The visiting Santa Monica Suns outshined the San Quentin A’s and Giants baseball teams in an intense double-header. The Suns edged the A’s 14-12 and held off the Giants 15-10.
“As a visitor it’s good for you to come here. It helps you remember what’s going on in the world,” said the Suns’ Will Green. “Now I understand what it means to lose your freedom and what it takes to get it back. I think the country is designed where we think people in prison are just characters in a movie and not real human beings.”
In the first game, the A’s Anthony “T-Tone” Denard almost hit a trifecta: he smashed a triple his first at bat, then crushed a double in the third inning to score two runs. In the fifth, Denard performed an amazing feat, reaching third base off a pass ball. Facing a 3-2 pitch and a man on third base, the Suns pitcher threw the ball in the dirt, causing the catcher to scramble. Denard’s cheetah-like speed had him rounding the bases as the catcher regrouped and overthrew first. A runner scored and Denard made it to third base before the ball reached the infield.
“We appreciate this program and those that come out to play us,” Denard said. “They are showing us the true meaning of giving back. It’s about unity, love and respect for the game and the community.”
Leading 3-0 in the second inning, the Suns added five runs. Head Coach Bob Sharka hit a pop-fly that bounced off the third baseman’s glove. The Suns hit two singles to load the bases. Andy Greene smacked a double to score all the runners. With the bases reloaded, Patrick Monahan hit a single down the third-base line to score two runs for the 8-0 lead.
“Bob Sharka is a great friend of this program,” said Elliot Smith, SQ baseball sponsor. “He is a major donor of equipment and historically he has the most players who have brought their own teams in. This program helps take the myth out of prison and give the outside community first-hand experience with the rehabilitative programs and the work being done here.”
The A’s gained four runs in the third and fifth innings to tie the score, 8-8. The Suns and A’s both scored three runs in the sixth to stay tied, 11-11. The Suns distanced themselves in the eighth, when the A’s relief pitcher loaded the bases off walks. Green doubled deep to the center-field gap to clear the bases and gain a 14-11lead.
“I’m grateful to be a part of this. By playing outside teams it lets us know we are not dead to the world,” said the A’s Markeith Mason. “It also lets the community see we are not animals.”
In the second game, Suns took a 9-0 lead over the Giants in the second inning.
The Giants scored four runs in the fourth and three in the fifth to close the gap, 9-7. The Suns batted in five runs in the sixth and Giants pitcher Ruben Harper walked a batter for a 15-7 lead. In the seventh, Harper smashed a homerun with two men on base to rally the Giants with five at 15-10. The Suns tightened their defense and pitching to secure the June10 win.
“We appreciate them coming in. It’s a trickle-down theory. This program helps us become better people and keep up our morale,” Harper said.
The Suns’ Tom Shepherd added, “The guys have solid teams. Coming here gave me a chance to see a life I’m not used to. These people are living their lives in here the best they can.”