Baseball Review //
East Hartford Jets, 3
Record-Journal Expos, 4
June 3rd, 2022
Ceppa Field, Meriden, CT

Official box score :::

Additional photos :::

Baseball is such a wild game that after watching a game on Wednesday in the rain and then a game being rained out on Thursday, with the sun shining I thought for sure that this would be a game this week without the rain.  A big, dark cloud came over Ceppa Field and it didn't threaten any rain at first.   But part way through the game, that cloud opened up and the rain went from being a drizzle to near downpour.   Yes, for the second time within the same week I was caught in the rain watching a baseball game.

The Expos and Jets both came into this game undefeated.  The Jets had played one more game than the Expos, so the Jets were 3-0 while the Expos were 2-0.   What's interesting about that stat is that had the game not been postponed due to weather the night before, the Expos may have very well beaten the Bristol Greeners, so both teams could have gone into this game at 3-0.  But this rain really has been something else this week and it just amazes me that the baseball continues during it.

In the top of the first inning, Jeff Criscuolo would make it to third base but after two strike outs from Expos ace pitcher Justin Marks the inning would come to an end without any runs.  The bottom of the first inning was a different story entirely for the Expos.  Kyle Hartenstein was walked onto first base.   Jason Sullivan hit a huge double to put the runners onto second and third.  And then AJ Hendrickson came up to the plate and smashed a three run homerun.   At some point shortly after this first inning the ice cream man came by.  Quentin went to get ice cream with my Dad, but then when they got back it was probably the top of the second or third and I took a walk over to get that homerun ball.

Knowing where that ball went over the fence near left field, I was looking for it near the road but couldn't find it.  Someone was sitting on the road in their car and there was another random person just walking by.  I assumed at that point perhaps someone had just been like "Oh! A baseball!" and picked it up.   But I followed what I felt like was the flight path and sure enough I found the homerun baseball that AJ Hendrickson smashed.  It was across the street and in the yard of the house there.    This just wasn't a homerun, it was a long gone ball.  I'm really glad I went to get the ball now just because I know how far it traveled and that just makes the whole three run homerun feel even better.

The rest of this game was a real stalemate.   The pitcher for the Jets seemed to start off with two speeds: either throwing all strikes and thus a strikeout occurred or throwing all balls and thus the walk.   It was either right down the middle at high speeds so it couldn't be hit or it was bouncing in front of the plate.    Both teams just played a tight defense through the innings leading up until the final portion of the game.  The top of the third saw two great catches by Will Kszywanos and Justin Marks, while runners would get on base at times for both teams but still remained unable to score.  Throughout the fourth inning- which saw Justin Marks strike out the side- and into the fifth, two more strikeouts really made Justin Marks the player of this game as he was just having such a great night of pitching.

The Expos put up another run in the bottom of the fifth and they would end up needing that insurance run.   The Jets would score one in the top of the sixth as Charlie Hesseltine would come in to pitch.  As we headed into the bottom of the sixth, the rain picked up.   The rain started off where you just felt some droplets and it wasn't too big of a deal, but it quickly reached and stayed at a point of consistency where if you were in it for a minute or so you'd be soaked.  Nearly everyone in the stands took cover where they could and somehow the game persisted.  I'm always worried about the ball being able to be gripped in the rain, but the Expos and Jets, they played on.

At one point, one of the Jets lost control and their bat went flying, likely because of the rain.  This felt like one of those signs that playing in the rain was a little bit dangerous but no one was stopping the game.  The umpires were getting as soaked as the players!  In the bottom of the sixth it felt as if the inning was cut short and I felt like the game was either going into a rain delay or being called early but apparently there were three outs.   The Jets put up a run in the top of the sixth and that was the momentum they needed to carry them into the seventh inning and have a chance at winning.

Sometimes in baseball you can get a 3-0 lead and hold onto it.   Sometimes you even end up 4-1 and then you hope that defensively you'll be able to stay on top and win the game.   But then, sometimes, the rain has other plans.  Charlie Hesseltine just couldn't seem to get the control of the ball that he wanted with the rain.  At one point, the ball even got away from catcher AJ Hendrickson.   It was a bit of a mess and back to back doubles scored two more runs, putting this game at 4-3.  The last out came as a strikeout and it sealed the fate for the Jets, who were quite amused in the dugout with the way this game was going.   While the rain was also making it darker and hard to see, it was making it just so difficult to control the ball and I think that was really the story of the end of the game here.

Now let's be realistic.  The Expos were at home.  If the Jets managed to either tie this game or go ahead, then the Expos would still have their final at bats and the Jets would realize how playing in the rain was.  It seemed like it was a lot easier to hit the ball while the rain was coming down than it was to control where it would go if you were trying to throw or catch it.   The rain had actually started to let up a little bit before the game ended, but it certainly did feel like a factor in the end of this game.  And that turned a 3-0 game into a 4-3 game which made it a bit more exciting at the end there.  While seeing two different games in the rain this past week was definitely an experience, I'm just hoping for dry games going forward.  

      With the Orioles taking a 1-0 loss to the Jets, this game was actually a battle between the last two undefeated teams in the GHTBL.   By winning this game, the Expos now are solely in first place and the only team yet to face defeat.   In the week ahead they're looking at two opponents they've already beaten- the Wallingford Cardinals, in Wallingford, on Wednesday night and the South Windsor Phillies come back to Ceppa Field on Friday, June 10th.  However, before all of that the Rainbow Graphics come to Ceppa Field for the next Expos game on June 7th, which could be interesting because the Graphics have a history of being a tough opponent for the Expos.   Rainbow Graphics are also 3-1 this season so this should be one of the more interesting games of the week for sure.


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