By Rahsaan Thomas
To the coed North Bay Bombers, it was a win just to play softball and experience camaraderie with the San Quentin Hardtimers. The Bombers hadn’t won a game in three seasons and 12 tries until Aug. 17, when they achieved an 8-7 victory over the Hardtimers.
“Winning feels so much better than losing,” said Lori Carter, who played second base and took three bases, including home plate, on a Hardtimers error that gave her team a 4-1 led.
“We got within five runs once before. One of these days…,” said Brian Palozola during a previous game.
“Today is the day we win; I feel it,” said NBB player Kyle Dunlap.
“We are winning today,” added his teammate Brooks, during the second inning.
“I think this is the game,” agreed Marshall Cooper, who played first base.
The Bombers were ahead 5-2 after the top of the fifth, during which Hardtimer Nghiep Ke Lam dropped a routine catch in centerfield that led to a run. “No excuses; I just dropped the ball,” said Ke Lam.
However, the Hardtimers didn’t go away. With no outs and two men on base, Hardtimer Antonio “Bobbie” Cavitt hit a, RBI double. DuPriest Brown followed with a double down the middle for two RBIs, tying the score. Mark Jordan brought in another run with a single and Juan Arballo knocked a shot past Chris Rudolph at third for the Hardtimers to take a 7-5 lead.
At the top of the ninth, the Bombers rallied by exploiting a gap through second base. Palozola led off with a single, followed by another hit by Courtney Jackson. Joe Huang belted another that brought in Palozola. Brooks cracked a single that set up Dave McCarthy for his two RBI shot that gave his team an 8-7 lead with one out. Ke Lam closed the gap, snagging Dunlap’s shot into the outfield and making a double play, ending the top of the inning.
The Hardtimers’ first two hits were stopped by Huang, who made the throw outs to Cooper at first. Alias Jones was the last Hardtimers up to bat with two outs. He knocked a fly ball into the outfield that was caught by new North Bay Bomber Dunlap, for the win.
“We got tired of getting our butts kicked. Last time the headline read 46-12 Hardtimers, we wanted a different headline so I recruited some friends,” said NBB coach and pitcher Randy Ferino.
Bomber additions Huang, Cooper, McCarthy and Dunlap all made a difference. Shortstop Huang made several throws to Cooper at first for many outs. McCarthy hit the two RBI single that gave his team the 8-7 lead, and Dunlap made the final catch of the game.
“It’s a great experience being out here. It’s priceless and a complete privilege,” said Huang after the game.
“I’d like to thank Ke Lam for dropping the ball in the outfield,” said Rudolph.
By Rahsaan Thomas