Dust off gloves, polish up bats, and dig up a pair of cleats. That’s what 26 players did for this weekend’s Veto League Opener.
Despite the late notice of Veto League’s start to the 2010 campaign, plenty of friendly faces arrived at Ridgewood field on April 17-18 to play three games. After much sunburn later, the VLB completed all three contests, each of which came down to the final inning.
Saturday, April 17: All-Stars 14, Goonies 13 (7); Talons 27, Playaz 23 (9)
Put an * by this one.
Rookie captain Tony Zier’s self proclaimed “Meggan’s All-Stars” wore away the Goonies after plating a run with two outs in the bottom of the 7th to escape with the victory. With one out and runners on 2nd and 3rd in the bottom of the 6th, a routine pop fly was hit to the catcher. After recording the out, the catcher made an errant throw to the pitcher. After doing so, Tim DeBroeck scored from third base and, after a throwing error, brother Tom DeBroeck followed behind him. After some confusion, the play was let stand. The next batter flied out to end the inning.
The Goonies (0-1) were led by Scott Ellefritz’s three-hit day and four RBI. They made a charge late, tying the game up in the top half of the 7th, but Zier’s team narrowly escaped after veteran Jeff Kilgard singled home the winning run.
All-Stars (1-0) were led by Anthony Reese’s four hits and Tom DeBroeck’s five RBI. The All-Stars featured a family affair, as father Len DeBroeck batted in the order behind sons Tom and Tim. Brothers Brian and Ian Smith also found themselves batting in the 6- and 7-spots.
Game 2 featured another classic between new captain Reese and the 2009 World Series Champion Talons.
Captain Ellefritz, who batted 6-for-7 with 6 RBI, had his team hitting on all cylinders to start the contest, scoring 15 runs through the 4th inning. The Talons (1-0)took an 8-run lead into the bottom of the 7th. With just three outs to go, Reese found himself in unfamiliar territory as his QC Playaz of Rock Island (0-1) faced three outs before losing in their debut. Reese huddled his Playaz and encouraged his teammates with five words: Go Big or Go Home. The Playaz did just that, as Reese led the charge with a two-run homer to left field. That was followed up by homeruns from Tom DeBrock and Josh Paul. The first back-to-back-to-back homeruns in Veto League’s history at Ridgewood Field. The Playaz managed to plate four more runs to tie the game. With the bases loaded and one out, the Playaz were unable to score the winning run. The Talons answered with three in the extra frame and were matched by the Playaz, sending a 7-inning game to the ninth. After a sun blistering day, the Talons put the game out of reach with four more runs. The Playaz were unable to initiate a third comeback, giving the Talons the win.
Rookie Charles “Chuck” Noyd provided a flurry of offense with five hits and two doubles for the Talons. The Playaz were led by Tom DeBroeck’s three homeruns and Reese’s two. The duo combined for 12 hits, nine runs, and 11 RBI.
Sunday, April 18: Playaz 12, Meteors 11
Veto League Baseball drew a near record crowd for this regular season game.
A tally of 15 fans took time out of their day to watch a well played game between the Playaz (1-1) and Meteors (0-1). Said one attendee about the game, “This was…something.”
This game was close the entire way, as no team led by more than 2 runs in the 9-inning game. It was the Playaz, though, who scored last to win the one-run game. The Meteors, captained by Jeff Kilgard, played a defensively sound game, but it was the bats of Dan Tomlin and Chuck Noyd that proved the difference, as each recorded seven hits.
With one out in the bottom of the 9th, Coach Reese elected to walk heavy-hitter Bob Zerull, moving the tying run, Steve Roberts, from first to second. Josh Paul stepped up and hit a routine grounder to the shortstop for a force at 2nd base. With the tying run 90 feet away, Kelly Sullivan grounded to third to end the game, giving the Playaz their first win in fanchise history.