2008 Youth League Baseball And Softball Season (1)
Winson Thai

 

In April 2008, the regular season of Youth League Baseball and Softball starts, and two teams, the Subways for Men’s baseball and Princesses of Women’s softball are from New York. Teams will play 150 games with each other (75 at home, 75 away) in the next six months and must either finish the season first in their division (east, west, or central) or as the league wild card (top 2nd place team) to be in the playoffs in October that determines the League Champion in three rounds. For interleague games and the playoffs’ last round between teams of opposite genders, they play whatever sport the home team is part of. Baseball games are nine innings long while softball games are seven except in postseason, where they are nine too.

Subways left fielder, 18-year-old Jamie Wang was the league’s youngest and smallest player since joining in 2007. While most female fans found him cute, diehard ones and other players doubted his skills and picked on him a lot, but he proved them wrong by sending the U.S.A. national team to the World Cup and was highly praised despite losing to Russia. Wang gets dethroned of his title in spring 2008 after New York welcomes 16-year-old Catcher Peter Harris, who is only 5’0” and 110 pounds. He gets the cute/bully treatment from fans and teammates Wang used to get, making him jealous as girls no longer love him, but glad people are not bothering him. Harris does not let this stop him from having fun in preseason practice.

The Princesses open the year against the Springfield Isotopes in their new stadium. Leadoff hitter Jessica Moore homers on Lindsey Dean’s third pitch in the first, becoming the first player to homer on the first at-bat for a new ballpark. Next inning, Erica Beach hits a two-out single and goes to third on Moore’s double. Christina Bay’s double scores both girls before she scores on Leah English’s single. In the bottom of the inning, Kellie Xavier’s double with a runner at first gives Springfield its first run at their field off of Beach. Shelby Catalina’s homer off of Dean leading off the fourth puts New York up 5-1. In the bottom of the inning, Springfield gets girls on first and second via two walks with two outs off of Beach when Jessie Warden’s single scores a run then Shawn Ivan, who had her team’s first hit at the stadium with a double in the first, homers to tie the game. In the top of the fifth, Bonnie Kozminski hits a fly ball off of Rachel Fox to right, but Stevie Ross drops the ball, letting her reach third. Veronica Rivera relieves Boon and gets two outs, but commits a balk that lets Kozminski score to put New York up 6-5. Rivera and two relievers keep them scoreless for the rest of this game, but Springfield fails to score off of three relievers despite loading the bases in the fifth, so they lose the game. New York starts the year 4-0 and never falls below .500. They and the Subways ended 2007 at 91-59, the former winning their last four games and the latter losing three of those four. The Princesses had the better record for most of that year before a brief slump in September.

Harris shows off his skills offensively and defensively on Opening Day by nabbing two attempted base stealers and going 3 for 4 with a two-run homer (part of back-to-back blasts with Wang in the fourth) and RBI triple (being a double short of a cycle) as New York beats the Chicago Storms 5-2 at home. After the game, Harris’s teammates give him a Gatorade shower as YES reporter Kimberly Jones speaks to him by the dugout to show they finally accept him as one of them. The Subways win two of three in the series.

They then fight the Vermont Rip Tide on the road and their bats go silent against Courtney Hover, who pitches 7 2/3 innings perfect and strikes out 11 batters, a personal best and all swinging, in the stretch while his team scores six runs off of Zane Serena and two more off of Dorian Santos. In the eighth, Henry Williams ruins Hover’s bid for a perfect game, no-hitter, and shutout with a solo homer to put his team on the board. That is the only hit Hover, who pitches a complete game, allows as his team wins 8-1 and takes two of three in this series. New York sweeps the Philadelphia Hawks at home weeks later for a 7-5 record.

In the last of those games, Sean Lorenzo singles to lead off the third off of Dakota Miranda, steals second and scores on Mario Ruiz’s single, but the Hawks tie it in the fourth on Adrian Bentley’s home run off of Zane Serena. In the sixth, Jacky Martinez’s blast off of Miranda puts New York up 2-1, but Michael Santiago allows a walk and double to lead off the seventh before a groundout ties the game. The Subways intentionally walk the dangerous Shelby Myers, hoping Erin Cassidy would hit into a double play. Instead he hits the 3-1 pitch into right for a three-run shot that puts the Hawks up 5-2. The fans go silent, then boo Santiago after the inning ends. In the ninth, Bill Lee allows back-to-back one out hits. A groundout moves the men to second and third. Then Damien Khaliq misplays Ricky Ting’s ground ball at third, letting a run score to put the Hawks up 6-2. In the bottom half, closer Stanley Baker gets two quick outs and many fans start to leave, thinking the game will end, but they miss New York make a dramatic comeback. First Chris Nash homers to make it 6-3 Hawks before Henry Williams singles to center on a 2-2 pitch. Lorenzo walks on a full count, then consecutive singles by Peter Harris and Ruiz, the latter of who trailed on the count 1-2, cut the Hawks’ lead to 6-5. With men on first and second, Baker moves them up one base by throwing a wild pitch to Khaliq, who hits the next one to dead center for a walk-off three-run homer, making his team the league’s first to rally from down four runs and one out from a loss. Baker, who thrice was only a strike from sealing a win is not charged with a blown save since his team led by more than three runs and he did not pitch for more than an inning. Lee gets the win and all three winning pitchers in the series are rookies.

In the last of three against the Warlocks in Salem, the Subways get two on in the first via a hit-by-pitch and walk off of MJ Esmeralda and Damien Khaliq’s double score both. In the third, Peter Harris hits a leadoff single, goes to second on a hit-by-pitch, and scores on Khaliq’s single, but in the inning’s bottom half, Bill Lee allows four straight two-out home runs, becoming the second Youth League pitcher to allow this and first since 1963. Sean Lorenzo’s leadoff homer in the fifth off of Esmeralda ties the game, then in the sixth, New York goes up 5-4 in the sixth after Mario Ruiz hits into a double play with men on first and third, but in the seventh, Tom Parker’s three-run homer off of Bernie Hales puts Salem up 7-5. Parker also homered in the third. In the eighth the Subways cut it to 7-6 on Ruiz’s based loaded groundout off of Tory Luisa, but get nothing more as they are swept in Salem for the first time since 1992. Last time they played there in August 2007, they swept a five-game series for the first time since 1956, outscoring Salem 49-26.

They then play the Auburn Warriors in Alabama, leading 7-6 when Mandy Ly drills the ball to left in the eighth. Wang backs to the outfield wall and is ready to catch it when a kid reaches out and knocks it into the seats. Clearly it is spectator interference, but third base umpire Donald Corbin rules it a home run, tying the game. The Subways get upset at his call and Wang begins to argue with him loudly. Head Coach Marcy Lowe joins him and Corbin ejects them. Auburn wins 8-7 on Greg Frederica’s shot in the eleventh.

At a press conference after the game, Wang accepts apologies from the boy and Corbin. The latter admits his error, but says he felt Wang may not have caught the ball even if the kid did not reach out, thus he would have to decide what to do with Ly. The Subways drop their next three games and suffer multiple injuries in that stretch. Versus the Tampa Whales, a line drive hits closer Joel Easter in the head, and in the very next game against the Seattle Marines, Chris Nash and James Cooper collide trying to catch a pop up at shallow right. All three men need extensive rehabilitation and cannot play for the rest of the season, but the injuries do not stop there. Four days later against the Minneapolis Wizards, Kim Scotson hits a fly ball deep to left field. Wang runs and leaps to make the catch, but then crashes onto the outfield fence, injuring his right shoulder. Coach Lowe and a few Princess girls, including Wang’s girlfriend, Allison Holiday, run to the field and check on him before the emergency vehicle takes him away with Allison by his side as the crowd applauses. The Princesses also suffered an injury to their lineup earlier that day when center fielder Crystal Lewis fractured her nose in the top of the fifth upon crashing face-first into the outfield wall while trying to nab a fly ball by Eureka Eagles’ Sherri Johnson. Two runs scored and a bloody Lewis, like Wang had to be carried off the field on an emergency vehicle as everyone applauded. Eureka won this game 6-1. New York scored its only run in the fourth via Erin Evans’s game-tying, no-out double after a hit by pitch.

The Princesses play a three-game interleague series versus the Marines in Seattle and win the first two, but in the last face Bobby Eliot, who despite a 5-5 record and 5.29 ERA so far in 2008, is 3-0 against New York in his career. He retires the first ten batters he faces. Erica Beach of New York, after a scoreless first despite allowing a single and walk, lets Seattle load the bases next inning on two hits and a walk with two outs before Julio Rios’s RBI single puts them up 1-0. They make it 2-0 in the third on A.J. Robinson’s blast and strand two via a single and walk. Lara Basin, the only Princess in the starting lineup to not strike out in the game singles with an out in the fourth. Top batter Jessica Dignon hits next and Eliot’s first pitch is wild, letting Basin go to second. The count goes to 3-0, the only time Eliot has that count. After a called strike Dignon hits the ball to deep left that looks like a game-tying homer, but lands foul. After fouling off three more pitches, she becomes the seventh of Eliot’s eight strikeouts, all swinging. He allows just a two-out single to Erin Evans in the sixth and Beach allows singles in the fourth and fifth. Jennifer Finley in the sixth allows one-out singles to Josh Delaney and Rios. A wild pitch to Robert Smith moves them one base before his sacrifice fly puts Seattle up 3-0. She pitches for the rest of the game allowing two singles in the seventh with a double play ending it. In the seventh Bonnie Kozminski’s two-out homer off of Eliot slices it to 3-1 Seattle. Meryl Jefferson reaches second after Delaney’s throwing error before Dakota Russel flies out to end the inning. Keri Alexandria tosses a perfect eighth before Basin hits a leadoff single in the ninth off of Timmy Hudson, going to second on a wild pitch to Dignon, but Hudson retires her and the next two batters to close it, as his team wins, but strands 11 men. Seattle swept the Princesses at New York in 2007.

During the offseason Youth League Baseball and Softball became an official sponsor for Susan G. Komen for the Cure. To express their support for their goal of stopping breast cancer on Mother’s Day the league’s softball players wear fully pink uniforms at their games, and baseball players play with pink bats, helmets, and wristbands. Some umpires and managers wear pink accessories that day also. The Princesses beat the Philadelphia Hawks on the road 14-9, while the Subways defeat the Salem Warlocks 6-5 at home.

In the last of three at home against the Auburn Warriors, who has made the most errors of all male teams in 2008, Shelby Catalina hits a leadoff single off of Alison Clifford in the first and moves to second on a sacrifice bunt, then to third on a groundout before scoring on Christina Bay’s single. In the third Joan Meadows drops a fly ball by Vladimir Volkodav. This error lets him get on base before Alex Crone’s blast off of Terri Bell puts Auburn up, 2-1. Catalina and Jessica Moore hit back-to-back singles in the bottom of the third. Leah English bunts to Clifford. He sends the ball to third, but it goes into left field and the error, Auburn’s second in this game, lets Catalina score to tie the game and put women on second and third with one out. Bay’s groundout scores Moore putting her team ahead 3-2. They get an insurance run in the sixth off of Benjamin Lopez as Bay hits a leadoff single, goes to second on a walk to Erin Evans, and scores on Sammie Nate’s single two outs later. Erica Beach relieves Bell in the seventh and allows a one-out double to Volkodav. He moves to third via a wild pitch to Alexi Garcia, who walks on the next pitch and brings in Karol Hall, who leads the league in two-out RBIs, but he strikes out on only three pitches to end the game as New York wins 4-2 for a perfect 3-0 record against the Warriors this year. They won the first game 9-2, and the next 8-5 despite being outhit 8-5. They hit no home runs in this series while the Warriors had four.

In the last of three versus the Springfield Isotopes male team at home Lara Basin walks to lead off the first off of Aubrey Davison, steals second, goes to third on a wild pitch, and scores on Dakota Russel’s groundout. Leah English’s homer makes it 2-0 New York. They load the bases on two walks and a hit, but fail to score. Next inning, Russel singles with two outs, then English homers again to put her team up 4-0. Next inning Jessica Dignon’s sacrifice fly with runners on first and third on a hit-by-pitch and error scores a run. After a walk, Basin’s homer makes it 8-0 New York. Davison is taken from the game after allowing two walks. Springfield's bullpen retires each batter they face for the rest of the game, but they get just two runs in the fifth. New York wins 8-2 despite being outhit 6-5 and avoids being swept by a last-place team.

They end interleague play with three road games against the Minneapolis Wizards, losing the first one 12-7, but taking the next 7-6. They trail 6-5 before they score two runs in the eighth on a bases loaded walk and subsequent wild pitch. In the third Jessica Moore hits a leadoff single in the first off of Ned Alan and steals second. After a groundout, she is thrown out at home trying to score via Dakota Russel’s single, but Ashley Carson homers on Alan’s next pitch to put her team up 2-0. Next inning they load the bases on a single and two walks with one out. Joshua Alvin takes the mound. Moore hits his first pitch to right for a grand slam to put her team up 6-0. After a walk, Alvin retires Russel and Carson to end the inning as Terri Bell retires the first seven men she faces, but hits Carmen Olson with a pitch in the third. He steals second and scores via Stacey Mia’s single. After allowing only a walk in the third, Alvin walks Shelby Catalina to lead off the fourth. Then Moore homers on his first pitch again to put her team up 8-1. He allows two one-out walks before Andrea Bianchi relieves him. He allows a single to load the bases before retiring the next two batters to end the inning. He throws three shutout innings, allowing three hits, while Bell allows just a walk over four innings. Jennifer Finley allows a leadoff triple in the seventh to Michele Sartori. He scores on Laurie Edison’s double. Leslie Edwards’s single scores Edison, but Finley retires the next three batters, ending this inning. Leah English hits a leadoff blast in the eighth off of Seth Rosin. Next inning, he allows two leadoff singles and a sacrifice fly to put runners on first and third. Then Catalina’s sacrifice fly makes it 10-3 New York as closer Fabian Vizcaino makes a rare appearance at a blowout game, retiring Moore to end the inning. Erica Beach pitches two shutout innings to close it allowing a single and walk in the ninth.

 

 

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Copyright © 2009 Winson Thai
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