An unusually hot October Saturday saw an unusual baseball game at newly re-sodded Russ Chandler Stadium and the debut of the 2019 season Yellow Jackets.
The game was pre-scheduled to go 14 innings, and neither team put a pitcher on the mound for more than two innings. The game started out like a regular season game (there were three official umpires) but became less “normal” after nine innings as the teams agreed to a maximum batters per inning arrangement. This resulted in such weird things as innings ending with the bases loaded and one out, and both teams left runs off the scoreboard as a result. Anyway, the meaningless final score was SC 14 – GT 10.
Ramblinwreck.com did not post a box score and I didn’t keep a score sheet, so I will mostly give impressions.
There was a super crowd of several hundred for such a game, both teams well represented by families, past (Joey Bart and Jared Datoc were seen) and future GT players, and fans. SC has a number of Georgians on their team. We got to see quite a few newcomers, although the starting nine was entirely veterans, a rare thing for Tech in recent years. We had Xzavion Curry on the mound, Kyle McCann catching, Oscar Serratos, Austin Wilhite, Luke Waddell, and Tristin English around the infield, and Chase Murray, Nick Wilhite, and Colin Hall in the outfield.
I was told by a team Dad that Tech has practiced significantly less this fall than SC. If so, it really showed.
Xzavion Curry got hit hard early, giving up three error aided runs before he regrouped and struck out three to end the 1st.
Late game pitchers Sam Crawford and Robert Winborne struggled mightily. Winborne was a valuable reliever last year.
Eight errors by a variety of players! Hopefully this can be chalked up to early days and guys playing unfamiliar positions.
There was strong pitching from veterans Connor Thomas, Joe Mannelly, and Jake Lee and newcomers Amos Willingham (a junior transfer from Snead St. CC) and freshmen Luke Bartnicki, Walker Barlow, and Cole Roedig. Hugh Chapman had a little trouble but regrouped to pitch a scoreless inning.
Nick Wilhite, Baron Radcliff, and Cold Neuber showed progress with the bat, as did Paxton Rigby and Jamie Taylor. Cameron Turley and Jamie Taylor both caught some innings and McCann will certainly need some backup.
A number of pitchers did not appear, mostly to rest their arms. These include expected starters Tristin English, Brant Hurter, and Jonathan Hughes, and relievers Will Shirah, Bailey Combs, and Andy Archer. Micah Carpenter played, but as an outfielder not a pitcher. Michael Guldberg didn’t play.
All in all, playing another real team must be more fun and more of a test than an intra-squad game. I am glad the NCAA is allowing this, and Chattahoochee Valley CC will visit in three weeks for the final exhibition game of 2018. There will also be intra-squad games in November.