On a picture-perfect Sept. 9 day, the Prison Sports Ministry (PSM) softball team finally got to celebrate a second victory by defeating the San Quentin Hardtimers, 36-34.
The Hardtimers had triumphed in five of the last six meetings.
“It was a great game, and it’s awesome to be here, but it’s nice to be on the other side of losing for a change,” Bryce of PSM said.
The game started in the bottom of the first inning when Hardtimer Richard Zorns knocked in teammate Ricky Romero to score the team’s first run.
In the second inning, PSM countered with back-to-back scoring plays.
PSM Sports Coordinator Don Smith was inspired by his team’s performance. “I’d like to finish up strong this time, but I just enjoy being on the yard visiting with my San Quentin friends.”
In the bottom of the second, PSM’s left fielder Paul missed an opportunity to catch a looping fly ball that allowed the Hardtimers to score two runs in the second inning. Hardtimers slugger Juan Navarro put his team back in the lead, 9-7, when he sent a ball to the wash with a roping homer over the laundry building.
“Play hard and earn scoring positions and try to hit another one,” Navarro said about staying in the game.
PSM left fielder Paul said, “I want to share the love of Christ but, to win we cannot quit. I respect the guys’ effort.”
When the PSM had their chance to strike back, Paul’s teammate, shortstop Zach hit a fly ball deep past left field that could have been an in- park homerun but he settled for a triple. “I should have kept running,” Zach said. “I wasn’t thinking.”
Zach confidently commented on his teammates’ past losses against the Hard- timers. “To win now, all we have to do now is not quit,” he said.
PSM’s defense struggled in the third inning, allowing the Hardtimers to score 11 runs. At the top of the fourth, the bases were loaded and Zach went to bat.
Veteran player Wayne Moe Mobley pitched for the Hardtimers. The pitch came down the pike, and Zach connected solidly and sent the ball deep to center right field for a PSM homerun. This time Zack ran hard—all the way home, giving them a2 0-18 lead in the fourth.
Both teams battled back and forth in the fifth and sixth innings. The Hardtimers were still down by a few runs until the bottom of the six.
In the bottom of the sixth, Hardtimer Navarro thrilled onlookers when he rocked an- other homer over the education building.
With a man on first and a man an at bat, the Hardtimers had a chance to make the game closer but, when Zach made a leaping catch at short stop and robbed RJ Hill of a hero moment that ended the frame. The Hardtimers defense came alive when Hill returned the favor to PSM’s offense by turning a double play to end the top of the seventh.
PSM pitcher Bryce intentionally walked Navarro to avoid giving him another chance to knock one out of the park.
Hardtimer Sharky hit a line drive past the PSM first baseman for a single. Hill followed with another. When No. 22, Dion DeMerrill, came to the plate, no one expected the inside-the-park home run he delivered to centerfield. He brought in a couple runs and the Hardtimers took the lead.
“I just wanted to show the team what I can do,” DeMerrill said. “I’m just happy to make surprises.”
He showed up at the right moment. The Hardtimers were in a good position to win the game, leading by four, 34- 30.
In the top of the ninth, PSM brought in three quick runs that left them down, 34-33.
PSM shortstop Zach hit a single that advanced a runner to second. Teammate Paul went up to bat and whacked in two RBIs. PSM’s star pitcher Bryce followed with a home-run that gave the PSM a 36- 34 lead.
In the bottom of the ninth with two outs, Hardtimer Jimmy Vue smacked a triple into the outfield, but he was left stranded on third when Hill hit a grounder and was thrown out to end the game.
PSM celebrated the much- needed win with prayer, solidifying their “Never give up” attitude with a display of hope and victory.