In the season opener, a double header, the visiting Club Mexico baseball team outsmarted the San Quentin A’s to win game one 4-2. But a 45-minute alarm ended the game against the San Quentin Giants with Club Mexico up 5-1.
The A’s John Windham was the last chance to keep the team alive with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Windham check swung a 2-2 pitch causing a bunt up the first base line. Windham’s speed beat the catcher’s throw and he arrived safe at first. When the next batter stepped to the plate, Windham leaned off first base and the first baseman tagged him out with the baseball hidden in his glove for the third out and the game.
“It was a well played game,” said Elliot Smith, A’s sponsor and manager. “We played a great physical game; we just have to work on some mental stuff, but overall we have a lot to be proud of.”
Club Mexico opened the first inning with a single by Anthony Galindo. Then Joe Elias, Club Mexico’s coach, smashed a deep ball to left field for a double to drive in Galindo. A’s pitcher Brendan Terrell was able to get out of the inning down 1-0, with a strikeout and two fly balls.
“I told my young kids I was coming here,” Elias said. “They asked ‘Are you going to stay?’ and I told them ‘No, daddy is just going there to give back.’ I know if I was in this position I would want this positive outlet; only one mistake can land you here.”
This is the second year coming in for Club Mexico, a semi-pro team from the California Mexican Baseball League in Stockton. Most of the league is second- and third-generation players and very family orientated.
The league is celebrating its 62nd year. It was formed in 1955 by Mexican-American field workers in response to racism from other leagues. The league started with six teams and has grown to 20. Club Mexico is the last original team and holds 29 league championships.
“I take a chance to play baseball anywhere; it can be in a parking lot,” said Joe Piombo, a third-generation player who is now with Club Mexico and has at least 12 family members in the league. “I was nervous at first, but everybody was cool. They played hard, and that’s what it’s about.”
In the third inning, Club Mexico extended its lead 4-0, adding three runs off of four singles and two errors. Jim Ryan, Club Mexico manager, hit a line drive off the glove of the shortstop, who bobbled the ball, allowing Ryan the base.
Leon Duron hit a high pop-fly over third base, but miscommunication by A’s defense allowed the ball to drop between three players. The error moved Ryan to second base and Duron made it to first.
Chris Urbistondo singled, allowing Ryan to score and moving Duron to third. Ray Sanchez hit a sacrifice fly to center field and Duron scored. Orlando Lopez smashed a line drive between center field and right field to bring in Urbistondo.
“This is a good program,” Ryan said. “They are doing the time they are supposed to, but they need programs like this to teach them people skills.”
The A’s scored runs in the sixth and eighth innings. Windham drove a triple deep into center field in the sixth and Royce Rose singled him in. Chris Marshall doubled in the eighth to allow Tamon Halfin to score and close the lead 4-2.
The April 29 double header gave both San Quentin teams quality play to build on for the remainder of the season.
“Brendan pitched a great game,” said Mike Klein, A’s second baseman. “We got the butterflies out of the way. We always want to show gratitude to the people who come in here, for giving us a half day where we are not in prison.”