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12-05-13 10:32 PM
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Sunday, September 15

Gold Country Ol' Buzzards Game Report #20

Championship Game: September 15, 2013

Buzzards beat Reds in title game, 9-3

The Gold Country Buzzards are Champions of the World of Sacramento NABA men's baseball. By finally defeating the Reds in a NABA finals' game, the Ol' Buzzards captured the 2013 crown for the 55+ division. On a nice afternoon in a breezy Davis, the 90° temps made for an excellent day to play a championship game on one of the best baseball fields in the region at Playfields Park.

The pitching match-ups for the 20th and last game of the year had the Reds sending their shifty, right-handed ace, Robert 'Ponytail' Stormont #30 to the mound to take on the Buzzard righty, Dave 'Evy' Everingham #21. Evy had only pitched five innings for the Buzzards this season, so the start was a little surprising to the team. With the hurler-horses in the Buzzards' stable limited due to sore arms and car problems in Seattle, Evy was the skipper's pick to take-on the tough Red Legs.

The Reds are managed by Carlos Zamora and the team is mostly made-up of the best players, over 50 year olds, in and from the Sacramento Mexican leagues. Carlos recruits well and he usually has one of the top teams in whichever age division the Reds have played. The Reds were playing in their new, snazzy red jerseys with a white Cincinnati Reds' logo on the front, plus names and numbers on the back with gray pants for their second time. The new look for the playoffs was quite a contrast from their white pants and white vests with red pin-stripes and red sleeves for the last seven-plus years.

The title game started at 2:30. Both teams went 1-2-3 in the first inning, but the Reds did it in a different way. The first runner was aboard via an infield throwing error. After several close pick-off throws, the first-base umpire called-out Armando 'Rabbit' Hurtado on another nice pick-off move by Evy to Pete 'Baron' Von Zboray at first base with the quick slap tag on the diving-back runner.

The next batter struck out, before Steve 'Shortstop' Moreno scalded a liner down the left-field line for an apparent double. It appeared to a couple of Buzzards, especially to catcher, Rick 'Salmo' Salmeri, that Steve had missed first base on his race to second. Since time was called after the play, Evy waited until time was in, before stepping off of the rubber and throwing to first to appeal the missed bag on the hit. The umpire emphatically called the out to end the first inning in dramatic style and to the howls of the Reds' bench.

The Buzzards jumped on the scoreboard first in the second inning with a nice big crooked number - 5. With one out, Tom 'TK' Keatley beat out an infield single that included a loose ball rolling into the Buzzard dugout to put TK at second. Up next, the Baron hit a high bouncer for an infield single putting runners at the corners. 'Blue' Barry Forman followed with a fielder's choice to second that scored TK with the first run. Batting next, Norm 'Burner' Tucker slashed a single up-the-middle, putting runners at first and second.

Up next, Gregg 'Surf Dawg' Novotny slapped a 1-2 pitch on a line into center field for a single to load the bases for Taylor 'Welzy' Welz. The Baron ran for Surf Dawg at first base. With two outs, Welzy blasted the 2-0 delivery to the gap in left-center field to score Blue Barry and Burner, the recent Burning Man vets of 2013. Barry's hair still has a hue of blue.

The second inning, two-out rally continued with Dan 'Wookie' Wukmir at the plate after both runners moved-up on a wild pitch to put two runners in scoring position with the Buzzards up by just three runs. On a 1-2 pitch, and after fouling-off a couple of pitches to the left, Wookie lined a sharp single to the gap in left-center to drive in the Baron and Welzy and take a 5-zip lead. The first and third outs of the inning were by naughty Buzzards, caught stealing second base by the catcher, Gilberto Banuelos, throwing strikes to the second base bag.

The defenses held until the Reds battled back with three runs in the top of the fifth frame. Four straight hits to open the inning followed by a two-run(?) fielder's choice with an errant throw on a potential double-play. A good job by the Reds' player, that Gilberto again, to interfere with the play by getting in the way of the throw. As the runner from first base, Gil did not slide on the play, but turned into the infield grass, which was the same side of the bag the covering shortstop, Welzy, moved to make the throw. No interference call by any of the three umps, even on appeal, and no double-play. The score after 5½ innings was close at 5 to 3 in favor of the Buzzards with the Reds getting the calls after the first inning.

The Ol' Buzzards then added a quick run in the bottom half of the fifth. Evy doubled toward the right-field line with one out. After a strike-out, TK then ripped an 0-1 curveball to right field for a single to score Evy from second to make the score 6-3. In the sixth dig the Buzzards scored two runs to widen the lead to 8-3. Blue Barry led-off with an infield single. Burner followed with a flare to left for a base hit putting two runners on. Surf Dawg, batting next, singled sharply to right field to drive in Blue from second. Up next and with the fourth hit in a row, Welzy sliced a liner to right-center that knocked in Burner from third to end the scoring. The inning ended on a controversial trap-catch by the shortstop for an inning ending double-play.

With runners at first and third, Evy hit a sinking liner to the left-side of the infield. Moreno made a good play just to get in front of it and he appeared to trap the ball, not catch it. The sound of the ball hitting the ground and flying dust made the catch appear to be clearly a trap. After the catch(?), the throw to third base doubled-up the Baron as he was crossing home plate. After an appeal by Wookie, all three umps huddled for quite a while before calling the trap a catch to kill the big Buzzard rally.

While shutting out the Reds since the fifth, the Gold Country gang scored once more in the seventh inning. The third consecutive scoring inning started with an infield single by Charles 'CJ' Jackson. CJ was robbed earlier by an unbelievable diving catch in the third dig. Hugo 'Highlight Reel' Lopez playing a deep left field ran full-speed toward the fence as soon as the ball left CJ's bat. The screaming liner was headed to the fence when Hugo, running hard, leaped high with his back to the field and made a back-handed snag of the ball as it passed him before landing hard in the out-stretched dive position on the dirt warning track, next to the fence with the ball firmly in the glove. Wow. One of the best catches of the season for sure, and it took a double away from Charles.

After the infield hit, CJ then stole second base and moved to third on a ground-out. With the Baron at the plate, CJ scored on a wild pitch that caromed off of the short backstop and away from the catcher. Blue Barry later walked on a full-count, but the scoring ended with the one run. The score after seven was 9-3, Buzzards.

The pitching held up with Everingham going the distance and the defense did its job through the rest of the 2½ hour game to hold the Reds to no more runs. The Reds only threatened a couple of times and, except for the three runs in the fifth frame, got only two runners to second base and one to third during the rest of the game.

On the final out, a high pop-up to Welzy in short left field, the celebrating began with jumps, hugs and high-fives among the very happy Ol' Buzzards. With the final score: Buzzards 9 and the Reds 3, the 2013 baseball campaign ended on the highest note.

After the Buzzard-team congratulations in the infield concluded, the teams lined up to slap some skin and say - good game. Both teams then lined up on the foul lines for the individual plaques and team plaque awarded by the League Commissioner, Barry Spiller. Photos followed before the beer drinking began in the parking lot shade.

What a way to end a great season - by knocking off an old nemesis on the same field as the heart-breakers of 2009 and 10. Well done - 2013 Ol' Buzzards.

Buzzard pitching was fabulous. The El Dorado Hills battery of Evy on the mound and Salmo behind the plate paid golden dividends as Dave threw effectively, limiting the number of pitches to 106, for the nine-inning battle. That low pitch-count basically allowed him to finish the game with Welzy warmed-up, just in case, in the ninth.

The pitch count for each inning was: 1st-8, 2nd-12, 3rd-6, 4th-14, 5th-22, 6th-9, 7th-5, 8th-13 and 9th-17. Evy faced 35 batters in throwing the 106 pitches (75 strikes & 31 balls). Dave gave up three runs on eight hits with no walks and seven timely strike-outs. Everingham needed 28 outs to put away the Reds.

The extra out was necessary in the fourth dig when a strike-out of Moreno on an outside pitch, that he threw the bat at, bounced off of the backstop and rolled away from Salmo, to allow Steve to take first base without a throw. Gilberto then grounded-out to end that inning.

The Buzzard offense used 15 timely hits to score the nine runs. The hit club for the game included: the Baron-1, Blue Barry-1, Burner-2, CJ-1, Evy-1, Surf Dawg-3, TK-3, Welzy-2 and Wookie-1. The ribbies were courtesy of: Blue Barry-1, Surf Dawg-1, TK-1, Welzy-3 and Wookie-2. The runs scored were accounted to: Blue Barry-2, Burner-2, CJ-1, Evy-1, Surf Dawg-1, TK-1 and Welzy-1. The base stealers were CJ and Welzy, while the only walk of the game was issued to Blue Barry in the seventh inning.

As an example of the effective offense, the Buzzies had four consecutive base hits for runs twice during the game, in the second and sixth innings. And seven out of the first eight got on base in the second inning to send a strong message to the Reds and to Ponytail on the mound. The Reds made numerous outstanding leaping and diving defensive plays to rob multiple Buzzards of hits during the game.

From the great catch of Welzy's rocket shot to deep center field to open the game, followed by Gilberto's laser arm display, and a mix of other defensive gems and traps, showed the Reds were fighting hard all game and conceding nothin' to the Buzzards even late in the game.

Ironically, Steve Moreno at shortstop got hurt on the second to the last play of the game and season. On a Baron hit flare to short left, Moreno ran back and then jumped back to make a twisty, remarkable back-handed catch. However, on the leap his right hamstring went 'boing' before he made the catch and then landed awkwardly in a heap on the grass while still hanging onto the ball. He needed help to leave the field.

The Buzzard defense was solid, minus some wild throws to first base. There was only one fly-ball out to the outfield. It was late in the game as the first out of the eighth to Keatley in center field. The rest of the outs were made in the infield. Welzy had a busy afternoon at short with five put-outs and three assists, Cookie, playing second base, came through with two put-outs and five nice assists, while the Baron at first had nine put-outs and two key assists.

Some defensive oddities in the game were: the missed base by Moreno in the first inning and subsequent appeal of the double resulted in a 7-4-1-3 play in the books for the third out. Blue Barry, Cookie and Evy got the assists, with an assisted assist to Salmo, who insisted on the appeal, as the defensive player with the best view of the play.

And with 16 assists and 20 put-outs made in the infield, surprisingly, not a single ball was hit to Wook at third. Paul 'Youngin' Lee in right field and Blue Barry in left also did not see much action in the field and had no put-outs. Everingham had six assists and four put-outs from the mound to continuously demoralize the Reds with his excellent glove work on hot smashes up-the-middle.

There was only one Buzzard double play, an Evy caught hot-liner to end the seventh, with an easy double-up of the runner at first. Clearly, Evy was the player of the game by combining the excellent pitching with spirited defense, to go along with the seven strike 'em outs. Super Dave also had the only extra-base hit of the game with his double to right field in the fifth. Just an awesome and necessary display of outstanding ol' baseball skills in the NABA championship game. Great game, Evy.

It was a good day and year to be a Buzzard. Thanks to all.

Buzzard Note #1: Late in the game, Barry Spiller attempted to place the box with the winner’s plaques next to the Buzzard dugout. Diane, keeping score, saw the box and told Barry to remove it until the game was over. No bad karma or ju-ju allowed. Many Buzzards remember the winner’s box showing up in the Reds dugout several years ago, while the Buzzards were down by five runs in the ninth inning of the second championship-series game in 2010. After the Buzzards saw that box delivered, the team scored six runs with two outs to take that game and send that series to its third game. After the game, the Reds performed prayers and other acts over the box to rid that cardboard container of any lingering curse before the next game.

Buzzard Note #2: A team party will be announced soon. In the celebratory haze at Davis, the announcement to turn in the orange jerseys for cleaning and repair was forgotten. Please bring the orange vests to the Buzzard gathering.

Buzzard Note #3: An interesting batting tip was in the Sac Bee on Monday from Hunter Pence after hitting his fourth homer in four days in LA. Brett Pill, the Giants rookie, said he asks for hitting advice from Posey and Pence. Pill said, “Buster gives me something (technical), but Hunter is all, 'Just try to kill the ball.”

 



Sunday, September 8

Gold Country Ol' Buzzards Game Report #19

Game: September 8, 2013

Buzzards beat up Solons in playoff game, 14-6

The Ol' Buzzards earned a home game in the first round of the playoffs with a strong finish for first place. The Solons (4-14) were the fourth place team and had lost three times to the Buzzards (13-5) this season. The field was in good shape and the temps for the 2 o'clock game were in the mid-90s at the nearly 1,300 foot elevation of James Field in Auburn.  In this elimination playoff game, the Solons brought an improved team including three decent pitchers to try their damndest to beat the Buzzards.

The Sacramento Solons sent their big righty, Frank 'Italiano' Smith #10 to the mound. As the home team, the Gold Country Buzzards' starting pitcher, the hard throwing right-hander, Taylor 'Welzy' Welz #26, opened the game on the hill. The game opened with Welzy striking out the side on 14 pitches. The curve-ball was working well and it struck-out the last two looking.

The Buzzards then scored one run in their half of the first frame. Welzy led-off with a gift-single on a short infield pop-up. Taylor stole second base, while Dan 'Wookie' Wukmir walked on four pitches. With runners at first and second, Dave 'Evy' Everingham sliced his patented looping hit to the opposite field, however, the right-fielder was positioned well and caught the fly ball on the run toward the line. Wookie got a good jump toward second on the hit ball, but realized too late that the ball was going to be caught, and was doubled-up for two quick outs. The first base coach was yelling 'get back' right away, but Wook's hearing aid was turned-off.  Up next, clean-up hitter, Charles 'CJ' Jackson ripped a run-scoring single down the left field line to score Welzy from second for the lone run of the inning.

The Solons tied the game in the second inning. The first two batters got on with base hits. The second batter, big Frank, hit a short flare to the opposite field. In right field, Dave 'mMumbles' Kelley got a good jump on the ball, but his upper quad muscle in the right leg went 'boing' as he went for the ball. David did a series of one-leg jumps to the nearby ball and then went tumbling to the ground to retrieve it and painfully toss the ball back to the infield. Not a pretty scene to watch. mMumbles was able to leave the field under his own power, slowly, and then he soaked the leg with ice the remainder of the game.

After the delay and with runners at the corners, the next hitter smacked a 2-1 curve-ball toward the left-side hole. The high hard bouncer, on its way to left field, was intercepted by a hustling Wookie, playing third, with a running jump. Wook snagged the ball and threw to Steve 'Cookie' Cook at second base to start a good looking 5-4-3 double play. The runner from third scored on the play.

The Buzzards put up a nice big crooked number - 5 - on the board in the third inning for some breathing room. Welzy started it off by getting to first base via an infield error. Taylor stole second as the pitcher was startled by his early steal move, and while in motion toward home plate, stopped to throw to a bag for a balk. Wookie then hit a line-drive to center for a single putting runners at the corners. Wook stole second before Evy crushed a double over the head of the center-fielder to score Welzy and Wookie. CJ followed with his own double, deep in the left-center field gap to easily score Evy from second.

The Solons then changed pitchers and brought in their fire plug-sized righty, Ken 'Wrong' Wright #1. Pete 'Baron' Von Zboray greeted him with a second-pitch double down the left-field line to score CJ. The Baron moved to third on a fly-out to right field by 'Blue' Barry Forman, fresh from Burning Man with his lingering blue-dyed hair. Who knows, the blue-hair look versus gray hair may become trendy for men ... someday. Batting next, Rick 'Salmo' Salmeri hit a sacrifice fly to left field to score the Baron for the final run of the third inning. The score after three was 6-1 in favor of the Buzzies.

The not-so-old Buzzards scored four more runs in the fifth dig to take control of the game. With one out, CJ doubled again, this time to deepest center field. The Baron knocked in CJ with a hard-hit single to left. One out later, Salmo took a base-on-balls. Blue Barry then ran for the catcher, Salmo. Up next, Norm 'Burner' Tucker dropped a single in to left field to load 'em up for Cookie.

Just before the single, Burner hit a foul pop-up that sneaked into the Buzzard dugout through a small gap in the roof area and nailed the clip board with a nice dent while sending the scorebook flying and scaring the scorekeeper, Diane. Missed her by that much.

The count to Steve was 2-1, when he was hit on the left side by a pitch, to push in Pete from third base for a run. With the bases still full, Welzy then lined a 2-1 pitch to left field for a single to score Blue and Burner, the 2013 Burning Man boys, to end the scoring.

Meanwhile, Welzy was mowing 'em down from the mound with good pitches and was supported by excellent defense. Through six innings, Taylor was throwing a four-hitter with 68 pitches.

In the bottom of the sixth the Solons changed hurlers and put the veteran righty, Tim 'Lanky' Mosbarber #3 on the bump. The Buzzards then scored another run to take a 10-run lead. Evy led-off by slamming his second double of the game, this one was down the left-field line. With one out, Gregg 'Surf Dawg' Novotny hit a flare to center for a single putting Buzzards on the corners. Blue Barry then knocked in Evy with a sacrifice ground-out to the right-side to make the score 11-1.

In the eighth inning, the Solons scored a run on a lead-off double, a single and sacrifice fly. After the sac fly was out number one, a single put runners at first and second. Up next, the Solons manager, John Mason, hit a short flare to left that looked like it was going to land between the shortstop, Evy, and the left fielder, Blue Barry. Aggressive Evy, not backing-off from a charging Blue Barry, made a spectacular over-the-shoulder (really over-the-head) basket catch on his chest. The runner at second was a long way from the bag when Dave made the 'espn-tune' catch. Evy then spun around after the catch and threw a strike to Cookie at second base to nail the runner in a force-out to end the inning with just one run scored.

The Buzzards added three runs in the last half of the eighth dig. Evy started it off with a sharp single to left. CJ followed with a base hit to left. With the outfielders playing near the fences, CJ was jammed on the pitch and hit a floater off of the bat handle into short left field. With runners now at second and first, Surf Dawg lined a run-scoring single to right field to knock in Evy on a close play at the plate. The lefty pull-hitter, Blue Barry, then surprisingly, ripped a shot to left field to score CJ. Salmo then walked for the third time in the game to load the bases.

In a close play at the plate, Surf Dawg was thrown out trying to take home plate on a wild pitch. With one out, Tucker hit a frozen-rope single to center field on a 2-1 fastball to drive in Forman for the last Buzzard run of the game. The score after eight innings was 14-2 Buzzards.

With no 10-run mercy-rule during the playoffs, the game continued on to the ninth inning. While the Buzzards were thinking about cold beers in a few minutes, the Solons were serious about scoring runs, and did just that, with four runs on one walk and four singles and a double. With the four runs scored, no outs and two runners on, the Buzzards recorded their first out on a pop-up caught by a determined Welzy.

The next two batters hit tough bouncers to Evy at shortstop. Both were fielded cleanly but the developing plays did not allow for a simple force-out at second. The throws on the move were good to Jim 'Kuchie' Kuchar at first for easy looking 6-3 outs to end the game. The final score was: Buzzards 14 and the Solons 6.

Buzzard pitching was excellent. Welzy was in command most of the way. There were only two extra-base hits and not many solid line drives by the good hitting Solons. The four runs scored in the last inning were more a result of infield hits to 'no-man's land' after an opening walk that set the stage for a two-run double and then run-scoring singles before the Buzzards got serious.

In the win, Welz (3-1) threw a complete nine-inning game. Taylor faced 39 Solons in throwing 125 pitches (78 strikes & 47 balls). Welzy gave up six runs on 12 hits and three walks with seven key strike 'em outs.

The Buzzard offense of 18 hits, five walks and a hit batter efficiently scored the 14 runs. The hit club for this first-round playoff game included: the Baron-3, Blue Barry-1, Burner-2, CJ-4, Evy-3, Surf Dawg-2, Welzy-2 and Wookie-1. The ribbies were knocked in courtesy of: the Baron-2, Blue Barry-2, Burner-1, Cookie-1, CJ-2, Evy-2, Salmo-1, Surf Dawg-1 and Welzy-2. The runs were accounted to: the Baron-2, Blue Barry-1, Burner-1, CJ-3, Evy-3, Salmo-1, Welzy-2 and Wook-1. The three Buzzards using their eagle-eyes to take five base-on-balls were: Kuchie-1, Salmo-3 and Wookie-1. Cookie took one for the team in the fifth inning to force in a run and has a bruise the shape of Australia to show for it, plus the key RBI at the time.

The Buzzard defense came through with no errors in this playoff match. Taylor's ground ball strategy worked. The Solons hit into 18 infield outs, 15 were groundouts with one double play. There were three pop-ups including Evy's wow double play in the eighth inning. The fly-out to Paul 'Youngin' Lee, sliding on his knees in center field to make the catch, ended the fourth frame. The other fly-out, for the first out of the eighth inning, was a nice running catch, looking into the sun, by Blue Barry with blue sun glasses sitting on the visor of his cap.

The infield was solid with 17 assists. Welzy defended his position well with five assists and two put-outs to go with the seven strike-outs. Evy, playing shortstop this game, was outstanding with six assists and one fabulous put-out to start a double play. Wookie had four tough assists at third base to end the second inning and start the third. The double play snag in the second inning to shut down an early Solon rally was impressive. And an almost double play in the fourth on a quickly fielded long bunt and a throw to Cookie at second, but with the runner going-in standing up to interfere, but no call from the field ump. The Baron's assist ended the third dig with a hot grounder wide of the bag, T-Welz covered the bag for the easy looking out.

Another good ball game by the Ol' Buzzards. It seems hard to believe, but just one game left in the 2013 Buzzard baseball season. Let's end it on a high note with a big victory, and get rid of this Reds' curse in the finals.

The Gold Country Buzzards' record in the 45/48+ NABA finals is: beat Free Agents in 2008, lost to Reds in 2009, lost to Reds in 2010, lost to Valley Cats in 2011. The Buzzards lost to the Valley Cats in the playoffs in 2012. Beware the 55+ Buzzards in 2013.

Buzzard Note #1: The championship game will be played at Playfields Park in Davis against the second-place Reds. The game will start no sooner than 2:30. The championship game for the 18+ division will take place prior to our game at 10 am. An extra-inning game or a slow game with pitching changes, injury, etc., could push the start time back further. There will be an hour between the two games for field prep and warm-ups. The game for the Sacramento NABA crown will have an announcer. There is no game after our 55+ title game.

Buzzard Note #2: Take a shower and comb your hair, a shave would be nice for the team photo before the game. Blue hair is optional, sleeves are not. Buzzard Note #3: The Gold Country Miners were defeated by the Dodgers in 10-innings 9-8 on Sunday evening in Davis after leading early in the 45+ championship game.



Sunday, August 25
Gold Country Ol' Buzzards Game Report #18 Game: August 25, 2013 Buzzards prevail over Solons 16-10, end season in first place On a pleasant morning in Galt with temps in the low 80s, the Ol' Buzzards were playing the last game of the regular season. The Buzzards, as a species, are not known as early birds, however, a truck load containing half of the team and a car pool arrived before 9 am for the 10 o'clock game at the Galt Community Park baseball field. The Gold Country Buzzards (12-5) were facing the Sacramento Solons (4-13) for the third time this year. In April the Buzzards won 12-0 in Davis and 17-10 at James Field in June. The pitching match-ups for the game pitted two veteran hurlers, meaning lots of experience and over a million throws on those right arms. The Solons' starting pitcher was the stocky, Ken 'Wrong' Wright #1. For the Ol' Buzzards, the always tough, Mike 'Big Mac' Mc Cabe #15 was on the mound. The schedule showed the Buzzards as the home team. The Solons scored first by opening the inning with three singles, a walk, and a single to score two runs and load the bases with no outs. A tough pop-up caught by shortstop Taylor 'Welzy' Welz in short right-center field was the first out of the inning. Two clutch strike-outs followed to end the inning without further damage. In the bottom half of the dig, the Buzzards matched the two runs to tie the game at 2-2. Welzy led-off with a sharp single down the left field line. After stealing second, he advanced to third on a groundout. Dave 'Evy' Everingham then ripped a base hit to left to score Welzy. Evy stole second before Charles 'CJ' Jackson was walked on five pitches. After a fielder's choice put runners at first and second with two outs, Tom 'TK' Keatley nailed a full-count fastball for a single down the left field line to score CJ from second base to tie the score. The Solons re-took the lead with a run in the second inning on two hits and an infield error. The Solon rally was cut short with a terrific running, back-hand catch in right field by Ray 'Bull Dog' Henry, before tumbling to the ground and hanging on to the ball with both hands. The Buzzards put a three-spot on the board in the third inning to re-take the lead. Rick 'Salmo' Salmeri, the catcher all game, opened the frame with a single to left. Two outs later, Welzy ran for Salmo at first. Taylor then stole second and third before Dan 'Wookie' Wukmir walked. With Evy batting next, Wookie stole second before Evy crushed a double over the head of the left fielder driving in Welzy and Wook. CJ then launched a fastball into low-earth orbit and way over the center fielder's head for a long double that knocked in Evy for the third run of the inning. CJ was slowed by sore legs and butt from over-extending himself during his first game of the season, last Sunday. The score after three frames was 5-3, Buzzards. In the fifth inning, the Solons fought for a run to close the gap to 5-4. The run scored on two hits, a wild pitch and a fielder's choice. In the last half of the fifth, the Ol' Buzzards added the crooked number, three, to the scorebook for an 8-4 lead. Gregg 'Surf Dawg' Novotny started it off with a single up the middle. Ray 'Bull Dog' Henry ran for Surf Dawg at first. Batting next, Steve 'Cookie' Cook walked on a full-count to put two runners on. Up next, Salmo hit a flare to left field for a single to load the bases for Paul 'Youngin' Lee. Youngin' then slapped a single to center field to score Bull Dog. Welzy followed with a line-drive single to left-center to knock in Cookie and Salmo. With one out and one on, Wookie hit a long liner into right-center for a single. On the play, Bill Holland in center, running hard for a catch, tried to stop as the ball hit the ground. As the ball bounced away and he was still moving toward right field, he planted his right foot to turn to his left and get the ball. That is when the knee buckled and Bill went down in a awkward and painful heap, as play stopped. After a long delay, Bill was helped to the dugout and the game resumed. One pitch later, a 6-4-3 double play ended the inning with a four-run Buzzard lead. John Mason, the manager of the Solons, reported that Bill hobbled to his car and went to emergency. Nothing was broken, but lots of swelling. He was released with a sprained right knee a few hours later. More tests are planned by his own doctor later. In the sixth inning, the Buzzards added a quick run. CJ smashed the first pitch down the left field line for a base hit. Batting next, Pete 'Baron' Von Zboray was robbed by the third baseman, big and lucky John Hagen, for the third time on a hard hit ball leading to a fielder's choice. With one out, TK laced the first pitch to right field for a single to put runners at the corners. Big Mac followed with a sacrifice fly to left driving in the Baron. After six digs, the score was 9-4 with the Buzzards on top. Entering the seventh, Big Mac had thrown 102 pitches, but the last four frames had gone well, so the skipper sent Mike to the mound for one more inning. A full-count walk and two hit batters later, Wook was changing pitchers. Veteran, righty Gregg 'Surf Dawg' Novotny #1 was warmed up and took the hill with the bases loaded. It took eight more batters to end the inning including four hits and a walk before the Solons scored five runs to tie the game, 9-9. The Ol' Buzzards responded with four runs to regain the lead in the bottom half of the inning. Surf Dawg led-off with a flare to right for a single on the first pitch. Cookie surprised the infield with a 2-1 count bunt for a base hit. Up next, Salmo slapped a single through the left side to load the bases. Youngin' then hit a squibber, off the end of the bat, toward first for an RBI ground-out sending Bull Dog home on the play. Batting next, Welzy singled to left to score Cookie and put Buzzards on the corners. Taylor then took second base, putting both runners in scoring position, before Wookie drove a 2-2 pitch through the drawn-in infield for a two-run single scoring Salmo and Welzy. The score after seven innings was Buzzards 13 and Solons 9. In the eighth dig, the Gold Country gang scored three more to take a 16-9 lead. Jackson started it off with a deep-deep double to left field. Von Zboray singled up the middle putting runners at first and third. Keatley then blasted an 0-1 pitch for a two-run double to deep center field to score CJ from third and the Baron all-the-way from first base with good hustle, huffing and puffing, while rounding third base. Up next, Mc Cabe singled to center to score TK from second base for the last run of the game and the 2013 regular season for the Ol' Buzzards. The Solons scored once more in their last at-bats in the top of the ninth, on four base hits, to make the final score 16-10, Buzzards. The game was tighter than anticipated and it ran for a little more than three hours. Evy and Welzy had to leave the game at the end of the seventh inning, as they turned into Pumpkins, no ... umm, Pirates an hour later. Pete was able to stay behind for this game. The Ol' Buzzards finished the regular season with a 13-5 record. Shortly after the game was over, the team got the word that the Miners had defeated the Reds at C-Bar-C Park to push the Reds into second place with a 12-6 record. There were high-fives all around with cold beers in hand to celebrate. Wookie had an especially big smile on his face. After trailing the Reds all season, starting with the 2-1 loss on opening day to them, the Buzzards finally passed the Reds on the last day of the season to move into first place and the number one seed in the NABA playoffs. Congrats to everyone. Another good day to be a Buzzard. The Solons are a good hitting team (18 hits) and the mound was an uneven, worn bump with a deep hole for the landing spot, making it tough on the hurlers. Big Mac faced 34 batters and threw 109 pitches (70 strikes & 39 balls) in six plus innings of work. The Solons scored seven runs (five earned) on nine hits with three walks and three hit batters against Mike. Mc Cabe struck-out three. Surf Dawg threw the last three frames and faced 18 batters in throwing 60 pitches (34 strikes & 26 balls). Novotny (3-1) got the win and gave up three runs on nine hits with two walks and one strikeout. The Buzzard offense was strong with 23 hits including four extra-base hits. The hit club for the game includes: the Baron-1, Big Mac-1, CJ-3, Cookie-1, Evy-2, Salmo-3, Surf Dawg-2, TK-4, Welzy-3, Wookie-2 and Youngin'-1. Salmo and CJ were 3 for 3, while TK was 4 for 4. A good day with the bats. The always important RBIs were knocked in by: Charles-2, Dan-2, Dave-2, Mike-2, Paul-2, Taylor-3, and Tom-3. The runs were scored in the book by: the Baron-2, CJ-2, Cookie-2, Evy-1, Salmo-3, Surf Dawg-2, TK-1, Welzy-2 and Wookie-1. With courtesy runners, one of Salmo's runs was scored by Welzy and Bull Dog ran the bases and crossed the plate, both times, for Surf Dawg. The three eagle-eyed Buzzards walking to first base for some offense without using a bat were: CJ, Cookie and Wook. And base thievery was successfully used by: Evy-1, Wookie-2 and Welzy with four. The Solons defense stopped Buzzard rallies with four double-plays to end the 4th, 5th, 7th and 8th innings, while the Buzzards managed to get one double-play in the fifth. The Buzzards' defense was good with some dazzling plays to get outs. Evy showed off his fabulous glove work four times at third base with rocket shots and tough hops, all scooped up and all for tough outs. In the eighth inning after a single put two runners on with two outs, Cookie, playing second base, got the throw from the outfield. Without calling timeout, Steve walked over to Gregg near the mound and pretended to put the ball into his glove. Surf Dawg then slowly bent over and rubbed his ankle, while Cookie walked over to Wookie playing shortstop and standing near the bag. After a quick pep-talk with his throwing-arm around Wook's shoulders, Cookie went behind second base. With Surf Dawg still on the grass and moving toward the mound, the runner took a couple of steps off of the bag. Steve slapped the tag on the surprised runner, and the surprised umpire called him out for an inning ending, defensive gem, play of the day. In the top of the ninth inning, Surf Dawg picked-off the runner trying to steal third base, at third base, in a nice heads-up play. The Solons argued, balk, that a pitcher can't throw to an unoccupied base from the rubber, even though the runner was heading there. The Baron, playing third, got the ball just before the charging and standing-up runner, big John Hagen, arrived. The same guy that robbed the Baron three times during the game at the hot-corner was now dancing in the third base area trying to avoid Pete's tag and get to the bag. The Baron Von Zboray danced the pirouette just for a moment, then bull-rushed the dude and performed the body-bounce tag for the out. There were just three outfield fly-ball outs in the game and four infield pop-ups for outs. The infield was busy with 12 ground balls for assisted put-outs plus two unassisted outs. With five strikeouts and one hidden ball trick, that was the defense that defeated the Solons. Another good Buzzard victory, especially after the Solons caught up in the seventh inning with five runs. Good job. The playoffs are now next. Buzzard Note #1: Since the Buzzards are seeded number one for the playoffs, the first round game against the Solons will now be played at James Field on September 8th at 2 o'clock. Buzzard Note #2: The championship game is still scheduled for September 15th at 2 o'clock at Playfields Park in Davis. Buzzard Note #3: Diane took 53 photos of mostly swinging Buzzards during the Red Sox game on August 18th. Those are available at: wukmir.com/photos/ Buzzard Note #4: The web site shows the team batting average at the end of the season is an awesome .407. Other team and individual stats are at: eteamz.com/gcbuzzards/ Buzzard Note #5: In the Aug 26th issue of Sports Illustrated there is a six-page article entitled, The Swing. It is an article about the current 'best swing' in baseball, Chris 'Crush' Davis of the Orioles. The six-page story is about Davis' swing, but it also has a couple of interesting tid-bits about hitting a baseball. Like, a 90-mph fastball will get to home plate in 400 milliseconds, but the eye needs 200 of those to see the ball, send the image to the brain and process its speed, spin and location. The swing takes about 150 milliseconds - literally, the blink of an eye. That leaves 50 scant milliseconds to decide whether to swing and, if so, on what path. The goal is to connect a 2¼-inch-diameter bat barrel squarely with a three-inch-diameter baseball - without actually being able to see the ball right before contact. The eye can't follow an object moving that fast that close, so a hitter cannot track the pitch in its last five feet before it reaches the plate. The batter loses sight of the baseball just when the pitcher wants the pitch to break off its path. So, a 60+ mph NABA pitch in perspective gives you nearly 550 milli-seconds to make that swing count. That does sound hard and fun.

Saturday, August 17

Gold Country Ol' Buzzards Game Report #15

Game: August 4, 2013

Buzzards beat-up Yankees, 15-0

The Buzzards were on the road to face the last-place Yankees at C-Bar-C Park. For an August afternoon in Citrus Heights, the temperature was a mild 90° and great for a ball game. So nice in fact, that four of the Ol' Buzzards were playing in their second game of the day.

The MSBL Auburn Pirates had a 10 o'clock (full-nine inning) game in Woodland earlier. The Buzzards were very short-handed due to a heavy early-August vacation impact, plus two more on the DL for recent old man-type surgeries, that made eight-players unavailable. Leaving only eight players for the game, Mike Baker thankfully joined the other regular Pirates - that turn into Buzzards - and filled-in at first base to give the Gold Country 55+ team nine players for the game.

Dean Perkins showed up in shorts to visit for a few innings and coached third base early in the game. Deano showed off the scars on the left arm and the increased range of motion, plus he's getting closer to having a straight arm, again.

The Yankees starting pitcher was the hard throwing southpaw, Tom 'Fazzie' De Fazio #17. On the mound for the Buzzards was the harder throwing righty, Taylor 'Welzy' Welz #26. The Buzzards were the home team on the schedule, so the game started with Welzy on the hill.

The Yankee leadoff batter, radio personality and featured editorial columnist in the Sacramento Bee, Bruce 'Bronx' Maiman #14, opened the game with a full-count walk. Welzy then struck-out two of the next three batters. Bronx stole second base during the first K, and after hopping around the base path toward third base for the rest of the inning, that was the furthest a Yank would tread for the rest of the game.

The Buzzards took the lead with three runs in the bottom half of the first inning. With one out, Dan 'Wookie' Wukmir walked on six pitches. Dave 'Evy' Everingham was batting next when Wookie attempted to steal second on the 0-1 pitch. Fazzie has a good move to first and threw over as Wook was taking off for second. An uh! oh! was followed by good speed and a hard slide into the bag to barely beat the throw from first for a steal, the hard and semi-lucky way. Evy then singled to left-field driving in Wook with the first run. Evy stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch before Baker walked with two outs. On ball four, the throw deflected off of the catcher's glove for a passed ball that scored Evy hustling in from third.

Up next, Kelly 'Cagey' Garcia smashed a 2-0 fastball down the middle of the third base chock line for a hit that was knocked down by the third baseman preventing an extra base hit, but putting Buzzards at first and second. Norm 'Burner' Tucker walked on seven pitches to load 'em up for Steve 'Cookie' Cook. Cookie took a full-count walk to force in Bake with the third run.

In the second inning, the Buzzards scored one run. Welzy started the inning off with an infield hit to the left-side. Welzy stole second on the first pitch and advanced to third on Wookie's infield hit. Wook took the bag at second standing up with Evy at the plate. Taylor then scored on a passed ball to Dave for the only run of the inning and a score of 4-zip, Buzzards.

The Gold Country Nine scored twice in the third frame. With one out, Burner singled sharply to center-field. Kelly ran for the catcher, Norm. One out later, Cagey was at third base on a couple of wild pitches. Batting next, Paul 'Youngin' Lee on a seven-pitch at-bat bounced a high chopper with lots of top spin over the head of the shortstop for a base hit to score Cagey. Welzy followed with a blast to deep right-center field for a triple with Youngin' scoring on the hit from first base. The score after the third dig was 6-0.

There were opportunities for more runs, but the Yankees made several good plays plus the routine plays to hold the Buzzards to six runs, so far. At the four inning point, Welzy was still mowing down Yanks and had given up only one hit and two walks. The Buzzards were looking for a big inning to go up by 10 runs and make this a seven inning mercy-rule game. The bottom of the fourth was that inning.

Evy led-off with a double to left-center. With one out, Bake doubled over the center fielder's head to drive in Evy. One out later, Burner, hit a 1-2 pitch deep to left-center for a long single to easily score a hustlin' Bake. Cagey replaced Burner at first. Cookie walked next putting runners at first and second. Youngin then laced the second pitch into left and scored KG from second. Welzy, batting next, launched a 3-0 fastball down the left field line for a double that scored Cookie and Youngin' to make the score 11 to nothing and headed into the fifth.

The Buzzards scored for the fifth consecutive inning with four more runs in the fifth frame. Sounding by now like a broken record, Evy led-off with a double, this time to right-center field. Pete 'Baron' Von Zboray got an infield hit on that big swing putting runners on the corners. Up next, Baker slammed a liner to left-center to score Everingham. Garcia then dropped a single into left-field to score the Baron. Burner, batting next, doubled-in Bake with a sizzling liner to center that skipped over and past the semi-diving outfielder, Bronx. Bruce Maiman was much quieter in the outfield after chasing that ball. Wook then ran for Tuck at second base.

Buzzards were now at second and third with no outs. Cookie bounced into the first out with a run-scoring grounder getting Cagey home from third. Next, Paul's baggy? jersey was hit by a pitch to put two runners on, but the dig ended with a strange double-play. Cagey had replaced Wookie at second with Dan on-deck. With one out and runners at first and second, Welzy hit a short pop-up into short left-center field for a tough catch with their shortstop playing toward third base. The shortstop made a good effort, but the ball landed safely on the grass, so Cagey ran for third without tagging-up at second base.

On the play, the field ump called a late and not loud enough infield-fly rule. Since the batter was now out, as if there was a catch, the shortstop threw to second for an easy force-out and double-play while Kelly was at third base. Oh well. After five innings, the score was 15-0

Buzzards and the team was looking forward to early cold ones. Welzy continued to take down Yankees with strike-outs and ground-outs through the last two innings. The Buzzards finally went quietly in the bottom of the sixth inning with righty, big Jim 'Drama' McAdams #26 throwing his slow stuff since relieving Fazzie during the fifth frame for the damned Yankees. The final score was 15-0 in a seven-inning game played in 2 hours and 10 minutes.

On the mound, Taylor was dominate and struck out 10 Yanks. Welzy (2-1) faced 25 batters in throwing 96 pitches (64 strikes & 32 balls) while giving up just two hits and two walks. The excellent complete game shutout lowered Welzy's ERA to 1.21 with his seventh appearance on the bump for the Buzzards this season.

The Buzzards' offense scored 15 runs by knocking 18 hits around the field with six for extra bases on a productive afternoon. The hit club for the game included: the Baron-2, Bake-2, Burner-3, Cagey-2, Evy-3, Welzy-3, Wook-1, and Youngin'-2. The ribbies were courtesy of Dave-1, Kelly-1, Mike-2, Norm-2, Paul-2, Steve-2, and Taylor-3. The eagle-eyed Buzzards taking a free pass to first base were: Bake-1, Burner-1, Cookie-2, Evy-1, and Wookie-1. Every Buzzard crossed home plate. In batting order the runs were accounted to: Welzy-1, Wook-1, Evy-3, Baron-1, Bake-3, Cagey-1, Burner-2, Cookie-1, and Youngin-2. Scoring in five consecutive innings is always good.

The defense was solid and made good plays all game. The scorebook looked peculiar with 20 of the 21 put-outs made by Bake (11) at first base or the catcher, Burner (9). Pete made the only other put-out in center field on a fly ball in the first inning. The catcher, Tucker, got the put-outs credit for nine of the 10 strike 'em outs by Welzy.

On the other one, in the third inning the batter swung at a third-strike in the dirt and Burner cleanly scooped up the pitch, did not need to tag the batter, then after a double-clutch threw to third base to start the infield throw-around for the second out of the inning. However, because the ball was in the dirt and there was no tag, it was not clear to the umps or the hitter, if the batter could try to advance to first after the strike-out. On the double-pump, the Yankee batter moved down the line slyly with his bat and began to run as the ball was in the air from Burner to Wookie playing third base. On the catch, Wook immediately threw strongly across the diamond to nail the runner by a quarter-step for an unusual 2-5-3 put-out call by the umps.

An after-inning inquiry with the umpiring crew of Paul and Paul concluded that tagging the batter was not necessary because the ball was scooped and held by Norm after the batter swung. The play more regularly seen is the catcher dropping the ball after a swinging third-strike in the dirt followed by a tag or throw to first base to register the out.

It was a good win on a nice day. The only team problem was Paul pulled a quad muscle in the left leg during his fourth inning hit down the left field line. After rounding first base and looking for two, it grabbed him. Youngin' had to gimp around the outfield and on the base path for the remainder of the game.

The Buzzards' record is now 10-5 with three more regular season games remaining. More players are due back from vacations starting this week, so a player shortage should not be a problem.

Buzzard Note #1: The next game is August 11th at 2 pm at James Field versus the Gold Country Miners. This is the annual Buzzards' Radio Game on KAHI. The live radio broadcasted game on 950AM 'Voice of the Foothills' is a special game that the family is encouraged to attend. A bbq after the game for the teams and families will be in the picnic area. More info to come and a head-count will be requested later in the week to make sure we have enough food and drink.

Buzzard Note #2: Send the bios to Wook this week. The advertising info for any radio commercial needs to be submitted soonest. Dave Rosenthal, the afternoon radio guy for KAHI, will be the play-by-play announcer. We are following the Oakland A's morning game in Toronto against the Blue Jays. We have experienced an Athletics' east coast game with a rain delay in the past that delayed our start time, but this year their game is in a domed stadium, so no worries mate about a time delay.

Buzzard Note #3: The three remaining regular season games are scheduled at: Home - Aug 11 at 2 pm at James Field vs. Miners Home - Aug 18 at 2 pm at James Field vs. Red Sox Away - Aug 25 at 10 am in Galt vs. Solons Labor Day Holiday - September 1 - No Game Playoffs: Sep 8 at 2 pm in Davis vs. Astros Championship: Sep 15 in Davis with time and opponent TBD

 



Sunday, August 11

Gold Country Ol' Buzzards Game Report #16

Game: August 11, 2013

Buzzards top Miners on the air waves, 9-4

The Gold Country Buzzards circled-in on James Field to play the annual radio game. This year the Buzzards (10-5) were battling the Gold Country Miners (11-4) with Auburn radio station, KAHI, broadcasting the game live over the 950AM air waves and on the world-wide web streaming live via kahi.com. The Gold Country game followed the Oakland A's broadcast on the station. The 55+ Ol' Buzzards had been shut-out earlier in the year by the 45+ Miners 10-0 in mid-May at Antelope High, so the task was large, to win the radio game.

The Buzzards have played seven radio broadcasted games and have not lost yet. So with many of the wives, girl friends and family watching and listening, there was extra pressure to win again. The day was excellent weather-wise with temps in the mid-80's and a little breeze. At 2 o' clock KAHI went live from James Field and the game began a few minutes later.

On the mound for the Miners was the hard throwing lanky, right-hander, Tony 'just 50' Madrigal #4. The home team Buzzards sent tough righty, Mike 'Big Mac' McCabe #15 (61 in June) to the hill to open the game.

The Miners are a good hitting team and showed it by threatening to score in the first three innings, but clutch defensive plays prevented any scores. After the leadoff batter got on via a controversial play (bad call) at first base, he was picked-off by a quick move by Big Mac and a strong tag by Pete 'Baron' Von Zboray at first. The next batter doubled and an out later was followed by a short single. No runs scored when the inning ended on a (6-3) ground-out.

In the second inning with a runner on, a sure double was turned into a fabulous out with a jaw-dropping, over the shoulder catch by Barry 'Crush' Forman in left field. Crush took a tough angle on the deep fly ball and was looking into the sun on the run toward the fence in left-center field as the ball sailed over his head, Barry then reached out with his back to home plate and made the 'wow' basket catch.

  In the third dig with runners at second and third and two outs, the pull-hitter went opposite field with a sinking-fast blooper into short right field. Paul 'Youngin' Lee raced in from medium right and went into a slide to catch the ball on his chest with both hands and hung onto the ball for the inning ending 'wow' out. Again, no Miner scored.

The Buzzards were able to jump on the scoreboard in their first at-bats. Taylor 'Welzy' Welz led-off with a bouncer up the middle for a base hit and advanced to second on a passed ball by the catcher. Welzy moved to third on an infield out and scored on a ground-out by Dave 'Evy' Everingham.

In the third inning the Buzzards scored again, this time with a crooked number. Steve 'Cookie' Cook started it off with an eight-pitch walk after fouling-off several tough pitches. Cookie moved to second on a wild pitch. Up next, Rick 'Salmo' Salmeri slammed a full-count pitch on a line to deep left field for the only Buzzard double of the day and scored Cookie. Salmo received a cortisone shot in his throwing arm last week, but the way that ball jumped off the bat did look like a PED hit. One out later, Welzy singled through the infield sending Salmo across home plate. Surprise - not, Welzy then stole second. With two outs, Evy knocked his patented base hit to right field and Welzy scored for a 4-zip lead after three innings.

The Miners fought back and scored four runs in the top of the fifth inning to tie the game up. In the inning, a leadoff double by Madrigal, a ground-out, a run-scoring single by Alton Cooper, a walk then a double by Wes Boulware down the left field line scored two more. Wes moved to third on a dropped third-strike play with a catcher throw-down to first (2-3) for the second out of the dig. Wes scored later on a wild pick-off throw from catcher to third base.

The next batter, Johnny 'Speedy' Vlassopoulous, the catcher, took first via a base on balls. Johnny V then tried to steal second base, but catcher Norm 'Burner' Tucker would have none of that. On the play, Johnny V got a good jump despite Big Mac throwing over several times to hold him closer to first. Speedy went diving back two times to the bag, so he was anxious to steal and showing it. The strong throw by Burner was right on the bag for Dan 'Wookie' Wukmir, playing second, to apply the tag on the head-first slide to end the inning. Later, speedy Johnny revealed that he had not been thrown-out stealing for the over six years of playing lots of men's baseball including World Series tournaments in Phoenix. That information made Norm's day, and maybe season, and added to the defensive gems of the game.

The Miners changed pitchers late in the fourth inning and the tough lefty Mike 'High Kick' Vargas #11 got through that frame and the next two with no Buzzard runs scored. The Buzzies went down in order in the fifth and sixth. Tom 'TK' Keatley started it off in the seventh with an infield hit. Big Mac, batting next, hit a 1-0 pitch hard up the middle. The hot one-hopper aimed at his belt buckle, hit off of the pitcher's glove and knocked him in the nuts (without a cup) and sent him and the ball to the ground. Vargas scrambled for the ball and from his knees, next to the mound, threw high to second base and everyone was safe. Mike then took a while before proceeding to the mound. At the time, the Buzzards thought the ball had hit High Kick in the belt area because he was acting like the ball hit him somewhere. He did not look comfortable pitching and left the game three batters later. Kelly 'Cagey' Garcia ran for Big Mac at first.

Up next, Burner hit a line-drive single to left on the first pitch to load the bases. The Baron ran for the Burner. The next two batters walked, Cookie and Salmo, on five pitches each to force in TK and KG with the go ahead runs. The Miners then brought in Bret 'Red' McCourt #17 from shortstop to relieve Vargas. Mike revealed after the game that he was hit pretty good in that bad place and it did bother him, hence the walks. After one out, Welzy singled to left to drive in Pete with the last run of the inning. The score after seven full innings was 7-4 Buzzards and the clock was ticking with about 20 minutes left. A nice three-run rally late in the game to take the lead is always a good thing.

The Miners got a couple of hits, but no runs in the top of the eighth. In their half of the inning, the Buzzards scored two more runs to burn up the clock before the game ended at the three hour mark. With one out, the Baron started it off with a sharp single to left field. Cagey then lined a single to left before TK singled up the middle to load up the bases. McCabe, batting next, knocked in two runs with a sharp single to left. Before Tucker could get in the batter's box, the umps called the game with the final score Buzzards 9 and the Miners 4. The radio station was caught by surprise and the announcer, Dave Rosenthal, quickly explained the time limit to the radio audience as the players shook hands after the game. An outstanding game by the Ol' Buzzards.

Buzzard pitching was excellent and one of the keys to the victory. Big Mac threw the entire eight-inning game. Welzy was warming up for the ninth, but it was not necessary. McCabe faced 39 Miners and threw 127 pitches (78 strikes & 49 balls) in giving up four runs (three earned) on 13 hits with two walks and five strike 'em outs. The Miners left 12 runners on base in the eight frames.

The Buzzard offense was up to the challenge in facing tough young pitchers. The Big O had 16 hits with eight walks. The hit club for the game included: the Baron-2, Big Mac-2, Bull Dog-1, Burner-1, Cookie-1, Evy-1, KG-1, Salmo-1, TK-3, Welzy-2, and Wookie-1. Those important RBI's were knocked in by: Big Mac-2, Cookie-1, Evy-2, Salmo-2 and Welzy-2. The scored runs were accounted to: Big Mac-1, Burner-1, Cookie-1, KG-1, Salmo-1, TK-2, and Welzy-2. The eagle-eyed Ol' Buzzards getting on base via walks without walkers included: the Baron-1, Burner-1, Cookie-2, Crush-2, and Salmo-2. A nice offensive production against the Miners.

The defensive gems were also key to the win. Other plays not mentioned so far were Welzy's jumping snag at shortstop of a high screaming line drive, with white ball showing on the catch, for the first out of the sixth inning. In the seventh frame with the score knotted at four and with the bases loaded from three consecutive singles and no outs and the infield playing up on the grass, Welzy tracked down a little looper near the left field line for the first big out. The next play was another lopper into shallow left field that Taylor had a longer run and made a spectacular running catch for two 'wow' plays in a row. Those were very difficult catches especially with the infield drawn in. Big Mac struck out the next batter for no runs scored. The Buzzards then took the lead for good in their half of that inning.

In the eighth dig with Miners at first and second, a sharp bouncer was hit up the middle that appeared would easily get through to score a run, when Cookie, not giving up on the play, hustled to deep behind second base and with outstanding back-hand glove work, snagged the grounder and flipped to Welzy covering the bag for the inning-ending force-out and again no Miner runs scored. Players and fans said 'wow' a lot during the game, too bad this wasn't a televised game.

There were three fly ball outs, all nice plays including Cagey's catch in center in the sixth. There were lots of ground ball outs with 11 put-outs by Pete at first and one by Mike covering the bag on a grounder to Pete in the fifth. Good D and the good pitching all game long made it tough for the Miners to score.

After the game over 40 players, family and friends got together in the picnic area for the catered barbecue meal from the fairly new barbecue restaurant in Auburn, Bam Dazy. The ribs, brisket and potato salad were especially awesome. Family and friends, cold drinks, good food and a nice baseball victory made for a really good day to be a Buzzard.

Buzzard Note #1: Thanks to the sponsors for buying radio time for advertisements. It made the radio game and festivities possible. Thanks to: Back to the Drawing Board (Barry), Felipe's Mexican Restaurants (Paul), Keys Plus (Pete), Mount Pleasant Farm and Gardens (Gregg), RAH Environmental (Ray), RE/MAX Gold (Kelly), Vintage and Pioneer Clothing (Pete & Dan), Welz Financial Services (Taylor) and NABA.

Buzzard Note #2: Just two games left in the regular season. The next game, August 18th, is the last home game of the year. The Buzzards play the Red Sox at 2 pm at James Field. The following Sunday, August 25th, the team has a 10 am game in Galt against the Solons. The playoffs are on September 8th at 2 pm and the 15th. Mark those calendars.



Sunday, August 4

Gold Country Ol' Buzzards Game Report #15

Game: August 4, 2013

Buzzards beat-up Yankees, 15-0

The Buzzards were on the road to face the last-place Yankees at C-Bar-C Park. For an August afternoon in Citrus Heights, the temperature was a mild 90° and great for a ball game. So nice in fact, that four of the Ol' Buzzards were playing in their second game of the day. The MSBL Auburn Pirates had a 10 o'clock (full-nine inning) game in Woodland earlier.

The Buzzards were very short-handed due to a heavy early-August vacation impact, plus two more on the DL for recent old man-type surgeries, that made eight-players unavailable. Leaving only eight players for the game, Mike Baker thankfully joined the other regular Pirates - that turn into Buzzards - and filled-in at first base to give the Gold Country 55+ team nine players for the game.

Dean Perkins showed up in shorts to visit for a few innings and coached third base early in the game. Deano showed off the scars on the left arm and the increased range of motion, plus he's getting closer to having a straight arm, again.

The Yankees starting pitcher was the hard throwing southpaw, Tom 'Fazzie' De Fazio #17. On the mound for the Buzzards was the harder throwing righty, Taylor 'Welzy' Welz #26. The Buzzards were the home team on the schedule, so the game started with Welzy on the hill.

The Yankee leadoff batter, radio personality and featured editorial columnist in the Sacramento Bee, Bruce 'Bronx' Maiman #14, opened the game with a full-count walk. Welzy then struck-out two of the next three batters. Bronx stole second base during the first K, and after hopping around the base path toward third base for the rest of the inning, that was the furthest a Yank would tread for the rest of the game.

The Buzzards took the lead with three runs in the bottom half of the first inning. With one out, Dan 'Wookie' Wukmir walked on six pitches. Dave 'Evy' Everingham was batting next when Wookie attempted to steal second on the 0-1 pitch. Fazzie has a good move to first and threw over as Wook was taking off for second. An uh! oh! was followed by good speed and a hard slide into the bag to barely beat the throw from first for a steal, the hard and semi-lucky way.

Evy then singled to left-field driving in Wook with the first run. Evy stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch before Baker walked with two outs. On ball four, the throw deflected off of the catcher's glove for a passed ball that scored Evy hustling in from third. Up next, Kelly 'Cagey' Garcia smashed a 2-0 fastball down the middle of the third base chock line for a hit that was knocked down by the third baseman preventing an extra base hit, but putting Buzzards at first and second. Norm 'Burner' Tucker walked on seven pitches to load 'em up for Steve 'Cookie' Cook. Cookie took a full-count walk to force in Bake with the third run.

In the second inning, the Buzzards scored one run. Welzy started the inning off with an infield hit to the left-side. Welzy stole second on the first pitch and advanced to third on Wookie's infield hit. Wook took the bag at second standing up with Evy at the plate. Taylor then scored on a passed ball to Dave for the only run of the inning and a score of 4-zip, Buzzards.

The Gold Country Nine scored twice in the third frame. With one out, Burner singled sharply to center-field. Kelly ran for the catcher, Norm. One out later, Cagey was at third base on a couple of wild pitches. Batting next, Paul 'Youngin' Lee on a seven-pitch at-bat bounced a high chopper with lots of top spin over the head of the shortstop for a base hit to score Cagey. Welzy followed with a blast to deep right-center field for a triple with Youngin' scoring on the hit from first base. The score after the third dig was 6-0. There were opportunities for more runs, but the Yankees made several good plays plus the routine plays to hold the Buzzards to six runs, so far.

At the four inning point, Welzy was still mowing down Yanks and had given up only one hit and two walks. The Buzzards were looking for a big inning to go up by 10 runs and make this a seven inning mercy-rule game. The bottom of the fourth was that inning.

Evy led-off with a double to left-center. With one out, Bake doubled over the center fielder's head to drive in Evy. One out later, Burner, hit a 1-2 pitch deep to left-center for a long single to easily score a hustlin' Bake. Cagey replaced Burner at first. Cookie walked next putting runners at first and second. Youngin then laced the second pitch into left and scored KG from second. Welzy, batting next, launched a 3-0 fastball down the left field line for a double that scored Cookie and Youngin' to make the score 11 to nothing and headed into the fifth.

The Buzzards scored for the fifth consecutive inning with four more runs in the fifth frame. Sounding by now like a broken record, Evy led-off with a double, this time to right-center field. Pete 'Baron' Von Zboray got an infield hit on that big swing putting runners on the corners. Up next, Baker slammed a liner to left-center to score Everingham. Garcia then dropped a single into left-field to score the Baron. Burner, batting next, doubled-in Bake with a sizzling liner to center that skipped over and past the semi-diving outfielder, Bronx. Bruce Maiman was much quieter in the outfield after chasing that ball. Wook then ran for Tuck at second base.

Buzzards were now at second and third with no outs. Cookie bounced into the first out with a run-scoring grounder getting Cagey home from third. Next, Paul's baggy? jersey was hit by a pitch to put two runners on, but the dig ended with a strange double-play. Cagey had replaced Wookie at second with Dan on-deck.

With one out and runners at first and second, Welzy hit a short pop-up into short left-center field for a tough catch with their shortstop playing toward third base. The shortstop made a good effort, but the ball landed safely on the grass, so Cagey ran for third without tagging-up at second base. On the play, the field ump called a late and not loud enough infield-fly rule. Since the batter was now out, as if there was a catch, the shortstop threw to second for an easy force-out and double-play while Kelly was at third base. Oh well. After five innings, the score was 15-0 Buzzards and the team was looking forward to early cold ones.

Welzy continued to take down Yankees with strike-outs and ground-outs through the last two innings. The Buzzards finally went quietly in the bottom of the sixth inning with righty, big Jim 'Drama' McAdams #26 throwing his slow stuff since relieving Fazzie during the fifth frame for the damned Yankees. The final score was 15-0 in a seven-inning game played in 2 hours and 10 minutes.

On the mound, Taylor was dominate and struck out 10 Yanks. Welzy (2-1) faced 25 batters in throwing 96 pitches (64 strikes & 32 balls) while giving up just two hits and two walks. The excellent complete game shutout lowered Welzy's ERA to 1.21 with his seventh appearance on the bump for the Buzzards this season.

The Buzzards' offense scored 15 runs by knocking 18 hits around the field with six for extra bases on a productive afternoon. The hit club for the game included: the Baron-2, Bake-2, Burner-3, Cagey-2, Evy-3, Welzy-3, Wook-1, and Youngin'-2. The ribbies were courtesy of Dave-1, Kelly-1, Mike-2, Norm-2, Paul-2, Steve-2, and Taylor-3. The eagle-eyed Buzzards taking a free pass to first base were: Bake-1, Burner-1, Cookie-2, Evy-1, and Wookie-1. Every Buzzard crossed home plate. In batting order the runs were accounted to: Welzy-1, Wook-1, Evy-3, Baron-1, Bake-3, Cagey-1, Burner-2, Cookie-1, and Youngin-2. Scoring in five consecutive innings is always good.

The defense was solid and made good plays all game. The scorebook looked peculiar with 20 of the 21 put-outs made by Bake (11) at first base or the catcher, Burner (9). Pete made the only other put-out in center field on a fly ball in the first inning. The catcher, Tucker, got the put-outs credit for nine of the 10 strike 'em outs by Welzy. On the other one, in the third inning the batter swung at a third-strike in the dirt and Burner cleanly scooped up the pitch, did not need to tag the batter, then after a double-clutch threw to third base to start the infield throw-around for the second out of the inning.

However, because the ball was in the dirt and there was no tag, it was not clear to the umps or the hitter, if the batter could try to advance to first after the strike-out. On the double-pump, the Yankee batter moved down the line slyly with his bat and began to run as the ball was in the air from Burner to Wookie playing third base. On the catch, Wook immediately threw strongly across the diamond to nail the runner by a quarter-step for an unusual 2-5-3 put-out call by the umps.

An after-inning inquiry with the umpiring crew of Paul and Paul concluded that tagging the batter was not necessary because the ball was scooped and held by Norm after the batter swung. The play more regularly seen is the catcher dropping the ball after a swinging third-strike in the dirt followed by a tag or throw to first base to register the out.

It was a good win on a nice day. The only team problem was Paul pulled a quad muscle in the left leg during his fourth inning hit down the left field line. After rounding first base and looking for two, it grabbed him. Youngin' had to gimp around the outfield and on the base path for the remainder of the game.

The Buzzards' record is now 10-5 with three more regular season games remaining. More players are due back from vacations starting this week, so a player shortage should not be a problem.

Buzzard Note #1: The next game is August 11th at 2 pm at James Field versus the Gold Country Miners. This is the annual Buzzards' Radio Game on KAHI. The live radio broadcasted game on 950AM 'Voice of the Foothills' is a special game that the family is encouraged to attend. A bbq after the game for the teams and families will be in the picnic area. More info to come and a head-count will be requested later in the week to make sure we have enough food and drink.

Buzzard Note #2: Send the bios to Wook this week. The advertising info for any radio commercial needs to be submitted soonest. Dave Rosenthal, the afternoon radio guy for KAHI, will be the play-by-play announcer. We are following the Oakland A's morning game in Toronto against the Blue Jays. We have experienced an Athletics' east coast game with a rain delay in the past that delayed our start time, but this year their game is in a domed stadium, so no worries mate about a time delay.

Buzzard Note #3: The three remaining regular season games are scheduled at: Home - Aug 11 at 2 pm at James Field vs. Miners Home - Aug 18 at 2 pm at James Field vs. Red Sox Away - Aug 25 at 10 am in Galt vs. Solons Labor Day Holiday - September 1 - No Game Playoffs: Sep 8 at 2 pm in Davis vs. TBD and Championship: Sep 15 in Davis with time and opponent TBD



Sunday, July 28

Gold Country Ol' Buzzards Game Report #14

Game: July 28, 2013

Buzzards upset by Astros in shocker, 12-8

The Ol' Buzzards were at home at James Field for the game against another playoff-bound team in the 55+ division, the Astros. On a nice summer afternoon with temps in the low 90s, the league commissioner's team, managed by Barry Spiller, arrived extra early for the contest between the second and third place teams in the division.

This was the third and final regular season game between the teams. The Buzzards have beat-up the Astros twice this season, 28-14 in April at C-Bar-C Park and 12-2 in June in Galt.

The Astros sent the righty with the rubber arm, Henry 'Fire Plug' Torrez #26 to the mound. Taking the hill for the Gold Country Buzzards was the tanned, right-hander Gregg 'Surf Dawg' Novotny #1.

The Astros opened the game by scoring three runs in the top of the first inning. The early rally started with a single, sacrifice bunt, then the left-fielder fell down trying to make the play on a deep fly for a run-scoring double, a single, sacrifice fly-out, and a run-scoring long double accounted for the quick 3-0 lead.

The second inning started out well with a strike-out and a routine infield grounder (4-3) for two outs. Then eight consecutive Astros got on base with a tough sequence of seeing-eye grounders, short looping hits landing just in front of charging outfielders, and one solid hit for five total hits, plus two walks, and an early infield error made all but one of the runs unearned. The defense just needed one more out for the whole damned inning, and came close several times until finally a good play on a tough grounder at third by Dave 'Evy' Everingham ended the inning.

Before the Buzzards batted for the second time, the score was 9-zip. Fire Plug had the Buzzard batters off-balance early. In the third dig, the Buzzards finally put a notch on the scoreboard. With two outs, David 'Mumbles' Kelley singled sharply to left-field. Paul 'Youngin' Lee ran for Mumbles at first. Paul promptly stole second base. Batting next, Steve 'Cookie' Cook slapped a bouncer to the second baseman. The throw was rushed, with the speedy Cookie leaving a vapor trail down the base path, and in the dirt and past the first baseman for an error. Youngin' hustled from second base and scored on the play.

The Buzzards changed pitchers in the third inning bringing in Mike 'Big Mac' McCabe #15 over from first base. Mike threw the next seven innings and held the Astros to three runs. The Astros scored those runs in the fourth on the following sequence: K, three singles, K, single, K. The score was now 12-1 Astros.

The Ol' Buzzards were finally getting the rhythm and timing down for Torrez's mix of pitches. The Gold Country boys scored in the next four innings to tighten the gap starting with one run in the fifth dig. With one out, Big Mac got on base via an infield error. Mike was replaced at first by Tom 'TK' Keatley. TK then stole second base. One out later, Youngin' doubled to left-field to score Tom to make the score 12-2 after five.

In the sixth, the orange and black added two more runs. Cookie led-off the inning with a base-on-balls, After a fielder's choice play, Taylor 'Welzy' Welz was on first with one out. Welzy stole second before Dan 'Wookie' Wukmir laced a liner to right-field for a hit that scored Taylor. Wookie then stole second on a close play. Up next, Dave 'Evy' Everingham singled to short right putting runners at the corners. But not for long as Evy stole the second base bag on the next pitch. Batting next, Pete 'Baron' Von Zboray knocked in Wookie with a grounder to the left side for the second run. The score after six innings was Astros 12 - Buzzards 4 and closing.

The Buzzies scored another run in the seventh. TK opened the inning with a line-drive single to left and then stole second base on the next pitch. Tom moved to third on a ground-out. Up next, Norm 'Burner' Tucker knocked in Keatley with a ground-out to the left side. 12-5 after seven.

In the eighth inning the Buzzards put three runs in the scorebook to continue to draw closer, but the time and innings remaining were getting very short. Mumbles started it off with a lead-off walk. Paul ran for David. Youngin' was then called out at second base on a close play trying to steal. From the dugout he clearly was safe as the tag was applied at the waist after the slide. To hurt more, Cookie then singled to left-field.

One out later, Wookie walked on a full-count. Evy then lashed a single to right-center putting Buzzards on the corners. Evy stole second before Pete 'Baron' Von Zboray smashed a 2-2 pitch grounder through the left-side hole for a two-out, two-run single scoring Wook and Evy. The score was now 12-8 with one inning to go and the Buzzies were still looking to pull it off.

In the ninth the Astros brought in a new pitcher, right-hander Tim 'Pudge' Barsetti #44, brother of infielder Jim 'Pudgyer' Barsetti. Pudge's high stuff was getting the strike calls, so it was not going to be easy. Fire Plug Torrez threw 126 pitches in the eight innings before being relieved.

In the bottom of the ninth with one out, Big Mac walked on five pitches. On a full-count, Burner hit a line-drive single to left-center field putting runners at first and second. However, a strike-out and fielder's choice ended the inning and the game at the three-hour mark with the final score 12-8.

Unbelievably, even though we saw it, the Astros beat the Buzzards with pitching, defense and 17 hits. The left-fielder for the Astros saved the game for them with several tremendous catches and battling the sun. His two catches in the seventh with runners on base were key. The first one was a deep smash by Welzy that was sailing over his head.

The fielder, Terry Porter #6, appeared to get twisted up initially but somehow quickly recovered to move back and while looking-back straight into the sun, stuck his glove high and behind himself to make an unbelievable catch. The home plate umpire shook his head and mumbled wow, while the pitcher looked skyward and did the sign of the cross.  Later in the inning, Kelley 'KG' Garcia's screaming liner to left was snatched out of the air by Porter over his head while looking into the sinking sun to end the Buzzard rally way too short.

Buzzard pitching was good enough to win this game, even though the Astros surprised the Buzzards with the louder bats. Surf Dawg threw the first two frames and faced 18 batters while throwing 56 pitches (31 strikes & 25 balls). The Astros scored nine runs (four earned) on nine hits and two walks with one strike-out. Big Mac pitched seven innings and faced 27 batters in throwing 85 pitches (58 strikes & 27 balls). Mike gave up three runs on eight hits with no walks, but one hit batter, and struck out eight Astros.

The Buzzard offense was over-anxious and frustrated most of the afternoon. The Buzzards swung hard and often at what Fire Plug was delivering. He was up to only 97 pitches through seven innings of work and faced 31 hitters (under 14 pitches per inning), until the Buzzards struck for three scores in the long (29 pitch) eighth inning. Still, Torrez faced 37 Buzzards and threw 126 pitches or an average of about 3.5 pitches per Buzzard. There were 25 at-bats with three pitches or less in the game. There were five at-bats with six pitches (the most by any Buzzard). Of those five at-bats, all but one got on base (three walks and a hit).

The Buzzards were out-hit by the Astros(?) 17-9. The hit club for the game included: the Baron-1, Burner-1, Cookie-1, Evy-2, Mumbles-1, TK-1, Wookie-1, and Youngin'-1. The ribbies were knocked in by: the Baron-2, Burner-1, Cookie-1, Evy-1, Wook-1, and Youngin'-1. Five Buzzards did take a base-on-balls: the Baron, Big Mac, Cookie, Mumbles, and Wookie. The eight runs scored were recorded to: Big Mac-1, Cookie-1, Evy-1, Mumbles-1, TK-1, Welzy-1, and Wook-2.

The Buzzards did have the highest pop-ups and the longest fly-outs in the game, but those don't count except in frustrations. Tough day with the bats.

The Buzzard defense made only one error and pulled-off three double-plays. In the third dig, a 4-6-3 from Wookie to Welzy to the Baron ended the inning. In the sixth, a good looking 6-4-3 with Welzy to Cookie to the Baron closed the inning. And in the seventh a come-backer to the pitcher resulted in a 1-6-3, Big Mac to Welzy to the Baron combo.

The hurlers provided nine of the outs with K's. There were five fly ball outs, so the infield had 13 put-outs for a solid defensive game. But there were a high number of hits, just out of reach of fielders, so it just did not feel like a good defensive game, when statistically it was.

The next time the Buzzards face the Astros, it will be in the playoffs. And the next time will be a different result. Beware the Buzzards.



Sunday, July 21

Gold Country Ol' Buzzards Game Report #13

Game: July 21, 2013

Buzzards late come-back downs Reds. 9-6

On a hot afternoon in Auburn with temperatures in the high 90's, the Ol' Buzzards (8-4) circled-in on James Field to take-on the mighty, first-place Reds (9-3). This was the third and final regular season match-up between these two historic NABA rivals. The Reds had won the previous two games against the Buzzards this season, 2-1 on opening day in April in Auburn and 9-2 in June at Antelope.  It was not a must-win game for the Buzzards since the playoffs are assured and the Reds have the tie-breaker for first-place, but the 12 Buzzards at the game, despite the hot sun, were determined to show the Reds that Ol' Buzzards are tough meat and could beat the Reds this season.

The rivalry goes back to 2006 with an upset victory by the then new Ol' Buzzards over the hardly-beaten Red machine, and continued through the seasons with close games and playoffs to include the 45/48+ championship series' in 2009 through 2011. It is likely the Reds and the Buzzards will meet in the 55+ division championship game at the end of this season.

The Reds were the home team on the schedule and started the game with the tricky, right-hander Robert 'Ponytail' Stormont #30. On the hill for the Gold Country Buzzards was the tough, righty Mike 'Big Mac' McCabe #15. Both pitchers are in their 60's and still two of the best in the league.

The Buzzards jumped on the scoreboard first with three runs in the top of the opening frame. The lead-off batter, Taylor 'Welzy' Welz sent an 0-2 pitch on a line into left-field for a single. With one-out and Welzy standing at second via a stolen base, Pete 'Baron' Von Zboray hit a hard bouncer down the third base line for a single scoring Welzy. Batting clean-up, Barry 'Crush' Forman hit a hard grounder to the first baseman wide of the bag. With Barry barreling down the base path, the covering pitcher missed the toss as the players converged on the bag.

Now with two on and one-out, Norm 'Burner' Tucker hit a flare to left-field for a single to load the bases. With one out and the bases full of Buzzards, Tom 'TK' Keatley was coming to the plate. Ponytails' first pitch was ripped by TK to the opposite field for a big hit to right scoring the Baron and Crush. Big Mac then walked to re-load the bases, but a hard hit grounder turned into a well executed double-play, 6-4-3, to end the inning.

The Reds bounced back with three runs of their own in the bottom half of the first to tie the game. After the lead-off batter struck-out, the good hitting Reds got four consecutive hits including a Gilberto Banuelos' #35 double. Both teams scored three runs and had the bases loaded on the last play of the inning.

The Reds took the lead in the second with two runs. A lead-off walk, then a stolen base, a single, a run-scoring ground-out, a seven-pitch walk and a run-scoring single with two outs accounted for the runs.

The Reds added a run in the fifth frame with another double by Gilberto (3-for-3 with 2 runs scored and a walk) to lead-off and was followed by a single and an infield error for the run. The inning included a nice pick-off at first base with runners on the corners and one out.  Big Mac spun quickly and threw a low strike to the Baron at first base to nail the runner for a big out.

The third out was a nice stab at third of a hot grounder going down the line. The back-handed catch of the grounder carried Dan 'Wookie' Wukmir into foul ground and a long way from first base. Wookie's high throw took Pete off of the bag on the close play, but with two big bodies trying to avoid occupying the same space at the same time at first base, the runner clearly missed first base in jumping over bag. The Baron alertly touched the base before the runner got back. The base umpire got confused and declared the runner safe because Pete did not tag the runner when they both rushed back to the bag. A Buzzard manager appeal by Wook and an umpire huddle solved the problem and the fifth dig was over with just the one early run scored. After five innings, the score was Reds 6 and the Buzzards 3.

The Buzzards tightened the gap by scoring a run in the sixth. Barry led-off with a base on balls. One out later, TK singled sharply to left-field putting Buzzards at the corners. Big Mac then smacked a single to left-field scoring Barry from third. The score after six, 6-4 Reds.

In the seventh inning, the Gold Country gang crossed the plate four times to take back the lead, 8-6. Welzy started it off with a perfect, bunt single. T-Welz stole second base before Wookie's infield hit put runners at the corners. Wook stole second before the Baron grounded-out to deep short with Welzy scoring from third on the play. With Danny now at third, Crush hit a bouncer to the deep playing second baseman that scored the tying run, then was bobbled in the rush to make the play at first base. Barry reached first via the error and the score was now tied at seven.

Tucker then walked to put runners at second and first before out number-two was registered with a K. Big Mac then walked to load the bases. Pete ran for Mike at first. With the game on the line, pinch hitter, David 'Mumbles' Kelley stepped up to the plate. Mumbles drove the first pitch sharply into right-field for a two-run single scoring Crush and the Baron. Batting next, Jim 'Kuchie' Kuchar walked before the inning ended on a force-out at second base with the Buzzards taking a nice 8-6 lead.

With two innings to go in the hottest part of the day, the dozen hot and sweaty Buzzards were not done basting yet, even though stuck-forks may have indicated differently. Big Mac was still doing well on the mound and the defense dug-in to hold the lead.

The Ol' Buzzards added an insurance run in the top of the ninth. With two outs, McCabe launched a deep space drive to outer left-field for a stumbley, sliding(?) double. Tom ran for Mike at second base. Up next, Kelley got on base with a bouncer to the left side. Steve Moreno #21 at shortstop was over-worked and rushed this off-line throw to first base, due to Mumbles' remarkable speed, while a hustlin' Keatley scored on the play from second base. Kuchie followed with a line-drive single to left-field putting runners at first and second before the inning ended on a force-out at third base.

The Reds went down a tough 1-2-3 in the bottom of the last inning with the pitching and defense doing a great job to stop the Reds scoring machine and win 9-6 in the nearly three-hour, full nine-inning game.

McCabe's pitching was fabulous in the long, hot afternoon and the velocity seemed to increase and be sneaky-fast later in the game. The Buzzards and Big Mac had a bumpy start with the high-powered Reds' offense. Big Mac threw 54 pitches in the first two innings. In the game, Mike faced 41 batters and threw 135 pitches (86 strikes & 49 balls).  McCabe got the complete game win in giving up four earned runs on 10 hits and two walks with seven strike-outs.

The Buzzard offense did not 'tee-off' on Stormont like the team should, but it did get him out of the game in the seventh inning. The reliever, Hugo 'Another' Lopez #10 was not sharp initially and the Buzzards took the lead for good, later in the inning. The Ol' Buzzards out-hit the Reds 12 to 10. The Buzzies' hit club was good enough for the win and included: the Baron-1, Big Mac-2, Burner-1, Kuch-1, Mumbles-1, TK-2, Welzy-3 and Wookie-1. The always key ribbies were courtesy this game of: the Baron-2, Big Mac-1, Crush-1, clutch Mumbles-3, and TK-2. The runs were accountable to: the Baron-1, Big Mac-1, Burner-1, Crush-3, Welzy-2 and Wook-1. The walking Buzzard offense, putting runners on base five times, consisted of: Big Mac-2, Burner-1, Crush-1, and Kuchie-1.

The Buzzard defense included only one fly ball out in the game with TK's catch in center-field in the third dig. With the seven strike-outs, the remaining 19 outs were by the infield and only one of those was a pop-up, which was a terrific running back-handed catch by Welzy in short left-field to end the long second inning. The 18 ground-out statistics are interesting. Six of the plays were from Mike on or near the mound to Pete at first base (1-3), and seven of the plays were Taylor at shortstop to Pete at first (6-3).

The other five outs included: the Welzy and Cookie force-out at second (6-4) in the first inning; Wookie and the Baron got the last out in the fifth (5-3); Gregg 'Surf Dawg' Novotny played third base for the last three innings and made a tough play look easy with two outs in the seventh by grabbing a chopper to his left, then fired a quick strike to Cookie covering second (5-4) to end a Reds' threat; and then Cookie and the Baron got the key first out of the ninth frame (4-3) on a good hustle play by Steve on the slow grounder and flip to first, just in time. The last play of the game was a hard-hit bouncer off of the heal of McCabe's glove that caromed over to Welz. A quick throw to Von Zboray nailed the runner on a close one for a 1-6-3 play to multi-share the final out.

The Baron had a hard-to-believe 18 put-outs at first base including two dropped third-strikes with put-outs from the catcher to Pete. With seven strike 'em outs and six assists, Big Mac was responsible for 13 outs, and he pitched a hell of a game.

A great come-back victory against a real good team, on an easy day to give up because of the heat and tired legs and feet. Great job in playing through it for the nice win. The Gold Country boys sent a strong message to the Reds. Beware the Buzzards. Season record is now 9-4.

Buzzard Note #1: The Ol' Buzzards had a fairly good-sized audience of college ball players watching the last half of the game. The Auburn Wildcats with Zach Welz playing in the summer Golden State Collegiate Baseball League and their opponents from Tri-Valley watched our game waiting for their turn on the field. The kids said good things about the caliber of baseball played and Zach's team got to see Welzy flawlessly field his position and make lots of tough outs at shortstop. They saw the Buzzards come from behind and some were amazed to actually see old men still playing baseball and doing it well. They were impressed. The Wildcats then prepped the field, so we left and drank our beer with snacks and enjoyed the win in the shade of the corner of the parking lot.

Buzzard Note #2: Here is the remaining posted NABA schedule: July 28th - 2 pm at James Field vs. Astros August 4th - 2 pm at TBA vs. Yankees August 11th - 2 pm at James Field vs. Miners *Live broadcast on KAHI with bbq after August 18th - 2 pm at James Field vs. Red Sox August 25th - 10 am at TBA vs. Solons September 1st - Labor Day Holiday - no game September 8th - Playoff game at 2 pm. Site and opponent TBD. September 15th - Championship game

Buzzard Note #3: Another after-game Buzzard gathering is planned for this Sunday, July 28th. Norm has invited the team and wives/friends to his interesting acreage nearby in Auburn for a quick grilling of burgers and dogs, with potato salad, chips, cold drinks and dessert. Norm is getting ready for Burning Man in late August and his collection of 'Burner' stuff is gathering and includes the famous flame-shooting Phoenix bird. No fire-shooting on Sunday, though. Tucker also has some cool big-boy toys worth seeing. To make it easier, the team will provide the food and drink for a low, TBD cost.



Sunday, July 14

Gold Country Ol' Buzzards Game Report #12

Game: July 14, 2013

Buzzards stumble late against Dodgers in loss, 17-9

After the July 4th holiday weekend off and a two week break to heal-up, the 55+ division Ol' Buzzards gathered at C-Bar-C Park for a 10 o'clock game against the younger 45+ division Dodgers. The Dodgers (9-2) have the best record in the 45+/55+ combined divisions. Their only losses were to the Miners in April and to the Buzzards in May (7-4 at James on May 5th).

On a nice Sunday morning in Citrus Heights, the Dodgers sent their hard throwing southpaw, Phil 'Captain' Morgan #11 to the mound. The home team Buzzards started the game with their harder throwing righty, Taylor 'Welzy' Welz #26 on the hill.

The Buzzards struck first with a run in the top of the third inning. After fouling off a bunch of pitches, Norm 'Burner' Tucker straightened one out for a nice line-drive single to left-field on a full-count pitch. After a fielder's choice play, Paul 'Youngin' Lee was the runner at first. Next, Steve 'Cookie' Cook got an infield single putting runners at second and first. Later with two outs, Welzy knocked the first pitch sharply to left-field to score Youngin' with a single.

The good hittin' Dodgers (18 hits in the game) scored four runs in the top of the fourth inning. The first five batters got on base and they quickly put up the runs. The sequence was: infield error (tough hops all day), single, hit-by-pitch (on a 1-2 count) Sean #38 leaned into two pitches during the game to get on base each time over Buzzard protests, then a two-run double hit way over the left fielder's head, followed by a bloop single to short left-field near the line for a run, then a grounder to the right-side for a 4-3 put-out while the fourth run scored. After four, the score was 4-1 Dodgers.

In the fifth dig, the Buzzards put six runs in the scorebook to take a 7-4 lead. With one out, Mike 'Big Mac' McCabe hit a deep drive to left-center for a single. Mike was replaced at first base by Pete 'Baron' Von Zboray to run. Burner then walked on five pitches. After another out, Cookie was also walked on five pitches to load 'em up. Batting next, Jim 'Kuchie' Kuchar took a full-count walk to score the Baron. Up next and after fouling off several pitches, Welzy launched a blast to deep left-field for a bases clearing triple scoring Burner, Cookie and hustling all the way from first base, the oldest Buzzard, Kuchie.

Next, Dan 'Wookie' Wukmir took a base on balls before Dave 'Evy' Everingham smashed a deep double to left-center to score Welz easily from third and sent Wookie around the bases from first to score the final run of the inning on a close play. The Dodgers then changed pitchers and brought in the big right-hander Sean 'Leaner' Harrigan #38 from third base. Harrigan then threw puff pitches (slower than batting practice) and an occasional fast-ball to keep the swinging Buzzards off-balance the remainder of the game.

The Dodgers scored one run in the sixth and two in the seventh to tie the game 7-7. A key point in the seventh inning was Sean leaning into a full-count pitch for a pass to first base and that allowed the next batter, their shortstop with the Sacramento Dodgers jersey, Oscar Arriaga #6, who was five-for-five with six RBIs, to get to the plate and get a key hit for the runs. Entering the eighth inning, the Buzzards said good-bye to Evy, Baron and Welzy as they left for a Pirates' game in Elk Grove. The few game conflicts the NABA 55+ Buzzards and MSBL 40+ Pirates have had this season have not really hurt the Buzzards, until this game. The changes necessary to the defense and line-up just did not work-out, as well as planned. Losing top-notch talent did not help either.

The Dodgers got some breaks on seeing-eye grounders up-the-middle and some sloppy defensive play that contributed to a long inning and lots of pitches. The hot sun must have been heating up poor Buzzard brains as they reacted slowly to an easy pickle play between third and home (blowing it) and a potential double-play later, plus other plays were not handle as crisply as the Buzzards' fans are used to seeing.

Offensively the second Dodger pitcher, Leaner Harrigan (4 1/3 innings), held the Buzzards down until the last inning. The frustratingly slow pitches were almost crushed with the big swings, but missed by micro-millimeters and became high pop-ups (five), one long fly ball out, worm killing grounders (six) and a strike-out. Ouch.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, the Buzzards got a rally going and scored two runs and it looked good for a lot more, but the Dodger defense made some good plays to end the rally too quickly. Barry 'Crush' Forman led-off the last inning by getting on base via a funny looking E-4 by the Dodgers' manager Vince Miles #42, when he kicked the grounder from one foot to the other while trying to field the ball. With one out, Gregg 'Surf Dawg' Novotny drew a seven-pitch walk after fouling off tough pitches. Up next, Big Mac hit a nice deep drive to left-center field for a base hit to score Barry from second base and moved Surf Dawg to that same bag. Kelly 'KG' Garcia ran for Mike. After the second out, Youngin hit a flare to right-field for a single putting Buzzards at the corners. Cookie slapped a single to center-field to score the Surf Dawg for the last run. The final score was a brutal 17-9.

The Buzzards can't forget that the disappointing loss was to a very good Dodger team. The Dodger pitching and defense had given up over nine runs only once this season - in their loss to the Miners (10-8). It was nice to beat the 45+ Dodgers in May in a come-backer 7-4 in Auburn. But thankfully, we will not see them again this season.

The Buzzard pitching was good enough to win this game. Taylor pitched five strong innings and left the bump with a lead. Welzy threw 64 pitches (45 strikes & 19 balls) in facing 21 Dodgers. T-Welz gave up four runs on four hits, one walk and one hit batter with four strike-outs. Everingham threw the next two innings before departing. Evy faced 12 batters and tossed 43 pitches (24 strikes & 19 balls) and gave up three runs (two earned) on four hits, two walks and a hit batter with three K's.

Rick 'Salmo' Salmeri #7 took the mound in the eighth after catching the first five frames. Not to belabor the nightmarish eighth inning, but as an example of how a game can go when things aren't going your way with the hops, throws and calls. Salmo was the recipient of, in sequence: after a walk, an infield error on a smash down the third base line, grounder up-the-middle just out of reach of the middle infielders for a run, a short infield pop-up that landed behind the mound then kicked-off of Salmo's leg preventing an easy out and potential double-play, another seemingly slow-motion grounder going up-the-middle just out of reach again of three gloves for two runs, then a soft flare hit to right-field scored a run, and then finally the first out of the inning was a nice catch of a sky high infield pop-up by Surf Dawg. Then, a hard sinking liner by Oscar to left-field that squirted by the sliding Barry for a double to score two more runs. An infield force-out at second was sloppy preventing a potential double-play. Then another looping single just out of reach to short center drove in the last run before a fly-out to Crush in left-field ended the 33-pitch misery.

The Dodgers scored three more in their half of the ninth inning with a lead-off bunt(?) single, a fielder's choice out at second, then a double down the left-field line scored a run, a walk, a seven-pitch single by Leaner to left-field for a run followed, then Oscar blasted a deep drive to right-center that Kelly, playing center-field, got a good jump on the ball and ran a long way before jumping and twisting to just miss the back-hander off the glove before crash landing. A quick recovery by KG held the hit to a long single and one run, then one last short looper followed for one last run. Salmo then struck-out the last batter, loud-mouthed Dr. Antonio 'Swing' Servin #29 with the 30th pitch of the inning.

Rick faced 20 batters and threw 63 pitches (40 strikes & 23 balls) in two long innings. The Dodgers scored 10 runs on 10 hits and two walks with one strike-out.

The Buzzard offense of 11 hits and six walks scored nine runs on a tough Dodger team that committed just one error and had strong arms with good team speed on the field. The Buzzard hit club for the game included: Big Mac-2, Burner-1, Cookie-2, Evy-2, Salmo-1, Welzy-2 and Youngin-1. The Buzzards getting on base via a base-on-balls were (in order): Evy, Burner, Cookie, Kuch, Wookie and Surf Dawg. The always important ribbies were courtesy of: Big Mac-1, Cookie-1, Evy-2, Kuchie-1 and clutch Welzy with four.

The game was frustrating 'cause it did not go the Buzzard's way too often. From plays like in the long eighth inning - where a forced-out Dodger at second base continued on to third base (their dug-out is by first base) and confused the infield to call out a wrong base and halt a throw for a potential easy out while multiple runners were on the base paths and moving on the play. A long and loud, vehement protest by a highly ticked-off skipper made the umpires huddle for quite a while, but they eventually said it was not against the rules, just bush league antics. Or the phantom tag of Evy at third base in a rally killing call in the fourth frame. And we won't get into the lousy K-zone. Anyway, no one got hurt and some players like Tom 'TK' Keatley got to coach a lot, while his leg heals-up a little more. The one late at-bat looked good and the run to first felt good to TK, which is a good sign for the Ol' and getting older Buzzards.

The highlight of the afternoon was the lunch at Felipe's after the game. At 50% off, those Ol' Buzzards can put away large quantities of that great Felipe's Mexican food with lots of cervezas and some iced teas. Dean Perkins surprised the Gold Country gang and joined the group for lunch and tales of the game. Deano showed off the stitches on his left arm while describing getting screwed literally by Kaiser in reattaching the bicep tendon back to the bone - before the food arrived. With a three-month recovery time, Deano has swung his last bat for the season. Hopefully, coach Deano can appear at future games. Thanks for the info and the surprise visit.

Skinny and sleeveless, Barry was quickly freezing! with the restaurant fans going, so Paul nicely, but with some protest, made sure the fan above cold Crush stayed off. This, of course, just reinforces once again Forman's Formal Filosophy - It's all about Barry. Most Buzzards (that are not Pirates) made the lunch with the addition of two cute blonde wives - Sherri and Diane. The stuffed Ol' Buzzards rolled out of Felipe's happy and carrying left-over's home. Thanks Paul for the excellent food and a great team gathering.

Buzzard Note #1: Salmo is getting used to catching and bought his own cool looking gear during the holiday break. The black and orange design is a fabulous Buzzard look and would make even Buster Posey jealous of the sharp appearance. It is true - you look marvelous, you feel marvelous, and you play marvelous.

Buzzard Note #2: The Buzzards are home for the next two weeks with 2 pm games at James Field. The next game, July 21st, is another toughie against the 55+ first place Reds.

Buzzard Note #3: The live radio broadcast on the 950 AM airwaves of KAHI and their world-wide reach via internet streaming on kahi.com is coming on August 11th. The game time is 2 o'clock at James Field versus the Miners. BBQ after the game for family and friends of both teams and the radio announcer, Dave Rosenthal.



Sunday, June 30

Gold Country Ol' Buzzards Game Report #11

Game: June 30, 2013

Buzzards beat Red Sox in hot one, 14-6

On the hottest day of the year with temperatures reaching 102° in Auburn , the game(y) Buzzards were ready at James Field to take on the 45+ Red Sox team. In the midst of this hot spell, it makes it hard to remember that last Sunday was cool and cloudy with rain pending.

The Red Sox (2-8) are a new 45+ team that does travel with a boisterous fan group. The hot-hot weather and a shortage of able bodied Buzzards for the game required a serious sports supplement. Dave 'Evy' Everingham, one of the best legal supplements known for a baseball team, was acquired for the game. Evy has helped us in a pinch before versus the Dodgers.

The Sox started the game with righty Louie 'Cool' Hernandez #55. On the hill for the home team Buzzards was the undefeated starting pitcher, Rick 'Salmo' Salmeri #7 (3-0). Versatile Salmo has been the starting catcher for the last several games.

The Buzzards struck first with two runs in the bottom of the first frame. With one out, Dan 'Wookie' Wukmir hit a soft liner up the middle for a single. Next, Evy laced a double to deep left field. Wookie, racing from first base, thought he would be sent home on the hit and was hitting high gear heading toward third when the stop sign abruptly went up with the relay throw coming in. Wook slammed on the ol' brakes after rounding third and stopped in time to see the cut-off throw coming to third. Wook's slide back to the bag beat the tag, but the infield ump with a terrible angle, called him out.  The home plate ump said after the inning that the manager should have appealed the play and he would have over-ruled it. That's a first.

With two outs now and Evy at second, a wild pick-off play allowed a hustling Dave to score the first run. Up next the clean-up hitter, Barry 'Crush' Forman, hit a hard grounder that was misplayed by the second baseman for an error. Kelly 'KG' Garcia then dropped in a short single to left-field putting runners at first and second. On the next pitch, Norm 'Burner' Tucker hit a liner to deep left-field for a base hit driving in Barry for the second run to make the score 2-0 after one inning.

The Gold Country gang busted-out for eight runs in the third inning. Evy started it with a base hit to center-field. Crush was then walked on four pitches. Up next, KG got to first on a booted play by the first baseman to load the bases. One out later, clutch Steve 'Cookie' Cook singled to right on a 3-2 pitch knocking in two runs. Batting next, Mike 'Big Mac' McCabe singled to right-center putting runners at the corners.

Wookie ran for Mike and then stole second base. Salmo then earned a seven-pitch walk to load the bases again with Ol' Buzzards. After a force-out at home for the second out, Taylor 'Welzy' Welz smashed a liner to center-field to score two runs. Welzy stole second before Wookie hit a deep one to the opposite field. The left fielder ran a long way to not make a fabulous catch. Wook cruised in with a two bagger that scored two.  Batting for the second time that inning, Evy singled for the second time to knock in Wookie to end the scoring.

The Buzzards led 10-0 after three digs and it appeared this might be a quick 10-run mercy-rule type of game. There was some early Red Sox grumbling regarding aggressive base running and the Buzzards racing to an early mercy-rule beat down of the visiting team.

The Red Sox scored a run in the fourth inning with a lead-off double followed by a single. The Sox scored five more in the next frame to tighten-up the game at 10-6 after five. Three walks, two hits and an error was the recipe for the five run burst by the Red Sox and it put some spunk back into their loud fan club.

After being quiet for a couple of innings, the Buzzards scored again in the sixth to add a little cushion to the score. With one out Wook walked and stole second base. Evy then sent a liner into center for a quick run-scoring single.

In the seventh frame the Buzzards pulled away with three more runs to make the score 14-6. Tucker started the inning with an infield hit. A collision followed at first base with Norm tumbling and landing hard face-down. It did not look good as it was happening, but all was ok when he got up, straightened the helmet and took the bag. After all of that, Burner was wiped out by a double-play two pitches later. Norm does lead the team in collisions at first base.

So, the three runs came with two outs starting with Big Mac getting hit in the hip by a non-working curve ball. Cookie ran for Mike. Salmo then singled sharply to left-field putting Buzzards at first and second. Dave 'Mumbles' Kelley, batting next, stroked a single to right-field to load the bases. Kelly then ran for Kelley. Up next, Gregg 'Surf Dawg' Novotny was nailed by a wayward fast-ball in the chest. A loud hollow thump could be heard from the hit. Chest pain, anyone? Ouch. Surf Dawg has had the 'real thing' chest pains followed by appropriate surgery several years ago, so this was just a show-and-tell bruise for after the game.

The hit batter scored Cookie from third and reloaded 'em for Welz. Taylor then clubbed the 0-1 pitch on a line into center to score Salmo and KG.

The Red Sox put up a fight, but scored no more runs in the nine inning contest as the 2 hour and 50 minute game came to a close with the final score 14-6.

Buzzard pitching worked well and spread the innings over three hurlers to work the oven-like conditions. Salmo was supposed to throw just two or three innings, but he was so efficiently mowing 'em down that he threw into the fifth before running out of gas. The pitch counts were 9, 6, 7, and 12 before a longer fifth frame. Rick faced 19 batters in throwing 48 pitches (32 strikes & 16 balls). The Red Sox scored five runs (3 earned) on five hits, two walks and a hit batter with three strike 'em outs against Salmeri.

Surf Dawg relieved Salmo and threw the six outs of the fifth and sixth innings. Gregg threw 41 pitches (20 strikes & 21 balls) to 12 batters. He uncharacteristically walked three batters, but held the Sox to no runs on one hit with a strike-out. Big Mac pitched the final three innings without giving up a run and earned the save. Mike threw 26 pitches (20 strikes & 6 balls) to 10 batters. McCabe gave up three hits and struck out one in the dominating performance.

The Buzzard offense struck for 17 base hits and was effective in scoring 14 runs. The hit club for the game included (in batting order): Welzy-2, Wookie-2, Evy-4, Crush-1, KG-2, Burner-2, Cookie-1, Big Mac-1, Salmo-1, and Mumbles-1. The ribbies were courtesy of: Burner-1, Cookie-2, Evy-2, KG-1, Surf Dawg-1, Welzy-4 and Wook-2. The Buzzard-eyed walkers were: Barry, Dan, Mike and Rick. The following Buzzards took one for the team or had slow reactions: Big Mac, Mumbles and Surf Dawg have new bruises. David was nailed in a bad spot in the second inning when he turned away from an inside fastball and got struck hard in the butt crack for an extra special feeling on the way to first base and an interesting spot for a bruise.

Everingham disappointed the team when he made an out in the bottom of the eighth. It took a semi-amazing back-handed catch by the right fielder to finally get Evy out. Dave was 4-for-5 against the Red Sox. In his previous Buzzard game this season, Evy singled and walked. The Buzzards were just used to Evy getting on base every time he comes to the plate.

The Buzzard defense looked good even in the high heat. The nine-inning affair had five strike-outs leaving 22 opportunities for put-outs. There were four fly ball outs. KG had two nice catches in center-field, Salmo had a huge catch of a sizzling, sinking liner to right-field with the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth. And Barry ended the game with a good catch looking into the sun in center-field in the ninth inning.

There were three double-plays to end Red Sox rallies. In the first inning, a Welzy to Cookie to Big Mac (6-4-3) looked good; in the seventh and eighth innings more 6-4-3 plays worked with Evy to Wookie to KG. Those double-plays do bring smiles to a pitcher’s face. The good defense and excellent pitching held the young Sox to six runs. Another nice, yet hot victory for the Ol’ Buzzards.

No game next week due to the Independence Day holiday. The next game is July 14th against the Dodgers at 10 am at C-Bar-C Park in Citrus Heights. Since we beat the Dodgers (9-2) in that nice come-back win on May 5th at James Field 7-4, they have not lost a game and beat the Miners last week. Beware of the Buzzards.

Buzzard Note #1: Dean Perkins had successful bicep tendon reattachment surgery on his left arm on Friday at the Kaiser Medical Center in Roseville. He is already up and teaching math at Sierra College for the summer, but can’t carry much. The arm is bent and in a half-cast for another week and a half and then rehab. Deano will be unable to play again this season, but we will likely see him at future games as a valuable coach.

Buzzard Note #2: It appears we will be on the radio again this year. KAHI 950 AM preliminarily has put us on the schedule for August 11th at 2 pm following the Oakland A’s game on the station. The game is at James Field against the Miners. Circle that date and bring the family. BBQ is planned for after the game. More info to come.



Sunday, June 23

Gold Country Ol' Buzzards Game Report #10

Game: June 23, 2013

Buzzards come-back beats Solons, 17-10

On a cloudy Sunday afternoon with temps in the low 70's, the Gold Country Buzzards (6-3) faced the Sacramento Solons (4-5) in a battle of the ol' men league, the 55+ division of NABA. The first Sunday of Summer is normally a hot day with a clear sky, but on this Sunday it looked like it wanted to rain all afternoon. No one minded the different cooler weather, but the changing sky with splashes of sunlight followed by dark clouds made it tough on some fly balls and pop-ups at James Field in Auburn.

In a contest of hurlers wearing #1, the home team Buzzards sent their senior righty to the hill, Gregg 'Surf Dawg' Novotny #1 (1-0). The Solons countered with their senior right-hander, Ken 'Rong' Wright #1 (1-1).

The Solons jumped on the scoreboard first with two quick runs in the top of the opening frame. A lead-off single by Mike 'played in the minors with the Angels' Johnson was followed by a double by John Hagen driving in the first run. The pudgy pitcher, Wright, then hit a short looper near the line in shallow left field for a single putting runners at the corners. Big Frank 'Dante Club' Smith, batting clean-up, hit a line drive to right field for a would-be single, but Paul 'Youngin' Lee scooped up the ball and fired to first base to nail Frank 'holds no grudges'?, as a police officer in Sacramento, at the bag. A run scored from third on the play and the courtesy runner for Wright (wrong runner) hustled from first base and aggressively slid into third. The Solons inserted their lead-off batter who just scored, Mike, as the courtesy runner. With no outs in the first inning, the rule book is not perfectly clear on who can run in this situation, but the intent in the rule book would strongly suggest someone from the bottom of the batting order. In NABA, the courtesy runner is the last recorded out.

With one out and Mike at third, Ron Van Kempen hit a sharp grounder to shortstop. Taylor 'Welzy' Welz looked-back the runner before throwing to first for the out. Mike took off for home on the throw anyway. At first base, Mike 'Big Mac' McCabe took the throw for the out and then threw home to the catcher, Rick 'Salmo' Salmeri for the tag out on a close play. Mike slid wide outside and tried to reach back and touch home plate, but Salmo got him first in a scramble behind the plate to end the inning on a terrific double-play.

The Buzzards tied the game in their half of the first inning. Youngin' led off with a lined single to right field. Paul tried to steal second base, but the catcher's strong arm got 'em for out number one. Next, on a full-count pitch, Dan 'Wookie' Wukmir hit a high chopper at the first baseman who played it off his chest for an error. Batting third, Welzy smashed a double to right field putting both runners in scoring position. Up next, the clean-up hitter, Barry 'Crush' Forman, knocked in both runs with a lined-shot to right for a base hit. Next, Norm 'Burner' Tucker and Kelly 'KG' Garcia looped singles into short left field to load the bases with one out. An infield pop-up and a ground-out ended the rally and left the score at 2-2.

The Solons tacked on a run in the second inning on two tough infield errors, plus a passed ball and a fielder's choice that resulted in a 3-2 score. One run, no hits, not good.

After already throwing 38 pitches in the first two innings, the skipper sent Surf Dawg to the mound hoping to get another inning out of the ol' arm. Gregg pitched well, it's just that the Solons got six hits and five were little flares, some to the opposite field, that frustrated the Buzzards so much. With many of the hits just out of reach, the extended inning made for lots of pitches and a tired Ol' Surf Dawg. With two rare Novotny walks added at the end, the Solons had nine consecutive batters reach base before an out was recorded. Then the next three batters cooperated with outs including a strike-out to end the seven-run scoring spree with the Solons leading 10-2. Ouch.

After the long inning in the field, the Buzzards returned to the dugout determined to stop the Solon scoring and start the Buzzard scoring machine. Wookie led off with a sharp liner to right for a hit. Welzy hit a grounder that was muffed by the shortstop briefly before throwing to second. Wook got a good jump at first and beat the throw to the bag with a hard pop-up slide putting two on and no outs. Crush batted next and lined a single on the first pitch to right-center field to load the bases. KG then slapped a grounder that the shortstop misplayed with a bad throw to first putting Kelly on base with two runners scoring. McCabe then singled through the middle putting runners at first and third. Jim 'Kuchie' Kuchar, batting next, hit into a run scoring fielder's choice. Next up, Dave 'Mumbles' Kelley spanked one to right field for a hit to score Kelly G. Steve 'Cookie' Cook then hit an infield single loading the bases with two outs.

Up next, Dean 'Deano' Perkins was returning from four weeks on the DL with a leg injury in his first Buzzard game. Playing second base and after singling in his first at-bat with a flare to right-center field in the second inning, Deano was looking for a run-scoring hit. Probably expecting a fast fast-ball on the 1-0 pitch, Deano took a big swing at a slow high pitch. Out in front of the pitch and trying to hold-up the swing, Deano encountered a problem that highly muscled studs have when stressing their arms - the bicep muscle tendon tears away from the bone. Ouch!

Dean felt a pop in the left arm during the swing and released his left hand from the bat on the follow through. The left arm looked a little (no, a lot) strange with the bicep muscle in the wrong place, so Perkins left the game. Surf Dawg stepped in with a 1-1 count and grounded out to finish the at-bat. The score after three digs was 10-6. Deano will have surgery on Friday at Kaiser to reattach the tendon with screws.

The Buzzards changed pitchers putting Big Mac on the hill in the fourth. Mike stopped the Solons from scoring for the rest of the game, giving the Buzzies a chance to catch up and win. In the bottom of the fifth, the Ol' Buzzards scored three more to tighten the score at 10-9.

Welzy led-off with a nicely placed bunt single. Taylor then stole second and scored on Barry's scorcher to right-center. The ball got past the hustling center fielder sending Crush cruising into second base with a double. Up next, Burner lined a single to left-center scoring Forman. Norm was advancing to second on the throw home, but the throw was cut-off and a relay throw to second base was wide and into the outfield. Tucker was able to hustle all the way around the bases on the play. He reached home plate with burning lungs and tired legs, but what an exciting long run to tighten the game, 10 to 9.  Garcia followed with a gift base hit on a fly ball in the sun to left field. Big Mac then singled to center before the inning ended.

Going into the bottom of the sixth inning, the Buzzards were down by one and needed to score with an hour left in the 3-hour game. Leading off, Cookie was hit by an inside pitch with a 1-2 count, good job! Surf Dawg followed with a line-drive single to center. Salmo, batting next, lined a single to left that scored Cookie and the tying run. With two runners on, Paul loaded the bases with a tough infield grounder. Next, Wookie hit a grounder to second with the fielder rushing his throw and the resultant off-line throw scored two runs.

The Solons then changed pitchers and brought in a harder thrower, big righty John 'Hagar' Hagen #24. Wookie greeted Hagar with a steal of second base on his second pitch and Welzy sent the third pitch on a line into left field for a single knocking in two runs. Barry followed with another solid line drive to right field for his fourth hit of the game. On the relay throw to third base, the first baseman cut it off and threw wildly trying to get Barry moving to second on the play. Welzy and Crush scored on the throwing error. After six innings, the score was 16-10 in favor of the Gold Country gang.

The Buzzards scored one more in the bottom of the seventh with time running low. Cookie led-off with a grounder to third. A wild throw to first allowed Steve to end up at second base. Cookie scored on a lined single by Salmo to left field to end the scoring for the game. The Solons went 1-2-3 in the top of the eighth inning to end the game at 17-10.

Buzzard pitching was effective early and then lights-out after the pitching change. Gregg threw too many pitches in three innings of work - 84 with 55 strikes and 29 balls. Sloppy defense did not help in the second and third innings. Surf Dawg faced 23 batters in giving up 10 runs (four earned) on 10 hits with two walks and two strike-outs. Big Mac came out of the game at first base in the third inning to warm up and took the mound for the top of the fourth frame behind 10-6. Mike pitched five innings and faced near the minimum of batters (16) in throwing 56 pitches (37 strikes & 19 balls). McCabe mowed 'em down. After he walked the first batter faced, Big Mac gave up no hits or walks while striking out three to win the game.

The Buzzard defense was off and on during the game. The three errors were early in the game and made it tougher for Surf Dawg. The third inning was looong with several 'just missed' plays with balls 'just' out of reach on the flares, pop-ups or grounders. The double-play in the first dig was excellent and shut-down a potential big inning. Two Solons were thrown-out at first base after hitting line-drive would-be singles into right field. The first throw from right was by Youngin' to Big Mac at first base in the first inning.

That not-often-seen play was equaled by Kuchie in right field for the first out of the sixth inning. Kuch quickly fielded the line-drive and threw a strike to KG to beat the runner at first for the demoralizing out. The only fly-ball out of the game was caught by Barry in the seventh inning in left field. There were 16 infield outs and five strike-outs to go with the two throw-'em outs from right field. Good outfield-infield team work can bring tears to a manager's eyes.

The Ol' Buzzard offense was good enough for 23 hits. The hit club for the game included: Big Mac-2, Burner-2, Cookie-1, Crush-4, Deano-1, KG-2, Mumbles-1, Salmo-2, Surf Dawg-1, Welzy-3, Wookie-2 and Youngin'-2. The always important RBI's were knocked in by: Barry-3, Danny-1, David-1, Jim-1, Kelly-2, Norm-1, Rick-2 and Taylor-2. D. Kelley led-off the second inning with a base on balls and was the only Buzzard walked during the game. Runs were scored by: Youngin'-1, Wook-3, Welzy-4, Surf Dawg-1, Salmo-1, KG-1, Crush-3, Cookie-2 and Burner-1.

Another good Buzzard win. To not panic and come-from-behind by eight runs, though early, was good to see. Let's just not make a habit of spotting the opponent sooo many runs.

The next game is at James Field again at 2 o'clock against the 45+ Red Sox.

Buzzard Note #1: All-star ballots will be passed out prior to the next game. The Buzzards (7-3) will likely have the third or fourth best record at the end of the month - out of eight teams - in the combined 45/55+ division. That means the Buzzards will have only four selections for the all-star game, which will be played on Wednesday, July 10, at 7 pm at Playfields Park in Davis.

Buzzard Note #2: Photos were taken at the game by Diane and Barry's long-lost buddy, Mike Nykoruk, who was visiting from Michigan. The 35+ year old stories told by Barry and Mike of their world travels together were entertaining with cold ones and snacks after the game. Diane's 239 photos from the game are available on the internet. Barry's 'good' photos he talked about are available by special appointment only. Game photos can be viewed and printed at: wukmir.com/photos/ . Click on the picture with players for the photo album for June 23, 2013. Any problems with the site, give Wook a call and he'll ask the grandson. More photos will be taken at future games.

Buzzard Note #3: This was the first game of the second-half of the 18-game regular season. In the first half, the Buzzards were 6-3 while on the road for six games with three at home. The Buzzards will be home for six of the nine games in the second half of the ol' men league. The intent was to have many of the hotter weather games of mid-summer scheduled in Auburn.



Sunday, June 16

Gold Country Ol' Buzzards Game Report #9

Game: June 16, 2013 - Fathers' Day

Buzzards claw Yankees, 12-2

The Fathers' Day game was a morning contest with the Yankees on one of the nicest ball fields in the area, Playfields Park in Davis. On a mild morning that would later warm up to the low 90's, 12 Ol' Buzzards were ready to take on the damn Yankees. With family in the stands to watch the dads play, there was added pressure to do well and put away the last place Yanks.

The starting pitcher for the Yankees was the hard throwing southpaw, Tom 'Fazio' Defazio #17. On the mound for the visiting Buzzards was the cagey veteran righty, Gregg 'Surf Dawg' Novotny #1.

The traveling Gold Country Buzzards scored first with a nice crooked number (4) to start the game. Jim 'Kuchie' Kuchar started the game with a lead-off walk on a full count. Dan 'Wookie' Wukmir followed with a single through the left side hole. After a wild pitch moved the runners up, Kuchie scored on a grounder to short by Kelly 'KG' Garcia while Wookie moved to third on the play. Batting clean-up, Norm 'Burner' Tucker singled sharply to right field on a 1-2 pitch to score Wook. Tom 'TK' Keatley then singled to right field putting two runners on.

Batting next, Steve 'Cookie' Cook took a base on balls to load 'em up with one out. Mike 'Big Mac' McCabe then walked on five pitches to force in Burner from third. Rick 'Salmo' Salmeri, up next, knocked in the fourth run with a grounder to the right side. Fazio was throwing hard and just wild enough to be effective on batters. All of the hits in the inning were to the opposite field.

The Yankees scored one in the bottom of the second inning on a single, wild pitch and a base hit to make the score 4-1 after two innings. The good pitching on both sides slowed the offenses through the next several innings and no one scored until the Buzzards added one run in the fifth frame.

With one out, Kuchie walked on a 3-2 pitch and moved to second on a passed ball. Next, Wookie hit a looper into short center field for a single putting runners at the corners. Up next, Garcia nailed the first pitch to deep center field for a sacrifice fly that scored Kuch easily from third. The score after five was 5-1.

The Buzzards added two more to the scoreboard in the sixth dig. David 'Mumbles' Kelley led-off with a high chopper in the infield that he beat out for a hit. With one out and Cookie now on first, Big Mac was up next. Mike lined a 2-1 pitch into right-center field for a solid base hit and put runners at the corners. KG ran for McCabe at first base. Kelly then stole second putting both runners in scoring position. Salmo knocked in Cookie with a grounder to second and KG moved to third base. With Surf Dawg at the plate and a wild pitch bouncing to the back stop, KG scored on a nice hook slide on a close play at home.

The Yanks scored a run in their half of the sixth inning on three singles to make the score 7-2.

The Ol' Buzzards scored one again in the seventh. Barry 'Crush' Forman started it off by getting on base via an infield error. Barry moved to second on a wild pitch. Kuch then sacrificed Crush to third base with a bunt. Wookie walked on five pitches putting Buzzards on the corners. KG then knocked in Barry with a sacrifice fly to center field for his third RBI of the game. Buzzards 8 - Yankees 2.

In the eighth frame the Buzzards took advantage of a tired Fazio and Yankees team and scored four more runs. Mumbles led off with a line drive double to the left-center field gap while showing off good speed to leg out the stand-up two bagger. Cookie followed with a double of his own down the left field line to drive in the run. Big Mac got on base via an infield misplay putting runners at first and third. Up next, Salmo lined a single to left to score Cook for his third RBI of the game. Surf Dawg then singled up the middle to send KG home from third for the last run of the inning.

With the score now 12-2 in the eighth, the Buzzards could hold the Yankees and end the game with the 10-run mercy rule. With the end of the game in sight for more Fathers’ Day fun and cold drinks waiting, the Buzzards’ pitching and defense continued to make the plays and the game ended after nearly 2 ¾ hours in eight digs with the final score 12-2.

Buzzard pitching was superb. Novotny threw the first six innings and faced 25 Yanks in throwing 70 pitches (46 strikes & 24 balls). Surf Dawg gave up two runs on nine hits with no walks. After throwing 22 pitches in the first inning, Gregg got into a nice rhythm and began to shut the Yankees down with minimal pitches. The pitch counts after the first inning were: 14, 6, 6, 6, and 16. Three innings in a row with just six pitches each. Wow. Gotta love those short defensive innings. Salmeri finished off the game effectively by throwing 19 pitches (16 strikes & 3 balls) in the last two innings. Rick faced 9 batters while giving up two hits with no runs and no walks. Salmo, Surf Dawg and the Buzzard defense gave up no free bases during the game.

The Buzzard offense scored 12 runs on 11 hits and took advantage of the six walks. The four Yankee errors occurred in the last two innings, two on one play. The Buzzard hit club for the game included: Big Mac-1, Burner-1, Cookie-1, Mumbles-2, Salmo-2, Surf Dawg-1, TK-1, and Wookie-2. The ribbies were courtesy of Big Mac-1, Burner-1, Cookie-1, KG-3, Salmo-3, Surf Dawg-1 and Wook-1. The runs were scored by Burner-1, Cookie-2, Crush-1, Kuch-2, Surf Dawg-1, TK-1, and Wookie-1, while Kelly G crossed the plate three times as a courtesy runner, twice in the last inning. Gotta love those wheels and slides. The Buzzies also earned six bases on balls. The Buzzard-eyed walkers were Big Mac-1, Cookie-1, Crush-1, Kuch-2, and Wook-1. Wookie also got to first on a catcher's interference in the eighth on an 0-2 pitch. Coach Deano Perkins spent much of the game directing traffic on the bases while still on the DL.

The Buzzard defense was excellent. With no strike-outs, all 24 outs were made by the infield (13 outs - 12 assists) or the outfield (11 fly-ball outs). Lots of defensive chances with solid play all game sprinkled with some outstanding catches and plays made the game extra fun. KG made the tough catches in center field look easy. Maybe it's the famous number 24 on the jersey that helps make the plays look so smooth in the outfield. There was a lot of fly-ball action for the glue-gloved outfielders. Barry had five put-outs in left field, Tom had two in center before leaving after two digs with a leg pull, and Kelly had four while patrolling center field.

Infielder assists for outs were plentiful also. Kuchie had three at third base, Wookie was tested and busy with seven at shortstop, Cookie at second and Big Mac at first each had one. The defensive play of the game occurred in the seventh. McCabe at first base fielded the grounder wide of the bag and tossed a floater to Salmo covering the bag from the mound. Rick had a good jump and was clearly going to beat the runner in a close play before he caught a cleat on the infield lip by first base and was tripped-up just as he caught the toss. An uh oh! became a wow?.

After catching the cleat plus the ball and going airborne for a moment toward first base, Salmo landed with both feet together on the base an instant before the runner. An out was called, but a collision ensued knocking our pitcher down hard and awkwardly as both players went flying. Thankfully, Salmo bounces well and he was able to get up, shake it off and finish the game. Fabulous concentration to get the feet to land on the bag. The Russian judge gave Salmo a low score on the legal, yet unorthodox two-footed landing.

The Yankee offense could not get on track because the Buzzard pitching and defense were awesome. The Buzzard dads did good. The season record is now 6-3.

Buzzard Note #1: The annual NABA all-star game for the 45/55+ divisions is scheduled for Wednesday, July 10. The game will be at Playfields Park in Davis at 7 pm. The Buzzards will have 5 selectees as a second place team. Ballots will be passed out at an upcoming game this month. The league is looking for a singer for the National Anthem and 7th inning Take Me Out song for the all-star game. Anyone's invited to sing.

Buzzard Note #2: The 2013 NABA t-shirts have arrived and will be passed out to the team starting the next game.

Buzzard Note #3: The team stats posted on the web site: eteamz.com/gcbuzzards/ vary on only one item with major league kept statistics. Due to the high number of non-runners and limited courtesy runners, the runs scored category gives credit to the hitter who originally got on base, not the courtesy runner who actually crossed the plate. Stolen bases or pick-offs by a courtesy runner do count toward the runner. The game report gives credit to the vital courtesy runners.

Buzzard Note #4: The NABA and MSBL World Series' tournaments in Phoenix during October can be an enjoyable week with lots of baseball played on excellent fields and in stadiums used by the major leaguers in the Spring. If you may be interested in joining a team, see Wook. The tourney schedules are: NABA 55+ is Oct. 6-12; 60+ is Sep. 30-Oct 6; MSBL 55+ is Oct. 19-24; 60+ is Oct. 28-Nov 2; and Father-Son is Oct. 24-27.



Sunday, June 9

Gold Country Ol' Buzzards Game Report #8

Game: June 9, 2013

Buzzards ground Astros, 12-2

On the farthest away game of the season and a morning game to boot, the Ol' Buzzards car-pooled their way successfully to Galt Community Park. With some sleepy and some still grumpy, the Buzzards warmed up on a cool breezy morning. The team was especially short-handed due to other commitments, vacations and injuries totaling seven Buzzards missing or unable to play in the game. To compound the situation, one player needed to leave early for another game.

With only 16 guys on the roster, it was clear extra players were needed. For a temporary fill-in, Ernie Von Zboray, Pete's brother, showed up to play and brought his 9-year old son, Nick. In uniform, Nick was not only a terrific bat boy, but a good looking one as well. For the season, the Buzzards added Jim Kuchar, a refugee from the Patriots who lives in Grass Valley, to the team.

The Astros play some of their home games at this Galt park baseball field and were on a four-game win streak and tied with the Buzzards after seven games with 4-3 records. The starting pitcher for the Astros was old veteran righty, Ron 'Belly' Turner #13. Taking the hill for the Gold Country Buzzards was the hard throwing righty, Taylor 'Welzy' Welz #26.

The Buzzards jumped on the score board first with two runs in the top of the first inning. Jim 'Kuch' Kuchar started it off with a full-count walk. With one out, Welzy doubled to the opposite field in right, sending Kuch to third. With two outs, Pete 'Baron' Von Zboray hit a high bouncer over the third baseman's head for a clutch single driving in Welzy and Kuch for the early lead.

The Astros scored one in their half of the first inning on two hits and a sacrifice fly for a 2-1 score after one dig.

The Buzzards threatened in nearly every inning before scoring two in the fifth. Ray 'Bull Dog' Henry got to first with good hustle on an infield misplay of his dribbler in front of the plate. Two outs later and with Bull Dog at second, Dan 'Wookie' Wukmir hit a sharp grounder into right field for a single to score Ray. Wookie then stole second base and scored on Welzy's triple down the right field line. Taylor was left stranded at third to end the inning with the score after six innings, 4-1.

The Astros did not have many scoring opportunities. The Astros lead-off runners in the second and fourth frames were quickly wiped out by double-plays. And excellent defensive plays abounded in the outfield with a nice running catch in left field by Kelly 'KG' Garcia of a sinking low liner in the sixth inning, and Bull Dogs' amazing catch in the deep left field corner to rob the hitter in the seventh. The tough defense made it hard for the Astros to rally.

After a sixth inning that had the bases loaded with Buzzards and no outs, then not to score, the Ol' Buzzards were anxious to add some runs in the top of the seventh. Bull Dog led off with an infield hit showing hustle and linebacker speed to beat a very close play. One out later, Kuchie bunted for a single taking advantage of a deep playing third baseman. With two on, Wookie pulled the first pitch into right field on the line for a double driving in Ray from second. With runners at second and third, Welzy walked on a full-count to load the bases. Batting next, Norm 'Burner' Tucker walked on seven pitches to force in Kuch from third for the second run of the inning. The Baron then hit a sacrifice fly to center field scoring Wook.

With two outs, Kelly hit a line drive single to left field scoring Taylor. Up next, Barry 'Crush' Forman blasted a shot past a diving right fielder for a triple scoring two more runs. Steve 'Cookie' Cook then walked on a 3-2 pitch putting runners at the corners. Batting next, the 11th hitter of the inning, Gregg 'Surf Dawg' Novotny spanked a single up the middle scoring Crush. Batting for the second time this inning, Bull Dog lined a single to left for hit number two in the inning, and knocked in Cookie for the eighth run of the dig. The score was 12-1 going into the bottom of the seventh.

Since the league's 10-run mercy rule kicks in after seven innings of play, the Buzzards wanted to hold the Astros to at least one run and end the game. The red-jersey and white pants clad Astros did not go down easy. With two on and no outs, their clean-up hitter crushed one high and deep into the left field corner. Bull Dog, recently off of the six-week disabled list for his knee and just entered the game, made a spectacular catch before falling to the ground. With runners at the corners, a run scored on a failed double-play grounder to make the score 12-2. The next batter grounded out - Wookie to Cookie (short to second) to end the game.

Buzzard pitching was excellent. Welzy pitched the first five innings and threw 51 pitches (36 strikes & 15 balls) in facing 17 Astros. Taylor gave up one run on three hits with four strike-outs and no walks. Surf Dawg finished the game with two innings of work throwing 38 pitches (24 strikes & 14 balls). Gregg faced 9 Astros and gave up one unearned run on two hits with no base on balls allowed.

The Buzzard offense scored four runs in the first six innings and eight runs in the seventh inning to end the game early. The 15 hits and eight walks made for some nice run production. The hit club for the game included: Barry-2, Baron-1, Bull Dog-2, Cookie-1, Kelly-2, Kuch-1, Surf Dawg-1, Welzy-2 and Wookie-3. The ribbies were courtesy of: Barry-2, Baron-3, Burner-1, Bull Dog-1, KG-1, Surf Dawg-1, Welzy-1 and Wook-2. The offense was boosted by the eagle-eyed Buzzards that took a base on balls. The walkers (without canes at this time) were: Cookie, Kuch, Norm and Pete. The double-walkers were the pitcher feared: Crush Forman and Welzy.

The previously mentioned defense was solid and made it easier for the pitchers. The two defensive gems in the outfield by Kelly in the sixth and Ray in the seventh were keys to keeping the Astros score low. There were also two double-plays early in the game to keep the Astros in check. In the second inning with one on and one out, Welzy fielded a hot come-backer on the mound then turned to second to feed Wookie crossing the bag. Danny then threw to Pete at first base to end the inning. In the fourth frame with one on and one out, Wook caught a line drive at shortstop then doubled-off the runner with a throw to Ernie at first base to end that inning.

Also noteworthy was the solid performance by Burner Tucker behind the plate for the entire 2 1/2 hour game. There was no relief for the catcher today. Injured Buzzards Deano Perkins and Mumbles Kelley came to the game as emergency back-ups plus to coach and score keep. That also helped and was much appreciated by the team. A good all around game and nice win against the Astros in the seven inning contest. Those cold drinks always seem to taste better after a victory.

The Ol' Buzzards really appreciate Ernie, Pete's older brother, playing plus bringing Nick to the game. It was nice to have a good bat boy for the game.

The next baseball game is this Sunday, June 16th, on Fathers' Day. The Buzzards play at 10 o'clock against the Yankees at Playfields Park in Davis. 



Sunday, June 2

Gold Country Ol' Buzzards Game Report #7

Game: June 2, 2013

Buzzards fall to Red machine, 9-2

The Ol' Buzzards gathered at Antelope Park to take on the first place Reds (5-1) in an afternoon game on a very warm day. With temps in the mid-90's at game time and rising, the home team Buzzards took the field with tough righty, Mike 'Big Mac' McCabe #15 on the hill. The Reds beat the Buzzards (4-2) in the first game of the season 2-1, so the game was going to be a tough one. The Reds lost to the 45+ Dodgers in May for their only loss.

The Reds starting pitcher, young righty, Hugo 'Macho' Lopez #16 threw the first four innings and held the Buzzards to one run on three hits, one walk and one hit batter. Hugo worked the plate well and got the outside pitch call with an assortment of pitches from a good fast ball to a knuckle ball(?).

The ol' one-eyed right-hander, Robert 'Ponytail' Stormont #11 threw the last five innings. Ponytail held the Buzzards to one run on four hits, three walks and three hit batters. Ponytail was just wild enough to be effective. He threw a lot of pitches, but Robert got 9 infield outs to go with four strike-outs, plus the Buzzard wrenching yet terrific catches of the two fly ball outs for his five innings.

The Buzzards scored the first run in the bottom of the fourth inning. With two outs, Pete 'Baron' Von Zboray's grounder to short was misplayed putting him at first. Batting next, Barry 'Crush' Forman, as predicted earlier in the inning, crushed a fast ball to deep left-center field making the Baron hustle all the way around the horn to score. Great hustle with lots of huffing and puffing for sound effects. The score after four was 3-1 Reds.

The Buzzards threatened a few times, but did not score again until the eighth inning. Taylor 'Welzy' Welz led-off the inning with a walk, moved to second on an error by the first baseman and advanced to third on a balk. An out later, Welzy scored on a grounder to the right side by the Baron to make the score 6-2.

Buzzard pitching was good enough to win this game. The Reds are a very good hitting team. The top four in their line-up each had a multi-hit game and three of the four had three hits each. Eight of the 10 batters in the line-up got base hits. Tough hitting team, no sh*t.

Big Mac threw 72 pitches (46 strikes & 26 balls) in four innings of work. He faced 20 Reds and gave up three runs on eight hits with two walks and one hit batter. Gregg 'Surf Dawg' Novotny #1, fresh off of the 8-week disabled list, threw the final five innings. Surf Dawg faced 25 batters and threw 94 pitches (54 strikes & 40 balls). Gregg gave up six runs, two earned, on seven hits with one walk and one strike-out.

The Buzzard offense needs to up its potency and asap. What do Ol' Buzzards do for potency? Be careful with those blue pills, but maybe some batting cage work is due. The hit club for the game were: Steve 'Cookie' Cook, 'Crush' Forman, Big Mac, Dean 'Deano' Perkins, Surf Dawg, Tom 'TK' Keatley, and Wookie. The runs were scored by the Baron and Welzy. The RBI's were knocked in by the Baron and Crush. Four Buzzards earned their way to first base with bruises from a pitched base ball: Welzy, Surf Dawg, Cookie and Deano. The Buzzards need more base hits and runs to win games against this caliber of team in this league. The Buzzards will play the Reds once more this season at James Field in August.

The defensive highlight of the game was the triple play orchestrated by the Baron in the fourth inning. After a walk and a base hit put runners at first and second with nobody out, Macho came to the plate. Macho had hit into a double play in the first inning on a nice grab of a line-drive heading into right field by Pete at first base. The Baron then doubled-up the runner off the bag at first base with a step on the bag. This at-bat, Hugo hit a spinning mini pop-up to the Baron at first base that appeared to be a routine catch. However, the ball spun out of the mitt. Pete quickly picked up the ball and threw to Welzy covering second base to get the runner off of second base with a force and then tagged the runner from first near the bag before throwing on a delayed basis to Pete at first base to get the confused runner.

A stunning triple play that initially was protested by the Reds. The umpires huddled and then declared that the pop-up was too short to allow for an 'infield fly rule' call by an ump and the ball spinning out of the glove was not intentional. By the way, Macho Hugo got three singles around hitting into a double play then a triple play.

With the triple play at our last game versus the Miners at the same Antelope Field, that makes, remarkably, back-to-back games with triple plays pulled off by the Buzzard defense. That may be hard to triplicate this Sunday. Injuries during the game included leg muscle pulls to TK in the first inning and Deano in the seventh frame. Both appeared to be from changing acceleration to high gear during a hustle play to a bag. TK opened the game with a nice up-the-middle base hit then stole second base before hurting the right leg running hard to third. TK watched and coached the rest of the game.

Deano was sent to the plate in the ninth inning after hurting his leg two innings earlier and unable to run. However, the team lacked other substitutes, so Perkins went to the plate to get a base on balls. Instead he got hit by a 1-2 pitch and limped to first before being replaced by a courtesy runner. Way to take one for the team or was it slow reactions to the pitch. We'll take it.

We just went through a tough part of the schedule, facing the top teams in both divisions. We are currently tied for second place with the Astros with 4-3 records. We toyed with them in week #2 and whipped them 28-14. Since that loss on April 7th, the Astros then lost to the Reds 12-11 before winning the next four games including against the Miners.

The sorry condition of the mound at Antelope has been reported to the league.



Sunday, May 19

Gold Country Ol' Buzzards Game Report #6

Game: May 19, 2013

Buzzards shut-out by Miners, 10-0

After the Mother's Day break, the Buzzards got down to baseball business on Sunday again with a morning game against the Miners. The Miners are leading the 45+ division with a 4-1 record, while the Buzzards are in second place in the 55+ division with a 4-1 record. The game was played on the Miners' home field at Antelope High on a windy day with temps in the mid-80's. The schedule mixes the divisions six times this season. The Buzzards will play the Miners again later this season in Auburn.

The Miners were one of the original six-team Gold Country Hardball league prior to the break-up of the open-age league in 2005. The older guys got together and formed the Ol' Buzzards 48+ team and joined NABA for the 2006 season. The Miners also joined the Sacramento league in the 38+ division. Even though most of the Miners do not live in the foothills and they play in Antelope, they call themselves the Gold Country Miners and wear a GC on their cap.

The starting pitchers were right-handers Tony 'Mad Dog' Madrigal #4 for the Miners and Taylor 'Welzy' Welz #26 for the Ol' Buzzards.

Mad Dog was sharp and threw his wide variety of pitches effectively in holding the Buzzards to just six hits. It's hard to generate runs with an offense of six scattered hits and three walks. The Buzzards did have runners in scoring position in four inning, but missed the key hit to drive in the runners each time.

The Miners scored one run in the bottom of the first and third innings. The game was close until the Miners scored six runs after two were out in the fourth frame. Two more runs were scored in the sixth to make the final score 10-0 after seven innings.

Buzzard pitching was good enough to win this game, but sloppy play at key times allowed the Miners to score 10 runs. Welzy threw 121 pitches (73 strikes & 48 balls) in facing 36 batters in six innings. Taylor, alias Michael, battled the tough high mound and a partially blind umpire besides the cross-field (left to right field) gusty wind. The Miners got their 10 runs on 11 hits and five walks with three errors.

The Buzzard offense had a tough day with Tony mixing it up effectively on the mound and with an interesting strike zone. The hit club for the game included singles by Barry 'Brooklyn' Forman and Dean 'Deano' Perkins. Kelly 'KG' Garcia had two base hits and Welzy had a double. The three base-on-balls were issued to Barry, KG and Paul 'Youngin' Lee.

The Buzzard defense made some nice plays but the highlight was the extremely rare triple play. In the second inning with runners on first and second base and moving on contact, a short little pop-up in front of the mound was snagged by Welzy just getting his glove underneath the ball for out #1. He then threw to Mike 'Big Mac' McCabe at first base for out #2, and then Big Mac quickly threw to Deano covering second for out #3 to nail both runners before they could recover and return to the bag. A quick triple play to clear the bases was a beautiful sight and shocking to the Miners. The last Buzzard triple play was in 2007 against the Dragons at Lembi Field in Folsom, also in a game that was lost.

Also noteworthy defensively was Kelly's low basket catch in left field on a fly ball that got knocked-down by the wind for the first out of the first inning. It was a sign that the day would be challenging with pop-ups and fly balls with the gusty wind and the high cloudless sky. Rick 'Salmo' Salmeri caught the entire game with Welzy throwing a good selection of heat and off-speed stuff. Salmo threw out a runner attempting to steal second base in the sixth. A nice throw followed by a good body tag by Perkins got the out.

The Buzzards played short-handed again with too long of a DL. That should be corrected soon with injuries healing. The team did add Dean Perkins. Dean had coached a lot of varsity baseball at Oakmont High, but had not played for about a decade. Deano looked good until hobbling off of first base for a pinch-runner after the hit up-the-middle in the seventh inning. The 45+ Miners were a good, younger team that played solid defense and had timely hitting. But the real key to their win was Tony's pitching.

 The Buzzards will do better next time they face the Miners. No game next Sunday with the Memorial Day weekend.



Sunday, May 5

Gold Country Ol' Buzzards Game Report #5

Game: May 5, 2013

Buzzards beat Dodgers 7-4 in late game come-back

On Cinco de Mayo afternoon, the Ol' Buzzards circled-in on Auburn for a game against the young (45+) Dodgers at James Field. The Dodgers are one of three 45+ teams the Buzzards will face this season. The Sacramento NABA 18-game regular season includes two games with each of the three teams. It's always a good day when the Buzzards get to play, but it's even better on a nice Spring day. The game started at 2 o' clock with temps in the high 60's and clouds building for later thunder bumpers in the Sierras.

Just prior to the game when the Buzzards gathered for the pre-game huddle, the routine Buzzard information like game signs and the manager's plea to not get hurt was handled by the skipper. Then, Pete 'Baron' Von Zboray added on with a pep talk on playing a younger, faster, stronger team that included a reference to how the younger Dodgers were expecting to win this game against the old guys. The huddle erupted in shouts of: Says who?! Not here! Oh yea?! and some other non-printable comments that fired up the team. The Baron finished his stirring pep talk and the huddle broke on an extra loud - BUZZARDS. Great job of inspiration.

The Ol' Buzzards were short, though, of healthy players. With only 9 1/2 non-injured players available, the team used the services of two more old Buzzards, now MSBL Pirates, than normal. Dave 'Evy' Everingham and Mike 'Bake' Baker filled in key spots for the team in the game. Evy pitched the first three frames and Bake played third base for the entire game.

The schedule showed the Dodgers as the home team and they took the field with a big, mean-looking southpaw with no gray hair, Phil 'Captain' Morgan #11. Captain Morgan threw the entire nine innings with an assortment of off-speed pitches including a knuckler and with occasional hard stuff that was not easy to read or hit solidly.

The Buzzards jumped on the score board first with a run in the second inning. Baker started it off by hustling down the line on a grounder and getting on base via an infield error. Kelley 'KG' Garcia followed with a line drive single to left field, putting runners at first and second. With two outs, Evy then hit a flare to right field for the run-scoring base hit.

The Buzzards put a second run on the board in the top of the fourth. With one out, Pete walked down to first on a base on balls. He then ran the rest of the way home on Baker's rocket launch to the center field fence for a run-scoring, long double.

The Dodgers tacked on their first run in the bottom half of the fourth. A double, a grounder moving the running and a sacrifice fly on a diving catch by KG on the left field line accounted for the run. The Buzzards were up 2-1 after four innings of play.

There were not many scoring opportunities for both teams as the pitching and defense held the score down. The damn Dodgers did score three runs in the sixth inning to take the lead, 4-2. The white-uniformed Dodgers strung together five hits in the inning to score the runs. The score remained 4-2 until the eighth inning.

With six outs left and down by two to the now giddy, happy Dodgers, the Buzzards sent a message with three big runs to take back the lead. Dan 'Wookie' Wukmir started it off with a lead-off, line-drive double down the right field line. Wook moved to third on a close-play at the bag on a passed ball. Welzy then walked putting runners at the corners. A play with runners at the corners did not work out in the fourth inning, so no 'base stealing' play was called this time.

Batting next, the Baron singled sharply to left-center field driving in Wook with Welzy moving to second. Captain Morgan then attempted for the umpteenth time to pick off a runner. This time the throw to second base got away and went into center field. Taylor was able to race home on the play to tie the score. Bake followed with a looping single to center moving Pete to third. The Baron scored on a Norm 'Burning Man' Tucker bouncer to second. The score after eight was 5-4.

Looking for some insurance runs in the ninth dig, Wookie started it off again, this time with a one-out sharp grounder through the legs of the pitcher for a hit. Welzy, batting next, laid down an excellent bunt for a hit. After a fielder's choice put runners at the corners, Bake hit a two-out single to score Wook. KG followed with a high flare to left field for a single that scored the Baron. The score was 7-4 going into the bottom of the ninth inning.

The Dodgers went an easy 1-2-3 and the Buzzards then celebrated the come-from-behind win. The 2:50 hour game ended with the final score Buzzards 7, Dodgers 4. Some of the real die-hard SF Giants fans that are on the team, really enjoyed beating a team called the Dodgers.

Buzzard pitching was fabulous. Evy threw a scoreless three innings before turning the game over to Rick 'Salmo' Salmeri in the fourth. Dave faced 12 Dodgers and threw 44 pitches (32 strikes & 12 balls) in giving up two hits with no walks, one hit batter and three strike outs. Salmo faced 24 batters in his six innings and threw 82 pitches (58 strikes & 24 balls). The Dodgers scored four runs on seven hits with no walks and had two strike 'em outs against Salmo. Great job on the hill by the hurlers. No walks were given-up in the game by Buzzard pitching.

The Buzzard offense scored seven runs on 11 hits with six walks and three Dodger errors. The game's hit club included Bake-3, Baron-2, Evy-1, KG-2, Welzy-1 and Wookie-2. The big ribbies were courtesy of Bake-2, Baron-2, Burning Man-1, Evy-1, and KG-1. The eagle-eyed Buzzards taking walks, without canes, in the game were the Baron, Evy, Tom 'TK' Keatly, Paul 'Youngin' Lee, Welzy and Wook. Great job Buzzards with five runs in the last two innings.

The solid defense combined with terrific pitching held the young Dodgers to four runs. The tough defense had no errors and one double-play. In the eighth, a wicked line drive going down the right field line was snagged by Pete deep behind first base. The runner at first with no outs was going on the play, so after the clutch catch the Baron calmly walked over to the bag for the force-out to squash a rally. Garcia made four good catches in left field including the sideways diving catch in the fourth inning that only a lefty could make. TK was the only other outfielder to have a put-out with two. Dave 'DK' Kelley and Youngin' held down the fort in right field.

This was another good Buzzard game for a season record of 4-1. What an exciting come-back win. The next game is May 19th at 10 am at Antelope High against the 45+ Miners.



Sunday, April 28

Gold Country Ol' Buzzards Game Report #4

Game: April 28, 2013

Buzzards shut out Solons 12-0

The Ol' Buzzards gathered in Davis for a 2 o'clock game against the Solons at Playfields Park. The ball field is one of the nicest in the area and it was good to see they still maintain it well. The temperature got to 90° during the game, but the breeze made it seem cooler. It was another fine day for Buzzard baseball.

The manager for the Solons, John Mason, is the guy that purchased the rights to the historic name Sacramento Solons several years ago when it was available. The Solons are a MSBL team and new to NABA and to the 55+ year old division. On the mound for the home team was the big right-hander with the slow stuff, Frank 'Dante Club' Smith #10. Starting for the visitors from the Gold Country was the tough righty and Buzzard rookie, Rick 'Salmo' Salmeri #7.

The Buzzards did not score in the top of the first frame. As the bottom of the inning was about to begin, Barry 'Brooklyn' Forman was doing odd contortions in left field and grabbing his left thigh as if he had a cramp. The skipper ran out to assist and then let him start the game in left after Barry was able to walk-it-off, but gingerly. Of course, with runners at second and first and two outs, big Dante Club hits a long fly to left field. Ordinarily, that fly ball is an easy out for Brooklyn. However, as the ball's arc was reaching its height and returning to earth, Barry was working his way to a spot with a pronounced stiff-legged run. Barry made the catch to end the inning, then gimped into the third base dugout not happy that his game day was over, so soon.

The Buzzards jumped on the board in the second inning with two runs. With two outs, Tom 'TK' Keatley stayed back on the pitch and stroked a line drive single the opposite way to right-center field. Batting next, the starting catcher, Dave 'Mumbles' Kelley was hit by a 1-1 count curve-ball on the left hip putting two runners on. Steve 'Cookie' Cook followed with a walk to load the bases for Paul 'Youngin' Lee. The team's youngest stud then scorched a first-pitch liner into left field scoring two runs to take an early 2-zip lead.

In the third dig, the Ol' Buzzards scored two more runs. Taylor 'Welzy' Welz led-off with an infield single and promptly stole second base. Up next, Norm 'Burning Man' Tucker looped a singled to shallow left putting runners at the corners. Burning Man then stole second putting both runners in scoring position. Salmo, batting in the game for the injured Barry, knocked in a run with an infield grounder. Now with two outs, TK hit another laser beam to the deep outfield, this time to center field, for a sweet looking base hit to score the second run of the inning. The score after three was 4-0.

The Buzzards added a quick score in the fifth frame. Welzy led-off with a sharp double down the left field line on an 0-2 count. He then moved to third base on a grounder to the right side. Taylor, still nursing a bad wheel but looking a lot better, scored on an infield hit by Pete 'Baron' Von Zboray for a 5-0 lead.

The Solons got runners on base in each of the first five innings with several good scoring opportunities, but the Buzzard defense stiffened and held the Solons to no runs. The Buzzard defense included throwing out two runners at home plate for crucial outs in the third and the fifth innings. And a fabulous bases-loaded, no outs, double play, pitcher to catcher to first (a 1-2-3 in the books) in the fourth frame. Each defensive gem squashed a Solon rally and preserved the shut-out.

The Buzzards finally got the timing down on big Frank's deceiving pitches in the top of the sixth and scored five runs to take a commanding 10-0 lead. Cookie led-off the inning with a line drive single to center field. Lee, batting next, singled up-the-middle putting two runners on. Up next, Dan 'Wookie' Wukmir, a lefty swinger, was hit on the back foot by a curve-ball gone bad to fill the bases. Welzy followed with a hard single to left field that scored two runs and put runners at first and third. Welz then stole second and scored with Wook on Burning Man's two-run single to left field. The Solons then changed pitchers and brought in John 'Look Out' Mason #11. After moving to second on a wild pitch, Norm scored on a lined single to left by the Baron.

The Buzzards, going for the kill and early cold beers, put two more on the scoreboard for some cushion with the seven-inning 10-run mercy rule. Cookie started it off by getting nailed by a fast ball in the back, right between the numbers (32). Youngin' walked putting two on. With one out, Welzy hit a hard bouncer down the third base line for his fourth hit of the game and scored a hurting Cookie from third. Tucker followed with a base on balls before the Baron knocked in the final run with a fielder's choice. The Solons did not score in the bottom of the seventh inning, so the game ended at 4:20 pm with the final score 12-0.

Buzzard pitching put zeros in the scorebook every inning. Great job by Salmeri in the first five frames, while Welz closed it out crisply in the last two digs. Rick faced 24 batters in throwing 76 pitches (44 strikes & 32 balls). Salmo gave up seven hits and four walks with one strike-out in pitching a scoreless five innings. Welzy pitched the last two innings quickly and efficiently by throwing 24 pitches (15 strikes & 9 balls) in facing six Solons. Taylor gave up no hits or walks while striking out half the batters he faced.

The Buzzard offense scored in five of the seven innings. There were 13 timely hits to go along with four walks and three hit batsmen for the 12 runs. The hit club for the game included the Baron-2, Burning Man-2, Cookie-1, TK-2, Welzy-4 and Youngin'-2. Those critical RBI's were knocked in by the Baron-3, Burning Man-2, Salmo-1, TK-1, Welzy-3 and Youngin'-2. Stay hot.

The Buzzard defense was responsible for several noteworthy plays. In the third with one out and runners at first and second, a base hit to right field sent the fairly fast runner, Mike 'Angels Minor Leaguer' Johnson racing for home. A good relay throw from Youngin' in right-center to Welzy covering the relay from shortstop, and then throwing a long bullet to Kelley at the plate in plenty of time to tag a surprised Solon standing up.

The following inning with the bases loaded and no outs, Salmo snagged the come-backer and threw to home where the new catcher, Burning Man Tucker, got the force out and made a strong throw to Pete at first base to complete the double play (1-2-3). The next batter grounded to second to end a promising Solon inning.

The last gem happened in the fifth frame. With two outs and runners at second and first, the runner on second got a good jump on a single to right field. Paul fielded the ball and threw to Salmo acting as cut-off in the infield. Rick wheeled and threw home to Norm in a close sliding play at the plate. Ol' Minor Leaguer Johnson was thrown out at home on a nice looking inside hook slide, but Burning Man was not fooled and nailed him at the plate in a bang-bang dust-raising play. Mike #13 was thrown out twice at home in the game.

Good game all around. The tough Buzzards won this game with 10 players on Sunday. And after Barry got hurt in the first inning, there was no margin for any more injuries. Hopefully, the new injuries sustained (Barry - pulled hammy & Cookie - pulled groin) were minor tweaks and not serious. Other injured Buzzards - get healthy quick.

The next game is Sunday, May 5, at James Field in Auburn at 2 o'clock against the 45+ Dodgers.

 



Sunday, April 21

Gold Country Ol' Buzzards Game Report #3

Game: April 21, 2013

Buzzards pound Yankees, 29 to 5

The Gold Country Ol' Buzzards gathered at James Field on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon to take on the visiting Yankees. The 1-1 Buzzards were anticipating an easy win against the always weak Yankee team (0-2) and soon to be 0-3. It took 2 1/2 hours to finish off the Yanks in seven innings due to the Buzzards scoring in every inning.

On the mound for the Buzzards was the crafty right-hander, Mike 'Big Mac' McCabe #15. The starting pitcher for the Yankees was the hard throwin' righty, John 'Wild Man' Schweiter #9. Buzzards like hard throwers.

The Buzzards got it going early with a lead-off single by Paul 'Youngin' Lee. Dan 'Wookie' Wukmir took a walk and was followed by fellow walkers Kelley 'KG' Garcia to load the bases and Norm 'Burning Man' Tucker to push in the first run. Pete 'Baron' Von Zboray hit a sacrifice fly to left field to score the second run. Batting next, Barry 'Brooklyn' Forman smashed a double to deep center field to drive in two runs. Big Mac then hit a liner to center field for a base hit. Barry got a good jump off of second, but ran the bases in low gear and was thrown out at the plate - standing up - for the third out. Score 3-0.

In the top of the second inning the Yankees battled back and scored three runs on three hits and two infield miscues to make the game close. The Buzzards responded with three runs in the bottom of the frame. Tom 'TK' Keatley started it off with a line drive single to right field. David 'Mumbles' Kelley took a base on balls as did Steve 'Cookie' Cook. Youngin' then knocked in a run with a fielder's choice. Wookie followed with another walk before Taylor 'Welzy' Welz scalded a pitch down the left field line for a two-run single. Even with a bad wheel Welzy couldn't help himself and he then stole second base before the inning ended with the score at 7-3.

The Buzzards scored four times in the third dig. A lead-off double by Burning Man followed by base hits by the Baron, Brooklyn, Big Mac and Mumbles accounted for the runs. After three innings the score was 11-3.

The Yanks scored a run in the fourth on a walk, stolen base, wild pitch and a run-scoring single. The Yankees' changed pitchers to open the bottom of the fourth. A hard throwing lefty, Tom 'Fazio' Offazio #17 looked impressive in warm-ups. However, the gang from the Gold Country proceeded to score 10 runs on nine hits including Tucker's second double of the game. Rick 'Salmo' Salmeri was hit by a pitch in the left forearm with a loud thud. The first of two catcher's interference plays occurred in the inning. The score after four was 21-4.

In the fifth the Yanks added an unearned run. The not so Ol' Buzzards added seven more to the score board for a 28-5 lead. Seven hits including a nice double to left-center by Cookie and a couple of Yankee errors led to the scores.

The league's mercy-rule kicks-in when a team has a 10-run lead after seven innings. So in the bottom half of the sixth frame, the Buzzards tacked on one more run. A couple of walks to the Baron and Ray 'Bull Dog' Henry by their fourth pitcher plus a sharp single to right field by Salmo ended the scoring spree with a final score of 29-5.

Buzzard pitching dominated the Yankees. McCabe threw the first five innings and Welz closed-up the game in the final two frames. Big Mac faced 24 batters and threw 73 pitches (52 strikes & 21 balls). The Yanks scored five runs (three earned) on five hits with one walk and five strike outs with Mike on the hill. Taylor threw the last two innings and faced seven Yankee batters. He threw 27 pitches (19 strikes & 8 balls) in striking out five with no runs, walks or hits. Awesome pitching.

The Buzzard batters had a field day with their big sticks and got 27 base hits. The hit club for the game included the Baron-3, Big Mac-4, Brooklyn-3, Burning Man-3, Cookie-2, Mumbles-1, Salmo-1, TK-3, Welzy-4, Wook-2 and Youngin'-2. The ribbies were courtesy of (in batting order): Youngin'-2, Wookie-3, Welzy-3, Burning Man-3, Baron-1, Barry-3, Big Mac-4, TK-1, Salmo-1, Mumbles-2, and Cookie-4.

A good game for stats and running the bases. And no one got hurt for the first game this season. Let's keep that streak going. Next game is in Davis at 2 o'clock. Playfields Park against the Solons on April 28th.



Sunday, April 14

Gold Country Ol' Buzzards Game Report #2

Game: April 14, 2013

Buzzards beat up Astros, 28 - 14

The second game of the season for the Gold Country Ol' Buzzards was a 10 am game in Citrus Heights against the Astros at C-Bar-C Park. It was a great day for baseball, sunny with temps in the low 70's and a mild breeze. Both teams were looking for their first win of the new season.

The starting pitcher for the Astros was righty Rankin 'Fire Plug' Lymon #01. On the mound for the Buzzards was right-hander Rick 'Salmo' Salmeri #7 making his Buzzard debut. Everyone was set at 10 o'clock except the umpires. They were lost and arrived a little late. The game started at 10:15, so the delay was not too bad.

Leading it off for the Buzzards in the top of the 1st inning was Tom 'TK' Keatley with a single through the hole on the left side. Next, Dan 'Wookie' Wukmir hit an 0-1 pitch hard down the first base line for a run-scoring triple. Ray 'Bull Dog' Henry followed with an RBI double to right-center field. Kelley 'KG' Garcia, batting next, hit a flare to left field putting runners at the corners. Up next, Norm 'Burning Man' Tucker singled to center field driving in Bull Dog. Salmo used the element of surprise in his first Buzzard at-bat and bunted nicely on the first pitch for a single that scored KG on the play.  Mike 'Big Mac' McCabe was hit by a pitch on the hip by a curve ball that didn't break to load the bases.

The Astros changed pitchers at this point and brought in another fire plug sized pitcher, Henry 'Bull' Torrez #26. This righty was a hard thrower, but the Buzzards hit him hard also.

After Dave 'DK' Kelley's fielder's choice scored a run, Steve 'Cookie' Cook walked to reload the bases. Keatley batting for the second time this inning, singled again, this time up the middle driving in two runs to end the scoring at nine in the first frame.

A big early lead is nice, but the Astros are a good hitting team and were not giving up. The Astros bounced-back with five runs in their half of the inning for a 9-5 game after one long first inning.

The Buzzards scored two in the second dig (Aussie for inning). Salmo walked on five pitches to open the inning. DK followed with a run-scoring lined double to right-center. A TK walk and a Wookie run-scoring looper to center field added the other run.

The Astros scored a run in the bottom half for an 11-6 score after two frames. The Buzzards continued their onslaught on Astro pitchers by scoring seven more runs in the third inning. After one out, Burning Man was hit by a pitch on his right elbow's funny bone. Not a good spot to get hit and certainly not funny on the throwing arm. The behind-the-back wild pitch found the inside part of the back elbow (nearly an impossible angle) to nail him good. Since there is no crying, just cussing, in baseball Tucker took first base.

Batting next Salmo walked, and was followed by a hit parade. Consecutive hits by Big Mac, DK, Cookie, a double by TK, a single by Bull Dog, a base on balls to KG and a single by Burning Man accounted for the scoring in the seven-run dig.

The Astros changed pitchers again during the inning and another veteran righty Ron 'Belly' Turner #13 was the next Buzzard victim. The Astros scored three runs in their half of the third inning on two doubles and three singles to make the score at the end of three inning, 18-9.

The Buzzards were not done and scored two runs in the fourth. Hits by David, then Steve, a walk to Dan, and more hits by Ray and Kelley scored the runs. The Astros did not score in the fourth, so the score was 20-9.

The Ol' Buzzards added three more in the fifth frame. Salmo started it by advancing to first base on a passed ball strike-out, Cookie and KG were hit by pitches and Wookie and the Bull Dog took a walk for RBI's.  The Astros scored two in the inning to make the score 23-11.

Showing no mercy, the Buzzard struck for five more in the sixth inning. Walks to Salmo and Big Mac started the inning. The latest hit parade followed with singles by Cookie, TK, Wookie, then a long double by Bull Dog, followed by a Garcia single ended the Buzzards' scoring at 28.

The Buzzards sent Ray 'Bull Dog' Henry #27 to the mound in the last inning to get some work. The Astros scored three runs in their last at-bats in the seventh inning to make the final score of the three-hour game 28-14.

The Buzzards were a little short-handed for the game with nine healthy players. Gregg 'Surf Dawg' Novotny was on the field coaching but he was on the disabled list for the game with the hamstring injury. Rick Salmeri was called into the starting role when Big Mac's elbow said no.

With just nine Buzzard batters, the good news was everyone batted seven times, the bad news was everyone had a lot of running on the base paths to do. We heard lots of huffing and puffing crossing home plate. Need more tread mill...

Buzzard pitching displayed the patience of a saint. The umpire's changing strike zone and the spotty defense made for long innings and lots of pitches. The big lead did take the worry away, but the Astros showed they can hit, several over our outfielders' heads, and score runs.  The variety of Astros' pitching that was seen was no match for the Ol' Buzzards bats and that led to nice batting stats.

Salmeri pitched six strong innings giving up 14 runs (5 earned) on 17 hits with four walks and three strike-outs. Rick faced 40 batters and threw 131 pitches (81 strikes & 50 balls). A solid job, especially under the circumstances. Henry closed out the game by pitching the seventh inning. The Bull Dog got a good work out. Ray faced nine batters and threw 40 pitches (18 strikes & 22 balls). #27 gave up three runs (none earned) on two hits and three walks.

Buzzard batters feasted on Astros' pitching all game. The game's hit club included the entire line-up. Buzzards with multiple hits were: Bull Dog-4, Burning Man-2, Cookie-3, DK-3, KG-3, Salmo-2, TK-4, and Wookie-3. Ribbies were knocked in by every player (in batting order): TK-4, Wookie-4, Bull Dog-6, KG-3, Burning Man-2, Salmo-1, Big Mac-1, DK-3, and Cookie-1. The hitting was awesome and adjusted well to the variety of pitching types and styles during the game.

The sound of base hits was supplemented with four Buzzards hit-by-pitches plus the 10 walks for a strong offensive showing.

The game ended with a nasty collision between McCabe at first and the runner, Bull Torrez. The grounder was taken deep and a little wide of first. Mike fielded the ball cleanly and was running toward the bag with the intention of tossing the ball to the covering pitcher, Ray. The ball got stuck in the glove and Big Mac decided to end this game and beat the runner, Bull, with a full head of steam to the bag. Uh, oh!

Well, Big Mac won by a half-step, but Bull lowered his shoulder as they collided and both went flying then landed hard. Both were shaken-up, but Bull bounced up and started coming after Mike and shouting not so nice things. He was held back and peace-maker Cook was at his finest. McCabe was up on his knees by then, but still down for several minutes after the game.

That little affair made the end of game greetings with the Astros a little awkward. But Mike was ok and the beer soon afterward made it all feel better. So did passing around the scorebook and trying to remember all seven at-bats.  Buzzard record  is 1-1.

Buzzard Note #1: Next game is April 21 at James Field at 2 pm. The Yankees are the opponent. If you like beating up on a team called the Yankees, then this is your chance.

Buzzard Note #2: The following games are scheduled with some away games sites and times still to be determined:

April 28 Away at Playfields Park in Davis at 2 pm vs. Solons

May 5 Home at James Field at 2 pm vs. Miners

May 12 Mother's Day and no game

May 19 Away game at 10 am vs. Dodgers

May 26 Memorial Day and no game

June 2 Away game at 2 pm vs. Reds

June 9 Away at Galt Community Park at 10 am vs. Astros

June 16 Away Father's Day game at 10 am vs. Yankees

June 23 Home at James Field at 2 pm vs. Solons

June 30 Home at James Field at 2 pm vs. Red Sox

July 7 Independence Holiday and no game

July 14 Away vs. Dodgers

July 21 Home at James Field at 2 pm vs. Miners

July 28 Home at James Field at 2 pm vs. Astros

August 4 Away vs. Yankees

August 11 Home at James Field at 2 pm vs. Reds

August 18 Home at James Field at 2 pm vs. Red Sox

August 25 Away vs. Solons

Sept 8 Playoffs

Sept 15 Championship game



Sunday, April 7

Gold Country Ol' Buzzards Game Report #1

Game: April 7, 2013

Buzzards fall to Reds in pitching duel, 2-1

The Gold Country Buzzards opened the 2013 season at James Field in Auburn on a cool, blustery and cloudy Spring afternoon. Which seemed ironic after a Winter of warm and sunny Sundays. The Reds, managed by Carlos Zamora, brought another good team with lots of Spanish surnames (all but 2, pitcher & third base) to Auburn for the 2 o'clock game. This was the Ol' Buzzards first game in the 55+ division. Both teams have 'history' with each other in the 45+ and old 48+ divisions.

  Pitching for the Reds was the tough ol' righty, Robert 'Ponytail' Stormont #30. Robert, now in his mid-60's, can still sling that ball. Taking the mound for the Buzzards was the best ol' pitcher in the Gold Country, Mike 'Big Mac' McCabe #15. Mike, in his very early 60's, can still 'bring it' with a nice variety of pitches including good heat.

So, the battle royale for gray-haired supremacy of the 2013 NABA Sacramento Baseball League began for the Buzzards with an exciting, but close game loss, 2-1, to the visiting Reds. As it turned out, Stormont pitched a five-hit, complete game (79 pitch) gem to tame the hard hitting Buzzards. Those five hits were limited to the 3rd and 4th innings.  Ponytail did not walk a batter and only went to 3-balls once, and 2-balls in the count just six times to the 32 Buzzard batters in this 9-inning game. That's pretty amazing control for the first game of the season and the fact that Robert has only one 'good' eye. Stormont pitched for the Buzzards in Phoenix in 2011.

Ponytail threw hittable pitches all game and the Buzzards were not easy outs. The Reds played excellent defense and made tough plays - with some pretty young looking old guys - for key outs that snuffed out potential Buzzard rallies. The Reds' outfielders snatched hits from at least two Buzzards by diving for the sinking liners. And that catch in the 4th inning with the full-speed running, leaping and diving back-handed catch into left field's foul territory was deserving of the ESPN tune and worth an ID check next time.

Their pitching and defense was a tough combination to beat and only getting five hits and no walks is not much offense to work with, so we'll reload and take it out on the Astros next game. The Buzzards ended up having only 10 in uniform at game time with late work and sick calls, and two of them (Welz & Von Zboray) had just played nine for the 40+ Auburn Pirates. We finished with 11, but some were limping Buzzards. Beer afterward made it feel better, but I heard a few Monday mornings were not pleasant.

The Buzzards played well and held the 15 Red base runners to two crossing home plate, both in the first inning and both unearned. There were only two real scoring opportunities for the Buzzards. In the 3rd inning, Norm 'Burning Man' Tucker led off with a first-pitch lined single down the left field line. Steve 'Cookie' Cook followed with a first-pitch line drive single to center field. Gregg 'Surf Dawg' Novotny then hit a short looper into right field that fell just in front of the diving outfielder. However, the near-catch had Cookie in between first and second and leaning the wrong way. The fielder recovered and made the short throw to second base to get the force-out on the play with Burning Man moving to third.

Batting next, Paul 'Youngin' Lee (team's youngest player) hit a hard liner down the left field line that was amazingly caught by the diving back-hand catch mentioned earlier. Norm tagged from 3rd base and scored the first and only Buzzard run of the game. Dan 'Wookie' Wukmir followed with a two-out broken bat single to center field, but the inning ended with a good play by the shortstop on a ball hit up the middle by Taylor 'Welzy' Welz. The scored stayed at 2 to 1 for the next 6 innings. Tom 'TK' Keatley had the only other base hit on an infield single that he beat out in the next inning. TK advanced on the over throw by the shortstop and moved into scoring position for the only other scoring chance.

  Next week, bring your hittin' sticks. Need more cow bell ... and base hits.

Buzzard pitching held the good hitting Reds to 5 hits and was good enough to win this game. McCabe pitched the first six innings and threw 123 pitches (73 strikes & 50 balls) to 31 batters. Big Mac gave up four hits with seven walks and four strike outs. He walked four in the first two innings before finding the groove. The Reds do take a lot of pitches and make the pitcher's work. The infield defense had a few lapses while Mike was pitching that coincided with the circus music.

Mike did show his frustration in the top of the 2nd with two runners on and a 3-1 count, when the third base coach chose to call time-out with the ball in his pocket before the critical pitch. After Big Mac starred at the coach for a bit, he slowly adjusted his sun glasses with the middle finger of his pitching hand. Of course, the next pitch was ball four to load the bases. McCabe then proceeded to strike-out the next batter (Reds clean-up hitter) on three pitches. To make it more exciting, the third strike curve ball was in the dirt and it scooted away from Norm, just behind him. Burning Man alertly found the ball and calmly took two steps to touch home plate, with the runner from third racing down the line, to end the inning with no runs scored.

Novotny took the mound in the 7th inning and cruised through on 7 pitches. In the 8th Surf Dawg gave up a hit to open the inning, but 3 batters later the frame was closed. Gregg warmed up for the 9th before pulling his left hamstring muscle reaching awkwardly for a throw back. Gregg threw 27 pitches (19 strikes & 8 balls) to 7 Red batters. That freak accident required Welzy to come in from shortstop and warm-up to pitch the last inning. Taylor had injured his left knee in a game earlier that day, but he said he would give it a try. Welzy mowed 'em down on 14 pitches (10 strikes & 4 balls), then limped away from the mound.

There were two double-plays in the game and they belonged to the Buzzard defense. In the top of the 5th inning with one out and a jack rabbit runner on second, Big Mac struck out the batter and Burning Man threw out the runner at third with a one hop strike to Wookie and nice tag. A nice strike 'em out, throw 'em out double-play. Not to be forgotten, Burning Man Tucker looked pretty good behind the plate and those yoga classes appear to be paying off with good flexibility and tight buns.

The second DP was in the 6th inning, when Mike caught a mini pop-up off the mound with a nice stretch and then doubled-up the runner at first. Defensively, Mike had five assists and three put-outs in the game.

As the clouds got darker and the wind blew harder, the game ended in 2 1/2 hours. After attending to the field and putting our toys away, the Buzzards enjoyed cold brews and snacks afterwards. Could have used hot chocolate with the cool weather.

Next Sunday's game is at 10 am at C-Bar-C Park in Citrus Heights. The following week's game (April 21) is at James Field at 2 pm. More schedule information to come.



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