Dateline: Running Cedar
On a cloudy fall afternoon, the AA Rangers took the field after their exciting shutout on Saturday. Juan led off with a walk; Joe grounded out to short and moved Juan to second. Walks to Tommy, Andy, Max and Michael resulted in runs scored by Juan, Tommy, and Andy. Andy quickly struck out three batters and after one all looked well for the Rangers with a 3-0 lead. In the second Bryon got a big single, but the offense went down quietly after that. Andy continued his dominant performance with three more strikeouts – six on the day and eleven on the season. After two it was still 3-0 Rangers.
In the top of the third, Rangers bats went down quietly. Erick came in and got the first batter to ground out to Tommy who made a nice play at first. A walk and a hit batter put runners on first and second. The next batter hit a sharp smash to Christian who was at second who made a great stop, picked up the ball and calmly threw to first. Erick struck out the last batter to run the Rangers scoreless inning streak to nine innings.
In the top of the fourth Rangers bats were silent and so we went to the bottom of the fourth. Max strolled to the mound for his first outing of the year and he threw hard. The first batter hit a sharp grounder to the right of the mound where Max quickly got it and fired to Andy at first for the out. Unfortunately, three walks and a weak infield single resulted in the Rays scoring two runs. Max settled down and struck out the last batter to end the inning. After four it was Rangers 3 Rays 2.
In the top of the fifth Tommy smashed a double to left but the Rangers bats were silent again and so we went to the bottom of the fifth. Tommy strolled to the mound and the batter hit a tough ball between first and the mound. John got it at first and flipped to Tommy who alertly covered on the play but the runner just beat the throw. It was a great defensive play. The next batter walked and Tommy settled down to strike out two. The runner on second moved to third and scored to tie the game on a wild pitch. Tommy calmly struck out the last batter and Rangers fans were on the edge of their seat with a tie game.
As darkness settled upon the field, the Rangers loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the sixth as Gabriel was hit by a pitch, Bryon got a big single for his second hit of the day and Erick walked. The Rays closer settled down and struck out the side to end the threat. In the bottom of the sixth the Rays scored a run after a couple of walks and wild pitches. The Rays rejoiced with a 4-3 win.
With a game on Thursday, Coach Grossman had very little time for this reporter. He said, “It’s hard to beat any team in this league twice in a row and we certainly came close. I like how our guys looked in the field with very few errors. I think our bats will come alive as the season progresses and I’m looking forward to a great game on Thursday.” Coach Goldstein said, “Our young catchers are certainly coming along and I think we’re going to be hard to stop as the season moves along.”