Indies Complete Sweep With Assist From Major League Baseball!by Ryan Winfield 6/7/2011
It was an historic night at Township Park on Monday, where crowds witnessed an intense series between the defending champion Friars and their rivals, the Industrials. In a game where so many of the league’s high-caliber stars were on display, arguably the most exciting play in league history was decided by a man over 2,200 miles away in San Diego, California.
The Friars and the Industrials lived up to the expectations set for the Monday night marquee matchup, as both teams were considered to be the two front-runners to clinch the AL title (although the regrouped PF Flyers may have something to say about that…) Game 1 featured a classic pitcher’s duel between top hurlers Andy Ross for the Friars vs. Steve Everett of the Indies. In a game that saw 9 innings and nearly 40 strikeouts between the two pitchers, a late case of arm numbness and wild control by Ross allowed for game’s lone run to be scored on from an RBI walk by the Industrials’ Daryl Hutson. One may think that the 9th inning may have been the climax of the night, but no one was prepared for what would transpire later on in the evening.
Game 2 was in line to be another classic, as the Friars put Kevin “The Icon” Marszalek on the mound to face Brian Meyers. Marz found trouble in the middle innings, and gave up 4 runs, mostly coming off the bats of Meyers and Everett, who went back-to-back with some yard work. Meyers quickly gave 3 of the runs back in the next inning, but the Indies padded the lead with 2 more late runs, including a bomb from Zac Adams, putting them up 6-3 going into the 6th inning. That’s when history came knocking!
Meyers, struggling with command all night, battled through a tough inning while walking Andy Ross and giving up a single to Ben Gladysz. With 2 outs, 2 on, and down 3 runs, the game fell on the shoulders of the defending league MVP Marszalek. Marz took a few pitches before Meyers hung a slider right into the slugger’s wheelhouse. Kevin connected, and the blast jetted towards the left field fence, where Everett (one of the league’s best defenders due to his Stretch Armstrong-like extremities) had taken off towards at the crack of the bat. In one amazing moment, Everett timed his leap just right, using every single inch of his 6’6” frame, to reach the ball at the height of his reach. The momentum of his body, however, was too great, carrying him over the outfield fence.
As the Industrials instantly celebrated, Marszalek and the Friars continued to round the bases. “That’s a home run!” shouted newly retired John Prihoda from the sidelines. The Friars agreed, while the Indies took the stance that since the ball was controlled, and the fielder took off from fair ground, that the ball would be an out, and the game would be over. Admirably, tempers and egos stayed in check as both teams whipped out their smartphones to try and google some sort of precedent on the ruling. I joked about calling Kalamazoo’s own Tim Welke, a Major League Baseball umpire and Western Michigan grad.
“I think I have his card!” Steve Everett proclaimed as he rushed for his wallet. Although the crowd had only thought Steve was joking, sure enough Everett pulled out the business card of not Tim, but his brother Bill Welke (also an MLB Umpire), which contained his cell phone number. Apparently Mr. Welke’s son plays sports at Marshall High School, where Everett is employed as an athletic trainer, and passed his contact info along to Steve. He wasted no time in dialing up the ump, and was shocked to find that Welke actually picked up!