason "Logger" Leppek matched McCauley's feat by taking his second after sending the apple beyond the right field confines. Leppek's muckle shot allowed McCauley to score, and the difference in the contest was now Bay City 11, and Saginaw 5.
The Old Golds would thwart the Independents in both the seventh and eighth innings, and drew ever closer in the contest themselves plating two aces in each of the aforementioned innings. Tallying for the Golds in the seventh were Matt "Rip" Shaner, and Brandon "Bulldog" Diag thanks to the striking of two new comers to the squad, Mumbly and Muskrat who each had a single and a double in the innings respectively. In the eighth innings the top of the order did the deed for the Golds with Jon "Boozehound" Smith and John "Lumberjack" Piersall each tallying for their second time in the contest. Smith began the innings with a cannonade into the left field upon which he made his second. Smith then tallied on the safety by Piersall, who then tallied on the third of four safe hits made by the Saginaw captain, "Squints" McCauley. After 8 the match had drawn to a predictably, tight scratch at Bay City 11 and Saginaw 9.
The Bay Citys now came into the ninth innings with a slender lead, and looked to add to it using the top of their order to make their finishing mark in the contest. Kid Garcia would again take the charge, and again thrust the Bay Citys into the breech making his first for the fourth time in the contest. He would move to second on a liner from Jason "Buttons" McInerney. McInerney's hand would be lost on a ground ball to the second base man by Jeff "Silverback" Rahl, who flipped to the short stop putting Garcia at third and Rahl at first. Garcia would tally when the next striker, Tom "Cat" LeRoux made his way onto the bases for the second time on the day with a daisy cutter into the left garden. Rahl and LeRoux would each move up to third and second respectively on a muckle shot into the garden from the bat of Brian "The Butterfly" Beceril which loaded the bases. The bases were now filled with Bay Citys with only one hand lost. The speed of Rahl at third, and his ever-present threat to steal home, no doubt was weighing on the mind of the Saginaw fielders as they attempted to kill Rahl's hand on a throw from the pitcher to the third sacker which went terribly awry and exceeded the bounds of the field of play allowing Rahl and LeRoux to tally and brought the Butterfly to third sack. The next two strikers would lose their hands and the Independents' uprising would be complete. The score was now Bay City 14, and Saginaw 9.
The Old Golds would not go quietly into their good night, and put up a magnificent rally in their ninth tallying thrice thanks in part to Rip Shaner, and their two new found talents, Mumbly and Muskrat. No doubt these M and M boys should find their way onto the Saginaw roster permanently, for if not for their contribution this match wouldn't have been close as they had a hand in 5 of the Saginaw runs. The Golds would lose their next three hands after Muskrat tallied on nearly identical plays on ground balls from the short stop to the first sacker, closing another breathtaking contest between these two clubs.
Bay City took the series 3-1, the Cup, and the first seeding into the State Tournament with the win, but perhaps the bigger winner on the day was the crowd that stayed to watch the close of the contest, and the regular season finish to the 2012 season for Bay City. It was a fine one indeed seeing them finish with twelve wins, and only one loss. Now onto the State Tournament!