With the Rock Island High School freshmen playing a double dip at Douglas, VLB players met at Ridgewood for another two-fer Saturday. However, players arrived to discover the field in an unplayable, unsafe condition. The infield dirt had been tilled -- leaving last weeks' weedy mess gone, but leaving loose dirt along all basepaths. The area around the outside of the baseball field (near the park) was freshly cut, however, the outfield grass stood over a foot tall. Perhaps the mower ran out of gas?
Jeff Kilgard and Josh Paul frantically began the search for a usable field. Paul went to the Milan-Rock Island Little League Complex to find the larger diamond empty. Someone mowing the field next to it said that there were no games scheduled for play that day. After sending players to the field VLB used during the 2014 playoffs, the same field caretaker told players they were not allowed to play on that field.
Kilgard then found a vacant park -- Dixon -- nearby in Milan, however, this field is used for softball so the infield dirt was short and basepaths are just 60 feet. A-la-98 Veto League, cardboard boxes were used as bases. Infielders worked on the outer grass edge of the infield. Kilgard and Paul picked up teams for the field of 16 VLBers and the game was underway.
It didn't take long for the undefeated Goonies (5-0) to take charge, batting around while plating six in the top half. By the fourth inning, the Crushers (2-4) found themselves down 14-0. The Crushers scored two in the bottom of the 4th only to have the Goonies respond with nine of their own. After six innings, the Crushers were forced to forfeit by the "15 Run Rule", losing 27-4. The game was the biggest blowout since 2011 when the Goonies destroyed the Playaz 24-0.
The Goonies were led by Craig Thomas' 7-for-7 with seven runs and four doubles. Paul went 6-for-7 with six runs and five RBI. Seven of the eight Goonies recorded at least four hits. The Goonies' six rookies went a combined 33-for-41 at the plate during the blowout.
Game #2 was almost more of the same, as Kilgard's Crushers visited the Phenoms, with rookie Edwin Moore making his captain debut. The Crushers scored six in the first and held a 9-0 lead early on, easily strolling to an 11-1 victory. Kilgard led his own team with a perfect 5-for-5 with two runs and four RBI. Donny Ruel had a game high three runs and two doubles. The Phenoms early season futility continued, as their record dropped to 1-5.
With Douglas, Jefferson and Dixon fields are reserved for other tournaments, this Saturdays' game is currenlty slated to be played at Ridgewood Field. Kilgard will be the main contact as Paul is out-of-town.