Victory, a baseball team made up of fathers and sons from Southern California, ventured into San Quentin State Prison for a doubleheader against the A’s and lived up to their name. They won the morning game, 10-8, and the evening game, 13-3, on a day more about family than baseball.
“It’s great to be here – a lot of fun,” said Bob Pone, who brought his son Turner. “Cherish every moment you can spend time with your family.”
A’s Coach Mike Kremer, who brought his sister Caroline in to watch the game, added, “It’s not about winning or losing – guys came from (Southern California) to be here to play in a different setting, with a different team.”
Kremer said he brought in his sister to show her where he spends a big part of his life. “It’s valuable to show her the people that I care about and build up this team as a family.”
A’s pitcher Jeff “Duey” Dumont pitched the whole first game, and Robert “Big Smooth” Polzin had two RBI’s on a double and a single. However, the game came down to a battle between Victory closer Ethan Emery and A’s Brandon Riddle-Terrell.
The A’s had two outs with two men on base in the bottom of the ninth, down 10-8. A homer from Riddle-Terrell could have won the game.
“This is a game of will right now,” said Victory player Frank Bons, who pitched three shutout innings himself. “He’s their best hitter against a speed pitcher, and now it’s a game of chess.”
Emery, who came in with his father Steve, played baseball in college for Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo.
The first pitch was a strike. The next a foul ball. With two outs and two strikes, it came down to the last pitch – a changeup.
It looked like a fastball as it came out of Bons’ hand, but then it dropped and landed in Victory back-catcher Doug Thigpen’s glove as Riddle-Terrell swung at air.
“I’ve never seen a changeup that good,” said Thigpen, who hit a two run shot over the education building in the fourth inning.
Riddle-Terrell added, “I was sitting on a fastball the whole time. I was trying to win it for the team instead of relying on who’s behind me.”
After the close game, Thigpen worried about the next one.
“I want to quit while I’m ahead because I know ya’ll going to C-block to put a Longest Yard team together,” joked the Victory back-catcher.
Victory left the prison while the incarcerated men reported to their cells for count time. After count cleared, the evening game began.
At the top of the ninth inning, the A’s were behind 7-3, and they needed a rally, but i Victory poured on six more runs.
After the game both teams lined up and “good gamed” each other.
“We love the game of baseball,” Bons said. “Guys here love baseball. If we can give them a little bit of relief from what they’re going through … and we’re grateful they allow us to play here because not everybody gets this privilege.”