It was déjà vu for visiting Los Angeles Dodgertown pitcher Auggie Alfonso, who split a double-header with the San Quentin All-Stars baseball team for the second year in a row.
Dodgertown won the morning game, 13-10, and was on the verge of winning the evening game. They were in the final inning with one All-Star on base and Cleo Cloman at bat. Cloman had a magnificent batting day, going 5 for 5. Dodgertown elected to walk him. Next up was utility player Anthony Denard, who smashed a line drive deep into left field to score both runners for the win.
“That’s baseball,” said Alfonso. “You just have to shake it off and get ready for the next game.
“I had fun hanging out with the guys, and it was good competition. They are human beings doing their time; some of them learn and some don’t.”
Last year Alfonso was in the same position to close out the game but gave up a two-run walk-off homer to split the 2015 double header.
Dodgertown won the morning game this year with a comeback. Down 5-0 in the first game, they went into the third inning and rallied for eight straight runs for an 8-5 lead.
After a walk and a single, Paul Galletti smashed a double for two RBIs to center field. With two more walks and bases loaded, Brian “Red” Dambrosi found a gap in left field for a two-run double.
All-Star pitcher Isaiah Bonilla-Thompson continued to struggle to find the strike zone. He walked two more batters and gave up three singles for runs by Bob Ponce, Mike Gin and first-time visitor Jay Briggs.
The All-Stars regrouped defensively. Thompson-Bonilla found the zone and they tied in the sixth, 8-8.
Anthony “Sadiq” Redwood singled and a Tamon Halfin double brought him home. Cordiare McDonald blasted a home run over the right-field pole to bring Halfin in for the tie.
“This was great,” said McDonald. “After being down (in prison) 10 years, this was a good experience for me. I got to be around great teammates and people who come in and love the game.”
Halfin added, “Once we got past the cobwebs, the game became fun. I appreciate the program; it gives you something to look forward to, and we love playing the outside teams.”
Dodgertown was able to turn a double play to get out the inning.
In the eighth, Dodgertown Dambrosi opened with a solo homerun over the left-field gate. Gin singled and Alfonso walked. Mike Strong hit a shot up center field for a double to score both runners. Ponce singled in Strong for the 13-8 lead. The All-Stars turned their own double play to get out the inning.
In the bottom of the ninth, the All-Stars’ first two batters pop-flied for two outs.
A Halfin single kept them alive, and Cloman whacked a homerun over the left-field gate to close the lead, 13-10. Dodgertown relief pitcher Dambrosi struck out the next batter to end the Aug. 20 game.
“This is my passion,” said Cloman. “My pitch came at the right time. I give my all on the field; this doesn’t stop here.”
Cloman is scheduled to parole.
The Dodgertown team is a part of the Men’s Senior Baseball League in Southern California that travels to San Quentin for this experience.
“It was an effort coming up here,” Dodgertown Lynn Hoffman said. “I think we are doing a service; this is a challenging sport that gives these guys life skills. For us it gives a window into people’s lives you wouldn’t normally talk to.”
Briggs added, “This was different. It takes you out of your comfort zone. This makes you not take your freedom for granted; these guys would love to have the problems we have.”