SQ baseball’s belated season opener brings
two old rivals back together for head-on collision
The San Quentin Hardtimers finally got the opportunity to have their baseball season-opener in early September against the Outsiders. Although the competition was stiff, and the Outsiders put up a valiant fight, the Hardtimers beat them 4-2.
“Even though we won the game, it’s just a blessing to be able to play the outside team,” said Hardtimers Head Coach, Lamar “Coach P” Paschall.
The Outsiders had never won a game against the Hardtimers since the teams started meeting three years ago. Covid prevented the outside team from coming into the prison and that two-year hiatus left a void in the head coach’s life, he said. As for the players, it was not about who won or lost, but being able to come into the prison and play some baseball with the residents and just have some good old-fashioned fun.
“I just like coming into the prison and playing the game against some good competition,” said first baseman Hank K. of the Outsiders. He had to sit this game out because he was nursing an injury he sustained playing baseball on the outside. Hank K. retired from playing a minor league career with the Oakland A’s, but when he can participate, he still loves and enjoys playing the game.
“These are some of the most fun and respectful games I’ve ever played,” Hank said.
His team had an early lead after second baseman Kevin hit into middle center field that scored a runner from first.
The Outsiders team was comprised of eight players. Two of those players were some very brave and experienced women. The runner who scored from first on Kevin’s hit to center was Lia. If it wasn’t for her daring hustle around those bases and her critical slide to home that left her with a bruised knee, her team would not have had that two-run lead.
It was Lia’s first time inside the prison, but her experience and spirit of competition would not allow her to be intimidated or do anything less than give it her all.
“I think this is great to be able to compete in this great community. Both sides have a really good time. I like friendly competition.” said Lia.
After her slide into home, the Hardtimers held defensively and came to bat in the bottom of the third. The Outsiders lead was quickly overcome by a Hardtimers offensive rally. One run, two, three, finally four runs came in and the Outsiders’ lead was gone.
In the fourth inning number 18 of the Hardtimers smacked a line drive down the third-base line and past the Outsiders’ tough third-basewoman Emily A. She is an experienced softball player and the coach of an 18-and-under high school team. Although she had been inside the prison twice before, she said that she just loves the team camaraderie.
“I come back because it’s just fun to be out here,” said Emily A. The Hardtimers held the Outsiders’ offense through the top of the sixth and final inning for the final score, 4-2.
For the visitors, being able to come inside the prison meant more than just playing the game. Kevin of the outsiders said that it was a blast. Coach Bob said that their return to play inside was long overdue.
Covid had prevented the teams from meeting up for too long, but the patience and resilience of both the Hardtimers and the visiting Outsiders paid off in this break-through meeting.
“I would ask about the guys in prison; who passed away? And I would genuinely be concerned about them,” said Matt E., head coach of the Outsiders. “The reason why I don’t care about having a winning record is because it’s about creating and building relationships on both sides. I like bringing new people in so they can get the chance to see how it’s like in here. Even though, I would like to win sometime, though,” Matt said jokingly.