Additional photos can be found here ::: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?vanity=raisedbycassettes&set=a.5519161158125413
Last weekend- April 25th- all of the baseball around CT was rained out so it's been two weeks since last seeing the Banditos and this is their third Sunday of the season. In a lot of ways, I'll always say that one of the fun parts about baseball within CT is that you tend to find new places to watch it-- places I haven't been before. I like the places that I frequent, but it's always fun to see what other fields are out there and just the idea of how many baseball fields are in CT overall just seems so massive compared to what one might think. I feel like I've been to so many but have so many more left to go.
The Banditos went into this series with the A's even at 2-2 while the Marlborough A's came in undefeated at 4-0. When the Banditos joined the CNMSBL I looked at the rosters for the other teams to see if I recognized anyone and the A's have the most players that I knew. Keith Echevarria plays for the Indians in the Connecticut Twilight League (league champions). Taylor Kosakowski plays for the East Hartford Jets in the GHTBL (league champions) Dan Livingston has played for the Ulbrich Steel and even the Banditos last season. Peter Barrows was on Ulbrich Steel as well and Chris Anselmo is a name you should know, though I'm not sure everyone on the roster was playing this Sunday.
I knew that the A's were kind of the team to see because they felt like the team to beat and that also was confirmed going into this game with their record. Interestingly enough, the Banditos would have Willie Rios start the first game as opposed to him starting the second the past two series. The A's put up a run early in the first inning on a sac fly but they didn't really do the most of their damage until the second inning, which pretty much set the tone for the first game. A runner for the A's was on first, went to steal second, was clearly out and instead was called safe by the umpires.
This mistake was what started a three run double by the A's and would go on to give the A's a six run inning overall. Had that call gone the correct way then the momentum might have been killed and that might not have been a six run inning. Sure, the A's might have still scored. And maybe they would have won 3-0 or 4-0. But when you have a play so obvious that someone is out but they are somehow called safe it's frustrating. This was a hot day- a dry day- and so there was a lot of dirt flying around. Perhaps from home plate the view was obscured by dirt. But there was a second umpire right there. How he couldn't see what happened right under his nose when I could see it from way behind home plate is just ridiculous.
Look, I'm not saying "The Banditos would have won that game if..." For the sake of both teams and for the entire league, really, I'm saying that calls like that shouldn't be made and if they are they have to be questioned by the other umpire. I get it. If they overturn one call, then the whole system falls apart. So when you're in that moment, and the guy is sliding and is tagged without ever even touching the base, please umpires- I don't care who it is or what team it is just call them out. I feel like this umpire day one lessons here.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, the number 24 player for the A's hit a two run homerun to right field. This was not Keith Echevarria though, who is listed as 24 on the roster page but actually plays under the number 42. I'm not sure who this was or who controls the numbers on the roster page. But that ball landed deep, then in between games I went to go see where it was and it made it down the hill and across the road. It took quite the trip.
During the first game- for three or four innings- I was inside the press box. No one else was up there, no one was there to stop me, so I went there to take pictures and I think it went fairly well. But I couldn't get good shots of the batters so halfway through the first game I moved out and down the first base side. In that short time I spent out in the sun I got slightly burned and it's strange to me that it's barely May and I need sunscreen already.
The second game saw Dan Livingston continue to pitch for the A's. I know he came out for an inning or two in the first game, but if he's started all four of their wins up to this point I tip my hat to him. The way the first game went for the A's was kind of how the second game went for the Banditos except with less bad umpire calls. (Though moving the umpires back behind home plate did not help them distinguish between balls and strikes, so that's still going to be an issue this year)
J.D. Tyler was on the mound for the Banditos in Game 2 and the A's just couldn't really seem to hit off of him. For the first two series- first four games- we have seen Ricky Marrero play the first game, hit a lot and then leave for the second game. This time he stayed and played the second game. This allowed him to hit a three run homerun to right field in the fourth inning to put the Banditos on the board 3-0. See, when Ricky stays and when Ricky plays the Banditos win. It's a theory I'm working on. (I just wish my uncle wanted to make this trip with me to see the homerun)
There were a lot of strikeouts during the second game and it seemed to go by pretty fast. It felt like it was less than two hours by my count. In the seventh inning, Ray Thayer hit a sac fly to bring in a run. J.D. Tyler did the same to score another run, but a second runner was coming home and was out to end the inning. Still, the Banditos beat the undefeated team 6-0 and it's going to make for an interesting meeting between the two teams when they play each other again, June 27th, at Maloney High School.
This Sunday everyone is taking a break for Mother's Day. After that, the Banditos go through a somewhat local stretch where they play at Ceppa Field (technically "on the road"), home at Maloney and Southington Rec up until July 18th- that's their next real travel type of game. So I just firmly hope that my uncle goes to all of these games (I'm pretty sure he went to Southington this past Sunday to scout the other Meriden team) because I want him to see Ricky Marrero hit another homerun.