The day had come at last. After a long, cold winter your 2019 Bovina Dairymen (1-0) took to the pitch for the second game of a doubleheader against the Olneyville Cadets of Rhode Island. The game began with an inaugural rain shower
God, it felt good to play ball again. And the specter of a rainout had the boys on edge—no one likes to get all worked up over nothing. And after a long winter, an opening day rainout is a real tease. But Thurman Munson and Sandy Koufax must have gotten together for a catch on the other side, and the early threats of rain gave way to sporadic sun and clouds on a beautiful afternoon at Fleischmanns Park. Between the lines, the day’s play would prove to be just as capricious: after a game told in moments of varying emotions, the Dairymen would carry the day with a walk-off win in the bottom of the seventh.
With the score tied at one apiece in the bottom of the second, RF John “Chico” Finn (1-4, 3B, 2R) broke the game open with a triple to deep left field. Two runs scored as Chico shook off last year’s late-season injuries to glide into third standing and bring the Dairymen bench to life. The Dairymen went on to tally a total of seven in the second frame behind doubles from CF Alex Taylor (3-4, 2B, 3R) and 3B Dylan “Hobbes” Tucker (3-3, 2 2B, BB, 3R). SS Luke “Burns-eye” Burns (2-4, HR) put an exclamation point on the offensive explosion with a towering home run that cleared the Maple tree in deep right-center field and landed fully across the street. As Burns touched them all, he couldn’t help but notice that his home run ball fell feet from his own buggy, parked on the street near his moonshot impact zone.
The game settled in as the battery took over: pitcher Troy “Train” Tucker (ND, 5.0 IP, 7 SO, 3 W) cruised through the fifth, catcher Brenden Cairns (0-4, 2R) painted a masterpiece behind the plate, and things looked all but sealed. After six innings, the Dairymen held a commanding 12-run lead behind a single from 1B Ben Cairns (2-3, 2R) in the third, a Troy Tucker double in the fourth (2-4, 2B), and doubles from Dylan Tucker and 2B Jake “Swan” Sackett (2-4, 2B) in the fifth.
But the storm clouds rolled back in for the Dairymen in the top of the seventh, as three Dairymen errors, two walks, and a hit batsman allowed Olneyville a remarkable comeback. The Cadets plated a whopping 12 runs in the top of the last to tie the ballgame at 16 apiece. With the bottom of the Dairymen order coming to bat, Olneyville again played with a spark that had been dormant since the Dairymen seven-run second inning made the score 8-1.
But it would be Dairymen wits that carried the day when the bats alone could not. After “Iron” Mike Brown (1-4, 2B, R) doubled, Toddy “Wheels” Possemato reached base on a single that loaded the bases with one out, and he saw an opportunity to win the game. Wheels (1-4) took a suicide lead off first base, and successfully goaded the Olneyville pitcher into chasing him into a pickle. With what will no doubt go down in Dairymen lore as a superhuman effort, Possemato was able to stave off the tag just long enough—laying it all on the line with a diving attempt at avoidance—for Mike Brown to scamper in from third with the winning run. The Dairymen bench erupted, and it would be a full 12 hours before Dairymen Captain Nick Frandsen recovered from the emotional rollercoaster. Three cheers for a heads-up play, Toddy.
Of special note: this game was the first for Dairymen newcomer Mike Griswold, who boldly volunteered to play for the Olneyville Cadets when they were short a man. To this selfless act, we say: hurrah! Thank you, Mike.
Additionally, it would be a disservice to fail to mention the Olneyville hurler, who, after throwing a seven-inning complete game in the first game, seamlessly, and without complaint, threw another seven innings against the Dairymen. Our hats are off to you, Sir.
Last but never least, thank you to all our fans, family, and supporters who came out and made the day a success. We can never do it without you.
Next game is this coming Sunday, June 2, at Brewery Ommegang. We will play an 1860s doubleheader; first game at 10:45, warmups at 9:45. Budget time for parking, this event will be crowded! Who is IN and who is OUT?
Captain, Bovina Dairymen