In the 19th season’s second weekend, Veto League Baseball found themselves at an unfamiliar familiar location.
Beginning in the 2008 season, Veto League started using Ridgewood Field as one if it’s game day locations. In its eight previous seasons, VLB has played 134 games at Ridgewood. However, the field has usually been the “back up” due to lackluster field conditions. For example, the Rock Island Parks Department rarely gets a mower to the field, which includes a grass infield. Nor do they keep up with weeds on the infield, paint lines or do any other much required maintenance. The infield has also had the inability to drain water, making the field unplayable after a week’s worth of rain.
After Dickson Park was unavailable on Saturday, players wandered to Ridgewood. What they found at this familiar location was an unfamiliar sight. An all dirt infield vacant of weeds, mowed grass, chalked foul lines, a new tarp over one dugout, new dugout benches and even new bleacher seating. There was a list in the dugout of more features coming to Ridgewood soon.
Ridgewood will be officially the 2016’s “home” of VLB, as long as it’s available. In past seasons, no one has ever been found to be playing at this diamond, but with new field maintenance, there is a high likelihood that a team will be using it as their primary home park in the near future.
As for the contests, VLB played a double dip at Ridgewood which included a massive 22 players – the most since June 7, 2014 (23 players). This included debuts from four guys, rising the VLB’s all-time roster to 615 players. Unfortunately, neither of the two games were close.
Game one featured Tyler Mulder’s DJ Kitty in their first home game against Jeff Kilgard’s Crushers. It was the Crushers that lived up to their name, with an 11-run third inning and they were ahead at one point 17-0 until the Kittys got on the board. The Crushers capitalized on a run mercy rule with a 24-5 win. They were led by the top of the lineup of Scott Raes, Boo Jarrett and Kilgard, who combined for 12-16 at the plate with eight runs and six RBI. Raes added a homerun. Josh Paul led the team with four RBI while Nick Blaesius made a debut splash with four runs scored. For the opposing DJ Kitty, Jason Huling was the only player in the game who recorded a hit in every plate appearance, going 3-for-3 with two doubles.
Game two pitted Donny Reul making his coaching debut with The Squad against Paul’s Goonies. It was a game Reul would like to forget, as his team was shut out 16-0. Despite not hitting into any double plays and recording 11 team hits, the Squad couldn’t get one runner to cross home plate. The Goonies, on the other hand, had nine extra-base hits which included three doubles by Adlonis Hopkins. Hopkins added a game-high five RBI and Huling had four runs scored. Every player on the Goonies with the exception of Steve Gerard collected at least three hits. The shutout was VLB’s first seven-inning shutout since – oddly enough – June 7, 2014 (the same date referenced earlier when 23 players made an appearance).
Games will continue this Saturday at Ridgewood Field as the Crushers play two home against, against the Goonies and Squad.