Tuesday night after work I went to a college baseball game.
The Baltimore Redbirds, the team in the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League, I followed for the last three seasons folded after last season, but the same field the Redbirds used, Carlo Crispino Stadium at Calvert Hall High School in Towson, is used for teams in the Maryland Collegiate Baseball League. Their schedule is less rigorous (about thirty games, compared to the Ripken League’s forty), and the players tend to be local. And while Redbirds games I’d attended at Calvert Hall had PA announcers and a working scoreboard, even a keyboardist toward the end of last season, the MCBL games have none of that, which makes them a little bit of a challenge to follow, especially for me and my idiosyncratic scoring system.
While the season had begun late May or early June, I didn’t attend a game, due to work deadlines, until Tuesday night. I left a little bit after five for the game’s six o’clock start; Calvert Hall isn’t that far from Diamond’s offices, but rush hour traffic on York Road can be a mess, and it took about forty minutes to get there.
When last I was at Calvert Hall, the field between the baseball field and the football stadium had been torn up. They had put in lacrosse fields, with artificial turf, and the whole thing was surrounded by a fence. I had always parked over by the football stadium and walked across the field to the baseball park, but I discovered that I couldn’t do that any longer due to the fences around the lacrosse fields.
When I arrived, the Diamond Pros, the visiting team, were doing infield drills. There was no crowd to speak off, maybe a half dozen people in the stands, a number that grew to about twenty as the game progressed. I took my usual spot in Carlo Crispino Stadium — the upper row of the grandstand (about eight rows back), slightly to the third base side of home plate — took out some notebook paper and the rosters I’d printed at the office from my briefcase, and settled in.
I don’t have the notes I took in front of me — and, to be frank, they’re a bit of a mess — so I can only give you some general impressions. Keeping score was a matter of reading the uniform numbers at the plate and in the field, matching those against the rosters I’d printed off, and trying to hear the umpires telling coaches when a substitution was made. From the box score, which covers only one of the teams, I missed one substitution entirely, which is partly why my notes were a mess.
Pitching for the Diamond Pros was Patrick Sullivan, a left hander. I did not realize, until the seventh inning, that Sullivan was tossing a no-hitter.
Of course, that realization was the exact moment that Sullivan lost his no-hit bid. He gave up a hit into shallow left over the leaping shortstop, but no damage was done.
It was a low offense game. The Diamond Pros fared slightly better than the home team, the Putty Hill Panthers, in that regard, but through seven and a half innings, neither team scored.
The coaches of the managers tried to get some fire into the team several times, holding between-innings pep talks — and profane ones at that as the game got into the late innings. Something must have worked, because, as I mentioned, the Panthers’ Brian Cordell got their first hit in the seventh.
In the top of the eighth inning, the Panthers made some defensive rearrangements and brought in a defensive substitution. (If memory serves, the first baseball became the catcher, the third baseman moved over to first, and someone new came in at third.) These substitutions paid off as, in the bottom half of the inning, Devin Brodgen, got on base and took second on a fielding error, stole third base, and then stole home as part of a double steal for the Panthers’ first and only run.
In the top of the ninth, the Diamond Pros’ first two batters reached base. (The second was thanks to an unfieldable bunt single that died between the pitchers mound and first base.) Then, with the bases loaded and one out, the Panthers’ pitcher got two strikeouts to end the game.
Putty Hill 1, Diamond Pros 0.
The game was the literal definition of a “hard luck loss.” Sullivan gave up only the single hit. He pitched a complete game, gave up a single hit, and lost 1-0 due to defensive miscues behind him.
It was a nice night, very laid back. It wasn’t humid, the temperatures were in the low seventies. I stopped at Target on my way home, but that’s a story told elsewhere.
There’s another game at Calvert Hall tonight, but it’s also a Thursday night and the four episode of the final season of Elementary is on tonight, and I’d rather watch that.
Still, depending on the day and and the circumstances, I may return for another game.