AP Newswire (Allen, Texas) The mighty Allen Peanuts (1-0) opened the Fall 2014 season explosively scoring 10 runs, defeating arch-enemy Encore Wire (0-1) convincingly in 7 innings of play. According to Coach Matt Tenner, this was a “good win for the Nuts with contributions from the entire squad. We played as a team tonight. Heck, I even won the coin toss.”
Regarding Tenner, club management was unwilling to confirm or deny rumors that the veteran coach is being considered as a replacement for Rangers coach Ron Washington. Asked about the possibility, local tavern owner “Kelly” indicated the food and drink franchise was now considering opening an Arlington location in anticipation of the move.
Slow Start Sends Signal
The game started slowly with the Nuts and Encore trading punches in the form of scoreless innings and men left on base, sending a clear signal that both teams were here to win. Pitcher Rick Robinson, fighting allergies during the entire game, coughed, hacked, snorted and spit his way to to a near perfect performance. ‘Pitching when you can’t breath is tough, but I knew I couldn’t let the boys down in the opener.” Robinson had three strikeouts on the evening and did not allow a walk.
Encore scored their first run in the top of the third, but the Nuts answered with the top of their batting order led by contact hitter Brady Cole. Cole had 4 hits during the game and was subsequently caught stealing second. “I thought I had the steal,” said Cole. “Coach sent me, and the next thing I knew I was sliding under the tag and then walking back to the dugout. Bummer deal.”
The Nuts would not be stopped by the setback, however, scoring 2 in the bottom of the third to take the lead 2 runs to 1.
Defense Dominates Destiny
Great defense ruled the day, as call-up short-stop Paul Sebert put on a clinic in the middle infield. Showing incredible range and a will to win, Paul was responsible for 7 outs during the evening including a nifty back-handed fly ball and a groovy play at the plate. “I could see he was coming to me with the ball” said catcher Mason. “I’m still not sure how he got there fast enough to make that perfect throw.” Mason blocked the plate, putting down the tag and retiring the side.
Bruce Cramer filled in for the absent infield phenom Heath VanKirk. Cramer, in Dallas unexpectedly on a Thursday, had a couple of great plays at third, taking full advantage of his ability to rocket the ball across the diamond. True to his nickname “Hawk”, Cramer also whacked a 7-footer into center saying “I just couldn’t resist.”
Most notable in this game: the Nuts had no unforced errors, holding the ball on low-probability plays instead of throwing it away.
Once again, 2nd baseman Rich Hill came through with some solid plays at second. Filling in for a missing Jeff Johnston, Hill hung in there on defense, anchoring a 5-4 double play, and batting well throughout the evening.Sporting his signature socks, Rich is an always-welcome addition to the Nuts lineup.
Nuts Go Nuclear
In the bottom of the fourth, still up 2 runs, the Nuts exploded, batting around and scoring 7. The bottom of the Peanuts order secured three walks, followed by a single to left by Tenner, driving in a run. Highlights of the scoring frenzy included an stand-up triple from Chris Baker (amazing speed) scoring Tenner and nifty hits from Haisler (more amazing speed) and rookie sensation Paul Sebert (SS). The rally ended on a runner interference call when Mason (batting for the second time in the inning) slapped a hard-hit grounder and hit Saavedra running to third.
It was not the only time Saavedra would get hit that night.
With 2 outs to go in the top of the sixth, the Nuts utility infielder took a hard-hit ball directly to the face. Playing shorthanded, the Nuts retired the side while Saavedra applied ice and fought to control the bleeding in the dugout. Unable to see out of his left eye, but unwilling skip his turn at bat and take an out in the bottom of the inning, Rick returned to the game, hitting a sacrifice fly to left and bringing home Haisler on a tag from third.
Rick’s heroic “One-Eyed RBI” was the tenth and final run of the evening for the Peanuts, sealing a sweet season-opening victory. Rick’s injury required three stitches, and team medical personnel list him as “questionable” for Thursday’s contest against RipTide at 8:30PM on Ford Fields #2. Officials at Ford Fields are considering the erection of a bronze statue of Saavedra near Field #2 to be call “Old One-Eye.”