A pitcher’s duel on a Saturday afternoon. How fitting for these two teams that claim to play ‘small ball,’ or ‘the right way,’ or ‘holy shit we have to bunt because we have limited power.’
Jeff ‘the King of the Anthills’ Albrecht had a perfect first but hiccuped a bit in the 2nd when he allowed a lead-off double. That lead off double turned into a run after an RBI groundout just a few pitches later, but the King was able to work himself out of the inning without any pause.
He’d run into trouble again in the seventh, letting the first two batters he faced get on with back to back basehits. The two would file into scoring position after a sac bunt, the cheapest and most disgusting of bunts, leaving two runners available to wheel around as soon as a ball was hit into the outfield.
You could feel the tension in the park. Suddenly, that 1-0 lead became an extraordinary deficit if those runners scored, especially since the hurler on the other side was shutting down each and every bat, yet the King stood tall. He got the next guy to ground out to Bryce Only. The following batter swung for the fences yet ended up flying out to center field.
This sort of heroic didn’t go unnoticed. The Jays, still hitless, strode to the plate with an utmost confidence. The building swayed with the swagger they presented.
Then Isaac Collins flew out to center on a full count.
Then Tommy Luevano struck out.
Michael Emodi, the power hitter from Prep, stepped to the dish, bat waggling in his hands like the hammer of Thor, and he swung mightily once, twice, then finally connected the third time and sent a screaming liner through the hole, bounding right underneath the short stop’s glove, ending the no-hit bid and injecting a little bit of life into this cold and heartless afternoon in downtown Omaha.
Alas, in the top half of the eighth, Ed Servais decided to pull his mighty King and put in Houston Glad to face the first batter of the inning. He proceeded to give up a base hit.
Servais, unsatisfied with Glad’s performance, then tapped Grant Spranger. Spranger threw two pitches. The first was a ball. The second was popped up on a bunt attempt and Spranger sprang, dove, caught the ball, and rolled. The crowd was incensed. It was beautiful.
Ed Servais had seen enough. He removed Spranger for Dave Gerber. Gerber, coming off an electric performance against UC Davis, gave up an infield basehit. Two pitches later a ball was deposited into the right field bleachers. A dong. A dinger. A home run.
It was 4-0. The offense was anemic. It was over.
Freshman Jackson Vescelus came in for the ninth inning and shut down the three batters who offered any semblance of a threat. Three consecutive strike outs. He looked like a young Dave Gerber out there.
The rubber match will be played tomorrow at noon. There’s rain on the way, and if we’re lucky, we’ll be able to see something incredible (i.e a baseball game).
The Jays dropped to 8-13 on the year. They hit their 13th loss in May last year, if that gives you any idea of where they’re at this season.