In the season finale, the visiting Bay Area Cubs baseball team out-played the San Quentin Giants for an 8-3 win.
The Giants took to the field a little flat. The team struggled securing ground balls and overthrew bases. Giants starting pitcher Mark Barger walked in three runs in the first inning. After two high pitches close to the head of a batter, Barger was relieved by Gary “Cool Aid” Townes.
“You have to have a work ethic,” said Terry Burton, Giants inmate head coach. “We weren’t in shape this year; you have to practice and work out to get better.
“It’s frustrating and we can’t take this program for granted,” Burton said. “Next year we will focus more on coordinating.”
Barger explained that everybody came out stressing that they might be transferred to Pelican Bay (level II) and some of the season was cut short because of the prison lockdown back in August.
“I believe we still ended our season on a high-note. I’m 41 dealing with a lot of injuries, but I will put in the work and be a better pitcher next year.”
The Cubs extended their lead 7-1 in the fourth. With the bases loaded, the Cubs’ Orion DeNevers doubled to left field to clear the bases. DeNevers was singled in the next at bat.
“You get various perspectives of prison life until you come on this side,” DeNevers said. “You can forget where you are at. It’s a very humanizing experience. It’s a reminder that it’s not an us-against-them thing. The people you meet are just as cordial as anybody you might meet on the outside.”
The Giants’ Anthony Redwood singled in a run in the first. Rubin Harper hit a double in the fifth to score two runs. Power hitter Robert Polzin led the rally with a deep ball to center-field. But with every potential rally the Cubs defense remained crisp, turning double plays and striking out batters.
“Going through this program you learn a lot of patience,” Polzin said. “I learned a lot about myself as a teammate. I learned from the diversity of the team. I could not be more thankful for being around these guys all season.”
Even with the loss, the Sept. 2 game ended with smiles, high-fives and handshakes with the opposing team and each other. Both teams vowed more training for next season.
“I had fun this season,” Redwood said. “Hopefully I’ll come back next year. I want to thank all the coaches for giving us the opportunity to play. This program is all about positivity.”