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Last updated
09-19-14 11:11 AM
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Gold Country Buzzards
Dan Wukmir
1306 Gold Pan Drive
Roseville, California
Sunday, August 3

Gold Country Ol' Buzzards Game Report #13

Game: August 3, 2014

Buzzards claw Solons, 9-2

With summer temps in the 100s for quite a while and a Saturday at 107° in the valley, it cooled off surprisingly well by Sunday to a mild 86° in Auburn for a hot match-up of the top two teams in the 52+ division of Sacramento NABA. The second place Sacramento Solons were up from the valley floor to take on the first place Gold Country Buzzards in the 2 o'clock game at James Field. The Buzzards are comfortably in first place, but the intent was to still kick some Solon tail and send a message for the upcoming playoffs. Beware the Buzzards.

The starting pitcher for the Solons was their ace lefty, Tom 'The Fazz' DeFazio #31. Taking the mound for the home team and starting for the first time as a Buzzard was veteran right-hander, Fred 'Freddie' O'Donoghue #32.

The Ol' Buzzards hit the scoreboard first with a hard-earned run in the bottom of the first inning. Tom 'Tomahawk' Keatley led-off with a walk. Next, Dan 'Wookie' Wukmir swung late on a 1-1 fastball, but looped a single into left-field to put two runners on. Both runners moved up on a wild pitch before Dave 'Evy' Everingham on a 3-2 pitch hit a frozen-rope to center-field. The liner was run down for a sacrifice fly with a diving-rolling catch by Bruce 'Bronx Loudmouth' Maiman. Tomahawk tagged up and scored on the roll, but Wookie had to stay at second.

Batting next, Pete 'Baron' Von Zboray walked on five pitches to put two Buzzards on with one out. A strike-out and a ground-out ended the dig without further scoring, but The Fazz threw 27 pitches and the Buzzards were up, one to nothing. The Solons struck back with a run in the second inning. Two singles and a strike-out, followed by two more hits to score the run. Next was another strike-out and then a close fielder's choice play at second base (6-4) left the bases full of frustrated Solons to end the inning with the score tied at 1-1.

The Buzzards threatened in the second and third innings and left five men stranded on base. The Buzzards also made two outs at home plate in the third inning, one thrown out and one forced out. In the fourth frame, the Buzzards took some risks to put some runs on the board in this close ballgame.

Rick 'Salmo' Salmeri opened the inning by getting hit on the top of the right (back) foot and taking first base. It was an impressive and growing welt after the game when his shoe came off. Salmo moved to second on a wild pitch and to third on a ground-out. Batting next, Wookie hit into a fielder's choice with Salmo trying to score from third, but was thrown-out at the plate on a close sliding play. Wook then stole second before Evy walked. With runners at second and first with a tie score, the Solons were pre-occupied with Wook at second and either faked a throw or attempted a pick-off before each pitch to the Baron. On the fourth pitch and with the third baseman playing deep, Wook stole third. On the play, the throw from the catcher bounced and hit Wookie on the left wrist and the ball bounced away deep into foul territory. Wookie got up and scored easily as the Buzzies took a 2-1 lead. Evy was put back at second by the umps after the play. The umps were wrong.

The Baron, still at-bat, then took another base-on-balls. The Buzzards' scary (looking?) clean-up hitter had his third walk by the fourth inning. Up next, Freddie hit the first pitch into right-center field for a single that scored Evy from second to make the score 3-1 after four. The Solons changed pitchers in the fifth and brought in righty, Ken 'Pudgy' Wright #1.

The Gold Country gang of 10 players, then nine after Paul 'General' Lee injured his calf muscle early in the game, added a nice crooked number (4) to the scoreboard in the fifth frame. Dave 'mMumbles' Kelley started it off with an infield hustle hit. Tomahawk ran for mMumbles and immediately stole second base. Norm 'Burner' Tucker followed with a flare into left-field for a hit to put runners at the corners. Burner stole second before Salmo walked to load the bases. With the bases full of Ol' Buzzards, Tomahawk chopped a fielder's choice to the third baseman for a force-out at home.

With the bases still full, Wookie smacked a long drive to center-field that for a moment looked catchable. The ball hooked away from the outfielder as he ran with his back to the infield as the ball landed for a hit. Wookie was robbed by the same fielder, Bronx Bruce, on a similar line-drive in the second inning. Meanwhile, Burner scored easily from third, but Salmo was still scurrying for home after heading back to second a moment earlier to tag up. The ball caught up with a sliding Salmo at the plate for the fifth Buzzard out at home in the game.

Next, Evy crushed a 2-0 pitch down the left-field line for a nice double to score Tomahawk and Wook. With Evy at second, the Solons tried a pick-off move that back-fired on the over-throw and Evy hustled home to score on the play. The Baron then sent a blast to the left-field fence for a double before the fifth inning ended with the score: Buzzards 7 and the Solons 1.

The Solons added a run in the seventh inning on a lead-off single and stolen base followed by a run-scoring hit to left by The Fazz.

The Buzzards tacked on two more runs in the eighth inning before the game was called due to the three-hour time limit. After fouling off two two-strike pitches, Freddie led-off with a sharp single to right. Pete ran for Fred. With one out, mMumbles lined a single to right to put runners at first and second. Tom ran for Dave. Burner then hit a shot down the third base line for a single to load the bases.  Salmo, batting next, knocked the 3-1 pitch into left-field for a base hit and scored the Baron and Tomahawk. The umps then stopped the game with the final score 9-2.

The Buzzards used their ol' tried and true recipe for the victory - terrific pitching, solid defense and good sticks. The game was close in the beginning, but the Buzzards pulled away in a strong, dominant fashion. Another good Buzzard win.

The pitching was awesome as usual. Freddie started the game and went four innings for the win before pulling a butt cheek muscle while warming up on the mound before the start of the fifth frame. Before O'Donoghue was relieved, he faced 21 Solons in throwing 68 pitches (43 strikes & 25 balls). Fred gave up one run on eight hits with two walks and four strike-outs. Gregg 'Surf Dawg' Novotny threw the last four of the eight-inning game. Surf Dawg threw 52 pitches (31 strikes & 21 balls) in facing 14 batters. Gregg gave up one run on three hits with one walk and one strike-out.

The Buzzard offense knocked in 9 runs and left 13 stranded on 16 hits with the help of seven walks and two Solon errors. The hit club for the game included: the Baron, Burner (3), Evy (3), Freddie (3), mMumbles (3), Salmo, and Wookie (2). The seven ribbies were courtesy of: Evy (3), Freddie, Salmo (2), and Wook. The always important runs were scored by: Burner, Evy (2), Freddie, mMumbles, Tomahawk (2), and Wookie (2). Seven free passes to first base were issued to four watchful Buzzards: the Baron (3), Evy, Salmo, and Tomahawk (2). The Buzzard defense was excellent.

There were 24 Solon outs in the game, so with five strike-outs, that leaves 19 fielding outs. For the second week in a row, there was only one fly-ball out during the game and each went to Tomahawk playing center field. There were two key pop-ups for outs to Pete at first base as each ended an inning with runners on base. Grounders to Fred at first base in the sixth and to mMumbles at third in the eighth were the other unassisted outs.

There were 14 infield assisted put-outs where direct team work resulted in valuable outs. Evy at shortstop had five assists and two put-outs. Wookie hung in there for five assists and two put-outs at second base until a collision in the eighth caused muscle cramps in his calves and the game came to a stop for a while.

The play started with two on and no outs with a sharply hit grounder by Pudgy right to mMumbles playing close to third for a potential triple play. mMumbles stepped on third for the out and fired at second base, when he should have thrown to the second baseman's glove. Wookie went to his knees to block or maybe catch the two-hopper just as the runner, Al 'Mad Max' Luger slid hard and crashed into Wook. Max went tumbling over the bag with the ball and Wookie ended up on the first base side of the bag on the ground grabbing at his feet for muscle cramp relief. Max and Evy rushed over and applied the pushing pressure on the feet until the cramps subsided. Wook then hobbled over to the dugout for hydration on orders from the ump and returned fairly quickly to second base due to the lack of any other healthy Buzzard player, and that there were just 15 more minutes to play.

When the game resumed in the eighth, it was two on and one out. With a 1-1 count, Wook called time-out and switched positions with Freddie at first, as his legs were getting that crampy feeling. As luck would have it, the next pitch was hit to Freddie's right where he cleanly fielded the ball and tossed it to Evy covering second to start a double play to end the Solons' last inning.

Freddie had three assists and five put-outs playing first base and pitching. The best assist was a great pick-off move to nail the Bronx Loudmouth at first base in the opening inning. The pick-off for the second out was followed by two base hits, but no runs. The first out of the game was an excellent play by a hard-charging Wookie on a short chopper to just get the lefty, Phil 'Speedy' Gunther.

The Buzzards kept Speedy off of the base paths. Phil went 0 for 3 with a strike out and broke his bat in frustration in the sixth during his at-bat. After swinging at two low curves and hitting his bat on the plate during his second swing, Speedy slammed his bat on the plate and it clearly cracked. Phil then had to speedily change bats and ground-out on the next pitch to first base.

Burner caught the entire game and was credited with five put-outs for the strike-outs and one assist. The assist in the fifth inning was a fun one as Tucker nailed the runner, Mad Max, on a throw to the bag. Wookie was on his knees to catch the ball and make a tag on a slide play, but Max did not slide, so Wook applied a hard tag in the middle of his thigh. Max went tumbling over the bag and to the ground for the out.

There were two Buzzard double plays in the game. In the seventh it was a 6-4-3 with Evy to Wookie to Freddie and in the eighth it was 4-6-3 with Freddie to Evy to Wook. On the offensive, offensive side, the Buzzards made five outs at home during three innings (actually five of eight outs). Two in the third inning, one in the fourth, and two in the fifth, which must be some kind of record.

A little short-handed, but another nice Buzzard victory for a season record of 12-2. Good job,

Buzzards. Buzzard Note #1: The next game is at Playfields Park in Davis at 10 am on August 10th against the Astros.

Buzzard Note #2: Al 'Mad Max' Luger, who collided hard with Wookie a couple of times in the game is a recently retired shark attorney who works professionally as Max. Interestingly, Wook and Al are buddies and have been roommates at Phoenix the last two years playing on the over-60 Solons.

Sunday, July 27

Gold Country Ol' Buzzards Game Report #12

Game: July 27, 2014

Buzzards beat-up the Yankees, 11-1

The 13th game of the season was played on the road in Citrus Heights against the last place Yankees. On a humid and hot day that hit 102°, the afternoon game is not preferred. Nor is a short-handed team, but the 10-man Ol' Buzzards team did have the advantage of playing the damned Yankees. This was the Buzzards' fifth and last game at C-Bar-C Park this season. The record at the field is 2-2 with wins over the Solons and Astros, and the Buzzards only two losses of this season - to the Dodgers and the Athletics.

Pitching for the visiting Buzzards was the veteran righty, Gregg 'Surf Dawg' Novotny #1. And taking the bump to open the game for the Yankees was the big righty, Jim 'Dizzy' McAdams #26.

The Buzzards opened the game with three runs to take an early lead. Leading off, Tom 'Tomahawk' Keatley hit a sky-high fly ball to left-field. The fielder ran over to make the catch, but dropped the ball for an error and put Tomahawk at first base. Up next, Dan 'Wookie' Wukmir smacked the 2-2 pitch into right-center-field for a base hit. Batting next, Mike 'Mickey' Wilson hit a flare to left-field for a single to load the bases.

With the bases full of Buzzards and no one out, Pete 'Baron' Von Zboray came to the plate. Dizzy did not give the Baron a chance to swing at a good pitch, by pitching too carefully, and he walked the clean-up hitter on a 3-1 count to push Tomahawk in from third to score the first run. Jim 'Milli' Milligan followed with a fielder's choice at second to score Wookie. The Baron ran for Milli at first.  With runners at the corners, the Baron stole second base before Norm 'Burner' Tucker walked to load 'em up for Dave 'mMumbles' Kelley. mMumbles bounced into a fielder's choice at third, but scored Mickey from third to end the first inning's scoring.

In the second inning, the Buzzards added two runs to take a 5-0 lead. Paul 'General' Lee started it off by getting on base via an infield error. Tomahawk, up next, singled sharply to right-center. Wookie followed with a walk to load the bases with no outs. Batting next, Mickey bounced into a fielder's choice at third that scored the General from third base on the play. Next, the Baron slammed the first pitch into left-field for a line-drive single to score Wook from second for the last run of the second dig.

The stubborn Yankees also wanted to score. They did not score the last time the teams met on July 13th in Rocklin. In the second inning, the lead-off batter, John Davis, walked and stole second on a close play, then moved to third on a wild pitch before scoring on a grounder to first base. The score after two innings was the Buzzards 5 and the Yankees 1.

The Gold Country gang tacked on another run in the third. Burner led-off the inning with a hard hit grounder through the left-side for a single. Norm advanced to second on an attempted pick-off play at first by the catcher. The throw was down the line and Burner moved-up 90 feet. mMumbles got aboard via an infield error at third with Burner staying at second base on the play. Batting next, Rick 'Salmo' Salmeri chopped one sharply right-down the line. The third baseman bobbled it just long enough for Salmo to beat-out the throw to load the bases. The General then launched a high fly to center-field for a sacrifice to score Burner. Two ground balls later and the inning was over with the score, 6-1 Buzzards in the third.

Surf Dawg must have thought he was in his old landscaping business, with the way he effectively mowed down the Yankees like they were weeds. The pitch counts were low and Gregg was throwing strikes, as the defensive innings were quick, which is great on a hot day.

The Buzzards did not score in the fourth and were still looking for a big inning to put away the pesky Yankees with the 10-run rule. In the fifth, just one more run was added to the scoreboard. The Yankees changed pitchers and brought in a hard throwing lefty, Jerry 'Flinger' Whalen #11. After a strike-out, mMumbles lined one to left-field for a single. Norm ran for David. Salmo and General then followed with walks to load the bases with one out. Batting next, Tomahawk hit a sacrifice fly-out to center-field to score Burner. Wook walked on a 3-2 pitch to load 'em up again, but the inning ended without the big hit to blow the game open. The score after five was 7-1 Buzzards.

Finally in the sixth, the Ol' Buzzards broke through with a nice big crooked number (4) to put on the scoreboard and it gave the team a 10-run cushion. The inning started with the Baron lining an 0-2 shot into center for a single. Milli and Burner then walked to load the bases. mMumbles hit into a botched fielder's choice to score Pete and keep the bases full. Up next, Salmo knocked a 3-2 pitch into the right-center-field gap for a two-run single.

The Yanks changed pitchers again and brought their shortstop to the mound, a barrel-chested, right-hander, John 'Snarly' Davis #7. The General then bounced into a close double play, but scored a run. The dig ended on a strike-out, but with the score after six innings, 11-1 Buzzards.

Surf Dawg struck-out three Yankees in the bottom of the sixth after a lead-off single. The Buzzies did not score in the top of the seventh. Gregg then held the Yanks scoreless in the bottom half of the last inning by inducing three grounders to Wookie at short to end the 2-hour and 20 minute game with the 10-run mercy rule and the final score 11-1.

The team quickly adjourned to Felipe's for cold drinks and hot food to enjoy the victory. Thanks again, Paul, for letting the team enjoy Felipe's after the C-Bar-C games this season.

Surf Dawg pitched a complete game on this hot day against the Yanks. Gregg threw 79 pitches (51 strikes & 28 balls) to 24 batters in seven innings of work. Novotny gave up just one run on three hits with one walk and seven strike-outs. The pitch counts for the seven frames went: 9, 15, 12, 12, 9, 13, and 9. The game had the typical excellent Buzzard pitching and solid defense to speed the game along.

The Ol' Buzzard offense scored just 11 runs on nine hits and nine walks plus the help of six Yankee errors. The Baron, the clean-up hitter, had the only multi-hit game, going three-for-three. The hit club for the game included: Baron (3), Burner, Mickey, mMumbles, Salmo, Tomahawk and Wookie. The key RBI's were knocked in by: Baron (2), General, Mickey, Milli, mMumbles (2), Salmo (2), and Tomahawk. For stat purposes, runs are considered scored by the original batter/runner, not the courtesy runner. The 11 important runs in this game were scored by: the Baron, Burner (2), General, Mickey, Milli, mMumbles (2), Tomahawk, and Wookie (2). The eagle-eyed Buzzards getting free passes to first base were: the Baron (2), Burner (2), General, Milli, Salmo, and Wook (2).

The defense was a little different and short-handed for the game, but played solidly and without an error. The defense performed so well, that memories are already faded as to who the former starters were at second, third and shortstop. Playing different positions were mMumbles at third, Burner at second and Wookie holding down short.

At third, Kelley made a fabulous play to end the third with a back-handed snatch of a hot-shot down the line. The catch was followed by a nice long, one bounce throw to the Baron at first base. A definite Wow play.

Burner played second base well and made one great play for a double play in the fifth dig. After a one-out Yankee double, a line-drive was flagged down by Burner near the base. The long, quick reach caused Burner to fall down onto his back on the play, while the runner dashed toward third. Tucker calmly tossed the ball from his back to second base to the covering Wook for the only double play of the game by the Buzzard defense.  At shortstop, Wookie handled all four assists (three in the last inning) and two put outs at second. Wook also made a nice catch to end the first frame when he jumped high to snag a rising line-drive.

There was just one fly-ball out in the game. It went to Tomahawk in center-field to open the second inning. There was one pop-up to the Baron at first base in the first frame. Pete also got three tough grounders to handle for put-outs at first. The Baron had 10 put-outs for the game.

The catching held up under the heat with a good game caught and called, as usual. Salmo went five digs behind the plate and Milli went two. There were seven strike-outs to help limit the number of batters to three over the minimum at 24 Yankees. Great defense, Buzzards.

Gold Country Buzzards like victories, even easy ones. The extra hot weather made it interesting especially with the small crew. The Ol' Buzzards held up well, though, and easily beat the Yankees.

The season record is now 11-2 with five regular season games remaining.

Buzzard Note #1: The next game, this Sunday, is August 3rd at James Field at 2 pm against the Solons. The remainder of the games are: 8/10 at 10 am at Playfields Park in Davis vs. Astros; 8/17 at 2 pm at James Field vs. the Yankees; 8/24 at 10 am at James Field vs. Solons; and the last game on 9/7 at 2 pm at James Field vs. the Astros. Labor Day weekend includes August 31.

Buzzard Note #2: There will be two playoff games this season. The first place Buzzards will play the fourth place Yankees on September 14th. It appears at James Field. The championship game will be on September 21st at Playfields Park. Time and opponent to be announced.

Buzzard Note #3: The Buzzard team party with wives and girl friends, but please not both, will be at the Salmeri's on September 28th at 1 pm. More info to come. Mark those calendars.

Sunday, July 20

Gold Country Ol' Buzzards Game Report #11

Game: July 20, 2014

Buzzards down the Astros, 11-1

On a strange weather day, the Buzzards gathered at the home field to take on the Barry Spiller led Astros. It rained later that evening and night, but the day was humid and full of thick clouds to cool it down to 80° in Auburn. The visiting team came with a large squad of eager Astros that warmed-up early and were ready to go.  Meanwhile, the Ol' Buzzard were down to 12 players for the game and a couple of those were running gingerly on their still-healing hamstrings.

The starting pitcher for the afternoon game for the Astros was ol' righty Rankin 'Fireplug' Lyman #01 and his 35 mph fast ball and slower curve. On the hill for the Buzzards was the veteran right-hander Gregg 'Surf Dawg' Novotny #1 and 5-0 this season as a starting pitcher.

The Ol' Buzzards bounced on the scoreboard first with three runs in the bottom half of the first inning. With one out, Dan 'Wookie' Wukmir started it off with a stand-up double, hit sharply down the right-field line. Fireplug and Spiller, playing second base, kept Wookie close to the bag by stationing Barry right-near second base and Rankin throwing back or faking a throw before every pitch. Wook got tired of the hassle of staying on second base, so on the fourth pitch, with Dave 'Evy' Everingham at the plate working the count, Wookie stole third to surprise the Astros. On a 3-1 pitch, Evy delivered a run-scoring single to center-field. Evy then proceeded to steal second base and third while Jim "Milli' Milligan was batting.

Milli launched the 1-1 count pitch to right field for a sacrifice fly-out to knock-in Evy. With two outs and the bases empty, Tom 'Tomahawk' Keatley pulled a high fastball down the left-field line for a long single. Tomahawk then advanced to second on a passed ball. Batting next, Fred 'Freddie' O'Donoghue nailed a 1-2 pitch sharply into right-center to score a speedy Tomahawk from second to end the scoring and give the Buzzards a 3-nothing early lead.

In the third frame, the Gold Country gang scored two more to stretch the lead to 5-0. After an out, Taylor 'Welzy' Welz beat-out an infield hit to start the scoring rally. Evy followed with a two-out double to deep right-center to plate Welzy. Evy then aggressively stole third base and then scored on the over-throw by the catcher on the play.

The Buzzards put two more on the board in the fifth frame. Norm 'Burner' Tucker started the inning by getting on first base via a fielding error by the shortstop. Up next, Kelly 'Cagey' Garcia hit a line-drive single down the left-field line. Mike 'Mickey' Wilson followed with a sharp grounder that was muffed by the shortstop to load the bases with no outs. Fred ran for Mike at first. Next, Rick 'Salmo' Salmeri bounced one to the hole on the left-side that was snagged by the shortstop, who threw to third for the force-out, but scored Burner from third on the play. Surf Dawg, batting for the first time in the game, hit a flare to right-center for a single on the first pitch to re-load the bases. A fielder's choice scored the second run later in the inning to make the score 7-0 Buzzards.

The Astros had one hit through five innings before they strung together a base hit, a stolen base and a run-scoring single in the sixth inning to score the lone Astros run and make the score 7-1.

The awesome Buzzard pitching continued as the Buzzards continued to score more runs. In the bottom of the sixth, the Buzzies scored one run. The inning started with Evy using his patented inside-out swing for a looping and curving base hit to right field. Evy then stole second base. One out later, Tomahawk's chopper to the shortstop's backhand was muffed and that put runners at the corners. With Freddie at bat, Tomahawk stole second before O'Donoghue hit a laser to center that looked like a sure base hit. The center fielder, however, charged the ball hard and made a diving catch for the out, but that also made for an easy tag-up at third for Evy to score run number eight.

After a excellent defensive play to end the seventh inning squashed an Astro rally, the Buzzards were anxious to get more runs to end the game early. On the play, Fireplug Rankin got a nice hit to left-center with two on and two outs. The runner starting on second base got cold feet after rounding third base and decided he couldn't score on the play and then attempted to return quickly to third. The relay from Tomahawk playing center to Evy at shortstop and then to the right base at the right time, Evy threw a strike to Surf Dawg at third, who put the tag into the face of the diving runner to ignominiously end the Astros last real chance to score in the game.

With a seven-run lead and batting in the seventh, the team's goal was to get a 10-run lead and ensure a victory with the 'mercy rule' and end the game early. To open the inning, Burner smoked a grounder through the left-side for a base hit. With one out, Mickey hit a scalding liner into left-field for a single putting runners at second and first. Up next, Salmo slapped a single to left to load the bases. Surf Dawg, batting next, bounced into a fielder's choice at second base that allowed Burner to score from third for the only run of the inning. The score after seven digs was the Buzzards 9 and the Astros 1.

The thirsty Buzzards, needing just two more runs until cold beer time, came to bat in the eighth looking to end the game soon. After one out, Evy hit his typical looping-curving flare into right field for his fourth hit of the game. Evy then stole second base (call the cops, it was his fifth stolen base of the game). Batting next, Milli grounded one sharply to the left-side that the third baseman bobbled, putting runners at the corners. Tomahawk, up next, hit into a fielder's choice at second base and beat out the attempted double play at first while Evy scored from third. With a runner on base with two outs and the game to be won, up stepped big Freddie O to the plate.

Tomahawk stole second base on the first pitch putting a runner in scoring position. On a 2-1 pitch, Freddie sent a line-drive screamer to right-center-field for a base hit that scored a flying Tomahawk from second to end the game with a walk-off hit by the newest Ol' Buzzard, Freddie O. The final score was the Buzzards 11 to the Astros 1 in a 2-hour and 20 minute game.

The first place Buzzards are looking pretty good and really put it to the Astros. The previous match against the Stros was a closer 7-3 game on April 27th. Another good Buzzard game with a solid win and no injuries. The season record is now 10-2 with six regular season games left.

The Buzzard pitching was fabulous. Surf Dawg started the game and went four innings and threw 50 pitches (35 strikes & 15 balls) in facing 15 Astros. Gregg was supposed to pitch the first three innings, but when he only threw six pitches in the entire third dig, his time was extended on the mound to an extra frame. Novotny gave up no runs, no hits, and two walks while striking out three Astros. Salmo took the mound for three inning and threw 52 pitches (40 strikes & 12 balls) in facing 14 Stros. Rick gave up one unearned run on five hits with one walk and two strike-outs. The closer for the game was Freddie, who got only one inning in before the Buzzard offense ended the game early. Freddie O faced four batters and threw 14 pitches (10 strikes & 4 balls). Fred gave up no runs on one hit and with two strike-em outs to end the game.

The Ol' Buzzard offense was frustrated all-day by Rankin's slow stuff. The offense consisted of 14 hits and only one walk plus four errors. The hit club for the game included: Burner, Cagey, Evy (4), Freddie (2), Mickey, Salmo, Surf Dawg, Tomahawk, Welzy and Wookie. The key ribbies were courtesy of: Evy (2), Freddie (3), Milli, Salmo, Surf Dawg, Tomahawk, and Welzy. The always important runs were scored by: Burner (2), Evy (4), Mickey, Tomahawk (2), Welzy, and Wook. The lone Buzzard walked by Fireplug was Tomahawk leading off the fourth.

The Buzzard defense was solid again. Seven of the 24 outs were by strike-outs. There were three put-outs in the outfield. The opening out was a nice sliding catch by Salmo in right field. The other fly-outs were to Tomahawk in center to end both the third and fourth innings. Tom also quickly tracked down the base hit by Rankin in the seventh that resulted in the picture-perfect relay execution to nail the runner at third.

There were five infield pop-ups shared by Evy (3) and Welzy (2). And one line-out to Evy in the fourth. There were not as many ground-outs as usual. There were five ground-outs to infielders and one come-backer to the pitcher. The come-backer was a nice play by Salmo in the fifth frame to knock-down the grounder and from his knees throw out the runner at first. Evy had two assists, Welzy with one, and Surf Dawg and Burner each had one assist at third base.

Burner played third base in the last inning after catching earlier in the game. He was not that excited to play the position when he was sent out. Well, the ball nearly always finds the new guy, so with an 0-2 pitch the first batter pulled a sharp grounder right down the third base line looking like a sure double. Burner with quick reactions, stepped, reached and snagged the ball with a blurred back-handed catch and made the looong throw to Cagey at first base for the out, look easy and it brought a smile to Burner's face.

The rock solid catching corps of Burner and Milli called and fielded a good game, as usual. Kelly Garcia showed no rust at first base and played a slick game with some good glove work. Cagey ended the fourth frame on his butt after showing off his range and snatching a ball pretty far to his right. The final stretch for the ball by the lefty got the ball in the glove, but it put him on his butt. The pitcher, Salmo, was racing the batter to first base and getting closer to the bag as Kelly led Rick nicely with the toss for the out. Salmo's game opening catch and David 'mMumbles' Kelley's presence in right field apparently caused the Stros to adjust their game plan and stay away from hitting the ball in that direction.

Another good Buzzard baseball game. The next game is Sunday at 2 pm at C-Bar-C Park for our last game in Citrus Heights.

Buzzard Note #1: The team will be going to Felipe's after the game. This is our last game at C-Bar-C Park this year and maybe longer. The Parks District's plan is to convert the field to women's softball during the off-season.

Buzzard Note #2: There will be an end of season afternoon Buzzard team party with wives/girl friends on Sunday, September 28th at Salmeri's at 1 pm. Save the date.

Sunday, July 13

Gold Country Ol' Buzzards Game Report #10

Game: July 13, 2014

Buzzards hit big and no-hit Yankees, 23-0

The Ol' Buzzards circled-in on new feasting grounds in Rocklin called the Tri City Senior Little League Field. The field is in a nice, old park with plenty of shade for the fans and players on this hot day. With temps rising to 100° later in the day, Ol' Buzzards like morning summer games when playing in the valley. You gotta give the Yankees plenty of credit, they arrived early and were eager to play, but they are still winless this season.

The starting pitchers for the match-up between the first and last place teams in the over-52 division were: right-hander, Taylor 'Welzy' Welz #26 for the visiting Buzzards and big righty, Jim 'Dizzy' McAdams, also #26, on the mound for the Yankees.

The Buzzards jumped on the score board first with four runs in the opening inning. Welzy started it off by getting aboard via an infield error. Up next, Dan 'Wookie' Wukmir watched Taylor steal second on the first pitch and then steal third, before grounding one through the hole on the right-side for a run-scoring single. Wookie then stole second before Dave 'Evy' Everingham doubled to right-center-field and scored easily on the play.

Batting next, Pete 'Baron' Von Zboray smashed a 1-1 pitch to center-field to score Evy. Pete then stole second and moved to third while two outs were made. Next, Norm 'Burner' Tucker looped a single into left-field to drive in the Baron and take an early 4-nothing lead. Before the inning ended, David 'mMumbles' Kelley took one for the team with a fastball to the left thigh for a bruise shaped like Brazil.

In the second frame, the Buzzards added the same crooked number, 4, to the board to take a commanding lead. Gregg 'Surf Dawg' Novotny led-off with a sharp single to right-center. Rick 'Salmo' Salmeri then ran for Surf Dawg. With Welzy at the plate, Salmo stole second base to get into scoring position. Taylor then hit a long drive into left-field for a base hit to score a hustlin' Salmo. Welzy then stole second base and moved to third on a wild pitch, before Wookie bounced a 3-2 pitch to the first baseman for a groundout, while Welzy easily scored from third.

Up next, Evy doubled to right-field on a 1-1 pitch. Evy was then erased in a run-down on the Baron's hot grounder gloved by the pitcher. Pete ended up at second base when Evy was tagged out near third. With two outs, Tom 'Tomahawk' Keatley banged out a hit to center to score the Baron. Then Fred 'Freddie' O' Donoghue got on base with a throwing error by the third baseman. Tomahawk scored from first base on the play to up the score to 8-0. Burner hit a flare to right-field to continue the inning, but was left stranded as the dig ended.

The no-mercy Buzzards scored five more runs in the top of the third frame. Salmo started off the big inning with a four-pitch base-on-balls. Rick was erased on a fielder's choice play with Surf Dawg now at first. Salmo then replaced Surf Dawg as the runner on base. At-bat next, Welzy bounced into a fielder's choice play with no out recorded to put runners at first and second with one out. Wookie followed with a run-scoring single to right-field. Next, Evy walked on five-pitches to load the bases for the Baron.  On the first pitch, the Baron Von Zboray smashed a double into the gap in left-center-field to clear the bases and knock-in three runs. One out later, Freddie drove in the Baron with a line-drive single to left to complete the scoring in the third. The score after three was 13-0 Buzzards.

The Buzzards pounded-out two more runs in the fourth frame to put the game out-of-reach for the damned Yankees. With one out, Surf Dawg and Welzy drew walks. The Yankee pitcher, Dizzy McAdams, was obviously getting tired and Wookie, not wanting to walk, swung at a 3-0 pitch and lined it into left-center for a run-scoring base hit. A fielder's choice by Evy and an error on the Baron's grounder to third, led to the second run. The score after four was the Buzzards 15 and the Yanks with zero runs and no hits.

Welzy pitched the first four frames and spent most of the innings working on the slider, change-up or curve, but he still over-matched many of the Yankees with seven strike 'em outs. Even with a no-hitter working, Welzy was pulled by the skipper after four innings in a controversial move. Freddie then threw a solid and efficient two innings of work and Surf Dawg closed it out in the seventh and final inning as the pitching trio threw a no-hitter.

While the pitching and defense were holding the Yanks to no score, the greedy Buzzards wanted more for the score board in the sixth inning. Welzy started it off with an infield hit, easily beating out the long throw. One out later, Evy singled to center and was followed by a walk to the Baron to load the bases. Tomahawk then took the walk to push Welzy across the plate for another run and keep the bases full. Freddie then lifted a high fly-ball to center-field for a sacrifice fly to score Evy. The center-fielder lost the ball in the sun at the last minute and dropped Freddie's fly-ball, so the bases remained loaded. Burner then lined a single to left to score the Baron.

mMumbles, up next, singled to score Tomahawk and kept the bases full of Buzzards. Salmo then walked to force in Freddie with the fifth run and still with just one out.  After an out, Kelly 'KG' Garcia in his first at-bat of the season, smashed a long single to left to score two runs. Welzy finished off the scoring with a two-out single to center to drive in Salmo with the last run of the game.

Except for the seventh inning, the Buzzard pitchers faced the minimum number of batters each inning. Since it took four batters to get three outs in the last dig, the Yankees had one batter over the minimum with 22 in the two-hour and 40 minute, seven-inning 'mercy-rule' game.  With dominant pitching, good defense and lots of hits, the final score was 23-0 Buzzards. Three Buzzard pitchers did throw a rare no-hitter.

In the first four innings, Welzy threw 48 pitches (32 strikes & 16 balls) in facing 12 batters while striking out seven and walking one. Freddie pitched the fifth and sixth innings and threw 17 pitches (12 strikes & 5 balls) while facing six Yanks with no walks and one strike out. Surf Dawg closed out the game in the seventh by facing four Yankees and throwing nine pitches (5 strikes & 4 balls) to end the game.

The Buzzard offense was strong with 19 hits and seven walks to put away the Yankees early. The hit club for the game included: Baron (2), Burner (3), Evy (3), Freddie, KG, mMumbles, Surf Dawg, Tomahawk, Welzy (3) and Wookie (3). The ribbies were knocked in by: Baron (4), Burner (2), Evy (2), Freddie (2), KG (2), mMumbles, Salmo, Tomahawk (2), Welzy (2) and Wook (4). The runs were scored by tiring Buzzards in batting order: Welzy (5), Wook (2), Evy (3), Baron (4), Tomahawk (2), Freddie, Burner, mMumbles, Salmo and Surf Dawg (3). The eagle-eyed Buzzards that were awarded first base by the plate umpire were: the Baron, Evy, Salmo (2), Surf Dawg, Tomahawk and Welzy.

The defense was tough and made some good plays to prevent a Yankee hit. Of the 21 outs, there were eight strike-outs, but seven for outs. Of the other outs, there was only one fly ball out to Tomahawk in the seventh inning. The Yanks had a base runner in the second on a wild pitch strike-out, but he was erased later on a steal attempt. The runner in the third inning via a walk, stole second, but was picked-off second base on the very next play.

The infield had two pop-ups, both caught by a hustlin' pitcher for the first out of the inning. Welzy in the first and Freddie in the fifth made good, take charge, catches. Salmo made some nice plays at second and behind the plate, while Kelly Garcia showed he's still 'got it' at first base and swinging a bat.

Norm caught the first four innings and threw out the runner in the second inning to keep the bases clean of Yankees. The nine infield assists were spread amongst seven Buzzards. Surf Dawg and Burner led the team with two assists each in the game. Surf Dawg earned the assists at third base in the fifth and as pitcher in the seventh. Burner got his assist catcher in the second inning by throwing out the attempted stealer and playing third in the sixth with a long, quick reach to his left to snag a hot grounder that was the last real chance for a hit by the Yanks.

The other assists were handled by: Evy at short in the fourth, Freddie at second in the seventh, Salmo at second base in the first, Welzy at pitcher in the pick-off to end the third, and Wookie at shortstop in the sixth. Mike 'Mickey' Wilson came off of the disabled list for the seventh inning, due to a shortage of players, and played first base and handled the throws for two put outs.

There was an unusual play by the Yankee third baseman late in the game. Manny Alvarez #11 appeared to play the high pop-up well and followed it into foul territory, near the third base line, before he lost it in the sun and covered his face with his glove just as the ball hit him on top of the head. Manny was surprisingly alright, as the ball hit the button on top of the soft cap. That will leave a mark. He was seen later holding a cold beer on top of his head while drinking another with the other hand.

The Gold Country Buzzard's record is now 9-2 with seven remaining regular season games. This was a good game where nobody got hurt and the stat sheet got filled up. Up next, the Astros at James Field at 2 pm on July 20th.

Sunday, June 29

Gold Country Ol' Buzzards Game Report #9

Game: June 29, 2014

Buzzards fly high on airwaves, beat Miners 5-2

KAHI Radio was setting up early in the stands behind home plate for the annual Radio Game as the teams warmed up and field prep continued. The day was a hot one with the high temperature in Auburn on Sunday at 96°. This Radio Game followed the Oakland A's victory over the Marlins in Miami. The morning broadcast of the A's game, allowed KAHI to schedule the three-hour block for the Gold Country Battle Royale at James Field between the youngsters and the oldsters for baseball bragging rights of the Sierra Foothills from 2 to 5 pm.

The Miners are having a good season and have only lost to the A's twice for their 7-2 record, matching the Buzzards 7-2 record for the season. The highly anticipated game brought out a good crowd to add to the fun atmosphere. A little added pressure was on the Ol' Buzzards team since previous Buzzies have not lost a Radio Game to their opponents (five years), and have beaten the Miners a couple of times in past broadcasted games to include last year's Radio Game.

The pitchers for the Radio Game were both tough veterans that would go the distance for their teams in this game. The visiting Buzzards sent righty, Rick 'Salmo' Salmeri #6 to the hill, while the Miners sent lefty, Mike 'Smiley' Vargas #11 to the mound to open the game.

The Buzzards struck first with a run in the top of the first inning. With two outs, Dave 'Evy' Everingham bounced one between third and short for a base hit. Evy then stole second and alertly took third on the wide throw that deflected into short center. Meanwhile, at the plate, Pete 'Baron' Von Zboray was up to a full-count before he smashed a liner into right-center for a run- scoring single to take an early 1-nothing lead.

Because the game's pitching and defenses were up to the task of shutting down their opponent, the 1-0 score stood until the seventh inning. The Buzzards had two runners on in the third and sixth frames, but that was the extent of the scoring threats.

In the third, Mike 'Mickey' Wilson led-off with a sharp line-drive single to left-field. After Mickey was erased by a fielder's choice at second, Paul 'General' Lee was at first. Batting next, Taylor 'Welzy' Welz earned a full-count walk to put runners at first and second. A wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position before the frame ended without the key hit. The Buzzards had another scoring opportunity in the sixth when Dave 'DK' Kelley led-off with a base hit. One out later, Welzy singled to put two Buzzards on base with one out. However, the next two batters popped-out and flied-out to end the rally.

Meanwhile, the Miners were putting runners on base in every inning except the fourth. There were two runners on board in the first with a single and a walk, and two on in the second with a single and hit batter. The two runners in the third inning were on base via another hit batter and then a goofy grounder, a spinning come-backer to Salmo, that alluded his grasp and then tripped him up for an awkward crash landing near the mound.  In the fifth frame, the Miners had two runners on-base due to a base hit and an infield error. And in the sixth, hit batsman number three was the runner.

The Buzzards broke through with two runs in the top half of the seventh. The Baron started it off with a full-count base on balls. Up next, Tom 'Tomahawk' Keatley hit a flare to short center-field that appeared headed for a base hit. The Baron went half-way to second on the play, but the center fielder was able to scoop up the hit and throw out the Baron at second. Jim 'Milli' Milligan followed with a blast to the left-center-field fence for a double and knocked in Tomahawk hustlin' from first base. Pete then ran for Milli at second, as Jim tweaked his right hamstring on the double.  With one out, Fred 'Freddie' O'Donoghue slapped a single to left-field that put Buzzards at the corners. Batting next, Norm 'Burner' Tucker lined a 1-1 pitch into left-center to score the Baron and take a 3-nothing lead.

The Miners answered with a run of their own in the bottom half of the inning on a leadoff single, a stolen base, then advancing on a ground-out before scoring on a sacrifice fly-out to tighten the score at 3-1 Buzzards.

The Ol' Buzzards put two more on the score board in the top of the eighth. A leadoff single by the General was followed by another hit by Welzy. After a fielder's choice play put runners at the corners, Evy slammed an 0-1 pitch to right-field for a double to score General Lee. The Baron, batting next, hit a long fly ball to left for a sacrifice fly to drive in Wookie from third with the fifth run of the game and to add some run-cushion going into the last inning.

The Miners did not go quietly in the bottom of the ninth. A one-out double down the left-field line was followed by a base hit to score the second run. The exciting finish included a two-out wild-pitch strike-out with the runner getting to first safely. There is nothing like a four-out, ninth inning with the tying run at the plate for exciting drama.

The 52+ Buzzards held on with their renowned defense for a 5-2 victory over the 42+ Miners in their only meeting of the season. The game lasted for 3 hours and 15 minutes.

Even though there were lots of Miner runners with 12 left-on-bases, the pitching performance and low pitch-count merited the complete game. Rick had a shutout going through six inning against a very good hitting team. Salmo threw 9 innings and faced 40 batters in throwing 118 pitches (83 strikes & 35 balls) in winning his second game of the season. Rick gave up seven hits with one walk but had three hit batters (Brett McCourt was hit twice) to go with five strike-outs - four for outs. Salmo leads the Buzzard pitching staff in hit batters with five. The next closest is a three-way tie at zero.

The Buzzard offense consisted of 13 hits and two walks, but was short a key hit or two early in the game. The quick, two-hit run in the first inning and then the clumped hits in the seventh and eighth innings proved enough to beat a good Miner team. The hit club for the game included: the Baron, Burner (2), DK, Evy (2), Freddie (2), General, Mickey, Milli, and Welzy (2). The five ribbies were knocked in by: the Baron (2), Burner, Evy, and Milli. The always important runs were scored by: Burner, Evy, General, Tomahawk, and Wookie. The two Buzzard walkers to earn a free pass to first base were: the Baron and Welzy.

The Ol' Buzzard defense played like young Buzzards and made several fabulous plays at critical times to kill a Miner rally. The solid D, that made all the plays except for some infield sun balls, was very impressive. There was only one double play, but it was very timely in the first inning.

With two of the first three batters getting on base, the clean-up hitter then smashed a lined shot toward second that was snagged by Welzy and quickly followed by a strong throw 'on the money' to Evy covering second base to end the inning. Not to be out done, Milli made an unbelievable catch and went a long way to snag a foul ball near the dugout screen to end the fifth with two runners on base.

Welzy was all over the field with three far-ranging and impressive catches in the second and third digs. Taylor made another impressive play in the eighth. With no outs and a man on second, Will Boulware hit a ball far to Welzy's left. Taylor hustled over near the edge of the outfield grass and then went into a pop-up slide while quickly scooping up the ball. T-Welz then made a strong throw to first for a big first-out of the eighth inning. In the game, Welzy had five put-outs and three assists at second base. Evy was rock solid, as usual, with four assists and one put-out at shortstop. The Buzzard defensive toughness is due in large part to having the best middle infield in the league with Evy and Welzy.

The outfield battled the sun and made every play, and none of them were easy fly-ball outs. Tomahawk had two nice put-outs of deep line drives to center-field. Mickey had one huge put-out in left in the fifth frame. The first two Miners got aboard via lucky breaks - an infield sun ball and a hot grounder right down the third base line that glanced off of the fielder's glove and into foul territory. A three-pitch strike-out followed for the first key out. Next, slugger Alton Cooper sent a screaming line-drive to left-field. While fighting the sun and chasing the sinking liner, Mickey strained his hamstring while making the sliding, reaching catch of the ball just inches from the ground. The next out of that inning was Milli's great catch in foul territory.

The General moved to left-field after Wilson was injured and played the field without sun glasses. Lee made three excellent catches of deep drives in the 7th, 8th and 9th innings to keep those pesky Miners off of the bases.

The Ol' Buzzards put on quite a show. By beating the tough and younger Miners on the radio with a good-sized audience made for an extra sweet victory. Good job, Buzzards.

The after-game team gathering with the barbecue ribs, brisket, cole slaw and that excellent potato salad with rolls worked out well. The food was picked up from Bam Dazy BBQ in Auburn. The food tables were set-up by the gazebo and the hungry gang plowed through the serving trays in good order with plenty to drink. The good, competitive and fun victory was followed by good food and better fellowship. It was just another day to show: It's good to be a Buzzard.

Buzzard Note #1: The broadcast will be available soon to be downloaded from KAHI's web site for recording to disk or saved for later listening, especially when we are in the old folks home.

Buzzard Note #2: Thanks to the sponsors for making the 2014 Radio Game possible. Barry and Back To The Drawing Board, Taylor and Welz Financial Services, Gregg and Mount Pleasant Farm and Gardens, Paul and Felipe's Mexican Restaurants, Pete and Keys Plus, and his wife, Kelley's 'Those Were The Days' vintage clothing shop in Auburn, and Diane's Costumes. Norm talked the Strike Zone batting cages and Knee Deep Brewing into also being game sponsors.

Buzzard Note #3: This was the last game against the youngsters this season. The remainder of the season will be against teams in the 52+ division. The next game is July 13th at 10 am at a new field to the Buzzards. The game against the Yankees is at the Tri City Little League fields located at Johnson-Springview Park in Rocklin near where Whitney Blvd and Sunset Blvd cross.

Buzzard Note #4: The NABA All-Star game for the 52+ division has been moved up from later in July to Tuesday, July 8th. The plan was to have ballots for voting at the next game, but now there is no time since the game is next Tuesday. Ballots will be e-mailed to you soon. Please send them back quickly. It looks like seven players can go, plus the manager. The game is at 7 pm at Playfields Park in Davis.

Sunday, June 22

Gold Country Ol' Buzzards Game Report #8

Game: June 22, 2014

Buzzards skunked by young A's

The Buzzards resumed the season, after the Reds forfeited the Father's Day game, with a morning game against the super young A's. The game at C-Bar-C Park pitted the over 52+ Buzzards with the A's, a team in their 30's and 40's, and that has dominated the 42+ division. The Buzzards do well against teams in their mid-40's, but many on the A's were as young as 34, and not a fair match for a team with most players in their later 50's and several players in their 60's. The oldest Buzzard is 63, almost a 30 year difference on the field.

The first game of the summer was a warm one, but the breeze made it feel fine. The temps during the game in Citrus Heights were in the low 80's. The pitchers for the match-up were the lanky, hard throwing righty, Taylor 'Welzy' Welz #26, starting for the visiting Buzzards. The A's sent their oldest pitcher to the mound, 43-years old righty, Bill 'Slinger' Frazell #5.

The A's jumped on the score board first with a run in the bottom of the first with a leadoff 'seeing-eye' single through the middle and followed by a long double to take a 1-0 lead.

The Buzzards threatened in the second inning with a leadoff single to left by Pete 'Baron' Von Zboray. Batting next, Tom 'Tomahawk' Keatley hit a long fly ball to right-field that was dropped for an error putting runners at first and second with no outs. The next three Buzzards then struck-out with two looking at strike three.

The strike zone never became consistent during the game, thereby leading to five 'looking' strike-outs of the eight in the game. The A's scored two runs in the second inning on a leadoff double, a walk, single and sac fly. They scored two more in the third on a leadoff single and a home run over the left-field fence by their 34-year old left fielder. That was the first homer of the year hit against the Buzzards. It came on a curveball and cleared the 300 foot fence by 30+ feet.

The A's pitcher was keeping hitters off-balance and made the Buzzard offense sputter to a shut-out. The opportunities were few and far between. In the third and with two outs, Dan 'Wookie' Wukmir reached first after a slapped high chopper to the left-side was bobbled by the third baseman. Wookie stole second on the next pitch, but was stranded on the base path.

In the fifth frame, a two-out rally built-up nicely when Paul 'General' Lee walked on four pitches. Batting next, Welzy singled to center to put runners at second and first. Wookie followed with a six-pitch walk to load the bases. However, a nice play by the second baseman on the next play ended the inning without a score.

The swinging A's were held scoreless in the fourth dig, but scored four runs in the fifth frame. After a leadoff walk, four consecutive hits followed before a nice double play slowed the rally. Two more hits followed before a fly-out ended the long inning. The A's scored the tenth run in the sixth on a one-out single, stolen base with a throwing error, then scored on a ground-out.

The Gold Country gang's other scoring chances came in the sixth with a leadoff walk to the Baron, but a strike-out and then a double play with slick glove work by the shortstop started the inning-ending play. In the seventh, the newest Buzzard, Fred 'Freddie' O'Donoghue, lined a single to right-center to start the inning. After another 'looking' strike-out, General Lee followed with a base hit putting Buzzards at first and second.

Welzy then hit a sinking line-drive to center that was controversially caught with a sliding scoop of dirt and ball by a hustling center fielder. He made two spectacular catches against the Buzzards during the game. This time his glove brought up too much dirt and dust, so the catch did not look clean. However, the ump called it a catch as the Buzzards were running forward and the A's were able to easily double-up one of the runners to end the game.

The final score was 10-0 and was stopped after seven-innings due to the 10-run mercy rule. That is pretty rare to 10-run the Buzzards, but the A's did it and made it look easy.

Buzzard pitching had a rough day against the hard-hitting A's. Taylor started the game and threw 51 pitches (34 strikes & 17 balls) in three innings of work. Welzy faced 18 batters and was nicked for five runs (three earned) on seven hits, and one walk with three strike-outs. Everingham threw the fourth and fifth frames while facing 13 A's and threw 44 pitches (25 strikes & 19 balls). The A's got five runs (three earned) on eight hits and one walk with one strike-out. Salmeri threw the final inning and faced just four batters while throwing 13 pitches (9 strikes & 4 balls). Rick gave up one hit and struck-out one batter.

The Buzzard offense was anemic against the slinging Frazell. No runs on four hits with three walks is not really an offense. The hit club for the game included: the Baron, Freddie, General and Welzy. The eagle-eyed Buzzards getting a free pass to first base were: the Baron, General and Wookie.

Ol' Buzzard defense made the plays when they weren't chasing the 17 base hits. The six stolen bases also prevented several double play chances. The Buzzards had only one double play. In the sixth with runners on the corners and no outs, a grounder to Wezly at short was then shoveled to Wook at second for a force-out and then throw to Freddie at first to complete the double play.

Another defensive highlight occurred in the third with a leaping snag on the mound by Welzy of a hot high-chopper. The catch fooled Freddie at first base as he thought the ball got through for a base hit. In fact, the runner was barreling down the line and Welzy had the ball and was running toward first base. Freddie was still not aware that a play was coming to his bag. Taylor yelled-out to Freddie in the nick of time to get the out.

The other defensive highlight was General Lee's long running catch in the left-center-field gap to end the sixth inning. Paul reached high for the snow cone catch with Tomahawk closing in from center-field. The outfield made good plays and all the possible catches during the game with four fly-ball outs. The infield hung-in with the bad hops and made eight big outs.

This will be a good game to forget quickly as the Buzzards get ready to face-off with the Gold Country Miners next Sunday for the Radio Game. After the next game, the schedule shifts back to teams in our own age-group and division.

Buzzard Note #1: Management will be seeking a head-count for the upcoming game and barbecue. The excellent dry-rub ribs with side sauces, coleslaw and the fabulous potato salad will be coming from the award-winning, Bam Dazy bbq restaurant in Auburn. Drinks will be beer, diet and regular soda, and water. If you want wine or something else, feel free to bring it.

Sunday, June 8

Gold Country Ol' Buzzards Game Report #7

Game: June 8, 2014

Buzzards late comeback falls short, drop one to Dodgers, 9-7

It was a very hot Sunday afternoon in Citrus Heights as the Buzzards gathered at C-Bar-C Park to play the Dodgers. At game time it was near 103° with a warm north wind blowing out to left field. The wind made the day more tolerable as it felt cool on the sweat running down the face and arms. The 42+ Dodgers, playing an interleague game, came at full strength with 18 players in uniform including the manager, Vince Miles (looking like a black Tommy Lasorda), and were ready near game time.

Meanwhile the nine 52+ Buzzards were searching the horizon for wayward Pirates. With no time to spare and two batting line-ups ready for the umps, three of the four Auburn Pirates made it from their morning game in Galt to start the 2 pm Buzzard game. Hardy Pirates are always good to know.

Starting on the hill for the visiting Buzzards was the crafty righty, Rick 'Salmo' Salmeri #6. The Dodgers sent a hard-throwing righty, Jim 'Hothead' Rivera #55 to the mound to open the game.

The Buzzards got off to a good start and scored two runs in the opening inning. Taylor 'Welzy' Welz led-off with a double down the left-field line. A ground-out moved Welzy to third. After a sharp line-out to the shortstop for the second out, Tom 'Tomahawk' Keatley came through with a run-scoring single to center-field on a 1-2 pitch that drove in Welzy. Jim 'Milli' Milligan followed with a line drive to right-center-field for a base hit, putting runners on the corners. Up next, Barry 'Crush' Forman took a full-count walk to load the bases with two outs. Batting next, Dave 'mMumbles' Kelley took a strike while the field umpire called a balk. The runners moved up and Tomahawk cruised across the plate, while the ump and pitcher 'went at it' for a short time until Hothead was tossed.

The Dodgers brought in their shortstop, another hard-throwing young right-hander, Will 'Smokey' Redick #24, to warm up, and then get the game going after the long delay. A couple of pitches later, mMumbles hit a solid liner to left that appeared to be a hit off of the bat, but the ball caught the wind and sailed a little and was tracked down by the left fielder rushing in for a huge third out - ouch.

The Dodgers fought right back and scored three runs to take an early lead. The leadoff batter walked on a full-count and was followed by a single, wild pitch, strike-out, run-scoring single, steal, sacrifice fly-out and single before a hot liner to third was snagged by Gregg' Surf Dawg' Novotny at his shoe-tops to end the inning with the Buzzards down 3-2 to Dodger Blue.

The game stayed at 3-2 until the bottom of the fourth frame when the Dodgers tacked on another run with a leadoff three-bagger followed by a sac fly for a 4-2 Dodgers' lead. On the deep drive into the left-center gap to open the inning, Barry was running hard from left-field when he felt a pop in the knee cap area and was then unable to run or walk on the left leg. Barry hobbled off of the field to the dugout and would sit out the rest of this game with ice on the knee.

With the wilting heat and with lots of pitches thrown by Salmo, the Buzzards changed pitchers in the fifth inning and brought in Surf Dawg #1 to face the free swinging, blue-jerseyed Dodgers.

The Fightin' Buzzards were hitting, but not scoring. The eight hits, two walks and one hit batsman in the first six innings, frustratingly ended-up with just two runs and eight stranded runners and one caught stealing, which was clearly and by rule 8.05(c) a balk move.

The bad call later resulted in a between innings discussion with the skipper and the umps. The home plate blue, Donna, listened, while the bumble-head in the infield, Rob, insisted the pitcher could free-wheel from the plate on the mound, if they were 'reacting to the runner'. Well, there is no 'reacting to the runner' clause that could be found in the rule book, and that poor knowledge of the balk rule was highlighted in the umpire evaluations.

In the bottom of the sixth, the pesky Dodgers scored three more runs on three hits, two walks, a throwing error, stolen base and the third Dodgers sacrifice fly-out of the game for a 7-2 lead.

With time running short for the three-hour game, the Dodgers took their time and added two more runs to the scoreboard in the seventh. A one-out walk, then a strike-out, followed by an almost caught foul ball, but then followed by two flare hits for the two runs and a 9-2 score.

When the Ol' Buzzards came to bat in the top of the eighth dig, time was nearly expired, so this was the last inning of the game. Down by seven, the Gold Country gang then began the comeback. With one out, Dave 'Evy' Everingham showed his signature inside-out swing and singled to right-center. Up next, Salmo, batting for the first time, hit the first pitch up-the-middle for a single. Welzy then singled sharply to right-center loading the bases with one out. Batting next, Dan 'Wookie' Wukmir hit a high looper into right-center-field for a run-scoring single, knocking in Evy and re-loading the bases.

Pete 'Baron' Von Zboray then smashed a 2-2 pitch down the left-field line scoring Salmo and Welzy to make the score 9-5 with two runners on and still one out. Tomahawk, batting next, hit an 0-1 pitch, flare for a single into right-field to re-load the bases again. Milli knocked in the next run with a wild fielder's choice groundball play. The hard grounder was headed to the hole between second and first base, when the speedy second baseman gloved the ball deep in the hole and then turned pirouette-style to threw to second, but just wide of the bag. The shortstop caught the throw, but missed the bag, and may have gotten an 'in the area' call in the major leagues on the play, but in the NABA second base must be touched. Milli beat the throw to first on the attempted double play with everyone safe and a run scored. Still with one out, Surf Dawg, batting for the injured Barry, sent a sharp line-drive to center for a single to drive in the fifth run and tighten the score some more at 9 to 7.

With runners at first and second and one out, mMumbles came to the plate. A wild pitch moved up the runners into scoring position to add extra excitement. However, with a 3-1 count the pitcher, Shane 'Slo Mo' Harrigan #38 and their clean-up hitter, turned and threw to third base and got the tag-out call on a close play from the out of position infield ump. The runner, Tomahawk, dove back head-first to the back corner of the bag and looked safe, but the call sucked. The inning ended soon there-after with the final score: the stinky Dodgers 9 and the Buzzards 7.

There were several points that cost the Buzzards and made it easier for the Dodgers. The Buzzards had three players picked-off to shorten those innings (3rd, 5th and 8th), and one easy double play on a line drive to second base to unfortunately double-up the moving on-the-pitch runner in the seventh. The six steals helped keep the Dodgers out of double plays, the Buzzards' specialty. And three sacrifice fly-outs put three valuable runs across the plate for the efficient Dodgers. The Buzzards did out-hit the Dodgers 15 to 13. A couple of catches of foul balls and some of those Dodger runs don't score, and a key hit or two by the Buzzards make this a different outcome, but on June 8th the Dodgers prevailed in the heat.

The pitching was solid against this good hitting Dodger team. They took quite a few pitches and fouled several off before connecting for lots of balls hit in the air. Salmeri pitched the first four frames and faced 21 Dodgers in throwing 85 pitches (54 strikes & 31 balls). Rick threw 39 pitches in a long first inning. Salmo gave up four runs (three earned) on seven hits and two walks with three strike-outs. Novotny pitched the final three innings and faced 18 batters in throwing 66 pitches (37 strikes & 29 balls). Surf Dawg gave up five runs (three earned) on six hits with three walks and two strike-outs.

The Fightin' Buzzards banged out 15 hits to go along with three walks and a hit-batsman for an offense that produced seven runs. The hit club for the game included: Baron (2), Burner, Evy, Milli, Salmo, Surf Dawg, Tomahawk (3), Welzy (3), and Wookie (2). The six ribbies were courtesy of: the Baron (2), Milli, Surf Dawg, Tomahawk, and Wook. The vital scored runs were by: the Baron, Evy, Salmo, Tomahawk, Welzy (2), and Wookie. Milli took the bruise on the back with a fastball for the team in the third inning to get first base. The 'eagle-eyed' Buzzards obtaining a free pass to first base were: Crush, Mickey, and Milli. Welzy started the game with a double, but that was the only extra base hit for the Buzzards.

The Buzzard defense played well, but did not get many good bounces or umpiring calls. There were only three groundball put-outs in this game and three infield assists, when normally the Ol' Buzzards have assists in the teens. There were lots of fly-ball outs and base hits to keep the outfield squad of Mike 'Mickey' Wilson, Paul 'General' Lee, Crush, mMumbles and Tomahawk busy and panting between pitches on this especially hot day. For the 21 defensive put-outs, there were eight fly-ball outs, four high infield pop-ups, one infield line drive out, three infield put-outs and five strike-outs. Milli made a fabulous, clutch catch of a high pop-up near home plate and made it look easy to end the seventh inning.

A nice comeback in the last inning showed that the Buzzards do not give up, even on a sweltering day, when calling it quits would have been the easy thing to do. Excellent fortitude to go with those ol' baseball skills made for a close game. The Ol' Buzzards were a base hit away from tying that game and sending the Dodgers to panic and tears. This time next year, Dodger meat is on the menu.

Buzzard Note #1: The Reds have forfeited next week's game. They said they can't field a team due to Father's Day. Didn't realize that Father's Day was a Mexican holiday and will prevent the Reds from sending a team to far away, Auburn. Enjoy the day, but not on the field on Sunday afternoon.

Buzzard Note #2: Thanks to Paul Lee for hosting the after game dinner at Felipe's without attending. The Buzzards and wives always love to flock over to Felipe's for excellent food and cold drinks at special Buzzard prices.

Buzzard Note #3: The Radio Game is coming up on June 29th. A request for Bios will be sent separately. Last year's player bio's can be updated.

Buzzard Note #4: The next game will be on June 22nd at C-Bar-C Park again. This game will be a 10 am game against the top 42+ team, the A's.

Sunday, June 1

Gold Country Ol' Buzzards Game Report #6

Game: June 1, 2014

Ol' Buzzards come-back to top Red Sox, 8-6

On a nice June 1st afternoon, the Gold Country Buzzards hosted the Red Sox in their only meeting of the year. The league's inter-divisional schedule matched the 42+ Red Sox with the 52+ Buzzards for James Field at 2 pm. The Ol' Buzzards always look forward to playing the younger teams and usually do well. That extra competitive spirit kicks-in and appears to spark-up the Fightin' Buzzards.

The game time temps were in the mid-80s and there was a gentle breeze for perfect weather in Auburn for a baseball game. The starting pitcher for the visiting Red Sox was the wily veteran and hard-throwing right-hander, Louie 'Hammer' Hernandez #56. On the hill for the Buzzards and starting for the first time this season was the crafty righty, Rick 'Salmo' Salmeri #6.

The Red Sox got on the score board first with two runs in the top of the second inning. After two were out, a couple of 'seeing-eye' groundball singles found infield holes. The two runners scored on a blast to the fence in left-field. The long double was by the number nine batter in the order for an early 2-0 lead.

The Red Sox had good sticks throughout their line-up. After the Buzzards went seven up and six down in the first two innings, the Red Sox put two more runs on the score board in the third dig. A leadoff, short looping single into left-field by the bottom of their order was followed by two hard hit shots into left for base hits that scored one run. A sacrifice fly-out scored the second run before the Buzzards snuffed out the rally with two high infield pop-up outs.

Entering the bottom half of the third frame, the Buzzards found themselves down four to nothing to a good and clearly younger team. The Sox pitcher, Louie, was effectively dealing a variety of pitches and some with good heat, when Dave 'mMumbles' Kelley stepped to the plate to leadoff the third inning. mMumbles slapped a 2-1 pitch through the right-side for a single and put Louie in the stretch position for the rest of the inning. Barry 'Crush' Forman ran for 'limited lung capacity' Kelley.

After a strike-out, Mike 'Mickey' Wilson took a seven-pitch walk to put runners at first and second. After another strike-out, Louie's fourth in three innings, Taylor 'Welzy' Welz belted a first-pitch double to left that drove in Barry from second for the first run.

With runners at second and third and two outs, Dan 'Wookie' Wukmir sent a 1-1 pitch on a line into center-field for a big two-run single to score Mickey and Welzy. Next, Dave 'Evy' Everingham crushed an 0-1 pitch to the deep right-field corner for a triple to easily score a confused Wookie from first base.

On the play, the ball landed deep and near the right-field foul line and there was a slightly delayed call by the umps. The Red Sox second baseman, yelled 'foul ball' to Wook as he ran past him near second base. Usual baseball infield courtesies in the league do not include this level of deception, however, the oldest Buzzard believed the devilish opponent and stopped near the bag and turned-around, before the Buzzard dugout exploded with screaming advice to get moving. Wookie also rounded third base hesitantly because it took so long to get there, but the ball was still deep in relays as he took-off for home to tie the game at 4-4.

With the clean-up hitter, Pete 'Baron' Von Zboray at the plate, a wild pitch scored Evy from third to take a 5-4 lead. The Baron then smacked a 2-1 pitch into left-field for a hit and was thereby robbed of the ribbie by the wild pitch. A great Buzzard inning with three excellent two-out base hits to score runs.

The Fightin' Buzzards scored another run in the fifth frame to take a 6-4 lead. After a strike-out, Mickey hit a screamer into deep left-field for a nice double. After advancing to third on a ground-out to first base, Wilson easily scored on Welzy's double down the left-field line. Wook walked before Evy hit a long fly to right to end the inning on a nice running catch by the Red Sox right-fielder, whose real name is Eric Sex, #55. They called him 'Sexy'. It sounded strange on the field during the game.

Buzzard pitching combined with solid defense was doing an outstanding job of defusing the Red Sox' rallies. Of the 11 in their batting order, 10 impressively got base hits (two batters got two hits & a 12th batter was added mid-game). The Red Sox out hit the Buzzards 12 to 11 in the game. The Sox had runners on bases in every inning, except the fifth when Salmo struck-out the side on 14-pitches.

In the top of the sixth with one out and runners on second and first, Salmo was replaced on the mound by Welzy #26. On the first pitch, the clean-up hitter smashed a grounder toward third, Gregg 'Surf Dawg' Novotny showed off his cat-like reflexes and scooped the ball, then took several steps to third base before stepping on the bag for the force and making an excellent throw to the Baron at first for a 'wow' double play to end the inning.

The Gold Country gang of 12 then scored two more runs in the seventh to increase the lead to four. mMumbles led-off for the second time with a solid single, this time to left field. Tom 'Tomahawk' Keatley then ran for Kelley. Batting next, Norm 'Burner' Tucker walked on seven-pitches, as Louie began to labor on the mound. Mickey then loaded the bases with a six-pitch free pass to first. After a strike-out, Welzy singled to right-center to send Tomahawk home.

The Red Sox then changed pitchers and brought in righty, Shane 'Slinger' Frieldt #33. Batting next, Wookie hit a slow bouncer to first base to score Burner from third and made the score 8-4 Buzzies after seven innings.

The Red Sox fought back with a run in the eighth inning to tighten the score. A lead-off single, then a wild pitch and walk were followed by two smooth infield plays by Wookie at second and Evy at shortstop to get the tough outs, but a run scored on a fielder's choice for an 8-5 score.

The pesky Sox went down fighting and battled for more runs in the ninth. The number three hitter led-off with a full-count blast to the left-field fence for a double. The clean-up hitter got his first hit of the game with a long single down the left-field line to drive in a run. The next batter hit a sharp grounder up-the-middle that appeared off-the-bat to be a base hit. Instead, Evy was positioned nearby to quickly snag the hot grounder near second base. An easy couple of steps to the bag and a strong throw to Pete at first base was a huge, rally killing double play that cleared the bases with two outs.

Up next, Mr. Sex swaggered to the plate and got his only hit of the game with a shot up the middle. The next batter hit a grounder to Evy and that ended the game on a flip to Wookie covering second base.

The nine-inning contest was a three-hour and five minute affair with the final score: Buzzards 8 and the Red Sox 6. Both teams played well, but the Buzzards played a little bit better and came back from an early four-run deficit to prevail. A fabulous win by the Ol' Buzzards. It made the cold beer after the game taste even better.

The Buzzard pitching was solid and did a great job of stifling the high-octane, quick-bats offense of the Red Sox. Salmeri started the game and lasted until one out in the sixth. In his first win of the season, Rick faced 26 batters and threw 81 pitches (51 strikes & 30 balls). Salmo gave up four runs on seven hits with two walks and four strike-outs. Salmo also struck-out the side swinging in the fifth inning. Welzy relieved Rick in the sixth and got the one-pitch double play grounder to Surf Dawg for the best inning-ending play of the season. Taylor finished the game with the save and faced 16 batters while throwing 56 pitches (35 strikes & 21 balls) in 3 2/3rds innings. Welzy gave up two runs on five hits with two walks. Terrific pitching, good defense and timely offense won this game.

The Fightin' Buzzards offense effectively banged out 8 runs on 11 hits and 7 walks. The hit club for the game was limited to six players and included: Baron, Evy, Mickey, mMumbles (3), Welzy (3), and Wook (2). The seven ribbies were knocked in by: Evy, Welzy (3) and Wook (3). The always important runs were scored in the books by: Evy, Burner, Mickey (2), mMumbles (2), Welzy and Wookie. Forman and Keatley ran for Kelley in his three-hit game. The seven 'eagle-eyed' Buzzards getting on-base via walks included: Burner, Evy, Mickey (2), Milli, Salmo, and Wookie. Interestingly, just three Buzzards had multiple hits and those three got eight of the total 11 hits or about 75% of the offense.

The hot sticks were swung by mMumbles with three hits and two runs scored, Welzy with three hits (one double), one run scored and three RBIs, and Wookie with two hits, one run, and three ribbies. The four extra-base hits were a beautiful thing to watch. Welzy had doubles in the third and fifth innings scoring and knocking in runs. Mickey's double in the fifth led to a run and was followed by Welzy's double. And not to be forgotten was Evy's huge two-out long triple in the third that tied the game at 4-4.

The Buzzard defense was solid as usual. The only error occurred ironically on the first play of the game as a throw from the shortstop popped-out of the Baron's mitt. After that play, there were no more errors and a bunch of good plays to consistently dampen any thought of a big Red Sox rally. The two double plays came at opportune times and really helped the cause. Surf Dawg's huge play at third to end the sixth, and Evy's smooth looking double play in the ninth showed those young whipper-snappers that the Ol' Buzzards still got it. Both of the plays were key and shut-down the Red Sox and were the defensive plays of the game.

Surf Dawg also speared a scorcher down the third base line to end the seventh. With two on and two outs, Gregg back-handed the flame ball and then attempted to tag the runner. The runner, trying to avoid a tag (it was close), went out of the base path and was declared out by the infield ump. There were three of those dangerous high pop-ups and all were handled easily by the infield. Welzy's and Evy's catches in the third inning and the Baron's nice catch in foul territory in the fourth frame hurt the Sox' rally chances.

There was only one fly-ball out, Barry's catch of a sacrifice fly in the third. The outfield chased a few too many deep drives for base hits, while the rest of the outs were made in the infield. The tough Buzzard infield had 15 assists and the Baron had 13 putouts at first base for a solid game. This was another nice win and a great start to the season, 6-0. The last Buzzard loss was on July 28, 2013 against the Astros at James Field. That's 12 victories in a row since then. No jinx, just the facts.

It's good to be a Buzzard.

Buzzard Note #1: The Radio Game is coming up later this month. At James Field on June 29th the game against the Miners will be broadcast live on KAHI 950AM and on the internet at We will follow the A's game on the station. This is an event for the wives, family and girl friends to be invited. The game will be from 2 to 5 with the bbq ribs and fixings to be served soon thereafter in the picnic area. The Gold Country bbq with the Miners will be similar to last year's good time. The cost is to be determined and will be based on how many sponsors the team can get to cover the costs for the game and bbq. More details to come and mark your calendars at home.

Buzzard Note #2: It was interesting having all of those college age players and coaches watching the ol' guys play as they got ready for their later game. Several complimentary remarks were made and over-heard. The Summer Collegiate Baseball - Auburn Wildcats beat the Sacramento M's 17-5 in the later game. Mike's son Andrew plays on the Wildcats again this year.

Buzzard Note #3: This Sunday's game is at 2 pm against the 42+ Dodgers at C-Bar-C Park in Citrus Heights. The plan is to go to Felipe's' after the game.

Sunday, May 18

Gold Country Ol' Buzzards Game Report #5

Game: May 18, 2014

Young Phillies lose in clash with Ol' Buzzards, 11-5

On a breezy evening in Davis, the Ol' Buzzards were up against a younger team, the Phillies, as they enter the inter-divisional play portion of the schedule. For the next six games, the Gold Country gang will face teams from the 42+ division of Sacramento NABA. So, after a Mothers' Day break and before the Memorial Day weekend break, the only 6 pm game on the schedule started at Playfields Park.

On the mound for the visiting Buzzards was the hard-throwing righty, Gregg 'Surf Dawg' Novotny #1, riding a four-game winning streak. The Phillies countered with lanky right-hander, Scott 'Potty Mouth' Fanning #12.

The Buzzards wasted no time and jumped on the scoreboard first with a crooked number to put the younger Phillies on notice for a tough game. Taylor 'Welzy' Welz started it off with a drop-in single near the line in short left-field. On the next pitch Welzy stole second base. Batting next, Dan 'Wookie' Wukmir with a 1-2 count hit a high chopper to second base. The hustlin' Wook forced the second baseman to rush his throw, which short-hopped the first baseman and scooted through the legs and rolled to the fence, for an error and allowed Welzy to score from second on the play. Wookie moved to second on a ground-out. Up next, Pete 'Baron' Von Zboray scalded a 2-1 pitch down the third base line to score Wook for an early two-run lead.

The Phillies fought back in the bottom of the first inning with a run. A lead-off hit, followed by a walk and two wild pitches, led to the Phillies' first run.

The Ol' Buzzards came back with two more runs in the second inning to keep the pressure on the Phillies. With one out, Norm 'Burner' Tucker hit a bouncer wide of first base. The first baseman fielded the ball well away from the bag, so a foot race to first base was on. As Burner went into fourth gear, a collision appeared eminent at first base as the pitcher also got into the picture to make it three guys racing to the same spot. Even though Burner does not shy away from contact, he smartly slid head-first into the bag beating the ball and avoiding stepped-on fingers for a hard-earned base hit.

Up next, Rick 'Salmo' Salmeri slapped the first pitch into left-field putting two runners on. Mike 'Mickey' Wilson walked to load the bases with one out. Batting next, Paul 'General' Lee hit a full swing bunt towards third that scored Burner with the 40-foot hit. Next, Welzy's grounder knocked in Salmo with a fielder's choice out at third base. Wookie followed with a short looper into no-man's-land on the left-side of the infield for a single to fill the bases. Dave 'Evy' Everingham then hit a smash to deep center-field for a long out to end the frame with a 4-1 score.

The Phillies got on the scoreboard again in the bottom half of the second dig with one run. A lead-off double was followed by a pop-out and strike-out. However, a former Buzzard Mike Hayworth, after fouling off three 1-2 pitches, ripped a liner into left-field to score the run. A runner then took Hayworth's place. Then right before play resumed, Diane, our excellent and cute score keeper, told the skipper that the replacement runner was not correct. However, the pitcher was on the mound and ready, so Wook did not protest and hoped it would not matter.

Two pitches later, the young black Phillie, Tyril Sherman, took a big swing and with grunting sound effects, launched a ball that he thought was going over the left-center-field fence. Just after the blast, the first base coach was yelling at Ty to run hard. Ty replied he didn't need to because the ball was going out. But, the soaring ball landed on the warning track and the two runners then picked up the pace. The lead runner, certain to score, then tripped half-way to home and had to retreat to third base on a close play.

So, on the long double, the wrong runner turned out to be the right runner after all. The Buzzard defense then held firmly and the score after two innings was 4-2.

The Ol' Buzzards added another run in the third dig. After an out, Jim 'Milli' Milligan lined a 2-2 pitch deep down the left-field line for a single. The young left-fielder quickly got to the ball and threw a laser to second base to prevent any thoughts of a double. Pete then ran for Milli. Barry 'Crush' Forman then took a full-count walk to put Buzzards at first and second. David 'mMumbles' Kelley, a good bunter, was up next with one out and only a two run lead. The bunt play was called and mMumbles executed it to perfection with good ball placement and running speed to make the fielder rush his throw. The throw was in the dirt and the ball skipped past the first baseman and allowed the Baron to score from second on the play to make the score 5-2.

The Phillies kept up the scoring with a run in a long third inning. After a line-out to Surf Dawg on the mound got the quick first out, the top of the order spot, Martinez, singled. The second out was a nice three-pitch strike-out with some really nasty pitches. The next batter was Butt-head Larson. During Butt-head's eight-pitch at-bat, he managed to drop the f-bomb nearly an equal amount of times. He got furious with Norm behind the plate when Burner referred to him as a 'pretty boy' for taking sooo long to get ready in the batter's box, then step-out and do it again.

Well, that might not have been the best thing to say under those circumstances. For the record and on advice from counsel, management strongly discourages saying funny or mean things (or both) about other players when they can hear it and are standing nearby with a baseball bat. That kind of behavior may lead to an injury and may not be covered in the small print of the insurance. Who would know what kind of injury that could lead to?

A short time later during that long at-bat, a pitched ball got loose and rolled behind Larson. The runner made a dash for second and strong-armed Burner wanted to nail the runner. However, big Butt-head was standing tall and legally holding his ground in the batter's box with the bat up, as Norm threw the ball from behind. A loud thump told the fans that Norm's hand came in sharp contact with the bat on the throw and the throw was not close to second base. Burner had to come out of the game and ice the thumb and hand injury. It swelled up quickly and did not look good initially.

Milli replaced Burner as the game came to a stop for quite a while to deal with the situation. As fate cruelly intervened, Butt-head then hit a rocket-shot to the deepest part of left-center for a biting triple that scored a run. Larson was then stranded at third base after one last strike-out by Surf Dawg ended the inning. The score after three digs was 5-3 Buzzards.

The Gold Country Buzz scored for the fourth consecutive inning by adding three runs to stretch out the lead. With one out, General Lee beat-out another infield hit to start the attack. After Welzy singled to left, Wookie chopped one to third. The slowly developing play got exciting on the rushed over-throw at first base that rolled down the fence and allowed Welzy to hustle from first to score. Wook rounded first and took second on the play. Batting next, Evy crushed a double to left-center that scored Wook. The Baron followed with great bat work by fouling off four pitches in a seven-pitch at-bat before smacking the ball sharply to center with a run-scoring single to drive in Evy and close-out the scoring in the fourth frame with the Buzzards leading 8-3.

The Phillies scored one in the fifth inning on a double, a wild pitch, then a grounder to the right- side to pull within four runs at 8-4. The scored stayed that way until the top of the eighth inning.

In the eighth, Milli led-off with a line-drive single to left-field. Pete then ran for Jim. A wild pitch and two outs later, the Baron was at second when Surf Dawg hit a flare to center for a single. Pete hustling with two outs got a good jump on the play. However, a strong throw made for a close play with the Baron safe, stand-up style, and bumping shoulders with the geared-up catcher blocking home plate without the ball. The Phillies whined about the play and a few more choice words were exchanged.

The Phillies never quit and scored one more run in their half of the eighth frame. An inning opening walk was followed by two infield errors to score the late unearned run.

Ol' Buzzards don't get young Phillie meat much anymore, as they liked it and tallied two more runs in the ninth. The General led-off with a five-pitch base on balls. With one out, Wookie shattered his bat with a loud crack as the ball and half of the birch bat went flying toward the left-side of the infield. The spinning bat provided cover for the trailing ball as Wookie reached first with an infield hit to put runners on the corners. Evy singled next with a looper to right-field to score Lee. With runners at first and second and one out, Wookie stole third base putting runners at the corners again. The Baron hit a long sacrifice fly ball to deep center-field and easily score Wook with the final run of the game.

The closer, Welzy, then mowed 'em down 1-2-3 in the books in the ninth inning for the fifth victory of the season. This was a good win over the 42+ Phillies. The final score of the nine inning, 3-hour game, was the Buzzards 11 and the Phillies 5.

Buzzard pitching was excellent again and held the Phillies to 10 hits and just two walks. Surf Dawg was on the hill for the first three innings and faced 16 batters while throwing 56 pitches (41 strikes & 15 balls). The Phillies got three runs on six hits with one walk while striking out three times. Salmo threw three innings and faced 12 Phillies with 35 pitches (23 strikes & 12 balls). Rick gave up one run on three hits with no walks and one pissed-off hit batter. Welzy closed it out with the last three innings. Taylor faced 13 batters and threw 40 pitches (29 strikes & 11 balls) in giving up one run on one hit and one walk with three K's.

The Fightin' Buzzard offense was solid in facing these younger arms and managed to bang out 17 hits to go with three walks. The Buzzards scored in the first four innings and the final two for the 11 runs. The hit club for the game included: Baron (2), Burner, Crush, Evy (2), General (2), Milli (2), Salmo (2), Surf Dawg, Welzy (2) and Wookie (2). The always key ribbies were driven in by: Baron (3), Evy (2), General, Surf Dawg and Welzy. The 11 important runs were scored by: Burner, Evy, General, Milli (2), Salmo, Welzy (2) and Wook (3). The free passes to first base were issued to eagle-eyed Buzzards: Crush, General and Mickey. Two Buzzards were sacrificed during the game: mMumbles' sac bunt in the third and the Baron's sac fly in the ninth.

The Ol' Buzzard defense was solid and backed up the excellent pitching with good glove work and throws. Surprisingly, all of the 27 outs of the game were made in the infield. No fly ball outs did not mean the outfield was bored. Half of the Phillies' 10 hits were for extra bases and hit deep. There was a little too much time spent on the warning track chasing balls. There were also four of those dangerous pop-ups that were handled nicely. In the first inning, Burner used his cat-like reflexes to snatch a high pop-up with a basket-catch near home plate for an impressive second out of the game. The other three pop-ups in the second, fourth and sixth innings were caught like a smooth pro by Welzy playing second base.

The put-outs were interesting with Pete at first base with nine as expected, while Welzy had eight to go with three assists. Burner had four put-outs before leaving the game in the third inning. Milli had three, Surf Dawg had two, and Evy had one put-out. An honorary put-out has been awarded to Kelley for noticing the runner miss first base on the way to his momentary double in the ninth. Good call.

The most exciting defensive moment came in the sixth inning. Salmo was on the mound and there were two outs with the bases empty when Butt-head came to the plate. With a 1-1 count, an inside fastball slipped and sailed toward the batter. Rick yelled, look out, but Butt-head stood his ground and ducked at the waist. The chest-high pitch glanced off the back of his shoulder and Larson then went f-word ballistic and made a move toward the pitcher's mound. The home plate ump jumped in front of Butt-head and led him toward first base. Salmo apparently wanted a piece of the much bigger and younger Butt-head at that point, and yelled as he approached Larson, who was still being escorted by the ump. The base ump then came charging over to get in front of Salmo and escorted him back to the mound.

Thankfully, this was not our radio game. The amount of f-bombs and other mean statements in this game by a couple of the Phillies would have broken the bleeper machine or resulted in lots of FCC fines, and probably a lifetime ban from radio.

It did feel good to beat the Phillies. The 5-0 record is a great way to start the season. More tough games to come after the Memorial Day weekend.

The next game is at home on June 1st at 2 pm at James Field against the Red Sox.

Sunday, May 4

Gold Country Ol' Buzzards Game Report #4

Game: May 4, 2014

Buzzards prevail over Solons, 11-4

The month of May is already here and game number four of the season pitted the Gold Country Buzzards against the Sacramento Solons. The morning game at James Field required the Buzzards to flock-over early and get the field ready and warm-up in the cool low 60° temps. The Solons, managed by John Mason, continue to improve and recently added a top-notch catcher to go along with their solid pitching. The improved Solons showed up early and really wanted to beat the Buzzards.

The pitching match-ups for the game were the tough southpaw, Tom 'Fozzy' DeFazio #31, throwing hard and working fast for the visiting Solons, while the Buzzards sent the hard-throwing crafty right-hander, Gregg 'Surf Dawg' Novotny #1, to the mound.

The Solons went on the attack early and scored two runs in the top of the first inning. The game opened with a tough infield error on a speedy lead-off batter. One out later, back-to-back hits mixed with a throwing boo-boo scored two runs before another out was made. A terrific play on a hot come-backer by Surf Dawg got the second out, which mimicked the first out earlier in the inning. The inning ended on a fly-out to center field with a runner in scoring position.

The 'starting to feel it' Solons began the second inning with two stinging hits, putting runners at first and second. Next, a grounder up-the-middle was snagged right behind second base by Dan 'Wookie' Wukmir. A step on the bag and throw to Jim 'Milli' Milligan at first base, turned the timely play into a rally snuffing double play.

The pesky Solons still managed a two-strike, run-scoring sharp single to right to score a run in the inning. The sharp liner was fielded cleanly by Paul 'General' Lee playing short right-field, but the speedy runner just beat the strong throw to first base.

After a 1-2-3 Buzzard second inning, the score after two was Solons 3, Buzzards zip.

The sprinklers surprisingly, starting along the line in right field, came on between innings. It took over a 10-minute delay to find the field guy to turn off the auto-timer and resume the game. The delay and the water spray may have helped cooled off the Solons.

After a quiet top half of the third for the visitors, the Buzzard bats heated-up and then pounded out five runs to take the lead. The big inning started with a base-on-balls to Mike 'Mickey' Wilson. Up next, General Lee spanked a bouncer to third that was muffed, putting runners at second and first. Barry 'Crush' Forman followed with a hard-swinging flare hit to left(?) field to drive in a hustlin' Mickey with the first Buzzard run. Next, Tom 'Tomahawk' Keatley singled to short center to load the bases with no outs.

Batting next, Wookie hit a high chopper to short for a force-out at second that scored the General from third. The subsequent throw to first was late and wide of the bag and bounced to the dugout fence, allowing an alert Barry to score from second on the play and tie the score at 3-3. With one on and one out, Wookie stole second base before Dave 'Evy' Everingham singled to center putting Buzzards at the corners. Pete 'Baron' Von Zboray, with his family watching, then smoked a 1-0 pitch into deep left-field to score Wook and a racing Evy. Norm 'Burner' Tucker then followed with a five-pitch walk to put two runners on, but the inning ended quickly with two infield outs to make the score 5-3 Buzzards after three.

The Solons threatened in the fourth, but did not score. The Buzzards kept the pressure on by adding two more runs to the scoreboard in the bottom half of the fourth frame.

With one out, General Lee started it off with a base hit to left. After a passed-ball put the General at second, Crush slashed another hit to left-field to drive in the speeding General, who scored on a head-first slide in a close play at home plate. After two were out, Wook hit a bloop-single into no-man's-land on the right side of the infield to put runners on the corners. Batting next, Evy singled to right-center to knock in Crush with run number seven. The Baron then hit a screamer to left-center that loaded the bases with two outs. Up next, Burner's huge swing at the first pitch resulted in a nice breeze and a worm killer grounder to the pitcher's mound to end the dig with the score 7-3 Buzzards.

The Ol' Buzzards changed pitchers to start the sixth inning. The mix-'em-up right-hander, Rick 'Salmo' Salmeri #6, took the mound with a four-run lead. The Solons fought back, though, in the top of the sixth starting with a two-out double, that was hit way over the left fielder's head. Then a seven-pitch walk was followed by a single to center-field to score a run for the 7-4 score.

In the seventh dig, the 11-man Gold Country gang notched two more runs. Evy led-off with his third hit of the game, a single to left, and then stole second base before the Baron walked with a full-count. With one out and after a wild pitch moved the runners up, Milli roped one to left- field to score Evy. Salmo followed with a hard slap into left-field for a run-scoring single to plate a hustlin' Baron. With two outs, the General got on base for the fourth time with his third hit of the game, a rope into left-field to load the bases before the inning ended with the score Buzzards 9 and Solons 4.

The Buzzard defense continued to make nice plays behind the solid pitching to prevent a come-back attempt by the Solons during the game.

By the eighth inning, the Buzzies added to the score again with two more runs to put the game on ice. Surf Dawg started it off with a lead-off walk. Tomahawk followed with a knock to center-field putting two Buzzards on. Wookie then pulled a pitch sharply down the line that bounced off of the first baseman and into right-field to score a run. Later with one out and Tomahawk at third, the Baron launched a high-fly to deep left-field to score Tom with the last run of the game. The score after eight frames was 11-4 Buzzards.

The Solons attempted a rally in the ninth inning, but Salmo bore-down and struck-out the last two batters to end the 9-inning, 2¾ hour game with a final score of Buzzards 11 and Solons 4.

Buzzard pitching was excellent again against this good hitting team. Surf Dawg won his fourth game of the season. Gregg threw five innings and faced 22 Solons while throwing 68 pitches (43 strikes & 25 balls). Novotny gave up three runs (one earned) on five hits and only one walk with one strike-out. Salmo pitched the last four innings and finished the game for the Buzzards. Rick faced 17 Solons while throwing 69 pitches (41 strikes & 28 balls). The Solons got one run on three hits and two walks, while Salmeri struck out five. Fabulous pitching for the entire game held the swinging Solons in-check with just eight hits and three walks.

The Fightin' Buzzard offense produced 11 runs on 16 hits and five walks. The hit club for the game included: Baron (2), Crush (2), Evy (3), General (3), Milli, Salmo, Tomahawk (2) and Wookie (2). The ribbies were knocked in by: Evy, Crush (2), Milli, Salmo, Wook (2) and the Baron with 3 big ones. The all-important 11 runs were credited to: Baron, Crush (2), Evy (2), General (2), Mickey, Surf Dawg, Tomahawk and Wook. The five eagle-eyed Buzzards getting free passes to first base were: Baron, Burner, Mickey, Surf Dawg and Wookie.

Another good offensive effort against a tough and hard-throwing opponent. It's apparent, Ol' Buzzards still like hot ones across the plate.

The defense was a little shaky at the start, but the Buzzards woke up and played well once the feathers warmed-up by the second dig. There was only one double play pulled off (4-3, Wook-to-Milli) in the second, but there were several opportunities and one badly blown call by the ump at second base earlier. Pete made several amazing plays and stretches at first base to get 10 critical put-outs with that great vacuum-feature on his mitt. Milli, showing off his versatility, had nine put-outs at three different positions - first base, third base, and catcher during the game. Evy had only four assists, but every single grounder needed excellent glove work and a strong accurate throw to get the out. Wookie was busy at second with three put-outs and two assists.

Surf Dawg handled the mound defense well with three tough assists and one hot liner before moving to third base for another assist. That play needed a yoga-stretch that looked like a full-splits by the Baron on the throw to open the seventh. There was at least one micro-millimeter of distance to spare on the throw. What a catch!

There were four fly-ball outs; two in the fourth inning. The first out was a nice catch by Mickey in left-field with a runner on. And followed later by General Lee's catch in short right-field to end the inning with two runners going on the pitch. Tomahawk had two catches in center-field. A high-fly to end the first frame with a runner in scoring position, and an impressive running-sliding catch for the second out of the eighth to show-off for his wife, Sherri.

Another excellent Buzzard victory with no injuries. This one was a come-from-behind version. Good job, so far, with a 4-0 record in the early 2014 season.

Buzzard Note #1: No game on Mother's Day, next Sunday. The game on May 18th is a 6 pm start time at Playfields Park in Davis, the only evening game of the season. Drinks and snacks afterwards in the smoking section of the parking lot.

Buzzard Note #2: The 2014 Buzzard baseball schedule is attached. The Radio Game this year will be June 29th. If no more rain-outs, the play-offs will start on September 14th with the championship game the following Sunday on September 21st.

Buzzard Note #3: The Buzzard web site is not quite ready yet. Coming by Mother's Day.

Sunday, April 27

Gold Country Ol' Buzzards Game Report #3

Game: April 27, 2014

Buzzards claw Astros, 7-3

Game three was meant to be, as the weather forecasters guessed wrong on the showers, and the Buzzards took-on the Astros on Sunday afternoon at C-Bar-C Park in Citrus Heights. The region could always use more rain, but it was nice to avoid another rain-out this season. By 2 o'clock the clouds were still heavy and dark, but the sun was breaking through and later the storm clouds passed along for an eventual nice afternoon with temps in the high 60's.

The Astros have improved as a team over the last couple of years and they did beat the Buzzards last year, and split the season series 1-1. With this year's new format for the 52+ division, the Ol' Buzzards will play the older Astros four times. Their manager and former long-time Sacramento NABA president, Barry Spiller, said his team was missing their catcher and a couple of his best players for this first meeting of the 2014 season.

The starting pitcher for the home team Astros was ol' timer Rankin 'Fireplug' Lyman #01. The small right-hander with the loud pitching sound effects. On the mound for the Gold Country Buzzards was Gregg 'Surf Dawg' Novotny #1, starting for the third time this season.

The visiting Buzzards struck first with two runs to open the game. With one out, Dan 'Wookie' Wukmir lined a 3-1 pitch to the opposite field in left for a single. After two were out, Wook stole second base and waited as Pete 'Baron' Von Zboray walked on a full-count to put two on with two down. Batting next, Norm 'Burner' Tucker knocked the first pitch into center-field to drive in Wookie with the first run. Jim 'Milli' Milligan followed with a blast near the left-field line for a run-scoring long single that plated the Baron from second base to take an early 2-0 lead. That #2 ended up being the only crooked number on the scoreboard for the rest of the game.

The Astros scored a run in the second inning to tighten the game. The lead-off batter, Roy 'Slugger' Van Kempon smashed a double over Buzzard left fielder, Barry 'Crush' Forman's head. Barry made a valiant attempt at a running, high over-the-shoulder catch, but that left arm needed the Inspector Gadget arm-extendo feature, as the ball glanced off of the tip of the glove and bounced toward the fence for a two-bagger. A flare to right then put runners at the corners. The next batter hit into a timely double-play (4-6-3) while the Astros' first run scored from third base on the double-outs play.

The Buzzards threatened in the second dig with back-to-back line drive singles to left field by Mike 'Mickey' Wilson and Paul 'General' Lee, but no more hits and no score.

In the third inning the Buzzies added a run. With one out, Dave 'Evy' Everingham singled and stole second before the Baron knocked him in with a sharp single to left-field. Pete then stole second base, but advanced no further than third before the dig ended with two infield outs.

The Buzzards scored another run in the fourth frame with a one-out infield hit by the surprisingly speedy Dave 'Mumbles' Kelley. Since Mumbles has only two - half lungs, he gets a runner. Barry ran for Dave and quickly stole second. Rick 'Salmo' Salmeri followed with a flare to short right-field for a base hit with Crush holding at second. Batting next, Mickey hit a potential double play grounder to short. The force-out at second was made but the throw to first was in the dirt and got past the first baseman, which allowed a hustlin' Barry to come all the way from second base to score on the play. Mickey then stole the second base bag before the inning ended. The score after four was 4-1 Buzzards.

The Gold Country gang continued to add single digits to the score book with a run in the fifth. Taylor 'Welzy' Welz led-off with a solid single to right-center. Welzy then quickly stole second. Up next, Wookie sharply lined a shot off of the pitcher, Fireplug Rankin. The ball bounced away and a hustlin' Wook beat the throw to first from the tough fire plug, Rankin, to put two Buzzards on.

One out later, Welzy and Wook moved to third and second on a double steal. With the infield now in, the Baron hit a hot shot that was back-handed by the shortstop. Welzy broke for home on the play, but the good snag by Terry Porter on his knee and throw home, put Welzy in a run-down. With lots of speed, a few dance steps and a little luck, Taylor beat the pickle and scored on the play for the only run of that inning.

The Astros fought back with a run in the bottom of the fifth inning. A lead-off walk and two hits drove in the run making the score, Buzzards 5 and Astros 2.

For the fourth consecutive inning, the Buzzards added a run to the scoreboard. The sixth began with a one-out infield single by the always hustling Mumbles. Barry ran for Dave and then stole second base on the next pitch and moved to third on the wild throw. Up next, Salmo grounded one to the right-side to score a cautious Crush from third.

The top of the seventh started well with an opening walk to General Lee. A fielder's choice ground-out put Surf Dawg on first. Welzy, up next, smashed a grounder up-the-middle that hit second base and gave the ball a hop as it skipped into center-field for a single putting runners at first and second. With Wookie up next, the infield shifted to the right with the shortstop playing near second base and leaving a big hole on the left side. On a nicely placed grounder through the hole and into left, Wook loaded the bases with his third hit of the game. With the bases full and one out, Evy hit the dreaded sharp grounder to the third baseman for an easy 5-3 double-play to end the inning abruptly.

The Buzzards added their last run in the top of the eighth for a 7-2 lead. The Baron started it off by crushing a 3-1 pitch into right-center field for a base hit. Up next, Burner got aboard on an error by the third baseman. Crush then followed with a blast to right on a 3-1 pitch to score Pete.

In the ninth with one out, the General (former Astro) hammered a liner down the left-field line for what appeared to be an easy two-bagger. Paul's former teammates hustled on the play and followed with good throws in an attempt to nail him at second. A close play developed forcing the General to slide head-first into the bag for the double. Welzy followed later with a hard hit liner to left-field for his third hit of the game. The line drive was hit too hard for the General to score from second putting Buzzards at the corners. Welzy then stole second base to move into scoring position before the inning ended.

As the Buzzard's hard-throwing closer, Welzy #26, came in to pitch the ninth inning and send the pesky Astros home. The Astros fought to the end and scored their final run with a one-out single, followed by a stolen base and an infield throwing error. The final score of the 9-inning, 2¾ hour game was Buzzards 7 and the Astros 3.

Buzzard pitching was superlative again. Surf Dawg pitched the first four inning and gave up one run on four hits and two walks with five strike-outs. Gregg threw 53 pitches (33 strikes & 20 balls) while facing 17 Astros. Salmo took the mound in the fifth and pitched through the eighth. Rick threw 82 pitches (50 strikes & 32 balls) in facing 20 batters. Salmo gave up one run on five hits and two walks with two strike 'em outs. Welzy finished up the game by facing 5 Astros and giving up one unearned run on one hit with no walks and one strike-out. Taylor threw 17 pitches (11 strikes & 6 balls) to put away the Astros.

The Buzzard offense was solid with 18 hits and two walks in scoring only seven runs. The hit club for the game included: Baron (2), Burner, Crush, Evy, General (2), Mickey, Milli, Mumbles (2), Salmo, Welzy (3), and Wookie (3). The always important RBI's were knocked in by: Baron, Burner, Crush, Milli, and Salmo. The eagle-eyed Buzzard walkers for the game were the Baron Von Zboray and General Lee. The Buzzard's only extra base hit, a double in the ninth, belonged to the General. Another good offensive performance by the Fightin' Buzzards.

The defense was solid with just one miscue late in the game. There were only three fly-ball outs in the game. Two catches in center by Paul, one in the fifth and a nice running snatch and slide on the knees for the first out of the ninth inning. Barry ended the seventh frame with a routine fly-out in left. The grounders ruled the game as 13 ground balls became 14 outs for the Astros.

The Baron had 13 put-outs at first base and the team had 13 assists to take care of business on Sunday. The one double play in the second inning was huge and shut-down an early Astros' rally. The smooth looking Welzy to Evy to Baron combination worked well again. While the line-drive out to Evy at short in the sixth was nice, it was not as impressive as the smash he handled in the seventh. The previous out to open the seventh inning was surprisingly the first 6-3 play of the game. The very next play was a one hop bullet at Evy. Dave leaned back as he fell to his knees and gloved the screamer with his backhand. Then quickly got up and threw the stunned runner out. The ESPN highlight tune was heard in the background for the fabulous play.

It was another strong defensive performance by the Buzzards. A good win for a 3-0 early season record. Next week is a home game at 10 am against the Solons at James Field. One of just two morning games in Auburn this season.

Sunday, April 20

Gold Country Ol' Buzzards Game Report #2

Game: April 13, 2014

Buzzards stomp Yankees, 17-1

The Gold Country Buzzards home opener was a beautiful day in Auburn with temps in the mid 70's and a nice breeze. The game between the Ol' Buzzards and the Yankees was set for 2 o'clock at James Field. The Yankees brought 16 players, but the talent level was low plus several players were in their late 60's or older. So, the Buzzards with just 11 for the game (10 defensively) were still expecting an easy win.

The Buzzards' starting pitcher for this second game of the season was the tough right-hander, Gregg 'Surf Dawg' Novotny #1. Throwing for the Yankees was lefty Mike 'Rusty' Malloy #24, a recent addition to the Yanks out of retirement and rusty in his throwing mechanics.

The Yanks started the game with three runners in the top of the first, but no one scored. In the bottom of the inning the Buzzards proceeded on an offensive terror with 14 runs that lasted for 21 batters and took over an hour to complete. The record breaking dig was started by Tom 'Tomahawk' Keatley with a sharp single to left-field on a full-count. Next, Dan 'Wookie' Wukmir smashed a hot grounder into right-center field for a hit. Dave 'Evy' Everingham followed with a 3-2 pitch base-on-balls to load 'em up for Pete 'Baron' Von Zboray. The Baron then slapped the first pitch into left for a single that scored Tomahawk with the first run and kept the bases full.

Batting next, Norm 'Burner' Tucker walked in Wookie on five pitches. Jim 'Milli' Milligan followed with a long single to left-field that scored Evy and the Baron. With two runners on, Rick 'Salmo' Salmeri took the base-on-balls to re-load the bases. Up next, Dave 'Mumbles' Kelley hit a flare to short left-field for a run-scoring single to knock in Burner. After eight straight batters got aboard, an out was made to break-up the impressive streak.

The next batter, Mike 'Mickey' Wilson, started a new streak with a two-run single to the gap in left-center-field to plate Milli and Salmo for the sixth and seventh runs of the inning. Tomahawk, batting for the second time, got aboard via a throwing error by the third baseman to load up the bags again. Wookie then walked on a full-count to push Mumbles in for another run. Up next, Evy lined a single to center that drove in Mickey. The Baron followed with a smash down the left-field line to send Tomahawk home.

The Yankees then called time-out and changed pitchers. After a high pop-up for the second out, Milli was then hit in the back with a loud thump by a hard curveball on a 1-2 pitch. Batting next, Salmo launched a 2-1 pitch down the left-field line knocking in Wook and Evy with a long single. Up next, Mumbles singled to left-field to load 'em up for Barry 'Crush' Forman.

In his first game back since the finger-in-the-saw-blade incident in early March, Barry took a full cut at the 1-2 pitch and sent a bleeder to the right of the mound. The ball took a funny hop away from the pitcher while the speedy Barry took first base and the Baron scored from third. Mickey then followed with a looper into right field to score Milli with the 14th and last run of the inning. Tomahawk batted for a third time in the frame, but hit into a ground-out to end the inning. Wow, 14 runs on 12 hits, four walks and an error in a looong first inning.

After a 1-2-3 top half of the second inning for the Yanks, the Buzzards scored two runs in their half to make the score 16-0. With one out, Evy spanked the first pitch into left-field for a single. The Baron then looped a single into left and put runners at first and second. After a strike-out for the second out, Milli hit a screaming line drive into left field to load the bases. Salmo, batting next, walked on six pitches to force in Evy.

Up next, Mumbles hit a flare to left-center-field to score Pete before the inning ended. The Buzzards put one more on the score board in the third frame. With one out, Mickey sliced a looper near the foul line in right-field for a single. After two were out, Tomahawk got aboard via an error. Next, Wook hit a sky high pop-up that drifted from shortstop past second base and headed toward right field before it hit the dirt with a lunging shortstop nearby, while Wilson scored from third base making the score 17-0 at the end of three innings.

The Buzzies got three more hits and a walk in the remaining three offensive frames, but did not score. Yankees' pitching got a lot better after the first inning. The damned Yankees did not give up and scored a run in the six inning to make the final score 17-1 Buzzards.

Buzzard pitching was excellent again. The game plan was to have Surf Dawg pitch for three innings and then turn the game over to Salmo. Since Gregg was throwing a no-hitter through three digs, he was not pulled and pitched the fourth frame. However, he gave up a solid hit into left field with one-out in the fourth inning to end the no-hit streak. Surf Dawg faced 15 Yanks and threw 47 pitches (33 strikes & 14 balls) and gave up one hit with no walks and two strike 'em outs. Salmo threw 41 pitches (30 strikes & 11 balls) in facing 14 batters. Rick gave up one unearned run on three hits with no walks and three K's while pitching the last three innings.

The Buzzard offense eased off of the pedal with the big lead after scoring 17 early runs on 20 hits and six walks. The hit club for the game included: the Baron (4), Crush (2), Evy (2), Mickey (3), Milli (2), Mumbles (2), Salmo, Tomahawk, and Wookie (3). The RBI's were driven in by: the Baron (2), Burner, Crush, Evy, Mickey (3), Milli (3), Mumbles (2), Salmo (3), and Wook (2). The six walks were picked up by: Burner, Evy, Milli, Salmo (2), and Wookie. Milli earned the first bruise of the new season via hit-by-pitch when he was nailed on the back in the first inning.

The Buzzard defense played down to the opponent and netted five errors of rushed throws and sloppy glove work. No worries mate. It was those Yanks, but it is still not the typical solid Buzzard defense.

There was just one double play in the game with a Mumbles to Wookie to Baron (5-4-3) in the fourth frame. The good pitching limited the Yanks to four hits and made it difficult to get a rally going.

The defensive play of the day was in the final inning by the 'no mercy' Buzzards. With two on and one out, a hard hit ball sailed over the head of Mumbles in right field. Hustlin' after the ball, David threw to Pete in the relay. As the Baron caught the relay throw, Mumbles clearly yelled out "home plate" and Pete turned and fired to Milli to nail a sliding Yankee in a close play at the plate for the second out of the last inning.

Next, one quick pop-up out to Evy at shortstop and the game was over. The 2½ hour game ended after the seventh inning due to the 10-run mercy rule. Win number two is in the books. Lots of hits, good pitching, no one got hurt and a victory = good game.

Buzzard Note: No game on Easter Sunday. The following week, April 20th, the game is on the road at C-Bar-C Park in Citrus Heights again. The Astros are the home team for the 2 o'clock game. The team will probably go to Felipe's after the game. More info to come.

Sunday, April 6

Gold Country Ol' Buzzards Game Report #1

Game: April 6, 2014

Buzzards win season opener with Solons

The 2013 Buzzard team ended a terrific season with a NABA championship. The 2014 Buzzard team will attempt to do something no other Buzzard team has done - repeat as champions. Not an easy task, but with this strong team, this group of Ol' Buzzards appears up to the challenge. And with the new logo, the Ol' Buzzards come with an attitude and a swagger to match the fightin' spirit shown by the bat wielding, ball snatching new Buzzard mascot.

The 2014 Gold Country Buzzards gathered at C-Bar-C Park on a nice afternoon in Citrus Heights for the season opening game against the Sacramento Solons. After being rained-out the previous Sunday, the weather for this game was great with temps in the low 80's and a mild breeze. The infield was new this season at the ball field and the mound was in good shape for the game against two rival teams in the 52+ division.

The starting pitchers for the opening day affair were tough veterans of men's league play. On the mound for the visiting Buzzards was righty, Gregg 'Surf Dawg' Novotny #1. Throwing for the home team, Solons, was the lanky right-hander, Tim 'String Bean' Mosburger #3.

The Buzzards opened the top of the first with a six-pitch walk to Taylor 'Welzy' Welz. After stealing second base on the first pitch, Welzy moved to third on the first Buzzard base hit of the season, a liner up-the-middle by Dan 'Wookie' Wukmir. With Wookie a threat to steal at first, String Bean threw several times to the bag to hold him close. The last throw was wide of the base and skipped off of the dugout fence back to the first baseman, holding Wook at first, but allowing Welzy to score from third. So, no run-batted-in with the first run of the season.

After a double play, Pete 'Baron' Von Zboray singled sharply through the left-side of the infield. Up next, Tom 'Tomahawk' Keatley followed with his patented tomahawk swing at the high outside, first-pitch, fastball and laced it into right field, putting runners at first and third with two outs. Batting next was Norm 'Burner' Tucker. Before the 1-2 count pitch, the third base coach gave the steal sign to Tomahawk at first base. As the players know, the steal and bunt signs are just a joint away on the arm (wrist - elbow). The sneaky delivery of the signs on the play confused Burner, who subsequently bunted foul with two strikes to put a surprising ending to the inning.

The Solons fought back with two runs of their own to take a 2-1 lead after one inning of play. In the bottom of the first, the good hitting Solons started the inning with three straight singles, two with two-strike counts, to score their runs. A nice 4-6-3 double play helped extinguish an early Solons rally and limit their runs to two.

Jim 'Milli' Milligan led off the second frame with a flare to right-field for a single. Wookie then ran for Milli. Wook stole second before Dave 'Mumbles' Kelley singled to left-center putting runners at the corners. Batting next was Buzzard rookie, Mike 'Mickey' Wilson. Mickey hit a bouncer to the left side for a force-out at second, but it allowed Wookie to score from third to tie the game with Wilson's first Buzzard RBI. It was also the first Buzzard ribbie of the new season.

The Solons went ahead 3-2 in their half of the second inning with a hit, stolen base and two-out single to score their third run and re-take the lead.

The Fightin' Buzzards then broke through with four runs in the third dig to take the lead for good. Rick 'Salmo' Salmeri led-off with a six-pitch walk. Next, Welzy bunted on the first pitch for a single putting runners at first and second. With one out, Dave 'Evy' Everingham hit a shot to deep right-field for a long single scoring Salmo from second base. Evy then stole second putting runners at second and third. With the Baron at the plate, a wild pitch scored Welzy from third.

Batting next, Tomahawk smack a long liner, tomahawk-style, to right-center-field easily plating Evy with the double. Burner followed with a searing single to left on a 1-2 curve ball to score Tomahawk for the last run of the inning and make the score - Buzzards 6 and the Solons 3.

The pesky Solons scored again in the bottom half of the third. The first hitter, singled on a 3-2 pitch, but was quickly erased three pitches later on another smooth looking 4-6-3 double-play. After a walk, two hits to right scored their run. The score after three innings was 6-4 Buzzards.

The Buzzards pounded Solon pitching in the fourth frame. Mumbles led-off with a flare to right-field on a two-strike outside pitch for a nice single. Mickey then walked on a full-count. Up next, Paul 'General' Lee took the base on balls with a 3-2 count to fill the bases. The Solons then changed pitchers, bringing in the harder throwing righty, John 'Big Guns' Hagen #24.

The next Buzzard struck out, but Welzy came through with a double to the left-center-field gap to score Mumbles and Mickey. The General then scored alertly from third on a wild pitch with Welzy moving to third. Wookie walked, next, to put runners at the corners. After the steal of second by Wook, Evy hit a sharp grounder to the left side that trapped Welzy in a pickle between third and home. In the ensuing run-down, the other runners advanced to third and second while Taylor was tagged out.

With two outs, the Baron then launched a double to deep right-center-field that scored Wookie and Evy. Tom followed with his tomahawk-style blast, again at the first pitch, and sent it over the head of the center fielder for his second double of the game. Burner finished the scoring with a single to center-field to drive in Tomahawk for a 13-4 score.

The Buzzards changed pitchers in the fourth and brought in Salmo to face the middle of their order. After two singles and a stolen base put runners at second and third, an interesting 6-2, out at home plate, play occurred when a grounder was hit to Evy at short. He played the tough hop and threw home to the catcher, Norm, with the runner big Frank 'Bull' Smith coming down the line. The Bull stopped short of the plate and then backed up toward third in small lurches, to extend the play for the runners to advance, as Norm came near. Tucker then took a few more steps and placed a quick, firm tag on the chest of the Bull to end the play. Frank took instant offense to the hard tag and protested in vain to the female ump. A strike-out and a ground-out ended the fourth dig with no runs scored - after the first two Solons were in scoring position earlier with no outs.

In the sixth dig, the 'no mercy' Buzzards scored five more to put the game away. The Solons changed pitchers again. On the mound in the sixth was a hard throwing lefty, Tom 'Fazzio' DeFazio #31. After one out, Welzy got aboard via an infield error. After he stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch, Taylor scored when Evy singled to right-field with two outs. The Baron then doubled deep in the alley in right-center to score Evy. Tomahawk followed by crushing a two-strike pitch to deepest right-center for his third impressive double of the game and allowing the Baron to cruise in from second base. Tucker followed with a flare to left field for a single to knock in Keatley. Up next, Milli lined a shot to left for a base hit putting Buzzards at the corners. Mumbles then hit a line-drive single to right-center field to score Burner and make the score 18 to 4 Buzzards before the inning ended.

Salmo shut down the Solons for three straight innings while the Buzzards kept scoring. In the top of the seventh inning, the Buzzards crossed the plate three more times. General Lee opened the inning with a walk. Surf Dawg hit a flare to right field on a full-count for a solid single. Welzy then singled to right to load the bases. With two outs, Evy smashed one up the left-field alley to drive in the General and Surf Dawg and moved Welzy to third. Next, the Baron's grounder allowed Welzy to cross home plate, and that ended the Buzzard score fest at 21.

Taylor then closed out the seventh and last inning from the mound on 10 pitches for a final score of 21-4 Buzzards. The game ended on the 10-run mercy rule, which kicks-in after the seventh inning. The game was nearly at the 3-hour time limit anyway. Game time was 2 hours and 53 minutes.

Buzzard pitching did an excellent job of holding down the high-octane Solons squad. The 32 Solon batters could only muster 10 hits and four walks in scoring their four runs. Surf Dawg threw the first three innings and faced 16 batters in throwing 58 pitches (37 strikes & 21 balls). The Solons got four runs on eight hits and one walk. Salmo faced 13 batters in pitching the fourth through the sixth digs with 47 pitches (26 strikes & 21 balls). The Solons got no runs on two hits and three walks with one strike-out. The Buzzard closer, Welzy, polished off the three batters he faced in the seventh frame on 10 pitches (7 strikes & 3 balls). Great job by the pitching corps.

The Buzzard offense was awesome. It was especially impressive considering it was the first game of the season and the Solons have a good group of hurlers. The 21-run offense consisted of 23 hits and six walks with three errors. The hit club for the game included: Baron (3), Burner (3), Evy (3), Milli (2), Mumbles (3), Surf Dawg, Tomahawk (4), Welzy (3) and Wookie. The critical ribbies were courtesy of: Baron (4), Burner (3), Evy (4), Mumbles, Mickey and Tomahawk (4). Every Buzzard scored at least one run. The scored 21 runs were credited to (in batting order): Welzy (4), Wookie, Evy (3), Baron (2), Tomahawk (3), Burner, Milli, Mumbles, Mickey, General (2), Salmo and Surf Dawg. The eagle-eyed walkers getting free passes to first base were: General (2), Mickey, Salmo, Welzy and Wook.

The Buzzard defense was equally impressive with no errors on a tough field. Of the 21 outs, there was only one fly ball out. A running catch by Tomahawk of a sinking drive in center-field to end the third inning with two runners moving on the hit. There were three strike-outs. So, 17 of the 21 outs were plays made in the infield with four of them nice catches of those dangerous pop-ups. There were Evy's two at shortstop in the game, one in the fifth and one to end the second; then Mumbles' catch at third in foul territory for the first out in the fifth; and the Baron's snag at first in the second inning. There were 13 assists for the defense: Evy (5), Welzy (4), Milli (2), Burner and Salmo.

The two double plays (first and third innings) were timely and well executed by Welzy to Evy to Baron. The defensive play of the day was Norm's 'reach out and snag' that grounder heading to left field, while playing third base, to open the sixth. The other great snag was Pete's glove work on Norm's tough one-hopper to first base on the play. The Baron looked smooth with that mid-hop catch at the waist in a close play at the bag for the out. Strong offense, excellent pitching and tough defense with no errors are a recipe for victory.

The game was tight for three innings with the Buzzards coming from behind twice before blowing it open in the fourth. What blew that inning up for the Solons was the four runs scored after two outs. There were nine runs scored in the game by the Fightin' Buzzards after there were two outs in an inning. Good job, Buzzards. 1-0 is a good way to start the season.

Buzzard Note #1: The new logo looks terrific on the hats and batting helmets. More decals and orange stick-on for the bill of the helmet are available. Thanks again to Barry 'Brooklyn' Forman for inspiring Kat to design and paint the great logo, and to Barry for making a well crafted mascot that hangs nicely in the dugout and even comes with a carrying case. Wow and thanks.

Buzzard Note #2: With the first game under our belts, we can now officially welcome the new guys: Buzzard rookie Mike Wilson and the return of Buzzard veteran Jim Milligan. Milli was on the gold medal winning Buzzard Masters' Games tournament in Sydney, Australia in 2009 and played with us until 2012.

Buzzard Note #3: The schedule is still in flux. The only for sure is that the Buzzards are playing at James Field at 2 pm. It looks like we'll see the lowly Yankees. Cold drinks and snacks will be provided after the game.

Gold Country Buzzards
Gold Country Buzzards
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