Never trust a guy playing baseball in jeans. Or for that matter, even jean shorts.
Veto League Baseball kicked off it’s 19th season with Opening Day on May 1 at Dickson Park in Milan. One nine-inning game was played in the 7-on-7 contest that featured Josh Paul’s Goonies hosting Tyler Mulder’s captain inauguration with DJ Kitty.
The game featured three rookie debuts: Rylee Dolan, Rick Welton and Greg Hixson. Hixson showed up clad in full length jeans, but his peculiar baseball athletic attire didn’t take away from his bat. Veto League remembers last season when Jason Huling arrived to Jefferson Park sporting cut-off jean shorts and still crushed a pair of homeruns. In 2011, Kevin Powell debuted wearing jeans and hit an inside-the-park homerun. Looks can be deceiving. And in the case of Hixson on Sunday, his first two hits were doubles, one to center and the other right. He added a triple later in the game on a smash to center. He led DJ Kitty with five runs and had five hits and two RBI.
For the Goonies, they got out to an early 3-0 lead on a Huling live-drive homer to right in the 1st. Last year Huling averaged 2.7 RBI per game and added seven RBI to lead the Goonies on Sunday.
DJ Kitty would respond with six unanswered runs to take a lead and were up 15-4 at one point, but the Goonies "never say die" motto made it a game, scoring nine runs in the final three frames. They managed to put the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the 9th with two outs, however, Paul popped out to the centerfielder Jay Clark to end Opening Day with a final 16-13.
Ryan Barton had a game-high six hits for DJ Kitty. Despite batting leadoff, Clark led the team with four RBI. Josh Adams, who has eight career games played since his debut in 2010, crushed a homerun over the left field fence and almost into the neighbor’s backyard. He had three hits and three runs on the day.
DJ Kitty was also aided with flashy defense. Five double plays were turned against the Goonies, compared to just one involving DJ Kitty. Several of those were line-drives where the runner got stranded off base, while a few were brilliant grounders that resulted in around-the-horn double plays. It's believed those five double plays are a VLB record, however, the Elias Sports Bureau did not respond to multiple emails.
Play will resume next Saturday at 11:30. Field to be determined.