Official Box Score here :::
Additional Photos here :::
On Tuesday night the GHTBL had its third game of the season and the first of the season for the Record-Journal Expos as well as the first overall for the Wallingford Cardinals. Online the schedule said this game would start at 6:30pm but it actually started- I believe- at 6:00pm. I almost went to Ceppa Field at 6:00pm because that's when the Spotlight Hour starts in Pokemon Go and I figured I'd just catch all the Seels while I'm there but instead I opted to catch some Seels at home first so I got to Ceppa around 6:15. My uncle also said that the night before there was the heated Meriden rivalry game of Platt vs Maloney and he was there so he found out the lights didn't work, which was likely the reason for pushing the start time back.
Confused as I might be as to when the game started and how much of it I actually missed, I do know that I saw AJ Hendrickson hit back to back doubles during this game, scoring two runs the first time and an additional run on the second one. I also saw the Cardinals do that old switcheroo steal to score a run where they have runners on first and third and when the runner goes from first to second the other runner goes from third to home. There were a number of great plays during this game defensively as well, with both teams making that extra effort to save runs.
While this was the first game of the season, I always like to think about what it could spell for the rest of the season. The Expos seemed to start off a little rough with the pitching, but then they settled in and whether that becomes an all season thing or not doesn't matter because giving up a run or two isn't a big deal as long as you then get into your groove and shut them down offensively as well as score your own runs. And just from this first game- compared to last season- that's one factor which I feel has improved for the Expos. They have been swinging and not at bad pitches.
Sometimes you make contact with the ball and the second baseman catches it and throws you out at first. But sometimes that ball soars past the shortstop and second baseman and you get a hit. These are both the types of things that the Expos were doing offensively, but they were getting more hits than outs. That really was the difference here between the Expos and Cardinals- just making contact and getting the ball out there. Sometimes the center fielder catches it, sometimes it drops behind him and the left fielder. But you don't have those options if you're not hitting, if you're not making contact with the ball.
As the game went on, Justin Marks settled in as pitcher while eventually AJ Hendrickson also took over and the amount of strikeouts thrown was really a difference maker as well because it limited the scoring of the Cardinals. The Expos did exactly what needed to be done to win the game: score and keep the other team from scoring. If they can keep this up all season, it will be a good sign of things to come.
This year, the GHTBL has each team facing each other three times and though the Expos have won their only game this week, after Memorial Day they have two home games scheduled as well as their first away game at Muzzy Field against the Bristol (not really) Greeners. The two home games are against the Phillies on Tuesday and Championship Jets on Friday, so those will definitely be some tough tests and just all around great baseball games.