The All-Stars went on the road this week to square off against the struggling Juice Boxes. It’s a game that 13 players will never forget. A game that goes down in the record books as the first ever Veto League Baseball shutout.
The All-Stars (4-1) got on the board quick with a run in the first inning. The Juice Boxes (0-4), led by sub-captain Josh Smith, got off to a very slow start against the defensive iron curtain of captain Tony Zier’s team. Smith, the 2006 Rookie of the Year, was unable to motivate his team under the sweltering hot sun at Ridgewood Park. With a runner on second in the sixth inning, Tom DeBroeck lined a shot that appeared destined for the fence in left field. The ball found itself caught in the web of Smith’s glove, as he was able to make a running stab at it. However, Smith fell down on the catch and his foot got caught up on the fence. Ryan Barton was easily able to tag from second to third, but made the turn toward home and scored before Smith was able to untangle himself from the chain link.
Down by two runs in the bottom of the 7th and faced with going into record books as the first team to not score a single run in a Veto League game, the Juice Boxes made it interesting. With one out remaining, the bags were loaded with Juice Boxes as VLB Nick Larson stepped up to home plate. A single breaks up the shutout and potentially ties the game. On a two strike count, Larson took a good hack at a juicy pitch, but was unable to make contact. The book was closed on the first ever shutout.
Smith’s top three in the lineup combined for 1-12 and his team as a whole scraped just five hits and no extra base knocks. The All-Stars were led by Dan Tomlin’s three-hit game and Barton’s two doubles, both of whom scored the only runs in the game.
When asked what it felt like to be the captain of the first ever Veto League team to be shut out, despite having the likes of Anthony Reese, Bob Zerull, and Scott Ellefritz on his squad, Smith replied, “It’s like getting a Juice Box without a straw.”
The game also shatters the previous record low of seven combined runs in a 7-inning game and also broke the mark for fewest hits in a game for a single team.