This was originally posted that night after I got home from the game, on the now defunct Catholic.org forums. I managed to save the post last year before that forum was shut down for good.
Originally posted in the late night hours after August 7, 2004 Wild Things game
I got home a little over an hour ago from a Frontier League game in Washington,
Pa. The Washington Wild Things hosted the Chillicothe Paints.
This game was a textbook example of the baseball truism "It ain't over till it's
over" and the home fans could not have been more happy with it.
Chillicothe had a 7-1 lead going into the bottom of the 8th inning, and many of
the less dedicated fans had been heading for the exits since the Paints took
that lead in the 7th.
But, the Wild Things loaded the bases in the bottom of the 8th with no outs. I
commented at that point, "If they don't capitalize here, they don't deserve to
win this game." But Washington scored 4 runs to close the gap to 7-5.
By this time I had learned that the woman sitting next to me was the mother of
Wild Things player Brian Stoecklein. What happened was that during an inning
break, Brian presented a bouquet of flowers as a birthday present for his
girlfriend, who was sitting in the 3rd base side stands, and this fact was
trumpeted over the PA system. Of course Brian's mom at that point told me who
Chillicothe threatened to re-widen their lead in the top of the 9th inning,
putting runners on 2nd and 3rd with only one out. But the Wild Things brought in
their bullpen ace B.J. Borsa who struck out the next two hitters to end the
In the bottom of the 9th, Jack Headley led off with a solo home run to left to
cut the score to 7-6. Brian was up next, and his mother and I cheered him
through a long at bat; he worked the count to 3-2 then fouled off a few pitches,
but ultimately flied out.
Mike Arbinger then hit one out down the right field line to tie the score.
Most amazing was how the game was bookended by one Bill Greenwell. Bill, a
reserve infielder for the Wild Things, sang the national anthem before the game
-- he's got quite a voice. He did not start, but was inserted as a pinch-hitter
in that 4-run 8th inning. Then with two out in the bottom of the 10th, he
hammered a game-winning home run to deep left-center field.
One of the most exciting baseball games, at any level, that I've had the
privilege to attend in person. I just feel sorry for the folks who left
early. (Though it did make getting out of the parking lot easier. )