Caballero’s 11, Cleveland Steve’s Sports 8

By Elliot Brownstein, special to MSBL

Despite trailing 5-1 to Steve’s Sports early in the game, the Caballero’s bounced back in the third inning to take a commanding lead over Steve’s Sports. This four-hour affair was the longest game of the day but wasn’t a game you wanted to miss, as it kept your heart racing every moment.

Steve’s Sports opened the game on fire after lead off batter Wayne Tyus drew a walk, followed by stealing second base. Jack Baker smacked a single to left field to put Caballero’s pitcher Temi Rodirguez in a tight position early as he faced runners on first and third with no outs. Rob Sladky made the first out, but it also resulted in a run scored for Steve’s Sports. John Beckwith tacked on another run as his hit to center field scored in Baker for a 2-0 lead, then Rick Siebert drew a walk.

Rodriguez was immediately replaced by Jaime Castillo to help slow down the momentum of Steve’s Sports, but Castillo promptly beaned Mark Knight to load the bases with still only one out. A quick rip to left field by Milt Pritt knocked in two more runs for Steve’s Sports with the inning finally ending on a George Kenhan 4-6-3 double play.  Kenhan was also the starting pitcher for Steve Sport’s, as he took down the Caballero’s in an easy three up, three down first inning but gave up a run during inning two as Nete Spoto hit a stand-up double down the third base line to score in Rosario Carrion.

With a 4-1 lead Steve’s Sports made it a four-run lead once again. Similar to the first inning, Wayne Tyus drew another leadoff walk and a single by Beckwith scored Tyus in for a 5-1 lead despite another pitching change by the Caballero’s.

Once again, though, baseball proves that sometimes all you need is one spectacular inning and the game will change. That’s what the Caballero’s did in the bottom of the third inning.

A leadoff single by Dave Agosto, followed by a Pedro Correa single and an RBI double by Juan Jaime, put the Caballero’s on the board again with no outs and a position to tie the game. Frankie Cruz drew the first out with a sacrifice fly to right field scoring Correa and advancing Jaime to third base, who eventually stole home to bring it to a 5-3 deficit.  Gino Pellot drew a walk and Rosario Carrion hit a single into left for a bases loaded situation for pitcher George Kenhan, which saw him get pulled for Jay Topp to hopefully end the inning with no further damage.

That was not the case, however, as Jesus Olivero gave the new pitcher more stress getting an RBI single to left field. That was followed by a Spoto RBI single and Correa getting his second chance at bat, notching the eighth run of the inning before coming to a close.

Both teams battled back and forth for a few more innings, while in the sixth inning the bats started heating up for Steve’s Sports as they scored a run off of George Kenhan’s single to right. The Caballero’s changed pitchers once again, this time to Henry Herrera, ending the inning with two strikeouts to keep the lead.

After quickly retiring the Caballero’s side, Steve’s Sports inched their way back into the game with another run scored. Tyus again walked to leadoff the inning and when attempting to steal third base, an overthrow allowed him to score making the game 8-7.  Caballero’s made their last pitching change of the evening putting Josello Jesus on the mound to close the top of the seventh holding onto that one run lead.

After another set of back and forth scoring for each team, Jesus took the mound in the top of the ninth inning with an 11-8 lead. The game closed quickly as Steve’s Sports grounded out twice before Sladky safely plopped a hit into center field. Then the final out was recorded with a grounder to shortstop Julio Fernandez who quickly turned it to Herman Rosario for the out.

“It was an amazing game and it was a tough game,” said manager David Castro after the game.  “Our team never gave up, they came back, but we kept fighting back.”