Baseball Review //
South Windsor Phillies, 4
Record-Journal Expos, 6
June 13th, 2023
at Ceppa Field, Meriden CT

Official Box Score here :::

Additional photos can be found here :::

Going into this game, the Record-Journal Expos were coming off of two losses in a row while the South Windsor Phillies were coming off of a 21-0 loss to the Vernon Orioles.   This game felt important for the Expos to win, as they are atop the league, but also for the Phillies to win because no one wants to be in last place behind the Bristol Greeners.  

The game started somewhat normally and the bottom of the fifth saw the most action but we'll get to that later.   The Phillies started with a nice hit by Justin Oquendo, who made it safely to second base but then got greedy going to third and was thrown out.  That seemed like an odd time to take a risk like that because it was so early in the game, but it didn't end up mattering too much, although the Phillies could've used him as a run ultimately it would turn out.

Former Vernon Oriole Thomas Slane would hit a deep shot to left field that scored the first two runs of the game and after one inning the Phillies were up 2-0.    The pitching of Spencer Azzara held off the Expos offensively while after the first three innings, Expos pitcher Brendan O'Connell settled in.  After three innings, the score was 4-0 and nothing the Expos were doing seemed to be working offensively.

The fourth inning would go by without a score and though the Phillies scored in their first three innings they were shut out in the final four innings of play.  In the fifth inning JD Tyler would come in to close out the game while the Phillies would wait until the sixth to bring in Justin Oquendo to pitch relief.  

In the bottom of the fifth inning, JD Tyler got a leadoff double.  Brandon Hernandez would single onto base and then Sebby Grignano would walk to load up the bases with no outs.   Kyle Hartenstein would come up to the plate and launch a ball deep to right field.  This was clearly over the fence in fair territory and everyone thought it was a homerun except for the homeplate umpire.   

The homeplate umpire is a thief of joy.

What bothered me most about this call was that we were robbed of not only a homerun but a grandslam.  Yes, this would have meant something towards the stats of Kyle Hartenstein, but it also would've just been cool to see as a fan.  Now, there were several players for the Expos who went and confirmed with the umpire what he was saying was true because they wanted to make sure that he truly believed that the ball was foul.   Players I won't name double checked with him on his terrible call.

And to top it all off, after the inning was over, the umpire went over to the dugout and apologized, admitted he didn't understand the rules and said he made a mistake- it should've been a homerun.   Unbelievable.  When someone asks you to clarify what you are saying and you stand by your wrongness and then come back later and admit what you said was wrong... I don't understand how you misunderstand that, and if the Expos hadn't taken the lead this might have turned into a different vibe entirely.  (Though at that point the umpire might've kept his mistake to himself)

So Kyle Hartenstein would take a walk, bringing in the second run of the game for the Expos as the bases remained loaded.  Javon Malone would double to center field, clearing the bases and bringing in three more runs, putting the Expos up 5-4.   Between that second walk and the double by Javon Malone, the Expos had regained the four runs that they were robbed of by this umpire and it's just something I still can't believe but this is likely why umpires do not admit when they make mistakes so I will at least tip my hat to the umpire for doing that much.

The Expos return to play on June 20th, 2023 at Ceppa Field against the Vernon Orioles while the South Windsor Phillies take on the Bristol Greeners tomorrow night, June 15th, in South Windsor.   Coincidentally, the Bristol Greeners face M&T Bank tonight at Trinity College.  Should the Greeners lose, they will be 1-7, which will be the same record as the Phillies going into that game tomorrow night.   M&T Bank just lost for the first time this season, but tonight is a game I don't foresee them losing.  


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