In a season finale, the San Quentin Hardtimers put on a batting clinic against first-time visitors the Richmond Soulful Sundays’ softball team, blowing them away 21-6.
“This was a great way to end the season, to play a group of guys that do so much work in the community,” said Don White, Hardtimers sponsor and head coach.
Richmond Soulful Sundays is more than a softball team; it is an annual event to bring Richmond’s warring faction together to promote peace through softball.
“It’s about unification, reconciliation and atonement through love,” said Rodney “Alamo” Brown, Soulful Sundays’ head coach and event planner. “We are there to broker peace between the brothers. We have expanded to Oakland and Berkeley.
“There is a war going on in a five-block radius. Cousins are killing each other and don’t know that they are related,” Brown said. “I have been to a hundred funerals; I have a hundred obituaries at home.
“I lost 200 friends to the pen (jail system). It’s no joke. A young man was just shot down from 50 bullets. This is no video game, and we are doing the best we can.”
Joe Lewis, who works in the juvenile system, greeted some of the spectators from Richmond.
“I remember a lot of these men when they were coming through the system,” Lewis said. “I’m just glad to see them encourage each other to do something positive.”
Richmond resident Mervin Saucer added, “This was a good opportunity to fellowship with my brothers-in-Christ and to see the people from Richmond. I truly enjoyed the vibe, this was a blessing for me; this has been beautiful.”
“We came to let the guys know we haven’t forgotten about them,” said Hakeem Merriwether. “I grew up in the streets, and I wanted to give them something else to think about other than being here.
“Our goal is to let the youngsters know this is not the life for them.”
John “Yah Ya” Parrett, Hardtimers inmate assistant coach, added “It’s good to see hometown people come in and show support. With all the years I been around the game, this is the most fun I had. Thank you, Rich Town.”
During the game:
In the first inning the Soulful took a 3-0 lead off two singles and a Meriwether double scored both runners. Soulful Darien McCollins singled in Meriwether.
The Hardtimers defense regrouped and caught three fly balls.
In the bottom of the first, the Hardtimers answered back to take the lead 5-3. After two quick outs, Soulful pitcher Brown walked the next three batters, loading the bases. Hardtimers’ Branden Terrell smashed a double down the third base line for two RBIs.
With two more walks, Michael “Hawkeye” Flemmings found a gap in center field to score two runs, and Cordiare McDonald singled in a score.
Merriwether helped get Soulful throughout the inning. He threw two runners out at first and caught a pop fly.
The Hardtimers continued to pour on runs. In the second, they added three scores off of a Terrell in-field homerun to extend the lead 8-3. Team captain/assistant coach Angelo Ramsey hit an in-field homerun in the third, and the rest of the team singled in four runs for the 13-3 lead.
Soulful managed to score three runs in the fourth, off big hits by Brown, Mervin Saucer and Joe Lewis, to close the gap 13-6.
Hardtimers blew the game open in the fifth with seven runs and a one run in the seventh, ending the game, 21-6.
After the Oct. 2 game, Ramsey concluded, “It’s been a journey of personal insight. I appreciate the coaches and the team. We had our ups and downs, but we came together as one. I look forward for next year.”
The Office of Neighborhood Safety [https://www.ci.richmond.ca.us/271/Office-of-Neighborhood-Safety] techniques involve street outreach and transformative travel. ONS seeks out young men who are active firearm offenders to present credible alternatives to violence.