• There are so many things that could be discussed about Thursday’s Bolivar-Richburg home tilt against the Genesee Valley- Belfast squad.   The most basic being the Wolverines came from behind with 2 in the bottom of the seventh to pull this one out, 8-7.   The win kept BR’s record unblemished, at 3-0, and dropped the visitors, who had been off on a torrid start, from the unbeaten ranks.

    A win is always a pretty, pretty good thing.  Although, something, to this observer, seemed a bit off but then again many would say that ABOUT this observer.

    Maybe it was the new unis that the team broke out on this night, sporty gray and red pinstripe-ish ones, with names.   Perhaps the boys weren’t comfortable yet in the new threads?  And with the rain, who COULD be comfortable, anyway?

    Maybe it was the eight-day layoff from game action for the Wolverines? The boys in some aspects seemed rusty.  They won’t have to worry about that again anytime soon as they will be facing a stretch of seven games in eleven days.  Truth be told, the play on both sides of the diamond was iffy at times.

    Perhaps the uncertainty of the weather?  Maybe this one shouldn’t have even started?  Hindsight being 20-20, good thing! The forecast called for a lot of rain, which at some junctures, was accurate. However, there was a large stretch of time when it wasn’t raining or maybe just misting.  A bit of a head scratcher, that science can determine to the minute, hundreds of years into the future, where and when the moon will pass in front of the sun.  But the local weather forecasts for the next few hours, often appear to be conjured from Ouija Boards and Tarot Cards.   

    So, the coaches decided to play on.  Part of that decision, I am sure, from the point made above, the schedule is kind of squeezed for the next six weeks.  Availability of facilities and officials make for scheduling headaches the sort I would wish on no one.

    I dunno, it was an odd one. 

    Enough blather!! On with the game.   

    The weather played a major part in how this one played out.  Things were sloppy, at times dangerous, and just short of miserable for those who stood out in it.  There were wild pitches, hit batters, five (maybe more) total errors, enough walks to form a charity fund raiser, good plays, bad plays, and so on…

    With so many games on the horizon Coach Allen had to divvy up the mound duties, splitting the work among the trio of Landon Barkley, Caden Allen and finally, Trey Buchholz.  While all three had bright spots, they all seemed to struggle with their grip on the moist baseball, which made catcher Aydin Sisson really earn his pay on this night!

    Barkley got the start and what a start it was, despite all the negativity above.   Before the fans had settled into their seats, first pitch swinging, the leadoff GVB player ripped a liner that Buchholz had to go full on vertical to snare for one away.  Barkley then got two of his three Ks to finish the inning in a nifty 9 pitches.

    BR briefly jumped out in front in the bottom of 1.  Buchholz and Reiss Gaines were plunked in successive at bats, then stole bases to put two in scoring position for Sisson.  Sisson beat out an infield single to the hole while both runners crossed the plate.  Sisson would move his way to third with only one away.  But that was it for the first.  BR 2-0

    Four singles and an error on BR led to the GVB squad knotting the score in the second.  The highlight of the inning might have been the play to end the frame.  One run already in for GVB, second and third and two down (thanks to a K and a fly to Gaines in center). The batter laced a hard single to left, easily plating the tying run, on the play, the runner at second was sent home by their coach, but Maddox Davison in left quickly got to the ball and fired a BB to Sisson at the plate, in more than enough time to prevent further scoring.  2-2.

    BR’s second was not pretty.

    GVB took a three-run edge in the top of the third.  Four walks, an error, a single, helicoptering bats, and a rain delay contributed to the mayhem.   A couple of fielder’s choice outs (Charlie Militello to Buchholz for one and Buchholz to Braden Zilker on the other) and a more conventional, Zilker to Allen accounted for the defense, but the road team was up 5-2. 

    BR scratched one out in their half.  Buchholz roped a triple to right.  Gaines walked and stole second. A hot smash liner was caught and double Buchholz off for 2 quick outs.  Allen singled up the middle allowing Gaines to score. Barkley hit a sharp infield single which allowed Allen to get to third.  Tavyn MacDonell walked to juice the bags, but that was all to come from a potentially large inning.  GVB 5-3.

    GVB got their final two runs in the fourth.  With Allen on the bump and some other defensive moves the visitors started by getting on from a BR error. A walk put two aboard. The lead runner stole third, just beating the throw from Sisson.  A fielder’s choice, Buchholz to Barkley (now at second) was one gone, but the run scored.  A K by Allen was two away, runner stole second in the process.  A single to Kingston Loucks in right, his throw to the plate was not quite in time to stop the run, but on the play, the batter got greedy and tried to get another base.  Sisson threw a dart to Barkley to get the runner at second, 7-3, not BR!

    A strikeout, groundout, walk, picked off, made for a non-memorable BR 4th.

    Buchholz took over on the hill.  Allen back to first, Zilker back to second, Barkley to short, etc, to start the fifth.  The almost always dreadful leadoff walk bore no fruit for GVB.  Popper to Davison at third, a K and a nice play by right fielder Caleb Miller were the three outs.  Miller had to adjust a couple of times on the play, as the wind had temporarily decided to make an appearance.  Still GVB 7-3.

    BR made it close in their part of the 5th. Gaines led off with an infield single. Sisson walked.  Allen singled to right to score Gaines and put Sisson at third.  Not sure if this was a planned play (okay we’ll go with that it was), Allen got himself in a hot box between first and second, allowing Sisson to score.  Caden was able to elude the tag and get into second, much to the chagrin of the coaching staff in the first base dugout.   Allen then stole third while Barkley was earning a free pass.   It was déjà vu all over again (almost)! Barkley got into a pickle situation, while Allen crossed the plate, however, they were able to get Barkley on the play.   GVB 7-6.

    The rain was picking up a bit again which might have factored into some of the next few at bats?  If ya know what I mean? Wink, Wink, Nudge, Nudge!  Three Ks and a walk was it for GVB in the top of the sixth.

    BR was equally ineffective in their sixth.

    Just what the doctor ordered, a nice 1-2-3 frame in the last for the visitors. Zilker to Allen, Barkley to Allen, and a pop up to Sisson made for the fast up and down.

    A nice shoe topper catch from the GVB left fielder on a sinking liner to start the BR seventh.  The speedy Sisson got aboard as the throw from the shortstop pulled the first baseman off the bag.  Sisson stole second. Allen was intentionally walked to reintroduce the force play on the infield. Barkley singled to right to score Sisson and tie the game.  MacDonell prevented extras by ripping a single to right. 

    Will Coach Allen send the runner home or not risk it and keeping the bags full?  (Trying to build the drama!!)

    The decision was made for him as the ball was misplayed allowing Allen to come around to score for the thrilling 8-7 BR victory.

    Wrapping things up: Winning pitcher Buchholz had a triple and a run scored. Gaines a hit, a walk, and three runs scored. Sisson, a hit, two RBIs and two scored.  Allen had “twos are wild” in his stat line. Barkley got two hits and a RBI.   MacDonell had the hit to start the play that proved to be the winner.

    BR is supposed to head to Cuba on Saturday morning for an “Oh My Gosh it’s Too Early On The Weekend “ start at 11.  As with this one, the weather might be a factor.