With a ninth inning comeback and a hard-fought second game, the San Quentin All-Stars baseball team swept the Bay Area Barons and the Alameda Baseball Club. It was the final two games of the season.
In the first game, the All-Stars erased an eight run deficit to beat the visiting Barons 10-9.
In the late game, the Alameda Club fell 5-1.
“This was a good way to end the season,” said Anthony “Sadiq” Redwood. “With a comeback and a win. This is the first time a lot of us played together since we blended the teams. I think next year we will gel more.”
The All-Stars went 15-11-3 for the season.
The red-hot Barons appeared to have the game wrapped up going into the ninth with a 9-4 lead. But getting around the All-Stars big hitters Cleo Cloman, Anthony Denard and David Fraire proved a task.
Cloman singled and stole second. Denard smacked a line drive into the center field gap for a double and a run. Fraire followed with a double and an RBI to close the lead 9-6.
Trevor Bird was hit by a pitch and Redwood singled to load the bases. Branden Terrell and Paul “Moose” Crowder both singled in runs.
Barons’ relief pitcher Rob Eifer could not find the strike zone and walked in two runs, giving the All-Stars the win.
“I knew this could happen,” said Barons catcher Phillippe Paradis. “They never say die; they fight to the end and they appreciate what they have. That help drives my own passion for the game.”
Baron Eric Williams added, “Nobody is an inmate or outsider here. We’re all ball players. This is only a stop for most of them and this program helps them re-enter society as positive men and not just cons.”
The Barons scored five runs in the first with three consecutive walks and a two-run single from Mike Kremer.
All-Star pitcher Gary “Cool Aid” Townes continued to struggle and the Barons took advantage, loading the bases.
The Barons scored off two sacrifice flies and a balk. They scored two more runs in the third and fifth, off big hits from Conner Nannini and Paradis that gave them the lead.
“It’s easy to be afraid if you don’t know people,” said Nannini. “We’re not playing for ego or championships here; the point is to get the guys ready for the outside.”
In the second game, both teams kept each other in check defensively. Alameda scored in the third after a couple of singles and an unearned run error, for a 1-0 lead.
The All-Stars answered in the fifth with three runs. John Windham, Tamon Halfin and Terrell all singled in runs to take the lead 3-1.
In the seventh, Windham opened with a triple, leaving easy work for Halfin to single him in. Terrell singled to move Halfin to third and Cordaire McDonald bought him home with a single past shortstop for the 5-1 lead.
Alameda got out the inning with a double play and a pop-fly, but didn’t put up any more runs.
“Baseball is like freedom,” said Alameda Club assistant coach Robert Matz. “You get to live in the moment and put the stress aside. These guys showed great sportsmanship and I enjoyed the good-natured ribbing we had back and forth.”
Alameda Club member Rand Hardy added, “Everybody has some preconceived notions about prisoners. But once you see and experience the daily life here, how could this program not help them with the social skills to get back into society?”
The Alameda Club was made up of four different teams from their league: The Missiles, Drillers, Strokers and Pirates.
The Aug. 27 double header ended with game balls and awards given to the All-Star players. Townes received a ball for surviving the first game and his early struggles on the mound.
“I’m just glad my team had my back,” said Townes. “I just bit down, dug deep and stayed with it.”
Cloman received a ball for his contribution over the years. He is scheduled to parole.
The Most Valuable Player Award went to Denard and Colman. Most Inspirational Player was Fraire. The Most Improved Players were Crowder and Halfin. The Golden Glove went to Doug Aubineau.
“We dedicate these wins to Isaiah Bonilla-Thompson,” said All-Stars inmate assistant coach John “Yah Yah” Parrett.