Thursday, July 12—The Renegades got back on track tonight, bunching their eight hits to produce runs in three separate innings and defeating Batavia 5-3. The Gades scored first, with two runs in the second, Batavia tied the game in the fourth, Hudson Valley went ahead with two more in the bottom of the fourth and added an insurance run in the fifth. For the second night in a row a Batavia first baseman named David—in this case, David Bergin—crushed a towering home run in the ninth but it was too little, too late. It was the third home run I had seen at The Dutch this year—all by visiting players. Please click here to read the game story on the Gades’ Web site.
I did not arrive at the stadium until after 6:30 p.m. because I was covering a special meeting of the Peekskill Board of Education. Except for shedding a tie I did not have time to change, so I settled for slipping a white Renegades jersey over my dress shirt. It felt strange to be at a ballgame in slacks and my good black shoes instead of jeans and sneakers.
Zolz, back in his booth tonight and, as always, concerned about safety, announced in the seventh inning that it was dangerous to sit on the railing with your back to the net and specifically called my attention—“Prospector!”—to a girl of perhaps 7 who was sitting on the rail several seats to my right. She got down before I could say anything but I did tell her an inning later not to put her fingers through the net. Some folks may not realize it but the protective net behind home plate has a certain amount of give to it, meaning a foul ball, wild pitch or errant throw can harm you if you are too close to the netting. Fingers sticking through the net can be crushed by a ball before their owner can pull them out of harm’s way. On a more mundane level, shaking the net loosens bird excrement and other detritus stuck on it, showering the debris on the fans below.
The warning was part of Zolz’s wider efforts to promote safety at the stadium. In two words, PAY ATTENTION. Thrown or batted balls can enter the stands at speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour. A foul ball can bounce off a roof or wall or seat and bop a fan below or nearby. Bats shatter, and the pieces can sail into the stands. Baseball is a great game but it is not without its hazards, and the risks are not limited to the players. Please, pay attention to what’s happening around you and, if you have children with you, please teach them to do the same.
Jared Sandberg gave a smile and a wave in my direction as he trotted out to the third-base coaches box in the sixth and seventh. Later, in the parking lot, I had the pleasure of chatting with his wife, Julie, and meeting Krista DeMent, wife of Dan, our hitting coach, and Abby, who is dating Marty Gantt and was in town for a few days to see him play. Abby met Marty while they were in college in Charleston, South Carolina. I mentioned that I had had a wonderful visit there last October, was fascinated by its history and thought it was a great place all around; she replied that everybody who goes to school there informally minors in history, because there is so much of it all around you. Julie kindly informed the others that, in addition to being a huge Renegades fan I also have a fine voice as evidenced by my occasional singing of The Star-Spangled Banner and God Bless America at the stadium. I thanked her for her kind words and quickly added that it was a result of a lot of church choir work.
In another section of the parking lot I caught up with Luke Maile, who drove in our final run tonight, and Paige, along with Bob, Paul, Hal, Grant and a few other folks.
As the gathering dwindled, a few of us went on a scouting mission to the concession area, where, for the second consecutive night, Bob emerged with a box of leftover large pretzels to top off the small ones I had produced from my car. While dining on them we watched what we decided was a fox—perhaps the same one we had seen a couple of weeks ago—scampering about the parking lot.
Next home game: Thursday, July 13, vs. Batavia Muckdogs, first pitch 7:05 p.m.