UMPIRE’S BOTCHED CALL ENDS GAME;
COSTS NUTS AND HONEY WIN
Montez, clearly safe, slides into first on the controversial play.
NORTH HOLLYWOOD – Coming off the high of their comeback win in the opener, Nuts and Honeys were on the cusp of winning their second nail-biter in a row. But it was not to be, as a game ending blown call at first base, one that rivals Don Denkinger’s missed call in the 1985 World Series, forced the Orange-clad warriors into a 2-2 tie with the Schoolhouse Rockers
The Nuts took the field atop the first, and it became apparent quickly that the team had matured from their opener, as they looked more calm, focused, and comfortable. With Doug Weyek starting the game on the mound, the Rockers barely made a dent, and were clearly shocked and awed by the highlight-reel catch by Dustin Montez, who grabbed a screamer that was barely off the ground.
In the bottom of the first, the patient Corey Wish walked to lead off the inning, and moved to second on Sam Kraft’s force out. A single by Montez pushed the leadoff runner to third. With only one out, Nuts pitcher and resident big-basher Weyek came to the plate and blasted a ball deep into center and between all outfielders, driving in both Wish and Montez. As Weyek tried to stretch the hit from a triple to a homer, the Rockers threw the ball at his legs. The umps called Weyek out, claiming that the ball hit him on the heels. But neither Nuts, nor Honeys saw the ball make contact, and argued the questionable call, but the umps held their ground. Despite the call, Nuts and Honeys had raced out to a 2-0 lead over the Rockers.
With a flurry of hits and some misplayed balls, the Schoolhouse Rockers came back in the top of the second to tie the game. But the Honeys were anything but rattled, as they stood strong behind their second pitcher, Brian Buller, who got out of the inning without giving up another run.
Both teams struggled offensively: the Rockers were prone to the double play, and the Nuts had runners in scoring position in the second, third, and fourth, and each time, failed to score a run.
In the bottom of the fifth, Nuts and Honeys came to the plate with the threat of a tie looming. With one out, and no one on base, Corey Wish stepped up to the plate and legged out a tough single. Captain Sam Kraft’s clutch sacrifice pushed Wish to second base. But, with Web-Gem nominee Dustin Montez coming to the plate, there was a sense in the air that the Comeback Kids were at it again.
Dustin kicked the ball to the left side of the infield, where the Rockers’ shortstop fielded the ball. As Corey rushed from second to third, the shortstop threw to first. Dustin slid into first, easily beating the throw; very clearly safe on the play. As the first baseman struggled to hold the ball, Corey rushed around third and crossed the plate, scoring what appeared to be the winning run for Nuts and Honeys, who rushed out in celebration of their last-second win.
But, the celebration was short lived when first base umpire called Montez out at first, and the home plate umpire agreed with the call. The game was officially over, and the teams were deadlocked for good at 2-2. The controversy raged on as the replay (courtesy of Nuts and Honeys videographer, Adam Avagliano) clearly showed Montez was safe. The Honeys went Nuts, hoping that someone would listen to their cause. While the home plate umpire refused to watch the footage, the first base umpire watched the replay, and openly admitted that he missed the call.
As of this printing, Captains Sam Kraft and Cindy Bautista are taking the team’s case to WAKA’s board, in hopes that someone, somewhere, somehow, will say “I’m sorry,” and award the game to the real victors.
GAME NOTES: 19 Nuts and Honeys were active for the game…Before kickoff, only three of the Honeys (Captain Kraft, Captain Bautista, and Tia Ayers) were at the field, ready to play. N&H faced the possibility of forfeiting the game if there weren’t four females on the field. But, just moments before the game time, Cheri Ota arrived to fill out the roster. As the game began, Karen Agnes arrived, making it five Honeys available to play…Scott Miller, in his N&H uniform, made his first appearance at the North Hollywood Rec Center since breaking his arm…Tod Purvis made his first appearance of the season as a Nut after missing the first game due to an ankle injury… Injury List: Gwen Mesco was out with a toe injury; Chris Roach was out fighting a nasty flu/cold; Steve Niel played through a pulled quad muscle and is day-to-day; Tom Fiscella pulled his oblique in the second inning and is day-to-day…Not only was there controversy over the umpiring, but also a conspiracy theory: the umps were from Wonderballz, the team that badly stumbled against Nuts and Honeys last week. The first base umpire who botched the call at first was Jake, the Wonderballz pitcher who was devastated by the onslaught of Nuts and Honeys, and also got mocked openly in last week’s recap. Okay, let’s face it, no one reads this thing, so I highly doubt the recap had much of an affect on Jake, but for my ego’s sake, I like to think it did.