Story by Alex Miller
Despite continuing issues securing baseball fields to play on, the Veto League continues its torrid pace, playing an additional seven games since the one month mark of the 2020 season. Since June 17, there have been some comebacks, close games, and playoff clinches.
On Saturday, June 20, it was Josh Paul’s Goonies hosting Branden Bollman’s Bears to open the day. Bollman was looking for his first win of the season as captain and things were looking bright, taking a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the fifth. Things fell apart as the Goonies scored nine in the bottom frame. The Bears tried a valiant comeback with five runs in the 6th and two more in the 7th, but it wasn’t enough, as the Goonies held on to win 11-10. Game 2 on Saturday pitted Edwin Moore’s Admirals and Mason Overmire’s Hitters in a Blackhawk Division battle. Despite having just one extra base hit, the Admirals outhit the Hitters 23-12 en route to an 11-7 victory. The tripleheader concluded with a matchup of the two winners from the first two games: Goonies visiting the Admirals. Behind 4-4 days from Clayton Spratt and captain Josh Paul, and four RBIs from Scott Raes, the Goonies took down the Admirals 13-2.
In arguably the weekend’s best game, it was the Cannons hosting the Admirals. The Cannons got off to a torrid start, scoring one run in the second and third innings, four in the fourth, and five in the fifth, but were shut down from there. Down four going into their final 3 outs in the top of the seventh, the Admirals managed to score five thanks to a bases loaded, bases-clearing double from Lorenzo Martin, allowing the Admirals to steal the victory, 12-11. Game 2 on Sunday saw another close finish, this time the Goonies hosting the Hitters. Despite an inside-the-park Grand Slam from LaVanti Wright and a triple and two double performance from Alex Miller, it wasn’t enough for the Hitters, as they fell 9-8, thanks to a 3-4 performance from Scott Raes and 4 RBIs from captain Josh Paul.
The weeks games concluded on Tuesday at the Silvis Little League Complex, a field new to Veto League Baseball. Game 1 featured the Cannons coming in to take on the Bears. A back and forth game for the majority of it, the score was 13-9 going into the last inning. That’s when things got out of hand, as the Cannons scored the most runs in a single inning this season with 13, and went on to win 26-13. The 26 runs are the most in a single game this year, and marks just the second time a team has scored at least 20 in 2020 (the first was also the Cannons, the opening game of the year versus the Goonies, 20-9). Daniel Lindbloom went 6-6, and both Josh Paul and Zach Graham went 5-6. Game 2 was much closer, and once again featured Bollman’s Bears as the home team, this time to face Johnny Readus’ Racketeers. Behind a pair of doubles from both Scott Raes and Mason Overmire, the Racketeers snatched an 18-15 victory as the sun was going down.
As a result of these games, the Saukie Division is all wrapped up, with the Goonies (10-1) and the Cannons (7-4) officially securing playoff spots and will meet each other later in the season for that series. The Blackhawk Division continues to be tightly contested, with the Racketeers holding a 1.5 game lead over the Hitters and a 3.5 game lead over the Admirals.
Games continue on Saturday, Sunday, and Tuesday, with fields to be determined, though with Illinois easing restrictions during the pandemic, field availability should open up for the league a bit more. Stay tuned to the “Schedule” on the Veto League Website for all the up to date info on when and where we are playing!