OLD BUT FRIENDLY RIVALS
FACE OFF FOR GAME ONE
The San Quentin A’s baseball team played their season opener against the outside volunteer team, the San Francisco Mission on May 13. Once again, the A’s started the new season with a bang, beating the Mission, 11-2.
Baseball resumed after a hiatus during the pandemic, and the Mission’s pitcher-catcher Michael Nadolny could not wait to return to San Quentin to play.
“It’s great to be back. We love playing here and you guys always give us a warm welcome,” said Nadolny.
Acting Warden Oak Smith threw out the first pitch, which was a strike across home plate that smacked the glove of the A’s catcher Matt Negus.
The San Quentin A’s took an early lead, going up 2-0 in the second. Going up was easy for veteran A’s player Carrington Russelle. He slapped a curve ball way out to deep right field for a double, hitting the fence near the Native American section.
The Mission could not get anything past right-fielder Trevor Jackson. A’s pitcher Victor Picazo’s smoking fastball down-the-pipe left the Mission players at bat, fishing for attempts. Whatever San Quentin coaches Richard “Will” Williams and Anthony Caravalho and outside coach Steve Riechardt had devised during the off-season had the A’s hitting on all cylinders.
As (A) Warden Smith and his wife Michelle looked on from the sidelines, spectators did not know whether to credit the score to San Quentin A’s aggressive strategy or the many errors of the Mission.
Nadolny already knew the reasons his team struggled on the Field of Dreams. “We have to hit the ball,” Nadolny said. “We are gonna make errors, that’s part of the game. But, we won’t win if we don’t hit the ball.”
Another error by the Mission shortstop put an A’s player on first. New to the A’s line-up, Jarrod “Deuce” Williams and John “Licks” Gawron proved useful assets to the team.
The home team welcomed back their first-base starter Everett Wiley after he suffered a spiral fracture in his pitching arm last season. Doctors thought he would not play again but he recovered quickly.
“My arm feels great,” said Wiley. “It feels good to see the outside team back in here. It makes me feel like I’m not in prison.”
Wiley got his wish for a double at the bottom of the 5th, adding to the excitement of his return. By the end of the 7th inning, the game was considered a done deal. The A’s went on to continue their winning reign over the Mission.
“We try to win but we lose,” said Nadolny. “You guys are that good. We normally play against ourselves and you guys are our competition and we love it.”
The A’s played another game against the outside team the Barrons and won 5-2. As of this writing, they have a 4-1 record for the season.