It was a great day for baseball in Reston on May 22, 2002. The Sox had just come off a double win at the Bat-a-thon, hitting and fund raising, so the team was ready to face the O’s.
The Sox bats were quiet in the first and this silence turned out to be an ominous sign. Of the White Sox first four Batters, only Bretton got on with a walk, the other three struck out. Dave Wynne, the White Sox usual starter, shut down the Orioles first three batters with three quick strikeouts. .
In the second Wesley started off with a walk and Will walked but the side was retired. The Orioles batters scored one run after a clean double, but Dave stayed calm and struck out the next two.
The Sox got another opportunity with Mark and Bretton getting singles, but again could not score. Wesley came on in the third and the O’s squeaked in a couple of runs on some walks and wild pitches. Wesley had a couple of strikeouts and was working on another strike out when the third base coach for the Orioles sent the runner home on a wild pitch. There was a horrendous collision at home and Wesley was spiked in the thigh. Coach Goldstein alertly called time and sent in the Sox trainer to have a look at Wes’ leg. After close inspection it was determined that nothing was broken and Wes wanted to finish the inning, so back to mound he went, and he threw two beautiful strikes to end the inning. At this point the Orioles had scored three and led by a paltry 4-0.
Going into the fourth Nolan and Wesley struck out, Christopher got on base with a full count walk, but Tom went down swinging. Suddenly the Sox had gone four innings without scoring. At this point this reporter saw Acting Head Coach Goldstein scratching his head and then shaking it back and forth slowly. This reporter can only wonder if Coach Goldstein was thinking that this was the same team that won their division at Bat-A-Thon.
In the bottom of the fourth, Nolan took the mound and after striking out two, he yielded a walk. An infield hit gave the O’s met on on first and second. But Nolan had many tricks in his pitching bag and he struck out the next Oriole batter.
In the Fifth, Will started the Sox off by being walked. Dominique then crushed one to center field, but the alert Orioles centerfielder fielded the ball and threw it to second before Will could get there. However, the Sox again left runners on base.
Bretton took the mound in the fifth. With a quick strike out Coach Goldstein was feeling better about the game, but the Orioles’ Big hitter came up and as the saying goes, you throw hard, you get hit hard and Bretton threw a hard strike and it was hit solidly to left. The next batter was hit by Bretton’s first pitch. Another single scored the runner from second. Another hit by pitch loaded the bases. At this point Bretton reached deep down and struck out the next two batters ending the inning.
And so it was that the Sox were down 6-0 but their spirits were hopeful with the unlimited run inning. After an infield out, Mark reached safely on an infield single. Bretton singled to right and the Sox fans came alive. Mark moved to third on a wild pitch and Nolan hit an infield single to score the run. Sadly the Sox bats stayed relatively queit and the O’s went on to win 6-1.
Acting Coach Goldstein was asked for an interview after the game but he just walked away head down shaking it slowly back and forth mumbling “what happened to the bats?” Coach Grossman available for a brief phone interview while scouting in Mexico said “….even the best teams in major league baseball lose about 50-60 games a year – you can’t win them all… lets hope we come back Tuesday and have a great game against the A’s….” This reporter would like to note that the Sox won both the batting and fundraising categories of Batt-a-Thon — CONGRATULATIONS!!!!