Inland Northwest Baseball League 48+ Division
Cheney Tigers 17, Spokane Mariners 2
‘Tigers Continue Dominance in 48+ Division’
Submitted By Kerry Pease, Tiger Player/Manager
The sun was beginning to set on a gorgeous late September day in Spokane, Washington. The top two teams of the initial 48+ baseball league lined the base paths for the National Anthem as the last rays shimmered off the artificial turf. Mariner center fielder Robert Martin inspired us with an outstanding rendition of our country’s song. Although most of us had played the game for many years, I am rather certain hearts were thumping inside chests with nervous tension… I will admit mine was.
The top seeded Cheney Tigers had rolled through the league untouched, but the Spokane Mariners, led by Skipper Greg Peterson, had made the previous meetings a little closer each time they had clashed. Right away the Mariners showed they would not be intimidated, with singles by lead-off speedster Kelly Curry (who would have a three-hit night), catcher Brett Fink and Scott Smith, who drove them both in with a solid single. To further astonish the shell shocked pitcher (me)… my lovely wife came over to the dugout and stated these encouraging words through the cyclone fence, “What are you doing throwing off-speed stuff to these guys? Throw your fastball and quit messing around!” More shell shocked from mild mannered Cheryl’s comments than I was from the three hits… (She had never in 23 years of marriage commented on my pitch selection before.) I listened intently, as we all should as husbands, and followed the advice.
In the bottom of the first, the Tigers would answer with three of their own, as leadoff Russ Frickey singled and ex-Marine turned first baseman, Roger Costin, had a key hit that followed “the best pure hitter in the league” … a double by lefty Mike Lee. For the next few innings it would settle into a tense and well played contest.
The diminutive and determined Tony Orozco kept the Mariners in it with an array of tantalizing pitches that would drop off the table as they arrived at the plate. Under the watchful eye of Mrs. Pease, long time battery mates John Lehman and Kerry Pease (me… I don’t like talking about myself in the third person by the way) would settle into a more usual routine of spotting fastballs on the corners. At the end of four and a half the Tigers held a marginal 6–2 lead.
The bottom of the fifth would be the undoing for the upstart Mariners. Base hits and bases on balls filled the scorebook for the Tigers as they would bat around and score eight. An inning later the mercy rule would be enforced when the Tigers scored three more for a final score of 17-2. Regardless of the score, all of the players were very appreciative of this new Wednesday night division initiated by President Ron Mackie and Senior Advisor Mike Gilden of the Inland Northwest Baseball League… it was a BLAST!