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Last updated
07-31-15 02:09 PM
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Gold Country Buzzards
Dan Wukmir
1306 Gold Pan Drive
Roseville, California
Sunday, July 26

Gold Country Ol' Buzzards Game Report #15

Game: July 26, 2015

Ol' Buzzards out gun young Colt .45s, 12-7

The last revenge match of the season was slated for the morning game in Davis between the Ol' Buzzards and the young .45s. The first place Buzzards (52+ division) were facing the first place Colt .45s (42+ division) in the second game of a two-game inter-division series. The .45s (11-3) had beaten the Buzzards (11-3) in mid-May in Auburn in a close 13-12 battle. The Buzzards were determined to avenge the earlier loss and keep the team's seven-game winning streak going, while the .45s had lost their last two games: Solons 8-1 and Dodgers 6-4.

The weather for the battle-royale was excellent with temperatures in the low 80's at game time in Playfields Park. The cloudless, high sky and bright sun would cause more than a few problems for both infielders and outfielders in the game.

The visiting Gold Country Buzzards sent their recent call-up from the Pony Leagues to the hill, the tough right-hander, Fred 'Freddie' O' Donoghue #32. This was Freddie's second game of the season and his 2015 pitching debut. The Colt .45s countered with their lanky and talented veteran southpaw, Dave 'Zippy' Poling #00. The anxious Buzzards jumped on the scoreboard first with a run in the top of the first inning. Taylor 'Welzy' Welz led off with a long, high and almost caught double to deep center-field. With one out, Welzy moved to third on a passed-ball and scored on a ground-out by Dave 'Evy' Everingham for an early 1-0 lead.

The Colt .45s stormed back to take the lead with three runs in the bottom half of the first. Four hits wrapped around two errors put the three runs on the board for a 3-1 score after one inning.

The Buzzards then added two more runs to tighten the score. Pete 'Baron' Von Zboray opened the second inning by getting on first base via an E-3. Up next, Tom 'Tomahawk' Keatley hammered the first-pitch deep into the left-center-field gap for a double and put both runners in scoring position. Batting next, Jim 'Milli' Milligan's bouncer knocked in Evy from third and Jim was safe on the misplay at first base. With two outs and runners on the corners, Barry 'Brooklyn' Forman laced a two-strike liner into right-field to get Tomahawk home and tie the score at 3-3.

In the bottom of the second, the Pistols scored a frustrating run. A full-count walk was followed by back-to-back balks that were called by a ticked-off field ump. The runner at third scored on a ground-out for a 4-3 game in favor of the Colt .45s.

The Buzzards bounced back with three runs of their own in the third to take back the lead. Welzy started it off with a swing and a miss at a two-strike Eephus pitch thrown by Zippy. After the game, the pitcher Dave, drank a beer with the Buzzards and said he tried to throw at least one high-arced, Eephus pitch, each game and usually for a surprise strike. In this case, Welzy's delayed big swing and miss helped distract the catcher as the ball scooted past him and rolled to the back-stop. Speedy Taylor then beat the throw to first base.

One out later, after Welzy stole second and moved to third on a ground-out, Evy walked to put runners at the corners. Up next, Mark 'Thunder' Weathers hit a tough bouncer that was misplayed by the second baseman for a welcoming error, while Welzy crossed the plate. Batting next, the Baron smashed a single to left-center to score Evy. With two outs and two on, Milli stroked a liner to left-field that scored Thunder and made the score 6-4 going into the bottom half of the third.

The Revolvers were a strong team and were determined to put some runs on the board in their half of the third. With two on and no outs, a slow grounder was hit to Evy at shortstop. Evy threw to Welzy covering second. Taylor fielded the throw and because of the slowly developing play knew there was no play at first base. So, as Welzy turned to throw to third base for a potential wide turn of the bag on the play, he was run into by the base runner. The runner was called out on the force play, and by-rule a double play should be called due to the runner bumping into the second baseman while in the act of throwing.

The NABA rule requires the runner to slide or get out of the way, no contact is necessary, for an automatic double play. The field umpire blew the call and did not declare a double play. Taylor, then quickly reminded the official without cuss words, that he should know the rule and call a double play. The young ump thought the comment was too personal and tossed Welzy from the game to the surprise of everyone. After the play and ejection, there were minor barbs and comments traded with the ump until the call was appealed to the crew chief and home plate umpire, Jimmy. The umpires held a long pow-wow, before announcing the play was ruled a double play, but the ejection of Welzy stood. Wow, what a blow to the team in the bottom of the third inning, but no runs scored. The score after three digs was 6-4 Buzzards.

The Buzzard scoring machine continued to crank out runs in each inning. In the fourth frame, Kevin 'Flash' Krantz opened the inning with a crisp line-drive single to center-field. Flash stole second base before Dan 'Wookie' Wukmir walked. A fielder's choice knocked Flash off of the base path, but two Buzzards were on base when Thunder stepped to the plate. The left swinging Thunder, then sliced a shot to left-center to score Wookie from second base for a 7-3 ball game.

The Colt .45s notched a run in their half of the fourth to make the score 7-4 Buzzards. Two hits and two walks were limited to one run by some good defensive plays by the Ol' Buzzards. The Gold Country gang tacked on another run in the fifth. Tomahawk led-off with a dinker into short center-field for a base hit. Two outs later, Tomahawk was standing on third when Barry 'Brooklyn' Forman walked to put Buzzards on the corners. Up next, Flash blooped the 1-1 pitch into short right-field to score Tomahawk for a clutch, two-out run-scoring single to keep the scoring pressure on the Colt .45s. The grizzled righty, Gregg 'Surf Dawg' Novotny #1 then took the mound in the fifth for the Buzzards and held the Guns to two runs in the next three innings.

In the sixth, the Buzzies scored again. This time with three runs to put some distance between the teams on the scoreboard. Wookie led-off with a single up the middle and advanced to second on a wild pitch. With one out, Thunder lined a screamer into right-center-field scoring Wook from second. The Baron followed with an infield error to get aboard. Batting next, Tomahawk walked on a full-count to load the bases. With two outs, Freddie's hard hit grounder ricocheted off of the third baseman's shoulder and into short left-field driving in Thunder and a hustling Baron to give the Buzzards 11 runs.

The feisty .45s scored two runs in the second half of the sixth inning to keep the Buzzards within reach. The Pistol's late game rally started off strong with two runs scored and the bases loaded with one out. The next batter smashed a 'no-see-um' liner heading toward left-field that Pete, playing third base, flagged down going to his left with the snag by his ankles for a huge out. The hot liner caught the other runners off of their bases and the Baron threw to second to complete the double play and end the inning with the Buzzards up 11 to 7 with time for one more inning.

The Buzzards continued their streak of scoring in every innings by knocking in one run in the top of the seventh. Flash started the inning with a perfect bunt single to continue the streak of lead-off hitters getting on base in every frame. After Flash stole second base, Wookie walked to put two on. Up next, Thunder used his booming bat for his third straight hit and lined the patented base knock to right-center-field to score Flash easily from second base for a 12-7 score.

The .45s ran out of ammunition and time in the bottom of the seventh and the Ol' Buzzards held on to win the tough three-hour and five-minute battle, 12-7. The Buzzards lost Welzy in the middle of the third inning with the score 6-4 and continued to impressively out-score the young .45s the rest of the game for the solid victory.

The available Buzzard pitchers had quite an assignment for the game. To keep the big bats of the Colt .45s offense quiet and get ground balls. The new guy, Freddie, pitched his ass off in his first appearance on a mound since August 2014. And sometimes it showed, that this was his first appearance in a long time. Milli did a great job behind the plate of guiding the pitchers through the line-up and the game. O' Donoghue completed the first four innings and faced 22 batters, while throwing 108 pitches (61 strikes & 47 balls). Fred gave up five runs (two earned) on six hits and four walks with three strike-outs. Surf Dawg finished the game with three strong innings. Gregg threw 45 pitches (27 strikes & 18 balls) in facing 16 batters. The .45s scored twice on six hits and two walks, while Novotny earned the save.

The Gold Country offense was sparkling as the lead-off batters got on base every inning and the Buzzards kept the scoring machine turned ON. The 12 runs were scored on 14 hits, five walks and three costly errors. The hit club for the game included: the Baron, Brooklyn, Flash-3, Freddie, Milli, Tomahawk-2, Thunder-3, Welzy, and Wook. The ribbies were knocked in by: the Baron, Brooklyn, Evy, Flash, Freddie-2, Milli-2, and Thunder-3. The always important 12 runs were scored by: the Baron-2, Evy, Flash, Tomahawk-2, Thunder-2, Welzy-2, and Wookie-2. The four eagle-eyed Buzzards getting five free passes to first base were: Brooklyn, Evy, Tomahawk, and Wook-2.

The defense was solid and made the key plays to shut-down scoring rallies. There were 21 outs and two double plays with three strike-outs in defeating the younger, quicker and bigger Colt .45s.

The game had just two fly ball outs. The first one was caught in left-field by Brooklyn and it ended a rough first frame with three runs scored and two on base. The second fly-out ended the second inning with a running catch by Flash looking into the sun.

The double plays came at great times and the team pulled them off to beat a fired-up .45s team. The double play in the third inning cost the Buzzards the use of Welzy for the remainder of the game. The Colt .45s' manager initially wanted to protest the double play ruling, but they were so excited that Welzy was gone from the game that they did not complain.

The second double play was the Baron's grab in the sixth inning to stop a big brewing rally. With two runs scored and the bases full with one down, the cat-like reflexes of the Ol' Baron allowed him to spear the low liner and make that crucial double-out play.

There were 10 ground ball outs with two unassisted at first base. Thunder had six put-outs and one assist playing first. Welzy participated in one put-out and one assist at second before his game demise in the middle of the third. Evy fielded two assists and one put-out at shortstop, while Wookie had three assists and one put-out playing third and second. The Baron took over at third in the third and had two put-outs and one assist in the game.

There were five evil infield pop-ups during the game. Four resulted in outs. Wookie caught one and Freddie had two at second base. In the fourth dig with the bases loaded and two outs, the clean-up hitter punched a high pop-up that got lost in the sun by Evy and landed on the dirt next to the outfield grass behind second base. Wook picked it up on the bounce and with no one covering second, threw to the Baron at third to narrowly get the runner and end the inning.

This was an excellent game in spite of Welzy nearly assaulting the infield umpire with rules and financial advice. Taylor cheered on the Buzzards from the nearby shaded area by the first base dugout, and discussed the call with the umpire, Shawn, after the game. Unless Taylor said something terrible to the ump after the game and they file an additional report, he will be allowed to play in the next game, after he settles the Buzzard fine.

This was the last inter-divisional game of this season. The Buzzards were 4-2 against the younger 42+ division, losing to the Rays and Colt .45s in May. However, beating them each later and sweeping the Miners and the Dodgers, plus winning all but one game in the 52+ division makes for a 12-3 record. The Buzzies have an eight-game win streak and five regular season games remaining.

It was a terrific win and another good day to be a Buzzard.

Sunday, July 19

Gold Country Ol' Buzzards Game Report #14

Game: July 19, 2015

Buzzards claw Solons, 11-5

The third match of the four-game set with the Sacramento Solons took place on Sunday at James Field. With temps in the low 80's for the 10 o'clock game, the first-place Buzzards (10-3) faced the second-place Solons (6-7) on a fabulous day to play baseball.

The Solons, managed by a retired CHiPs officer, John Mason, did beat the Ol' Buzzards on opening day 16-12, and last Sunday, July 12th, they beat the Colt .45s, the first-place team in the 42+ division, 8-1. Having split the season series so far, this third contest could be a statement game for either team.

The starting hurler for the Solons was the tall right-hander, Tim 'Lanky' Mosburger #3. The Buzzards sent their tough righty, Gregg 'Surf Dawg' Novotny #1, to the mound for his 10th appearance and fourth start of the season with a 2-0 record and two saves. Surf Dawg wore his snazzy or Dr. Seuss-ish, orange and black horizontal-striped, socks for the first time. They were given to him by Dave Kelley and were almost a distraction for the batter.

The Solons started the game well with two on and no outs before a slick, 3-6-3, double play snuffed out the early rally. However, in the top of the second, the Solons put a run on the scoreboard with two singles, wrapped around an infield error for a 1-0 Solon lead.

The hustling Solons added two more runs in the third inning on a bunt single to loud mouth Bruce Maiman. And we heard it further when he stole second base and moved to third on a wild pitch. The next batter walked and then stole second to put both runners in scoring position with no outs. Two ground ball outs later, both runs had scored to make the score 3-zip, Solons.

The Buzzards matched the two runs in the bottom of third dig to tighten the score. Leading off was team newcomer, Fred 'Freddie' O'Donoghue. Freddie, while coaching his own Pony Leaguer, has not played ball since late last season with the Buzzards. On the first pitch, Freddie - making it look easy sent a flare into left-field for a single. Running at first base for the catcher, Freddie, was Barry 'Brooklyn' Forman. Brooklyn must have looked fast because the pitcher paid too much attention to him and threw a pick-off, down the line and deep into foul territory, allowing Barry to hustle to third base. At bat, Kevin 'Flash' Krantz then hit a slow roller to the third baseman. The fielder, Todd, threw home for a close play, but the throw was high and late as Brooklyn scored. On the play, Flash took first base, then immediately stole second before Taylor 'Welzy' Welz drove a 1-0 pitch into left-center-field for a single to score Flash. The score after three digs was 3-2, Solons.

In the fourth frame, the Solons got three hits, but no runs due to superb Buzzard defense in the top half of the inning. The Ol' Buzzards then batted 14 times in their half of the fourth to take the lead. With one out, Tom 'Tomahawk' Keatley started the rally with a bloop infield single that landed between the pitcher and first baseman. Hustle pays off as Tomahawk easily beat the play. Tomahawk then stole second base while Jim 'Milli' Milligan was at the plate. Milli hit a chopper in the hole between third and short. The third baseman fielded the ball and looked to throw back at second base to get Tomahawk, however, there was no play there and the third baseman had to eat the ball with everyone safe. Running at first base for Milli was Pete 'Baron' Von Zboray.

Up next, Brooklyn took a six-pitch walk to load the bases. Stepping up to the plate with one down and the bases juiced was the new guy, Freddie. Danny's dad took one pitch, this time, before lining a single into left-center-field with Tomahawk heading home with the tying run. Flash followed with a sharp single to left that scored the Baron with the lead run and left the bases full. Batting next, Welzy walked on five pitches to push in Brooklyn for a run. Then, Dan 'Wookie' Wukmir forced in the fourth run on a full-count walk. Dave 'Evy' Everingham then hit a sacrifice fly to left-field to easily score Flash from third. The score after four was a more comfortable 7-3, Buzzards.

The Gold Country gang dug up two more runs in the sixth inning to extend the lead. Red hot Freddie led-off the inning by banging a 2-0 pitch on a line into left-field for his third hit of the game. Flash then hit a screaming rising liner to left-field. The fielder, Bruce, jumped up and got some leather on the hot potato, but it tipped off of his glove putting Buzzards at second and third with no outs. Batting next, Mike 'Mickey' Wilson hit a sac fly to left-field to drive in Freddie. Surf Dawg then knocked in Flash with an infield ground-out to make the score 9-3 after six full innings of play.

The Solons scored a run in the top of the seventh on a walk and two base hits for a 9-4 score. The Buzzies added two more runs in the last half of the seventh inning to put the game out of reach with the limited time remaining.

After one out, Evy, an old Sac City player in the batter's box, was facing an older Sac City player on the mound in lefty Tom 'Not Fazed' DeFazio #31. On a 3-1 pitch, Evy got a low outside pitch and smashed it up the middle. The ball nailed DeFazio on the left knee and ricocheted on a line quickly into the fence by the third base dugout. Tom went down in a crumple as everyone rushed to the mound. Evy took first while looking over his shoulder. Amazingly, the ball hit Tom's padded knee,(from the batter's perspective) just to the left of the center of his left knee and missing the knee cap, as the ball literally took a left turn off of his knee before slamming into the fence. The force of the ball was a little scary, but DeFazio was not fazed after the incident and the game resumed after a few warm-up throws.

Batting next, Mark 'Thunder' Weathers smashed a high chopper past the second baseman for a nice single. With runners at the corners and two outs, Tomahawk, working on his chip shot all day while the British Open was on TV, bagged another one with a looper into right-field. This time it drove in Evy with the 10th run. Batting next, Milli timed the first pitch perfectly and sent the ball deep into the left-center-field gap for a double that scored Thunder. The Buzzards led 11-4 going into the eighth frame with about 15 minutes left in the game.

The Salons did score one unearned run after a hit and a walk, but the game ended before the Buzzards got a chance to bat again. The final score of the three-hour and five-minute, eight inning game was Buzzards 11 - Solons 5.

The Buzzard pitching was excellent. Surf Dawg got the win and went the first four innings while facing 21 Solons in throwing 67 pitches (41 strikes & 26 balls). Gregg gave up three runs (two earned) on seven hits with three walks and one strike-out. Everingham pitched the next three innings and faced 15 batters while throwing 48 pitches (32 strikes & 16 balls). Evy gave up one run on three hits with two walks and four impressive strike 'em outs. Welzy was the game's closer by finishing off the Solons in the eighth. Taylor threw 23 pitches (15 strikes & 8 balls) to six batters while giving up one unearned run on one hit and one walk with two strike-outs for the inning.

The Buzzard offense, once it got on track in the third, scored in three of the last four innings. The 11 runs were scored on 14 hits, five walks and two Solon errors. The hit club for the game included: Evy-2, Flash-2, Freddie-3, Milli-2, Tomahawk-3, Thunder, and Welzy. The ribbies were a team sport with nine different Buzzards knocking in runs: Evy, Flash-2, Freddie, Mickey, Milli, Surf Dawg, Tomahawk, Welzy-2, and Wookie. The always important runs were scored by: Brooklyn, Evy, Flash-3, Freddie-3, Milli, Thunder, and Tomahawk. Milli banged out the only extra base hit, a run-scoring double in the seventh. The five free passes to first base were issued to the eagle-eyed Buzzards: Baron, Brooklyn, Welzy-2, and Wook.

The defense was solid and made some sparkling plays to get big outs. There was only one double play in the game, and surprisingly it was the first two outs of the game. After the top two Solons got on base to start the game, DeFazio hit a hard grounder to Thunder's right at first base. Mark smoothly came up with the ball and fired to Evy covering second base. Evy returned the throw to first base to Thunder to complete a sweet double play and put a big damper on the Solon's first inning rally.

Of the 24 outs there were seven strike-outs and just two fly ball outs. Both fly-outs occurred in the second inning. Flash in center-field caught the first one by racing a long way before watching the ball settle into his glove for the second out. The third out of that inning was a routine fly ball to Tomahawk in right-field.

There were also three evil infield pop-ups that were adeptly handled for outs. Wookie got the first one at second base to end the fifth frame. In the seventh inning, Welzy caught the pop-up for out number two at shortstop, while Thunder followed by catching the third high pop-up near first base to end the inning.

There were 11 ground outs to keep the infield busy. Weathers had 10 put-outs at first with one assist on the double play ball. Welzy had three put-outs and three assists playing second and shortstop. Evy played short for five innings and had 1 put-out and four assists. Wookie had one put-out at second and one assist playing third base. The Baron and Surf Dawg also held down third base during the game. Freddie caught the first five frames and had two put-outs and one assist behind the plate. Not bad for the new guy. Milli caught the last three digs and ended up with five put-outs via the strike-outs.

The defensive play of the game, though, occurred in the middle of the fourth. After the Solons scored one run in the second and two in the third inning, they had one on and one out in the fourth with Gilberto coming to bat. Gil smashed a liner into center-field for a base hit, however, Flash charged hard and scooped up the ball and threw to second base to just nail the hard sliding runner.

The runner, retired attorney Max Luger, came over the bag on the break-it-up slide and spiked the covering Welzy in the ankle. That out was followed by a base hit, so the hustle play definitely saved vital runs at that time.

This was another good game played by the Gold Country Buzzards. There was no panic in the dugout when the Solons were looking strong and putting runs on the board early in the game. The Buzzards handled the pressure well and got on track to win the game. It was a nice surprise for many Buzzards to see Freddie and we hope to see more of him. Three for three with three runs and a RBI is a good first day back on the ball field.

The season is now officially 2/3rds over with six more regular season games and one playoff match. Thanks to Norm 'Coach' Tucker for keeping score while his throwing shoulder heals from surgery.

The next game is against the Colt .45s at 10 am at Playfields Park in Davis.

Buzzard Note #1: The all-star game was fun, but the good guys lost 12-11. The reps for the Buzzards on July 14 were: Mike threw five innings; Rick caught half the game then pitched an inning; Barry, Kevin and Tom played the outfield while Dan managed.

Sunday, July 12

Gold Country Ol' Buzzards Game Report #13

Game: July 12, 2015

Buzzards stun Rays in walk-off, 6-5

Back from the holiday break, the Ol' Buzzards were about to take on a young bunch of ball players that beat the team earlier this season. At our lowest point on May 3rd, after the bagpipes went silent and a prayer and thanks to Dave Kelley, the Rays held on to win the close game, 11-10. The Buzzards scored three runs in the last at-bats, but fell short with the help of horrible umpiring at Playfields Park.

This game was a home game. And a nice afternoon with the high temperature on Sunday in Auburn at 84°. Which helped the Gold Country Nine keep their energy level high for a potential long afternoon. The 42+ division Rays are 6-6 and tied for third with the Miners, while the Buzzards are 9-3 and lead the 52+ division by four games.

The starting pitcher for the visiting Rays was the tough righty, Luis 'Stylin' Hernandez #53. Taking the bump for the Buzzards was the veteran right-handed pitchologist, Rick 'Salmo' Salmeri #6.

After both teams threatened in the second inning, the Buzzards jumped on the scoreboard first in the bottom of the third inning. With one out, Taylor 'Welzy' Welz smoked a line-drive into left-field for the single. Welzy then stole second on a close play and a good call by the ump. On a ground-out to the right-side, Welzy moved to third. Up next, Dave 'Evy' Everingham hit the 2-0 pitch into right-center-field for his patented base hit and drove in Welzy for the early 1-nothing lead.

In the fourth frame, the Thin Orange Line banged out another run. Tom 'Tomahawk' Keatley led-off with a base-on-balls. Jim 'Milli' Milligan hammered the 2-2 pitch into left putting runners at first and second. Up next, Kevin 'Flash' Krantz laid down an excellent bunt to load the bases with nobody out. Mike 'Mickey' Wilson then smacked one, but right at the third baseman, who stepped on third and threw to first for a double play while Tomahawk scored for a 2-0 lead.

The Rays had threatened to score in nearly every inning and the fifth started out like a night-mare for the Buzzards. Three seeing-eye hits followed by a solid line-drive, then a screamer off of Wookie's glove at third produced four quick runs. After a strike-out for the first out, the top of the order singled, another seeing-eye type grounder, putting runners at the corners. The runner at first went on the first pitch to steal second with the runner at third heading home on the throw to second base. Welzy cut-off the throw and threw home to catch the runner in a pickle. The ensuing run-down was fairly short as Welzy cut the line and tagged the runner dashing toward third. Taylor then wheeled and threw a bullet to second base to the covering center-fielder, Flash, to nail the other runner too far off of the bag for a spectacular double play to end the inning. However, the Buzzards were behind 4-2 to the resurgent Rays.

The Gold Country Nine tacked on another run in the sixth dig to tighten the score. Tomahawk led-off the inning by pounding an 0-2 pitch into left-center for a double. Two outs later, Tomahawk was still standing at second, when Mickey was hit by a pitch to put two runners on. Batting next, Salmo walked on a full-count to load the bases for Welzy. On a 1-2 pitch, Welzy's big swing resulted in an effective bunt toward third that scored Tomahawk to make the score 4-3 Rays after six innings of play.

The Rays added to their lead with a run in the seventh on three hits for a 5-3 score. The Rays have left a dozen runners on base, so far.

The Thin Orange Line matched the Rays run in the bottom-half of the seventh. After one out, Pete 'Baron' Von Zboray walked on five pitches. After a fielder's choice, Tomahawk was at first base and took second on a wild pitch. After a six-pitch battle, Milli blasted a low fastball to deep left-field for a long single while Tomahawk scored from second for a 5-4 game after seven innings and 20 minutes left on the three-hour game clock.

Evy came in to pitch the eighth inning and relieve Salmo. Evy has not pitched since last year's broken leg in September. Dave looked good on the mound and handled the three batters, the top of their order, that he faced, and he struck-out the first one on a full-count.

The tired Gold Country Nine, including four who had played an earlier game, needed just a couple of runs to end this game on a high note. After one out, Welzy grounded one up the middle for a single to start the rally. Batting next, Dan 'Wookie' Wukmir walked on four pitches to put runners on second and first. Evy followed with a bouncer in the hole on the left-side of the infield. The shortstop went for the double play at second base. Wookie was nearly at the bag and sliding hard to break up the play, but the rushed throw got past the second baseman and went into right-field. Welzy scored and Wook went to third.

The score was now tied and the Buzzies had runners on the corners with one out and the Baron coming to the plate. On an 0-1 pitch, the Baron bounced trouble to the left-side. The shortstop was going to have to make a tough, clean play and hope for the best with a double play to prevent Wookie from scoring from third. Everyone was safe on the play, as the game ended with a stunning come-back by the Ol' Buzzards, 6 to 5.

The eight-inning game lasted 3-hours and five minutes with the summer league college teams watching the last couple of innings. The excellent Buzzard pitching with lots of ground balls held the good hitting Rays to five runs. Salmo pitched seven innings and faced 36 Rays in throwing 117 pitches (76 strikes & 41 balls). Salmeri gave up five runs (two earned) on 15 hits and two walks and one hit batter with three strike outs. Everingham pitched an outstanding eighth inning. On the hill for the first time in a long time, Evy mowed down the Rays 1-2-3 in the final inning. Dave faced three Rays and threw 15 pitches (8 strikes & 7 balls), while allowing no hits or walks and striking out one.

The offense gets brownie points for trying so hard. The team scored in five of the last six innings and threatened in most others. Knocking in the winning run with two outs to spare is cutting it pretty close. The six runs were tough to get, but were enough to beat the young Rays. The hit club for the game included: Baron, Evy-2, Flash-2, Milli-2, Tomahawk, and Welzy with four. The ribbies were banged in by: Baron, Evy-2, Mickey, Milli, and Welzy. The six precious runs were scored by: Tomahawk-3, Welzy-2, and Wook. There were eight free passes to first base given to six eagle-eyed walkers: Baron-2, Flash, Milli, Salmo, Tomahawk, and Wookie-2.

The defense was solid as usual plus it came up with big plays at key times. Of the 24 outs, there were 12 ground-outs, two fly-outs, three infield pop-ups with one resulting in a double play, four strike-outs, and two outs via run-downs. There were two big Buzzard double plays.

In the fourth frame, the double play came after a noteworthy infield play for the first out of the dig. After a lined single by the number four hitter, the next batter hit a hard grounder to the right-side hole. Welzy, ranging far to his left, caught up with the grounder on the grass in right field. After spearing the ball, he turned and threw the long way back to second base to a covering Evy to barely nail the surprised runner. Five pitches later, the next batter popped up to Salmo near the mound, while the runner was going on the pitch. After the catch, Salmo tossed the ball to Baron at first to complete the two out play.

In the fifth inning, the Rays were on a roll with four runs scored and no outs and with a runner at second. The next batter struck-out before the top of the order singled to put runners at the corners. On the next pitch, the runner at first broke for second. Milli fired the ball to second base and the runner at third dashed for home. Welzy cut-off the throw and threw back to Milli at the plate to trap the runner from third in a run-down. The entire play went 2-4-2-5-1-4 for the tag out. The second out of the double play was recorded when Welzy alertly threw to second base to Flash, covering the bag from center-field, to get the surprised runner, who started the play, off of the bag for a fabulous and the best timed double play of the season.

The fly ball outs were both caught by Flash, patrolling center-field. In the second inning, Kevin ran a loong way to catch the ball in short left-center. And in the eighth, Flash charged a liner for the second out of the last inning. Tomahawk in right and Mickey in left played the entire game chasing base hits, but there were no put-out opportunities.

The infield was kept busy. The Baron at first base had 10 put-outs including two unassisted grounders. Welzy had four assists and three put-outs playing second. Evy at shortstop had two put-outs and three assists. Wookie had three assists while holding down third base. Milli caught the entire game and had a surprising three assists to go along with the four put-outs for the Ks.

The 'walk-off' win felt real good after the final play was over. The Buzzards have not had many in their storied history. The disappointed Rays in their spiffy teal jerseys and white pants were good sports after the game. The loss drops them into fourth place in their division.

The Gold Country Nine plus Norm 'Coach' Tucker congratulated each other for the tough win. The first-place Buzzards are 10-3 and on a nice roll with six consecutive victories.

Next Sunday's game is at James Field at 10 am against the Solons.

Sunday, June 28

Gold Country Ol' Buzzards Game Report #12

Game: June 28, 2015

Buzzards make Dodgers blue with 10-4 win

For game 12 of the season, the schedule pitted last year's 42+ division finalist against the 52+ division champs for the second time. The younger Dodgers (9-2) faced the Ol' Buzzards (8-3) at the Tri City Field in a hot game, action and temperature wise, in Rocklin. The Buzzards had defeated the Dodgers 9-3 at James Field in their first meeting in April. This was the Buzzards' first game at Tri City this season with its very short right-field porch of 248 feet with a 12-foot fence at the fair pole. The distance quickly increases toward right-center-field, but the short fence is a tempting target, especially for lefties.

A last-minute schedule and field change for the MSBL Pirates forced both teams to play at 10 o'clock. The shared players were divided up and both teams were short-handed. The game began on a warm morning with plenty of cloud cover to make for a humid first couple of innings. The longest game of the season, nearly 3½ hours, ended with bright sunshine and cloudless skies with temperatures climbing to the high-90s.

The visiting Buzzards sent their ace, the hard throwing righty, Taylor 'Welzy' Welz #26 to the mound to face the young and big (a few linebackers) and the young and quick (several with blazing speed) Dodger line-up. The Dodgers countered with their hard throwing right-hander, Andy 'Big Mac' McCue #5 to start the game on the hill.

The Buzzards jumped on the scoreboard first with a nice crooked number (3) to put pressure on the Dodgers. With one out, Dan 'Wookie' Wukmir hit a high chopper to the first baseman. The ball took a funny hop and bounced off of his chest and rolled away as Wookie hustled across the bag to get on first. Kevin 'Flash' Krantz then walked on five-pitches and was followed by copy-cat Mark 'Thunder' Weathers with a five-pitch walk to load the bases. Up next, Pete 'Baron' Von Zboray hit a sacrifice-fly to left-field to drive in Wookie from third. With two outs, Tom 'Tomahawk' Keatley slugged a long double into the right-center-field gap to score Flash and Thunder. Next, the catcher, Jim 'Milli' Milligan walked on a full-count before the inning ended later with a picked-off ol' bird and a 3-0 lead. The pitcher, Big Mac, pulled a quad muscle during the dig and was replaced by a harder-thrower, right-hander, Will 'Bow Leg' Redick #24.

The Dodgers battled back with one run in the bottom half of the first inning. After two outs, a single was followed by a gaper double that scored the run. A terrific defensive play followed when a sharp single to right-field led to an excellent 9-3-2 relay and a close play at the plate to get the hard-sliding Dodger to end the inning with the score 3-1 Buzzards.

The Dodgers added a run in the second inning to tighten the score. A hit-batter led off the inning. After a steal of second, he moved to third on an umpire in-the-way infield single. The bouncing bullet nailed the field umpire solidly on the right-side of the rib cage on the play. The ump laid on the ground in a heap for a while before slowly getting up. A sacrifice-fly scored the run and left a runner at first with one down. Then a hot grounder to the right-side was snared near first base to begin a 3-6-3 double play and end the inning.

With the score still 3-2 and entering the fourth frame, the Buzzards busted through with four runs to add some cushion to the score. Tomahawk led-off with a five-pitch base-on-balls. Milli followed with a full-count walk to start a good looking rally. The Baron ran for Milli at first. With one out and runners on the corners, Barry 'Brooklyn' Forman hit a flare into right-field for a single to score Tomahawk and put runners at first and second. Welzy followed with a looping single to short right-field near the line to load the bases. Later with two outs, Flash hit a slow bouncer to short. Flash beat the play and the desperation throw was too high for the first baseman to catch, while Baron and Brooklyn crossed home plate. Welzy moved to third base and Flash took second on the over-throw.

On the play, Welzy danced half-way down the line twice, while the Dodgers tossed the ball around the infield. A revved-up Welzatron lasted only a couple more pitches at the third base starting-line before a pitch in the dirt got past the catcher and Welzy rushed home for a 7-2 score.

The pitching was effective for both teams, while each defense was making key plays to keep the other team from scoring more. Through five frames and 30 total outs, the game had a high number of strike-outs (12). The Buzzards had seven (4 swinging & 3 looking), while the Dodgers had five (3 swinging & 2 looking) as the teams adjusted to the strike-zone, velocity and the variety of pitches.

The Ol' Buzzards punched one across in the sixth to add to the lead. To start the inning, Welzatron crushed a 2-0 pitch over the center-fielder's head for a stand-up double. Welzy then moved to third on a ground-out to the right-side of the infield. Flash also hit his 2-0 count pitch to center-field on the fly. That ball sailed over second base by a good 60-70 feet and was snagged in the air by a hard charging center-fielder. Nonetheless, Welzatron was revved-up again for a dash to home plate. The ball short-hopped the catcher near the plate, but a few feet up the line and the ball did not stick in the mitt, as Welzy steaming toward home bumped into the catcher, who was in the base path. Welzy was called safe, but there were still some interesting words between players while in close proximity to the plate. The score was 8-2 entering the Dodger half of the inning.

The feisty Dodgers scored one run in the sixth, but were denied more on superb defensive plays. The speedy lead-off hitter beat out an up-the-middle high chopper on a good play for an infield hit. After stealing second, he stole third and then scored on an over-throw. Later with a runner on first base, a groundball blur was snagged at short to start a timely 6-4-3 double-out play. The third out was a hotter smash that was flagged-down by Welzy from the mound. The score after six full-innings was 8-3 Buzzards.

The Buzzards went quietly in the seventh, while the Dodgers were gathering momentum by leaving four runners on base in the last two digs and were hitting the ball sharply for their outs. The Dodgers tacked on a run in the seventh for an 8-4 game and were getting lively on the bench. A two-out rally with a couple of hits around a hit-batter produced the run.

In the eighth inning the Buzzards faced a tiring Bow Leg, but he was still a tough hurler with his velocity and mix of pitches. Kelly 'Cagey' Garcia started it off with a line-drive single to left-field. Batting next, Brooklyn banged-out an opposite field line-drive to left to put runners at first and second. Welzatron, up next, calculated mathematical probabilities, forces necessary plus late inning strategy to determine a good bunt up the right-side was the next logical move. The excellent bunt was stopped by the athletic pitcher with a diving stop after it passed him. Bow Leg used a strong throw from his knees to get the scurrying Welzatron Model 2015 in a close play at first base, while moving the runners into scoring position.

With one down, Wookie, with two earlier strike-outs to Bow Leg, was looking vulnerable to the salivating pitcher. Wook then rocked the first-pitch fastball deep into the right-center-field gap for a two-run double, scoring Cagey and Brooklyn, and putting a cap on the Dodger dugout chatter with the 10-4 score.

The eighth inning ended with three minutes remaining in the three-hour time limit, so a ninth inning was started. Five Buzzies faced two Dodger pitchers in the top of the inning for two walks, but no runs. The Buzzard closer, veteran righty, Gregg 'Surf Dawg' Novotny #1, entered the game in the bottom of the ninth to put-away the Dodgers. Four batters later, the longest game of the year was over at the 3-hour and 25-minute mark with the final score Buzzards 10 and the Dodgers 4.

Buzzard pitching was awesome and held the good hitting Dodgers to 10 hits and lots of ground balls for the defense to field. Welz pitched a stellar eight innings in facing 36 Dodgers and throwing 120 pitches (79 strikes & 41 balls). Taylor gave up four runs (2 earned) on nine hits, two walks and two hit-batsman with seven strike-outs. Surf Dawg closed out the game by facing four Dodgers and throwing 18 pitches (10 strikes & 8 balls). Gregg gave up no runs on one hit with no walks or Ks in ending the game.

The Buzzard offense was slowed down by the 10 strike-outs by Dodger pitching. The 11-hit attack was combined with nine walks and four Dodger errors (all in the fourth inning) for the 10 runs. The Buzzard hit club for the game included: Baron, Brooklyn-2, Cagey-2, Flash, Tomahawk, Welzy-2 and Wookie-2. The 10 runs were scored by: Brooklyn-2, Cagey, Flash, Milli, Thunder, Tomahawk, Welzy-2 and Wook. The RBI's were knocked in by: Baron, Brooklyn, Flash-3, Tomahawk-2 and Wookie-2. There were nine free passes to first base handed out to four Buzzards. The Buzzard walkers without canes were: Flash-3, Milli-3, Thunder and Tomahawk-2.

The Buzzard defense was showcasing its team depth against a tough opponent. Thunder, the first-string first baseman was on one corner while Baron, the third-string third baseman, held down the other. In the middle were Wookie, the third-string shortstop, and Tomahawk the fourth-string second baseman, performing admirably, and with enough good plays to make the regular infield starters nervous. Of the 27 outs, there were seven strike-outs, two fly-balls, two pop-ups, one line-out, one 9-3-2 relay put-out and 14 ground-outs.

There were two double plays to shut down Dodger rallies. In the second with a run scored and a runner on first with one out, a hard grounder to Thunder's right was speared smoothly. Weathers wheeled and threw to second avoiding the runner to a covering Wook. The inside throw was back-handed and the return throw to first was in-time to nail the runner and end the inning. In the sixth, after a run had scored and with a runner at first and nobody out, a blur was grounded to Wook's right at shortstop. Wookie snagged the ball and threw a quick strike to Tomahawk at second to start a sweet 6-4-3 double play with a final good-scoop at first by Thunder for an exclamation point on the 'wow' play.

The two fly-ball outs were handled easily by the bored outfielders. Flash caught his in center-field for a sacrifice-fly in the second frame. And Cagey got the final out of the game with a deep high fly catch in right-field, along with the key assist in the first frame with that great relay from right-field to nail the hard-charging Dodger at the plate. The quick tag by Mill-dog of the sliding linebacker on the close play ended the first inning and sent a strong message to the Dodgers.

The Dodgers also stayed away from left-field that was being patrolled by Mr. Barry Basketcatch. The pops-ups were not that evil this game. The first was a medium pop-up to Tomahawk at second base in the fourth. The second one was a nice back-handed catch in foul territory by the Baron playing third base to end the seventh with runners at second and third.

Milli had eight put-outs plus he called a great game and weathered the long match behind the plate without relief. Thunder was busy with nine put-outs at first base, along with two outstanding assists. The Baron had one nice assist at third (5-3) in the ninth inning. Wookie also had a busy game in the infield with four assists and one put-out at shortstop and one assist playing second base in the ninth, plus Wookster had his hands in both double plays. Welzatron had one put-out and one assist from the bump.

The player of the game was the fourth-string second baseman, and who may move up to third-string after this performance, Tomahawk Keatley. Tom handled all six opportunities he had covering second base for his first time ever playing second base in a game. Tomahawk got dirty several times and made the play look tougher than it was sometimes, but his glove-work and terrific plays to 'get the outs' were a critical factor in the victory. His two-out, two-run clutch double in the first inning was also a beautiful sight to see.

The Buzzards played well the whole game and handled the extra pressure of playing a younger, stronger, faster team pretty well. The Dodgers hit the ball awfully hard at times and the speed of several players was surprising and hard to limit, but the Ol' Buzzards prevailed again to the continued frustration of the Dodgers. The victory broke the Dodgers' seven-game win streak.

Another Buzzard win means the record is now 9-3. The team gets next Sunday, July 5th, off to celebrate Independence Day. The next game is July 12th with a 2 o'clock ballgame at James Field against the 42+ Rays.

Buzzard Note #1: The All-Star game for the 52+ Division is Wednesday, July 15th, at Playfields Park in Davis at 6 pm. Ballots will be passed out at the July 12th game. The Buzzards are allowed eight players on the team, plus the manager. The game will be Buzzards-Astros vs. Solons-Yankees.

Buzzard Note #2: For planning purposes, the NABA championship game is scheduled for September 20th at Playfields Park. The first-place Buzzards will have a bye on the previous Sunday, September 13th. Mark those calendars and please plan accordingly.

Sunday, June 21

Gold Country Ol' Buzzards Game Report #11

Game: June 21, 2015

Buzzards pummel Astros, 20-0

The Father's Day game was a morning game at Playfields Park against the hapless Astros. The day started-off cool and breezy in Davis as the Gold Country Buzzards assembled for the mismatch. The Astros fielded nine players against the Buzzard dozen. The Buzzards beat up the Astros 16-6 in April.

The Astros sent their ol' veteran righty, Ron 'Big Boy' Turner #13 to the mound. Ron sat out last season after shoulder surgery. The visiting Buzzards countered with the hard-throwing right-hander, Taylor 'Welzy' Welz #26, starting for the second time this season.

The Buzzards scored first with a run in the top of the first inning. With one out, Dan 'Wookie' Wukmir popped-up on the first-pitch to the pitcher. The sun, the mound, the wind, and the spin of the earth all contributed to the drop and Wookie was safe at first. After Wook stole second base, Dave 'Evy' Everingham walked on a full-count. Batting clean-up, Mark 'Thunder' Weathers knocked the 0-2 pitch to left-center for a single and sent Wookie across the plate for the first run. A nice play at second base by the Astros' Barry Spiller started the inning-ending double play to halt a rally.

The Buzzards put a second run on the scoreboard in the second dig. Jim 'Milli' Milligan led-off with a sharp grounder to second that was misplayed for an error. Tom 'Tomahawk' Keatley then ran for Milli at first. Up Next, Kelly 'Cagey' Garcia pulled a hard grounder down the line that hit third base and bounced sharply into left-field for a single. A wild pitch moved both runners up before Barry 'Brooklyn' Forman hit a sacrifice fly to right-field to score Tomahawk for a 2-zip early lead.

The Ol' Buzzards added on four runs in the top half of the third frame. Welzy nailed a 2-0 pitch and sent it sailing way-over the center-fielder's head for a lead-off triple. Wookie then lined one to left-center to drive-in Welzy. Evy followed with a long single to center-field that sent Wookie to third. Evy was caught in a pickle between first and second on the play, and Wook scored during the run-down. Thunder, batting next, slammed a base hit into center. Tomahawk then got to first via an infield error to put runners at first and second. Milli slapped the first pitch to center-field to score Thunder. Cagey landed at first via another infield boo-boo to load the bases. Up next, Kevin 'Flash' Krantz bounced into a fielder's choice at shortstop to score Tomahawk and make the score 6-0 Buzzards.

The Buzzards changed hurlers to start the fourth with righty, Gregg 'Surf Dawg' Novotny #1 taking the bump. The Buzzards showed no-mercy in the bottom of the fourth frame and scored 11 runs to put away the game. The Buzzies have scored seven runs in an inning twice during the season, but 11 runs is the topper, so far, for runs in an inning.

The scoring tsunami was innocently started with full-count walk to Rick 'Salmo' Salmeri. Welzy slashed a hit to left. Wookie then grounded a hard hit into right-field that scored Salmo and a hustlin' Welzy. Next, Evy walked on five pitches to put runners at first and second. A failed pick-off of Wook at second base put the ball into center- field, advancing the runners with Thunder at the plate. A sac-fly to center scored Wookie. Up next, Tomahawk ripped a single to center putting Buzzards at the corners. With one out and three runs in, Milli launched a sacrifice fly to left-field that scored Evy. Cagey then hit a flare to left. With the line still moving, Flash crushed a 2-1 pitch for a stand-up double to left-center field to drive-in Tomahawk.

With two down and two runners in scoring position, Brooklyn laced a line-drive single to right-field and scored Cagey and Flash. Salmo then came up to bat for the second time in the fourth and took a base on balls again. Batting next, Surf Dawg walked on four pitches to fill the bases with Buzzards for Welzy. Thunder ran for Surf Dawg. T-Welz then smacked a two-out single to left to score two more runs with Brooklyn and Salmo crossing home plate. Wookie, the 14th batter of the inning, blasted a long double to deep right-center to score Thunder. Evy followed with a double to right-center to score Welzy for the 11th run of the inning. The score after four was 17-nothing.

The Buzzard's excellent pitching and good defensive plays shut-down the Astros all game. There was no scoring in the fifth and sixth innings. The Astros brought in their first baseman, righty, John 'Flinger' Schwefel #40 with his unorthodox pitching style, a stiff-back with an over the top fling of the ball, to take over at the end of the fourth.

The Ol' Buzzards scored three more times in the seventh frame. Welzy led-off with a deep double to left-center. Wook then hit a chopper to the first baseman that clanked off of the glove for an error. Evy followed with his patented liner into right-center field to score Welzy. Thunder walked to load the bases. Tomahawk hit into a fielder's choice that scored Wook. Milli, up next, was winged by a pitch to reload the bags. Cagey bounced into a fielder's choice to score Evy and put the finishing touches on a 20-run trouncing.

Surf Dawg finished off the Astros in the bottom of the seventh. The seven-inning mercy-rule stopped the 20-run romp at the 2-hour and 20-minute mark.

Buzzard pitching was impressive. Welzy pitched the first three inning and the line score had lots of zeros. There were no runs, hits, or walks plus three strike-outs. Taylor faced 10 Astros in throwing 33 pitches (24 strikes & 9 balls). Surf Dawg entered the game in the fourth frame and faced 16 Astros in giving up no runs. Gregg threw 49 pitches (26 strikes & 23 balls). The Astros got two hits and two walks off of Novotny, but no runs and one strike 'em out.

The big O scored 20 runs off of 19 hits, six walks and six Astro errors. The hit club for the game included: Brooklyn, Cagey-3, Evy-3, Flash, Milli, Tomahawk, Thunder-2, Wookie-3, and Welzy with four timely hits (triple, double & two singles). The ribbies were cooked up by: Brooklyn-3, Cagey, Evy-3, Flash-2, Milli-2, Tomahawk, Thunder-2, Welzy-2, and Wookie-4. The 20-runs were scored by (in batting order): Welzy-4, Wook-4, Evy-2, Thunder, Tomahawk-2, Milli, Cagey, Flash, Brooklyn, Salmo-2, and Surf Dawg. The eagle-eyed Buzzards with six walks were: Evy-2, Salmo-2, Surf Dawg and Thunder.

The Buzzard defense was solid, but there were no double plays. There were six fly ball outs. Brooklyn in left-field hogged three of them. And all without his standard basket-catch for the game's first out in the bottom of the first, and the first out in the fourth and sixth innings. Flash tracked down two high flyers in the fourth and eighth digs with runners on base, while Cagey caught a deep liner for the last out of the third frame in right-field.

The infield had eight assists with the 11 put-outs. Evy had just one assist at shortstop. It was a nice play in the seven inning, when with one out, a fast runner grounded one deep into the hole. Evy handled the hops and made a strong throw to Cagey. The high throw was snagged with good glove work and an acrobatic first baseman with his foot glued to the bag for a spectacular put-out.

Welzy had six assists and made them all look easy. Three on come-backers (1-3) while pitching and three ground ball outs (4-3) covering second base. Surf Dawg had the other come-backer while pitching in the sixth dig. There were two evil pop-ups ably handled by Evy in the third and Welzy with a long run for the first out of the seventh inning. Milli, behind the plate, had three put-outs while handling Welzy's hot pitches and the three K's. Salmo caught the last three innings and had one put-out with Dawg's K in the fifth. The four strike-outs and one line-out to Welzy to end the fifth accounted for the 21 outs of the game.

It was a good Father's Day blow-out with plenty of good stats for everyone. The Buzzards' record is now 8-3 and comfortably in first place in the 52+ division. The next game is at the Tri City Fields in Rocklin at 10 am. The opponent is the young Dodgers. The Dodgers will want revenge for the 9-3 drubbing they got in April at James Field.

Ol' Buzzards love to dine on young Dodger meat. Come to the game hungry. The next four games are the toughest remaining on the schedule. 1) June 28th vs. Dodgers at Rocklin at 10 am; 2) July 12th vs. Rays at James at 2 pm; 3) July 19th vs. Solons at James at 10 am; 4) July 26th vs. Colt .45s in Davis at 10 o'clock.

Sunday, June 14

Gold Country Ol' Buzzards Game Report #10

Game: June 14, 2015

Light Buzzards defeat Yankees, 13-6

At the half-way point of the season, the Buzzards were scheduled to play a light-weight team on a hot afternoon in Citrus Heights. So, lots of Buzzies missed the game for various reasons leaving a stalwart eight behind to defend the C-Bar-C Park diamond against 16 Yankees. The temps were in the low 90s with a nice breeze to make for pleasant game conditions. The field conditions were a different story. The ball field is still suffering from low maintenance and now, a low water supply for the outfield.

The starting pitcher for the visiting Buzzards was the steady, right-hander, Gregg 'Surf Dawg' Novotny #1. While, the Yankees sent their righty, Randy 'Slinger' Dettman #28 to the mound to start the game.

The Buzzards struck first with five runs in their first at-bat. With one out, Dan 'Wookie' Wukmir slapped an opposite-field liner that the left-fielder muffed for an error. Batting third, Kelly 'Cagey' Garcia knocked a single to center. The clean-up batter, Pete 'Baron' Von Zboray was walked on five-pitches to load 'em up for Barry 'Brooklyn' Forman. A close fielder's choice play at second base allowed Wookie to easily score from third and put runners at the corners.

Up next, the catcher, Rick 'Salmo' Salmeri took the seven-pitch base-on-balls to re-load the bases for Surf Dawg. Dawg hit a hard bouncer through the left-side for a two-run single that knocked in Cagey and a hustlin' Brooklyn. With two outs, the gimpy warrior, Mike 'Mickey' Wilson, drew a walk to put runners at first and second. The Baron ran for Mickey at first. Taylor 'Welzy' Welz then smacked a single to center that scored Salmo and kept the bases full. Wookie then walked to force in Surf Dawg and give the Buzzards the five-run early lead.

The Yankees battled back with three runs in the bottom half of the first inning. After two were out on nice defensive plays, a seven-pitch walk and four straight hits were responsible for the crooked number in the scorebook. The score after the first frame had the Buzzards up 5 to 3.

The Ol' Buzzards added a run in the third dig. Welzy led-off with a sharp single to left-field. After second base was stolen, Wookie pulled the 3-0 pitch right-down the first baseline with the hot grounder hitting the bag and bouncing over the first baseman into short right-field to score Welzy. Later, the Buzzards loaded the bases with a lined single to center by the Baron and walks to Brooklyn and Salmo. The Yanks changed hurlers and brought in their shortstop and hard-throwing righty, John 'Stocky' Davis #7. The inning ended shortly with just the one score.

The game stayed at 6-3 until the sixth inning when the Gold Country Eight tacked on two more runs. Welzy started it off with a hard-hit double over the left-fielders head. After an out, Cagey hit a flare to right-center to score Welzy. Cagey stole second and moved to third on the over-throw before the Baron walked. Brooklyn followed with a sharp single to left that scored Cagey from third to make the score 8-3 Buzzards.

The Yanks added a run in their half of the six inning with three singles. Two hits came with two outs to secure the run and tighten the score to 8-4.

The Ol' Buzzards were hurtin' and tired and could not break the game open to shake the Yankees through six innings of play. The boisterous team of 16 players plus a non-playing manager and coach and their fairly large fan club was smelling blood and talking stuff. Yes, the Yankees.

To pad the lead and quiet the Yankee dugout, the Buzzards scored two quick runs in the seventh inning. After one away, Welzy and Wook were walked on five-pitches each by the wild lefty, Jerry 'Look-out' Whelan #11. Look-out was then replaced by the big right-handed first baseman, Jim 'Clank' McAdams #26. After a six-pitch full-count battle, Clank then served up a fastball to Cagey. Kelly launched it to deep left-field for a two-run double scoring Welzy and Wook and taking a 10-4 lead. Welzy #26 replaced Surf Dawg on the mound entering the bottom half of the seventh inning.

The Gold Country Eight notched three more runs on the scoreboard in the eighth inning. Salmo hit a lead-off liner into left-field for a base hit. Surf Dawg then banged out a long single to left with Salmo advancing to third. Surf Dawg stole second, before Welzy's run-scoring single sent Salmo across the plate and Surf Dawg to third. T-Welz then stole second base, putting both runners in scoring position. Up next, Wookie hit a high chopper to a deep playing first baseman. Surf Dawg easily scored on the play with Welzy, blazing around third and heading for home, as the fielder was tagging first base. Welzy beat the throw home as two runs scored on the ground-out by Wook for the last runs of the game for the Buzzies. The Buzzard lead was 13-4.

With time running out, the bottom of the eighth was going to be the last Yankee at-bats of the game. Some sloppy play and a screaming double to the center-field fence by the feisty old veteran, Dave 'Tortuga' Harden, with just one down gave the Yanks hope. However, Welzy shut them down with a grounder and a strike-out to end the afternoon affair.

The final score of the three-hour and six-minute, eight-inning game, was Buzzards 13 and the Yankees 6.

Buzzard pitching was solid with Surf Dawg getting the win. Novotny threw 100 pitches (61 strikes & 39 balls) to 27 Yankees in six innings of work. Gregg gave up four runs (one earned) on eight hits and two walks with five strike-outs. Welzy pitched the last two inning and threw 47 pitches (35 strikes & 12 balls) to 11 Yankees. Taylor gave up two runs (none earned) on two hits and one walk with two K's.

The Ol' Buzzard's offensive engine was operating with only 7½-cylinders at best. The short batting rotation ensured six or seven at-bats each, to add additional wear and tear during the game. The 16 hits were combined with 10 walks and five Yankee errors for the 13 runs. The Buzzard hit club for the game included: the Baron, Brooklyn, Cagey-4, Salmo-2, Surf Dawg-2, Welzy-4, and Wookie-2. The ribbies were knocked in by: Brooklyn-2, Cagey-3, Surf Dawg-2, Welzy-2, and Wook-4. The always important runs were scored by: Brooklyn, Cagey-2, Salmo-2, Surf Dawg-2, Welzy-4, and Wook-2. The six Buzzards taking free passes to first base were: Brooklyn, Mickey, Salmo-2, Welzy, Wookie-2, and three times to the clean-up hitter, the Baron.

The defense was solid especially considering the rough infield and difficult outfield conditions. The eight-man team went with two outfielders: Barry in left-center and Kelly in right-center.

The pitchers did a good job of getting a lot of ground balls for outs, while each outfielder had one fly-ball put-out. Only the hard liner to center-field for a two-run double in the seventh caught a gap in the outfield. With just two outfielders, it was ironic when the first Yankee out of the game was a line-drive scorcher to the right-center field gap, right where Cagey was positioned for an easy out, and to loud groans from the Yankee dugout. For his put-out, Brooklyn made a nice running basket-catch with Yanks on the bases to end the seventh dig.

There were two double plays to the pitchers' delight. In the fourth with a runner at second base and no outs, a short pop-up in front of home plate looked like trouble. Surf Dawg got to the ball from the mound and snagged it, to the surprise of the runner way-off of the bag. Surf Dawg threw a quick strike to Wookie covering second base for the force-out and the first double play.

With the lead-off runner at first in the seventh, another short pop-up was hit closer to the front of home plate than the last double play. Welzy, in full sprint from the bump, then used his Inspector Gadget extendo-arm to reach out and snatch the ball a half-second before it hit the grass. Welzatron then turned and snapped a throw to Mickey at first base to nail the surprised runner.

The Baron held down third base for seven innings and snared two hot liners for put-outs and two tough bouncers for assists (5-3). The Baron covered shortstop with Welzy on the mound for the last two innings. Mickey had a busy game at first base with eight put-outs while covering the bag and the right-side with a bum right hip. Welzy had seven assist playing shortstop and on the bump. Wookie had two put-outs and two assists at second base, while Surf Dawg had one put-out and one assist with the double play in the fourth inning. 

Salmo gets the Iron Man award for catching the entire game and having enough energy for his two hits, two walks and two runs. It was a good overall game with eight tough Buzzards to pull it off.

It may have been the only eight-man (whole game) win of a baseball game in Sacramento in a long time. Not a record the Buzzards were aiming for, but the mighty eight did a fabulous job of bringing home the win.

The 7-3 Buzzards will face the Astros this Sunday at 10 am in Davis at Playfields Park. This is the Father's Day game, but the team has no special plans. There will be cold ones and snacks after the game in the parking lot.


Sunday, June 7

Gold Country Ol' Buzzards Game Report #9

Game: June 7, 2015

Buzzards fly the airwaves, bury the Miners 13-3

The Buzzards love the airwaves and were planning to prove it again in the match-up with the Miners at James Field. The afternoon game was broadcast live on KAHI 950 AM and on the internet at For the seventh year in a row, the radio game has followed an A's game. This year the A's game in Boston against the Red Sox went long and ended just in time for the 2 o'clock start time. The high temp in Auburn was 93 degrees, so the game was a warm one.

The Ol' Buzzards were the visiting team and were facing the spunky lefty, Mike 'Hook' Vargas #11 on the mound. The Gold Country Buzzards sent crafty, righty Rick 'Salmo' Salmeri #6 to the bump to face the young Gold Country Miners in a battle royale for local bragging rights with a radio in the dugouts.

The Buzzards jumped on the scoreboard first with two important runs to set the tone for the game. The game opened with a long sharp single to left-field by Taylor 'Welzy' Welz. With one out, Dave 'Evy' Everingham hit a screamer to left-center for a double that put runners at second and third. Later in the inning, Pete 'Baron' Von Zboray hit a clutch two-strike, two-out single to left to drive in both runs to take an early lead.

The Ol' Buzzards added a run in the top of the third on one hit. Kevin 'Flash' Krantz started it off with a hard bouncer to second that was bobbled for a moment, but a moment is all it takes for Flash to beat it out for an E-4. With one out, Dan 'Wookie' Wukmir looped one near the line in shallow right-field for a base hit that sent Flash to third. Evy followed with a deep liner to right-center field, but was caught with a nice running catch. Those young guys sure can cover some ground impressively. Flash tagged-up and scored on the sacrifice fly. The score after three digs was 3-zip Buzzards.

In the fourth frame, the gold country old timers put two more nuggets on the scorer's table. The Baron singled with one out to start the rally. Mark 'Thunder' Weathers ran for the gimpy Baron. After a second-out, Jim 'Milli' Milligan ripped one to left for a loud single. Tom 'Tomahawk' Keatley ran for Milli. With speed on the base-paths, Kelly 'Cagey' Garcia walked on a full-count to load the bases for Barry 'Brooklyn' Forman. With two-outs and two-strikes, Brooklyn singled to the opposite field to knock in Thunder. Flash followed with a liner to left to send Tomahawk home and make the score 5-0.

The Miners were hitting the ball harder in the fourth and fifth innings, but Salmo only needed eight pitches in both innings to put them back on defense. It took 30 pitches to quiet the Miners in the sixth as they put two marks in the scorebook. Two walks and two hits did all the damage to tighten the score at 5-2.

The Buzzards came up with seven runs in the seventh to ice the game. Flash led-off with a liner to left for a single. Welzy followed with a beautiful bunt single up the third base line. Wookie grounded to the second baseman, but beat-out the hand-cuffed fielder for an error. Batting next, Evy slammed his second double to an outfield gap to score Flash and Welzy. Thunder's hard grounder was misplayed by the second baseman for a costly error and sending two hustlin' Buzzards, Wookie and Evy, across the plate.

With one out, Tomahawk slugged a long double to right-center that scored turbo-charged Thunder from first base. Next, Milli drilled a base hit to left to score Tomahawk from second. Tom ran for catcher Jim. With two outs Barry, beat out an infield hit to first that ended with the first baseman with the ball diving then crawling to the bag from foul territory, while Brooklyn raced then tap danced his way past first base for an interesting single. With two on and two out, Flash was then walked by a tired Vargas. Welzy ended the scoring with a line-drive single to left that scored Tomahawk. The score in the Gold Country contest was Buzzards 12 - Miners 2 going into the bottom half of the seventh inning.

The Buzzards now had a 10-run lead and if they could hold the Miners to no runs in their half of the seventh, the game would end with the 10-run mercy rule. The Buzzards brought in Gregg 'Surf Dawg' Novotny to finish-off the Miners in the last inning. Without much fanfare, it was three-up and three-down on nine pitches to end the game with a final score of 12-2 Buzzards.

The 2-hour and 45-minute ball game lasted only seven innings. The Buzzard pitching did a terrific job of mixing it up and limiting the Miner's bats to nine singles. Salmo pitched six innings and faced 30 batters. Rick gave up two runs on nine hits with two walks and one hit batsman. Salmeri threw 97 pitches (57 strikes & 40 balls). Surf Dawg pitched the last inning and closed out the game. Gregg only needed nine pitches (6 strikes & 3 balls) to dismiss the Miners. Novotny gave up no runs, hits or walks in his inning of work.

The offense did its share by getting the lead and building on it throughout the afternoon affair. The Buzzards used 17 hits, three walks and three errors to beat-up the Miners. The hit club for the game includes: Baron-2, Brooklyn-2, Cagey, Evy-2, Flash-2, Milli-3, Tomahawk, Welzy-3, and Wookie. The ribbies were cooked up by: Baron-2, Brooklyn, Evy-3, Flash, Milli, Tomahawk, Thunder-2, and Welzy. The 12 runs were scored by: Baron-2, Evy-2, Flash-2, Milli-2, Tomahawk, Welzy 2, and Wookie. The three Buzzard walkers were: Cagey, Flash and Welzy.

The defense was marvelous with stellar plays all over the field. The outfield was especially busy with eight fly ball outs. Only a couple were routine catches and they were all hit hard hit. The nice running catches stranded nine runners on base. All of the outfielders got to register at least one out.

Barry made the first out of the game in left-field with a charging basket catch. Brooklyn also made his patented basket catches on the run to open the fifth and close the sixth innings. Left-field was also busy in the fourth frame, as Mike 'Mickey' Wilson made a tough catch, looking into the sun to end the inning. Flash had two put-outs in center-field. In the fifth he ran a long way to snag out-number three with two runner moving, and the deep high-fly for the second out in the sixth dig. Tomahawk made his catch in the fifth frame while playing right-field. The hard blast was easily handled by Keatley with runners on base.

There was only one double play. In the third with a runner on first, Evy fielded the grounder and tossed it to Welzy covering second. Taylor made a nice catch and turn, but found the runner in the way. Welzy threw around the obstruction and nailed the runner at first with a strong throw and a nice stretch by Thunder to complete the 6-4-3 double out play.

Welzy caught three evil pop-ups during the game. A nice running one-hander in short right-field in the first inning right after Barry's first-out basket catch made a strong statement about the Buzzard defense. T-Welz's other two were short sun-ball pop-ups in the seventh near second base. Weathers made two nice catches of tough high pop-ups near first base in the second and the fourth innings.

Besides the double play in the third inning, there were only three ground balls resulting in outs and it should have been four. The first out of the second inning was a chopper to Wookie and throw to Welzy (5-4). A bouncer to Evy at short and put-out to Thunder at first. And the final out was a grounder to Thunder at first and a step on the bag ended the game. Worth mentioning was Wook's bare-handed grab of a bunt and one-hop throw to nail the runner on a close play. Except the ump got the sights and sounds at first base confused and made another bad call at first base. The pick-off in the first inning was classic with a good move by Salmo and a quick slap by Thunder for the out. However, an out of position field ump got that call obviously wrong also.

In spite of early calls going against the Buzzards, the team kept its composure and did its talking with the bats and gloves.

It was a good game against a tough opponent with a world-wide radio audience. The teams gathering worked out well and food from Joe Caribe's was excellent. The area by the gazebo was pleasant and the evening weather was just right. Another good day to be a Buzzard.

Buzzard Note #1: The KAHI General Manager has already contacted the team on the great game and excellent broadcast. Sponsors for the radio game can write checks to Gold Country Hardball. Thank you to the team member sponsors for allowing the Buzzards to have a special game and get some radio time, while we are still young enough to hear it. Cash to Wook for the food on Sunday for those that forgot.

Buzzard Note #2: The team member sponsors were: Barry with Back to the Drawing Board, Diane with Diane's Pioneer Costumes, Pete with Keys Plus, Realtor Kelly with RE/MAX, and Taylor wins the longest ad award with Welz Financial Services. Former Buzzards also sponsored the game with Ray Henry and RAH Environmental, and Paul Lee with Felipe's Mexican Restaurant.

Buzzard Note #3: KAHI will keep the podcast of the radio game on their web site for a few weeks. You can down load the game easily from the web site. On the main page, click on the Listen button. Select Audio On Demand. Scroll down the bottom of the page and see the Buzzards team photo. Right click on the words Buzzard Baseball. Next select Save Link As. Then create your file and location for the 2015 Buzzard Baseball file and your done. Need help or questions, call your kids.

Buzzard Note #4: The next game, June 14th, is at 2 pm at C-Bar-C Park in Citrus Heights against the Yankees. Our only scheduled game at C-Bar-C this season. After we demolish the Yanks in seven innings, the plan is to go to Felipe's for food and drink.

Sunday, May 31

Gold Country Ol' Buzzards Game Report #8

Game: May 31, 2015

Buzzards take revenge on Solons, 13-3

The eighth game of the season put the NABA divisions into the second round of the schedule. That means the Buzzards play the Solons again. The last time was opening day on March 22nd when the Solons used 20 hits to spoil the home opener, 16-12. The Sacramento Solons (3-4) were a game behind the Gold Country Buzzards (4-3) in the standings. The game was moved to Auburn late in the week due to a league field problem in Rocklin, so the Buzzards were the visiting team at James Field.

On a very pleasant afternoon with temps in the high 70s and a breeze, the pitching match-ups were set. The Buzzards sent their hard throwing righty, Taylor 'Welzy' Welz #26 to the mound. The Solons surprised the team by starting their roly-poly right-hander, Ken 'Wrong' Wright #1.

The Buzzards jumped on the scoreboard first with two runs in the top of the first inning. Welzy led-off with a soaring double to left-field. Next, with a big swing, Dan 'Wookie' Wukmir scratched out a roller to the right-side between the pitcher and first baseman for an infield hit. With runners at the corners, Dave 'Evy' Everingham banged out a run-scoring single to right-center-field easily sending Welzy across home plate. Wookie advanced to third when an errant pick-off throw to second base sailed into center-field. One out later, Pete 'Baron' Von Zboray lifted a sacrifice-fly deep to left-field to score Wook from third for an early 2-0 lead.

The Ol' Buzzards added another crooked number to the scoreboard in the third frame. Kevin 'Flash' Krantz started it off with a bunt single up the third base line. After the aggressive Flash stole second and then third base, Welzy followed with a sharp single to left allowing Flash to cruise home. With Welzy on second via thievery, he then moved to third on a ground-out. Up next, Evy's smash to short was knocked down and he barely beat the throw to first for an error, while Welzy scored for the second run. With two down, the Baron was up to bat and ripped a clutch single to right-center that scored Evy. Tom 'Tomahawk' Keatley followed with a sizzling double to right-center, but both Buzzards got stranded to make the score 5-zip in the third.

The gold country gang tacked on three more skins in the fourth dig for an 8-0 lead. Kelly 'Cagey' Garcia led it off with a high infield sun-ball that the third baseman lost in the sun. The ball landed untouched 10-feet away for a sunny single. After an out, Mike 'Mickey' Wilson walked. Flash bunted for a single, again, taking advantage of the left-handed third baseman. Batting next, Rick 'Salmo' Salmeri reached first on a bouncer to the second baseman that forced the fielder to rush the throw, while Mickey scored from third on the play. Welzy followed with a sacrifice fly to deep center-field to score Flash to finish the scoring.

The Solons battled back with two runs in the bottom of the fourth to close the gap to 8-2. An infield error, a walk and two hits was all it took. In the fifth the Solons added another run with a single, a walk, and another hit before a double play ended that scoring threat with the score 8-3 after five frames. The Solons changed hurlers in the fifth and brought in the tall righty, Tim 'Lanky' Mosburger #3 to take the bump.

In the top half of the seventh inning, the Buzzies scored three more to take control of the game. Flash started the rally with a flare to right-center for a single. Flash stole second before Salmo walked to put two runners on base. With Welzy at the plate and the second baseman planted at the base, holding Flash especially close to the bag, the bunt play was on. However, the pitch was unbuntable and even Flash could not steal third without a decent lead, and was out sliding on a close play. With one out, Welzy then singled and put Buzzards at first and second. After two were out, Evy singled into left-field to score a hustlin' Salmo from second. Welzy and Evy then pulled off a double steal to move into scoring position. In response, the Solons intentionally walked the clean-up hitter, Mark 'Thunder' Weathers. Batting next, Gregg 'Surf Dawg' Novotny slapped a clutch two-run single through the infield to give the Buzzards an eight-run lead, 11-3.

The Buzzards were looking to add two more runs in the eighth inning and put away the Solons a little early with the 10-run mercy rule. Jim 'Milli' Milligan led-off with a line-drive single to left- field. Tomahawk ran for Milli. Cagey followed with a single to left for his fourth hit of the game. One out later, Mickey got to first base via an error by the shortstop that also scored Tomahawk on the play. Next, Salmo followed the same form and picked on the shortstop for a blunder to get on first base and Cagey scored from third for the 10-run cushion goal.

Welzy and the defense then put away the Solons quickly in the bottom half of the eighth for the 13-3 win. The 2-hour and 45-minute ballgame was a nice sweet victory over the rival Solons.

The pitching was superb as Welzy put-it to the Solons all day. Taylor allowed three runs (one earned) on six hits with two walks and seven strike-outs. Welz faced 31 Solons in throwing 117 pitches (69 strikes & 48 balls). Welzatron was responsible for half of the 24 defensive outs in the game with the seven strike 'em outs and two put-outs and three assists on the mound.

The Ol' Buzzard offense scored the 13 runs on 18 hits, three walks and five Solon errors. The hit club for the game included: Baron, Evy-2, Flash-3, Milli, Surf Dawg, Thunder, Tomahawk, Welzy-3, Wookie, and Cagey with four hits. The extra-base hits (doubles) were muscled up by: Cagey in the sixth, Tomahawk in the third, and Welzy to open the game. The ribbies were knocked in by: Baron-2, Evy-3, Mickey, Salmo-3, Surf Dawg-2, and Welzy-2. The 13 runs were scored by: Wookie, Wezly-3, Salmo, Milli, Mickey, Flash-2, Evy-2, and Cagey-2. The three Buzzards taking free passes to first base were: Mickey in the fourth, Salmo in the sixth, and Thunder's intentional pass in the seventh that set up Surf Dawg's two-out bases-loaded two-run knock to open up the game.

The Buzzard defense without direct assistance from Welzatron made half of the game's put-outs. There were three double plays to brag about. Each one followed base hits and were in brewing rallies, so the DPs were daggers to the Solons' offense.

In the first, the lead-off batter lofted a single into right-field, the next batter bounced one back to the mound. Welzy vacuumed up the ball, threw a strike to Evy covering second base before completing the double play with a strong throw to Thunder at first (1-6-3). In the fifth, the Solons had already scored once and had runners at the corners with only one down and up to bat was the Solons' manager, John 'Grumpy' Mason #11. Grumpy then smacked a full-count pitch up-the-middle. Evy quickly swopped to his left to pick up the ball near second base. Some fancy foot-work nailed the bag and was then followed by a bullet to Thunder at first base to pop the rally balloon and end the fifth inning.

The third double play occurred in the seventh frame with runners at first and second and one out. Surf Dawg, playing third, went to his far left to snag the bouncer headed to left-field. The runner at second was running for third, so Gregg reached out and tagged the runner before firing to Cagey at first base for a close two-out play to end the last Solon rally.

There was only one fly ball out by the Buzzard D in the game. It was a nice running basket-catch by Barry 'Brooklyn' Forman in short left-field to end the first inning. 14 of the outs were ground balls and two were pop-ups. There were 12 assists spread out amongst six defenders: Cagey, Evy-4, Salmo, Surf Dawg-2, Wookie, and Welzy-3. The 24 put-outs were handled by: Brooklyn, Cagey-2, Evy-3, Milli-7, Surf Dawg, Thunder-7, Wook, and Welzy-2.

Terrific pitching, a solid defense and good hitting were the Buzzard ingredients for this victory. That recipe is the simple plan for Buzzard success on the baseball field. Beware of the Buzzards.

Buzzard Note #1: The Radio Game Bios will need to be filled-out before the game. Sending them back updated or prepared is preferred over bringing them to the game on Sunday. The food will cost $10 each. A separate email will go out later this week requesting tables and chairs for the food and gathering after the game.

Buzzard Note #2: Half of the fun of being a fan at the game on Sunday is listening to the radio and watching the game. Remind the family to bring a radio to the game. The recording of the game will be available soon afterwards on

Sunday, May 17

Gold Country Ol' Buzzards Game Report #7

Game: May 17, 2015

Ol' Buzzards shot down by young Colt .45s, 13-12

On a cool and cloudy Sunday afternoon, the Buzzards returned home to James Field in Auburn for game seven of the season. Still feeling down with the loss of Dave Kelley and not quite in sync with missing players, the Buzzards were playing the top team in the 42+ division, the undefeated Colt .45s. The short-handed Buzzards dipped into the Pirates' reservoir and picked up Mike Baker and Scott Reeves for 11 players for the tough game.

The visiting Colt .45s used their nasty southpaw ace, Pat ' Big Chin Whiskers' Taylor #08 to start and pitch most of the game. The Gold Country Buzzards sent veteran righty, Rick 'Salmo' Salmeri #6 and 3-1 on the season to the mound to take on the high-octane team. The Buzzards were going to have to play excellent defense against the running and gunning, Colt .45s team.

The top of the first started with a full-count walk, then a tough-bounce infield error and a looong fly out. A 'no man's land' infield dribbler then loaded the bases before consecutive doubles, blasts to the fence and a deep gaper, put four quick runs on the board for the .45s.

The Buzzards bounced back in the bottom half with two quick scores of their own. Kevin 'Flash' Krantz led-off with a scorcher down the left field line for a double. Up next, Dan 'Wookie' Wukmir drove a single up-the-middle to knock in Flash with the first run. Dave 'Evy' Everingham then dropped one into right-center-field for a base hit.

Batting clean-up, Mike 'Bake' Baker hit a grounder to the right-side that was heading into right-field, but the ball jumped up and hit Evy as he ran to second for an unfortunate out. With runners on the corners and Flash running for Bake at first, Pete 'Baron' Von Zboray was at the plate. The Baron got to watch Flash in a 'pickle' and Wookie score before ending the inning with the score 4-2.

The Ol' Buzzards only notched a run in the second after loading the bases with one out. Tom 'Tomahawk' Keatley started it off with a crisp single to left. Tomahawk moved to second on a wild pitch. Next, Jim 'Milli' Milligan sliced a single to left-center, but the resultant play was a throw-out of a sliding Tomahawk at home for out number-one. Batting next, Kelly 'Cagey' Garcia hit a tough grounder to third that was bobbled for an error. Scott 'Donut' Reeves followed with a walk to load the bases. Up next, Flash bounced an infield hit to the left-side hole to get Tomahawk home for the only run of the inning. The score after two frames was 4-3 with the six-shooters in the lead.

The Colt .45s added three to the scorebook in the fourth frame with eight batters going to the plate. A lead-off hit batsman, three singles, a walk and a bad 'pickle' led to the long inning.

In the second half of the fourth inning, the Buzzards fought back with four runs to tighten the game. Milli led-off with a line-drive to left-center for the hit. Tomahawk ran for Milli. Up next, Cagey slammed a double down the left-field line that scored a hustling Tomahawk from first base. Donut, batting next and swinging left-handed, stroked a single to left-center with KG going to third.

Donut stole second before Flash crushed one into the left-center field gap for a double that scored Tomahawk and Donut. Wookie followed with a flare into right-center for a single to put runners at the corners. Flash then scored on a sacrifice fly to center by Evy to tie the exciting game at 7-up.

The gold country gang used the fifth inning to take the lead with a two-out three-run rally. After two ground outs, Milli started it off with a sharp single past a diving third baseman. Tomahawk ran for Milli. Cagey bounced an infield hit into two on and two out. Donut followed with an infield hit to load the bases for hot-hitting Flash. Kevin's smash toward the left-side hole was flagged down by the third baseman, but he was staggered a little on the play and had to rush his throw. The wide throw got past the first baseman as Tomahawk and Cagey scored on the play. Batting next, Wookie choked-up on the bat with an 0-2 count and hit a hard grounder through the hole on the right-side for a single to score Flash easily from second and gave the Buzzards a lead at 10-7 after five digs.

The feisty .45s stormed right back with three runs in the sixth to tie the game again. Three singles, a double and sloppy defense allowed the runs. Salmo was up to 113 pitches by this point, so the call to the bullpen brought the versatile, righty Scottie Reeves #4 to finish the sixth. A three-pitch strike-out later and the sixth was over with the score knotted at 10-10.

The Ol' Buzzards put up a good fight and scored twice in the seventh to take a late lead. Cagey started it off by getting on first via an infield error. Up next, Donut bunted toward third and a rushed low throw allowed him to get on first base and moved Cagey to third. Flash's chopper to third put Cagey in a 'pickle' that did not end well. Wookie followed with a sizzling laser toward the left-field line for a double that rolled to the fence and scored a hustlin' Donut and Flash to give the Buzzards a 12-10 lead.

Due to time, the eighth inning was going to be the last. The swinging .45s dropped-in the first hit to short center and followed that with two more singles to quickly load the bases with no outs. The revolvers scored the first run on a terrible bounce grounder that could have been a double play. On the next play, the Buzzards did get a strange double play.

The play started with a slow roller between the Baron at first and the pitcher, Donut. They both went for the ball before Donut found the handle first and tossed the ball to Wookie covering the bag for a close out. The runner at third took a wide turn, so Wook fired over to third base. On the throw, the runner broke for home. Gregg 'Surf Dawg' Novotny, who was playing third base, took the throw, turned and threw a strike to Milli at home to nail the rabbit with a 1-4-5-2 double play.

Two hard line-drives followed, though, to finish putting three runs on the board. The inning ended with runners going on a 3-2 pitch and Tomahawk making a fabulous diving catch in right-field to wow the teams and fire-up the Buzzards for their last at-bats.

Alas, the relief pitcher and another lefty, Dave 'Pokey' Poling #00, had the Buzzard batters hitting just off of the sweet-spot and ended the inning with no runs. The final score of the eight-inning, 3-hour and 15 minute game was Colt .45s 13 - Buzzards 12.

That was a tough game and a tougher loss. A key hit, better defense or better running could have made for a more pleasant ending. The .45s were a good bunch of guys, who really appreciated and raved about the tough competition as they shared the parking lot corner with the Buzzards after the game. Still, that close ... to knocking off the young brats, even when the Buzzards did not play their best. Next time will be different.

There was a lot of action in the game with a high number of batters (93) going to the plate (49 Guns & 44 Buzzards). Both teams hit the heck out of the ball and bruised up the pitchers. The Buzzards banged out 20 hits, while the Colt .45s had 19. Buzzard pitching gave up the hits, but not many earned runs.

Salmo pitched into the sixth and faced 35 pistols. He threw 113 pitches (70 strikes & 43 balls) in giving up 10 runs (3 earned) on 13 hits, two walks and a hit batsman with one strike-out. Donut finished the game after putting out the fire in the sixth. Scottie threw 48 pitches (28 strikes & 20 balls) to 14 batters. T-Rex gave up three runs (none earned) on six hits with one walk and one strike-out.

The Buzzard bats did damage all day. 20 hits is a lot of base knocks, but it still was a few short of a win. The hit club for this game included: Bake-2, Baron, Cagey-2, Donut-2, Evy, Flash-3, Milli-3, Tomahawk-2, and Wookie with 4. The run-scoring extra-base hits were doubles by: Cagey, Flash-2 and Wook. The RBIs were interestingly bunched up in the top of the batting order in this game. The runs were knocked in by: Cagey, Evy, Flash-5, and Wookie-4. The first two spots in the order accounted for 9 of the 12 runs. The 12 runs were scored by: Cagey-2, Donut-3, Flash-3, Milli-3, and Wook. The lone eagle-eyed walker was Donut.

The Buzzard defenders were busy, but missed a couple of opportunities to shorten some innings. The good hitting Colt .45s also flew-out five times, but there were no easy catches. Cagey chased a few in the outfield and caught the last out of the second inning in deepest left-field. Flash in center had two put-outs, one for the first out of the game was a hot liner and the other was a nice grab also on the run in the fourth. Tomahawk in right-field had two put-outs, both at full sprint speed in making the tough catches.

The Baron at first base had 10 put-outs, nine on throws, so the big glove was working hard during the game. Six other put-outs were made by infielders. Evy caught two high evil pop-ups at shortstop and Bake, playing third, caught a sky-higher in foul ground in the second. And there were three put-outs on throws to Wook at second base. There were a high number of assists with 15 to get the 24 outs of the game: Bake-3, Donut, Evy-5, Salmo, Surf Dawg, and Wookie-4. It was a fun and very competitive game and no one got hurt.

The balls were also bruised from all of the hits in the see-saw affair. The lead changed hands five times during the eight-inning game. The schedule shows the .45s and the Buzzards meeting again on July 26th at Playfields Park in Davis.

Buzzard Note #1: The remembrance service for Dave Kelley on Saturday, May 9th, on James Field was touching and worked out well for his family. The Kelley Family sends their thanks.

Buzzard Note #2: The Radio Game is coming soon. We are looking for sponsors to get radio commercial time for their businesses for $50. Previous sponsors can expect a phone call from the Skipper. The BBQ or Mexican feast will cost a few dollars this year. The Miners will be joining us after the game. The Radio Game is on June 7th at 2 pm at James Field.

Saturday, May 9


The following is the tribute to David Kelley that was printed with two touching photos and distributed at his Celebration of Life on Saturday, May 9th, on the Buzzards home baseball field in Auburn.  Lots of family, co-workers, friends, teammates, former teammates and opponents came together on a nice afternoon for fellowship and sharing memories of Dave.  

Gold Country Kelley

May 4, 1957 - April 29, 2015

David Kelley the father of gold country baseball David Kelley was Mr. Baseball to adult hardball in the region. His regular baseball team, the Gold Country Buzzards, was staggered by the news, but has recovered enough to put together some interesting information about Gold Country Kelley from our perspective and expressed to us from other baseball friends of Dave.

The baseball community and ball players from the Sierra foothills, the Sacramento flatlands and around the world have expressed their deepest sympathy to the Kelley Family for their difficult loss and to the Gold Country Buzzards team for losing a great teammate and long-time friend. David Kelley meant a lot to many people locally and internationally. He used baseball as the entree to meet many, soon to be friends, in wonderful places around the world including the Gold Country of California.

David may have worked long and hard for that fine company, Pacific Gas and Electric, but he really just pretended to be interested in engineering and construction. He loved to talk, think and play baseball and plan the next international baseball trip.

David was known locally as a passionate baseball promoter and skilled player. There were many condolences with comments received from locals that said how his passion for adult baseball is what got them interested in playing again. And how they really appreciated him for bringing the enjoyment of playing baseball back into their lives. Baseball teammates begat baseball friendships, which became lasting friendships, and enriched many lives in exponential ways - thanks to 'Dive', which is Dave in Aussie speak.

Besides being a player for a mind-numbing number of teams, David was the founder and a manager of the Gold Country League at the start of this century. The older ballers in that league, with David as a founding father, eventually formed the current old man’s team, the Gold Country Buzzards. Also, affectionately known as the Ol' Buzzards, Dave was the original manager in 2006. The team plays on Sundays in the 52-years old and over division in the National Adult Baseball Association. Home games are played at James Field in Auburn, not far from his house. With David playing on the team, the Ol' Buzzards have won the Sacramento NABA championship the last two years, 2013 and 2014.

Dave took the Buzzards to Sydney, Australia in 2009 to attend the World Masters’ Games for the top highlight of the team. David organized the local team together, added some Canadian and Australian all-stars plus a smiley cop from Chicago to the squad, to create a formidable flock of Buzzards. That team went 10-0 during the tournament in November 2009, early Spring down-under, and brought home a special gold medal and terrific memories, along with lasting Aussie and Canadian friendships.

Ironically, Dave did not come back with the cherished gold medal. Dive wanted to play with the Australian guys he had played with before, the famous Downunders, for their last tourney. The D Unders are the fun-nest bunch of interesting older mates, but were not likely to win a medal. That team actually did remarkably well with David's bat and glove leading the way, but lost in the bronze-medal game. To David, he got the important win, a deeper friendship and the best of times with his Aussie buddies.

David and the D Unders go back to 2002, and he had lots of good times, baseball and otherwise, including many other medals with his favorite Aussie Mates. Yet, David smiled, proud as a papa, when the National Anthem was played and the Buzzards had gold medals hanging from their necks at Blacktown Olympic Park, the same site of the American gold in the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Baseball International was Dave's biggest baseball joy. Through fund raising tournaments played in the USA and private donations, Baseball International sponsors baseball exhibitions in foreign countries and brings new equipment along for the kids. They play in 3 or 4 cities per trip, passing out baseball gear as they go. David was always encouraging ballplayers to go on a Baseball International trip. Fun and rewarding.

David loved to play baseball so much, and wanted to play in Auburn in a weeknight recreation league, so he formed one. Then he devised a way for a small group of guys, like six, to form a team and play baseball in this league. He invented a fun game that would have three teams playing each other, spreading out pitchers and catchers amongst teams. Then spreading players in an organized fashion amongst teams during a game, so everyone played a lot and no one team lost. This only lasted a while, but it was interesting and fun, and got some guys to join the adult baseball league.

David, the Auburn boy, played baseball on a lot of local youth and adult teams and is well-known and respected around the region. However, David is even more renowned internationally and was a big wig in the baseball hierarchy of the enormous World Masters' Games (over 28,000 participants in Sydney in nearly every Olympic sporting event in multiple age groups) with the next huge, every-four-year event, in Auckland, New Zealand in 2017. David would often say to the Buzzards and others, plan for the WMG on April 21 - 30 in New Zealand in '17. The Buzzards will be going to the world tournament in Kiwi Land in 2017 and DK will be there also.

David played ball in many parts of the world, but by far his favorite was Australia. He did warn us, before the Buzzards went, that Australia is addicting, and you can't just go once, or twice, or in Dive's case, eight times. The land is amazing, the animals are all different, the Great Barrier Reef is famous for lots of reasons, and the people are fabulous. They speak a funny, some say cute, version of the English language and are very easy to fall in love with. David played last Fall in the Pan-Pacific Games on the Gold Coast in the Land of Oz with close Australian and American baseball friends, again.

The tears from Australia poured out early and often after the sad news. There were lots of caring messages and questions and deepest, heart-felt sympathies to the Kelley Family. They have sent flowers, notes and remembrances that have brought more tears to the eyes. They love to brag about David and how many times they have played with him, or he stayed at their house, or he knew more about Australia than most Aussies, or about their interesting travels and tournaments, and on and on. So cool.

David made quite an impression in the land down-under. On Friday, the 8th, Dave's Aussie teammates organized a memorial gathering at the Knox Baseball Club, in a suburb of Melbourne. They said the turn-out was amazing with lots of good stories and Tinnys (cans of beer) rose in Dave's honor.

One noteworthy story that shows his caring and that only DK would think to do. On these International Baseball trips he would get carried away in the giving department. Besides the baseball gear intended to be given, David also gave away his stuff to those in need. One time, reported by teammate Mike Radey, Dave was traveling back on the bus from a tourney site, shivering in his seat, while wearing close to nothing, just his sliding shorts and undershirt. Even his shoes and socks were given away, besides his baseball gear. Wow! Now that's the David Kelley that we know and will miss so much, and actually - so will Baseball International.

It is easy to tell that David was addicted to baseball. There are worse addictions than the National Pastime, but David was afflicted bad with the baseball juju. He just could not get enough of it. We all benefitted from him immeasurably with the leagues and teams he formed, both locally and on the international stage. David talked many into playing baseball overseas with travel to cool places and combine site-seeing with a baseball tournament. He even talked wives or girlfriends into letting us go or coming along. That organization and salesmanship will really be missed.

Being a non-stop baseball promoter and prolific player was a great joy in his life. And he shared that joy with so many others. He always wanted to talk about baseball and was always excited when someone new joined the baseball team or league.

David played in too many places to remember. He was in Antigua earlier this year, and played in Aussie Land and Florida late last year. He played in Cuba a couple of years ago, loved it and was pushing for a return trip next year. Kelley’s baseball focused passport also had stamps from Canada, Hungary, India, Italy, and Russia.

The Gold Country Buzzards were as stunned as everyone else to hear the sad news. A couple of the guys had lunch with David the previous day and commented on how good he looked and how he was looking forward to getting better, and back on the field. We are still shaken, lost our focus at the first game since his passing, but have dedicated this season to him, as the special teammate and friend he was to us. Because David wore several numbers as an Ol' Buzzard, we will wear a black DK patch on the uniforms.

After seeing many of the comments and remembrances from around the globe for David, it made the Buzzards realize how lucky we were to be able to call him a teammate on a regular basis. He was a very special man.

The Ol' Buzzards held a nice memorial to David prior to last Sunday's game in Davis. After many kind words were said, the bagpiper came onto the infield playing Amazing Grace. The tune filled the air as the ball players from both teams circled the mound and tried to hold back tears. The touching song was followed by a long moment of silence, and then followed by a 'Thank You David'.

We will miss him dearly and cherish his memories until we meet again on the heavenly baseball fields. Probably in a league formed by Dave.


Sunday, May 3

Gold Country Ol' Buzzards Game Report #6

Game: May 3, 2015

Teary-eyed Buzzards stumble against Rays, 11-10

With David Kelley in our mind and hearts, getting together to talk and play in his honor was easy and helpful. The hard part was playing focused baseball, as the Buzzards were not sharp on a nice, but breezy afternoon in Davis. The pre-game memorial service for DK was well done and touching. Pete said lots of wonderful things about David as both teams gathered around the mound. Then Hayden Tucker, stepped onto the field with his bagpipes and played a touching rendition of Amazing Grace, followed by a long moment of silence. Tough way to start a game.

At Playfields Park where the mound is flatting-out, the starting pitcher for the visiting Gold Country Buzzards was the crafty right-hander, Rick 'Salmo' Salmeri #6. Taking the mound for the new NABA 42+ team in snazzy teal blue and white uniforms was 57 year old righty, Luis 'Stylin' Hernandez #53.

The Buzzards hopped on the scoreboard first with two runs in the top of the second. Tom 'Tomahawk' Keatley opened the inning with a nice liner into the right-center field gap for a double. Up next, Jim 'Milli' Milligan popped-up a 'sun ball' that landed next to the first baseman to put runners at first and second. Barry 'Brooklyn' Forman followed with a drag bunt that looked good, but was called out by the home plate umpire for being out of the batter's box at contact. It's a pretty rare call because it is really hard to be at the back of the batter's box and move-up out of the front of the box while a fastball is coming at ya. Barry is not that fast in his dreams and the call was the first of several bad calls at key times.

The runners then moved up on separate stolen bases before Mike 'Mickey' Wilson was hit by a pitch on the side of the chest, ouch, to load the bases. Later with two outs and the top of the order up, Kevin 'Flash' Krantz launched a sky ball to right field that found the precise sun-angle to throw painful sunrays into the right-fielders eyes for the temporary blindness effect necessary for the ball to hit the fielder and miss the glove. Two runs scored on the play to give the Buzzards an early lead.

The Rays stormed back with five runs in their half of the second dig. The inning did not start well with Salmo getting ahead in the count and the ump would squeeze the strike zone. The Rays took advantage and hit the 'down the middle' strikes for five solid hits plus a walk and a valiant try in left-field of a sinking flare by a sliding Mickey. The score after two was 5-2 Rays.

The Buzzards put one on the board in the third. Dan 'Wookie' Wukmir led-off with a two-strike flare to right-field. Wookie was thrown out trying to steal second base on a close play with a hook slide and an ump out of position to make a correct call. Of course, Dave 'Evy' Everingham followed with a deep double to right-center field. Later with two outs, clutch Tomahawk singled in Evy with a liner to right. The Rays answered with a run in the bottom of the third. The pattern continued with Salmo getting ahead in the count with two strikes, then the strike zone becoming the size of a child's shoe box. Three hits and a walk resulted in the run to make the score Rays 6 - Buzzards 3.

The Ol' Buzzard manager let the pattern go on too long as Salmo and the home plate umpire just were not working on the same wave-length. The pitches that the Rays' hurlers were getting, were not going the other way for the Buzzards. In the fourth frame, the calls continued to get even worse and the Buzzards became distracted and not play sharp baseball.

The Rays put four runs in the scorebook on four hits and a bad hop infield error. The score after just four innings of play was 10-3 Rays.

The Buzzards added a run in the fifth frame. With one out Evy ripped a singled to right-field. Up next, Mark 'Thunder' Weathers walked. After two were out, Milli drove a liner into left-center for a run-scoring single.

The Buzzards changed pitchers in the fifth and brought in the veteran righty, Gregg 'Surf Dawg' Novotny #1. The pitching change was made earlier than planned, hoping to get off of the umps wrong wave-length and start getting some calls.

The Rays also scored a run in the their fifth inning after two were out. A flare single, walk and a looping single scored the lone run. The Rays were now ahead 11-4 after five innings.

The fightin' Buzzards jumped back into the game with three runs in the sixth. After one out, Salmo got on base when the third baseman bobbled the smash. Under a surgical dentist's orders or was that a suggestion, not-to-play, Pete 'Baron' Von Zboray was added to the batting order. The Baron then crushed the ball to deep, deep left-field where the fielder made a stupendous and crappy catch for the second out of the dig. Batting next, Flash sliced a single to right-field to put two runners on. Wookie, up next, walked to load the bases. Evy followed by picking on the third baseman again in this inning to score a run and leave the bases full for the clean-up batter. Thunder then proceed to clean two bases of runners with his patented sizzler to right-center field to tighten the score at 11-7.

The pitching change seemed to work and Surf Dawg was getting better calls from the plate ump, only to be burned later by the field umpire, Jimmy. Jimmy is high on the umpiring food chain and the scheduler of officials, and needs glasses. Surf Dawg held the Rays scoreless from the sixth inning on, allowing the Buzzards to play catch up.

With time running out, it appeared the eighth inning was going to be the Buzzards last opportunity to score runs. Salmo led-off with a well-earned walk. The Baron, batting next, hit a sinking looper to left-field. The young fielder charged, dove at the grass, appeared to trap the ball at best, then laid in a crumpled heap on the ground momentarily, while the infield dumb-pire appeared to freeze. Salmo was screaming at the ump to make a call, as he was hung-up between first and second base on the play. The ump claimed later to have signaled 'out' with his fist out in front (hidden from Buzzards view), so the Rays had plenty of time to throw over to first to double-up Salmo and put two controversial 'outs' in the books.

The Buzzards were short-handed players, and it took a lot of restraint by some of the hopping mad Ol' Buzzards to not get kicked-out of this game, right about now. With the yelling stopped and the bases empty, Flash re-started the rally with a smash to left for a single. Wookie followed with a sharp grounder through the middle for a single. Flash took third on the hit with the outfielder's throw on the play, way too late, but it did allow Wook to advance to second. Evy then hit a flare for a single to right-center to score Flash and Wookie. Evy moved to second on the play at home. Thunder, looking to make some more noise with the bats, knocked in Evy with a frozen-rope to right-field to make the score an exciting 11-10.

Up next, Tomahawk hit a line-drive single to right to put two runners on with two outs, still, and the line continuing to move. The game tension was high with 'hot bat' Milli at the plate. The long at-bat led to a walk on a full-count with ball four too high and inside to swing at. The bases were now loaded for Brooklyn, fresh off of the DL and playing with a hurt something nearly everywhere, but loving it. Barry was quickly ahead 3-0 and taking pitches like a good teammate, but suddenly the strike zone was accommodating the next two 'off-the-mark' pitches. At 3-2, it was a tough situation with a hard-thrower. Casey swung and missed at the next high-heater to put another 'downer' on the day.

The end result of the game sucked, but the unrelenting nature of the Buzzards, when down by seven after five in an eight-inning game, was impressive. The last six runs were scored off of their hard-throwing closer, big righty Frank 'Highball' Costa #22. The Rays got lucky this time. The Buzzards were about to steal this game, but the umps prevented a fabulous comeback. Next time will be different, which is: July 12th at James Field at 2 pm.

Buzzard pitching was solid. The home plate ump, though, not so good. The Rays were tough to defend in the outfield for this game with four long doubles and six short flare singles. Salmo pitched four innings and faced 26 Rays in throwing 92 pitches (74 strikes & 28 balls). The Rays banged out 12 hits in scoring 10 runs (4 earned) with two walks and two strike-outs in those four long innings. The Buzzards gave up three errors in those four frames. Surf Dawg pitched the last four innings and faced 18 Rays in throwing 66 pitches (38 strikes & 28 balls). Gregg gave up one run on four hits with two walks, one hit-batsman, and one strike-out.

The Buzzard offense banged out 16 hits, but came up short a key hit several times in the game. The hit club for the game included: Brooklyn, Evy-3, Flash-3, Milli-2, Thunder-2, Tomahawk-3, and Wookie-2. Two doubles were slugged by: Keatley (in the 2nd) and Everingham (in the 3rd). The runs were scored by: Evy-3, Flash-2, Milli, Salmo, Tomahawk, and Wook-2. The RBIs were knocked in by: Evy-3, Flash-2, Milli, Thunder-3, and Tomahawk. The four eagle-eyed Buzzard walkers were: Milli, Salmo, Thunder and Wook.

The defense made lots of good plays and some tough plays, but the D was not as sharp as usual. There was only one double play. In the seventh, the Rays were in position to score again with a runner at third and one out with the top of the order coming up. The batter then hit a line-drive to center. Flash, playing deep, charged the liner, snagged it at chest level, and threw a long bullet to Milli. The runner got a good jump, but the throw was on the money, as both came together with Milli looking to make a tag. The collision created a cloud of dust and Milli went rolling backwards, but held onto the ball for the important out and prevent a run.

The game had plenty of high-lights and more low-lights than usual. The ballgame did not come off as planned. We'll chalk it up to the Ol' Buzzards being partially distracted and carrying that lingering tune of Amazing Grace with a heavy heart.

Buzzard Note #1: The Celebration of the Life of David Kelley will be this Saturday, May 9th, at 2 pm on James Field. Buzzards are asked to wear their jerseys.

Buzzard Note #2: There is no game next Sunday on Mother's Day, May 10th. Next game is May 17th at James Field at 2 pm versus the undefeated Colt .45s. There is no game on May 24th with the Memorial Day weekend.

Buzzard Note #3: The Radio Game is next month on June 7th.  Circle that date and invite the family.

Sunday, April 26

Gold Country Ol' Buzzards Game Report #5

Game: April 26, 2015

Ol' Buzzards pounce on young Miners, 12-8

In the ol' days, a Gold Country match-up of the Miners and the Buzzards usually meant the Buzzards returned home with clipped wings or a singed tail. The Buzzies would play well, but the Miners would prevail. They won the 38+ division and were a hard to beat team in the Buzzards' early years. However, the Buzzards gained the upper hand in the rivalry recently and have not lost to the Miners since 2009. This season, the Buzzards will be playing the Miners twice, but in previous years the teams have met usually just annually. Since 2010, that annual Gold Country match has been broadcast live on radio station KAHI.

With temperatures comfortably in the high 60s for the 2 o'clock game at James Field, the visiting Miners' starting pitcher was their new righty, Brett 'Jester' McCourt #2. On the mound for the Buzzards was the crafty right-hander, Rick 'Salmo' Salmeri #6.

The game started 15 minutes late due to the previous MSBL game delayed by 40 minutes due to the wet field conditions caused by that rare weather phenomenon called rain. Johnny V, the Miners' catcher, started the game with a walk. After stealing second on a close play, he advanced to third on an infield ground-out. The clean-up batter then hit a tough grounder that was fielded cleanly and thrown out on a close play by a strong throw from short. And a base dancing, Johnny V, was left stranded at third.

That was pretty much the theme of the game as the Miners got 15 hits in the eight-inning affair, and stranded 11 runners as the Buzzards came up with sparkling defense in many two-out and runners-on situations. The Gold Country ol' boys made the plays and left many younger boys on the base paths as the third-out was registered. The Buzzards jumped on the scoreboard first with three runs in their first at-bat. Kevin 'Flash' Krantz opened the inning with a walk on five pitches. Before pitching to the next batter, Jester, used his rusty pick-off move to try to get Flash at first. The quick throw missed its target and bounced away from the first baseman. Flash advanced to second quickly, but sprained one of his wheels back at first base. Dan 'Wookie' Wukmir then walked on a long nine-pitch at-bat. Next, Dave 'Evy' Everingham got to first on an infield error. A potential double play throw was mishandled by the second baseman as a hustlin' Wook was sliding into the bag as he was trying to make the play.

With the bases loaded on the dropped ball, the team's RBI leader, Mark 'Thunder' Weathers, came to the plate and walked on a full-count to push in Flash with the first run of the game. Batting next, Pete 'Baron' Von Zboray bounced into a fielder's choice to score Wookie. With one out, Tom 'Tomahawk' Keatley got to first base via an error by Alton 'Alice' Cooper at third. Jim 'Milli' Milligan followed with a smash into left-field for a single to score Evy. The inning ended with the bases full of Buzzards, but the Miners made the plays to shut the inning down with just three runs scored.

The Miners stormed back with two two-out runs to make the game close. The key play was ruled a two-run error, but was noteworthy for its efforts. Mike 'Mickey' Wilson, playing right-field, charged a sinking liner and dove to get the ball into his glove. However, in the side-ways roll-over, the ball came out of the leather and was lying right behind Mickey. In the haste to make a throw to the charging second baseman for the relay throw, Mickey, still on his ass in high clover, launched an air mail delivery to no-man's land toward the opponent's dugout. Almost a great play, but two runs scored and the batter, Jester, was especially thankful because the score was now 3-2 Buzzards.

The Buzzards tacked on one run in the second dig. Flash ripped a single to right on a 2-2 pitch as the lead-off hitter. Flash stole second before Evy walked on a 3-2 count with one out. After a fielder's choice, the Baron was at the plate with two-outs and runners at the corners. On a wild pitch, Flash, got a good jump and zipped across the plate from third for a vital run. The Baron then took a six-pitch pass to first base before the inning ended with the score 4-2 Buzzards.

In the third inning, the clutch Buzzards put another crooked number in the score book with all three runs scoring with two outs. A sizzlin' Milli started it off with a lead-off blast deep down the left-field line for a stand-up double. Up next, Kelly 'Cagey' Garcia took advantage of Jester 'just missing' again for a base-on-balls. Later with two outs and two on, Wookie fought off a 3-2 curve-ball and punched a base hit into right-center to score Cagey from second. Evy followed that with a scorcher down the left-field line to score Mickey from second. Not to be out-done, the clean-up hitter, Thunder, pulverized the Diamond brand-name on the ball and showed-off his now patented, screaming liner into right-center field, for a hit to drive in Wook and make the score 7-2 in favor of the Buzzies.

The Miners bounced-back with two runs of their own in the fourth frame on two hits, two walks and a ‘sun ball’ infield error to put the score at 7-4 Buzzards.

After not scoring in the fourth off of the new Miner hurler and quirky southpaw, Mike 'Quick Pitch' Vargas #11, the Buzzards put two runs on the scoreboard in the fifth. Wookie led-off with a spinning bloop between the pitcher and the first baseman and beat it out for an infield hit. Evy's grounder to short resulted in a throwing error to the second baseman with everyone safe and Wook moving to third on the over-throw. After a fielder's choice put runners on the corners, Thunder stole second base. With both runners in scoring position, the Baron slugged an 0-2 pitch high into the right field sky. The outfielder, playing deep, misplayed the sky ball while Wook easily scored from third. With two-outs and two-on, the Mill-machine cranked out his fourth hit of the game to knock in Thunder with a smoking line-drive to center. The score after five innings of play was Buzzards 9 - Miners 4.

The Miners fought back with four runs in the sixth to make it a squeaker. The Buzzards used Salmo a little too long and the Miners started the inning with four hits mixed in with a walk before Rick was relieved. The right-handed reliever, Gregg 'Surf Dawg' Novotny #1, took the bump with no outs, three-runs scored and a runner at second via a double. The next batter hit a short infield blooper near the line halfway between home and first. Surf Dawg tried a sliding catch, but the ball found the ground for a hit.

It appeared the 'worm may be turning' with plays going the Miner's way and now runners on first and second and still nobody was out. During the pitching change, Mickey was also called in to warm-up in the bullpen and be ready for a call-up. He was replaced in left-field by Cagey.

To prove the axiom that the ball finds the new guy, the next batter, Miners' heavy hitter, Arturo 'Buster' Castillo, then ripped a sinking liner to left. Cagey got a terrific jump on the ball and after a long run, caught it at his shoe tops. Both runners, going on the 'sure-hit', also got a good jump heading toward the next base. Both runners then went scrambling back to their bases. With a chance for a double play at second, Cagey threw to the relay man, Evy, who then threw a strike to Wookie stretched out like a first baseman to nail the runner in a close play at the bag. The runner on third scored on the double play to make the score close at 9-8 Buzzards entering the home half of the sixth inning.

The Buzzards answered back with three tough runs to get a scoreboard cushion. Mickey, playing the sinking sun angle, led-off with a 'sun ball' to left-field for a base hit. Two outs later, Evy crushed a double to left-center that scored Mick. Next, Thunder with his ramblin' speed made the shortstop rush his throw for an error that put Buzzards at the corners. Thunder stole second on a signals mix-up before the Baron walked on four pitches to load the bases. Tomahawk, on the first pitch, then knocked in two runs with a sharp single to center for the final Buzzard runs of the game.

Buzzard pitching and defense held the Miners scoreless in the last two innings, and leaving two runners stranded on-base in each frame. The seventh inning ended with one minute left on the clock, so playing the eighth inning took the game out to 3 hours and 15 minutes with the final score Buzzards 12 and the Miners 8.

Buzzard pitching withstood the barrage of Miner runners on base via 15 hits and six walks plus two errors. The lead-off batters in five of the eight innings got on base with the second batter in two other frames reaching first base. The fifth was a 1-2-3 inning. Salmo got the win and faced 31 Miners while throwing 121 pitches (78 strikes & 43 balls). Rick pitched into the sixth and gave up eight runs (four earned) on 11 hits and five walks with three strike-outs. Surf Dawg earned the save with three innings of shut-down pitching. Gregg helped wiggle the Buzzards out of that jam in the sixth and faced 13 Miners in throwing 46 pitches (31 strikes & 15 balls). Novotny gave up zero runs on four hits and one walk with two strike-outs.

The Ol' Buzzard offense got the 12 runs on 13 hits with seven walks and surprisingly eight uncharacteristic Miner errors. The members of the Buzzard hit club for the game were: Cagey, Evy (2), Flash, Mickey, Tomahawk, Thunder, Wookie (2) and the Mill-machine with four (three singles & a double). The always important ribbies were knocked in by: Baron (3), Evy (2), Milli (2), Tomahawk (2), Thunder (2) and Wook. The winning total of 12 runs were scored by: Cagey, Evy (2), Flash (2), Mickey (2), Thunder (2), and Wook (3). There were 48 Buzzard at-bats in the game. 13 hits in 48 plate appearances was enough - this time.

The Buzzard D was solid with assists and put-outs spread-out amongst most of the Defenders. There were 12 assists in getting those 24 outs. The put-outs were spread out so much that there were only five put-outs at first base.

Sunday, April 19

Gold Country Ol' Buzzards Game Report #4

Game: April 19, 2015

Ol' Buzzards defeat young Dodgers, 9-4

The Gold Country Buzzards have opened the season with four home games at James Field with one more to follow. Game four was a morning game against the younger division Dodgers. Last season the (42+) Dodgers came from behind with five runs in the last two innings to hand the Buzzards one of their two losses in the 9-7 game in June at C-Bar-C Park. This season the two divisions will play each other twice.

On a beautiful morning with temps in the 70s for the game, the 2-1 Buzzards faced the 2-1 Dodgers. The starting pitcher for the visiting Dodgers was big lefty, Phil 'Captain' Morgan #11. On the hill for the Ol' Buzzards was the crafty right-hander, Rick 'Salmo' Salmeri #6.

The Buzzards jumped on the scoreboard first with two quick runs in the first. Taylor 'Welzy' Welz led off with a smash to the left-side for an infield hit. The late throw from the third baseman went out-of-bounds to move Welzy to second. Next, Dan 'Wookie' Wukmir hit a sharp one-hopper into the hole between first and second. The first baseman got a good jump and dove to knock the ball down to keep Welzy from scoring from third. There was no play at first base as Wookie waltzed to the bag for a hit. With Dave 'Evy' Everingham at the plate, Wook stole second to put both runners in scoring position. Evy then scored Welzy with a ground-out and Wookie moved to third. Mark 'Thunder' Weathers, batting next, knocked in the run with a grounder to the right-side to make the score 2-0 Buzzards.

The Dodgers came back with one run in the top of the second with a lead-off single and a one-out double down the left-field line for a 2-1 ball game.

In the bottom half of the same inning, the Ol' Buzzards tacked-on three more big runs. Kevin 'Flash' Krantz started it off with an opening single into left field. After Flash stole second with one out and moved to third on a wild pitch, Mike 'Mickey' Wilson took first with a base-on-balls. Flash then scored on a wild pitch with Mickey moving up 90 feet. With two outs, Welzy walked on a full-count to put Buzzards on the corners. With Welzy going on the first pitch to steal second, the Dodgers had the cut-off play called in an attempt to nail the runner trying to score from third. The throw was cut-off by the shortstop in front of second base, but Mickey got a good jump from third on the play and scored on a good looking double-steal to steal the run. Wookie then wacked the next pitch on a line to center to score T-Welz from second base. The score after two digs was 5-1 Buzzards.

The Buzzard defense and pitching held the blue and red clad Dodgers to no runs for the next three innings, while the Buzzies added a nice crooked number to the scoreboard in the fourth frame. In the last inning for Captain Morgan on the mound, Mickey led-off with a line-drive single to left-field. Up next, Barry 'Crush' Forman, fresh from the disabled list, walked to put two runners on base. After a fielder's choice bunt forced Mickey at third, Crush was picked-off of second base on a terrible call by the ump.

With two outs, Wookie walked on five pitches to put runners at first and second. Evy then battled Captain Morgan deep into the count before hammering the ball down the left-field line for a two-run double. Still with two outs, Thunder came to bat and blasted a 1-1 pitch into the gap in right-center for a nice double that scored the last run of the inning. The Dodgers changed hurlers and brought in the lanky hard-throwing righty, Jim 'Pancho' Rivera #55 to stop the Buzzard scoring rally. Through four innings of play, the Buzzards were ahead 9-1.

The Dodgers were not giving up and added a run in the sixth on a single, fielder's choice, stolen base and a ground-out. The Buzzard defense was solid and the good pitching kept the Dodgers under control. Entering the seventh frame, Salmo had thrown 80 pitches and was on a nice roll, so the Buzzards stayed with the 'hot hand'. 10 pitches later and 1-2-3, the seventh was over.

The Buzzies threatened with runners on base later, but did not score after the fourth frame. The Dodgers continued to fight for runs and added another one in the eighth dig. With one out, the top of the order hitter, doubled to the fence in left-center. The next batter hit a high fly to short center with the runner going on the pitch. Flash was playing a little deep and after a long run and with the runner now passed third and heading home, Flash reached out to snag the ball in short center-field. With the runner a long ways away from second and Flash slowing down with the ball, this had the ingredients to be an easy double play.

However, Flash, taking the advice being yelled to him to 'take it easy' on the throw, subsequently flipped the ball 'but not that easy' to second base while still moving. The ball then floated toward the bag, but the speedy runner caught a huge break, as his prayers were answered when he slid safely into second. Apparently with circus music playing nearby, the Buzzards then could not finish off the Dodgers, again, on a squigglier in front of the plate. That throw hit the runner on the backside for an error with a run scoring. The ball then rolled out of play and advanced the Dodger to second base. With two outs and down by six runs, the runner on second thought he would surprise everyone by stealing third base. Well, his plan fell short as the Buzzard catcher, Jim 'Milli' Milligan, threw a strike to the bag. Wookie caught the throw and kept the glove down for the Dodger to slide into it, for the third out of the eighth inning and leaving the score at 9-3.

The Buzzards changed pitchers and brought in their tough right-handed closer, Welz #26, to finish off the game. Down to their last inning, the Dodgers opened the ninth with their lead-off batter getting on base. Gregg 'Surf Dawg' Novotny made a slick play on a hard hit bouncer at third, but the runner was save on the throw. Welzy struck-out the next batter on five pitches for the first out. Then on a two-strike pitch, the runner tried to steal second base. The batter swung and missed at strike three and the throw down from Milli to Wook at second nailed the sliding Dodger to end the game on a strike 'em out, throw 'em out double play. Wow. What a great way to end a game.

The final score of the 2-hour and 35 minute, nine-inning, game was the Ol' Buzzards 9 and the younger Dodgers 4.

Buzzard pitching held the swinging Dodgers to four runs and seven hits with no walks. Salmeri pitched for eight inning and threw 103 pitches (68 strikes & 35 balls). Rick faced 31 Dodgers and gave up three runs (2 earned) on seven hits with no walks and seven strike-outs. Taylor pitched the last frame and faced only four batters in throwing 11 pitches (9 strikes & 2 balls). Welzy gave up one unearned run on no hits or walks with two strike-outs. The game was a nice pitching masterpiece with Salmo painting the plate all day and Welzy as the closer - to put away the young Dodgers on this day. Good news worth repeating, Buzzard pitching gave up zero walks in the game.

The Buzzard offense cooled off later in the game, but carried the day with nine runs on 14 hits and four walks. The hit club for the game included: the Baron, Evy (2), Flash (2), Mickey, Milli, Surf Dawg, Thunder (2), Welzy (2), and Wookie (2). The seven RBI's were knocked in by: the Baron, Evy (3), Thunder (2), and Wook. The always important runs were scored by: Evy, Flash, Mickey, Thunder, Welzy (3), and Wookie (2). The four eagle-eyed Buzzards earning a walk down the first base line were: Crush, Mickey, Welzy and Wook. The back-to-back extra base RBI blasts with two outs in the fourth were launched by Everingham and the Weatherman.

The Buzzies excelled at defense for most of the day. Of the 27 defensive outs, there were nine strike 'em outs. There were only two fly ball outs. The Baron caught a high 'can of corn' in the fifth in right and Flash's excellent long-running catch in center in the eighth was followed by a not-so-excellent toss for a good laugh, but later. The toughened, nine-inning catcher, Milli, had three assists. Two were throw-downs to nail young runners at third and second bases, trying to steal on the older team. Mill-dog also had nine put-outs behind the plate with the Ks for a nice statistical day.

There were four evil pop-ups that were handled nicely by the infield. Welzy and Evy caught two in the second inning. Welzy showed off his range in snaring the first one. Evy came a long way to barely grab the next one near the mound with runners on. Welzy took care of the next two in the third and eighth innings with nice catches of sun balls falling out of the sky and landing in his glove. Buzzard infielders love their dirt combined with bouncing baseballs and they will eat up grounders all day long. Evy at shortstop had four tough assists and three put-outs, while Welzy at second had one assist and two put-outs. Surf Dawg snagged two difficult bouncers at third, while Wook had two put-outs on stolen base attempts at two different bases. Thunder had eight put-outs playing a slick first base with a sore knee.

Two noteworthy defensive gems include the hot grounder in the sixth that deflected off of Salmo's glove to Evy for a very close 1-6-3 play. Evy was already calling the runner 'out' as he bare-handed the ball before the throw to assist the umpire in the making the decision. The great sales job worked on the nice play for the out. The only double play of the game ended the nine-inning contest. The 1-2-4 double play is fairly rare. Welzy to Milli for the strike-out followed by the throw-out, to a late arriving Wookie at second, was an exciting way to end the game.

The manager of the Dodgers, Vince Miles, expressed compliments to the Buzzards after the game, and asked where the Fountain of Youth was hidden in Auburn. Because we had obviously found it and were using it to play baseball so well.

Great job in this first game against the younger division. The next three games will be against the 42+ division teams. Next Sunday is a 2 pm game at James Field against the always tough Miners.

Sunday, April 12

Gold Country Ol' Buzzards Game Report #3

Game: April 12, 2015

Buzzards shoot down Astros, 16-6

The first morning game of the new season was a beautiful 70° day in Auburn. The third home game to start the season matched the 0-2 Astros against the 1-1 Buzzards. The Astros tied and almost beat the Buzzards in a game last season. The Buzzards have always enjoyed beating this team because the current and past league presidents of the NABA league, George Bettencourt and Barry Spiller, play on the Lastros.

The starting pitcher for the visiting Astros was the gritty right-hander, Rankin 'Fire Plug' Lyman #01. On the hill for the Gold Country Buzzards was the tough righty, Rick 'Salmo' Salmeri #6, making his first start of the season.

The Astros opened the game with a surprising five hits in a row. The ball had eyes on a few sharp grounders and the two outfield flares to drive in four runs.

No worries, mate. The Buzzards then batted-around in the bottom half of the first inning to put a nice crooked number (6) on the score board. The inning started with Taylor 'Welzy' Welz getting an infield single. Welzy stole second on the first pitch to Dan 'Wookie' Wukmir. Wookie then hit a real high chopper to second that he beat out for a hit, while speedy Welz turned on the jets and scored from second on the play. After an out, Mark 'Thunder' Weathers singled on a 1-1 count to drive in Wook.

With two outs, Jim 'Milli' Milligan singled to left and put two runners on. Up next, Tom 'Tomahawk' Keatley hit a short infield pop-up near the first base line that ticked off of the pitcher's glove. Rankin made a good play to get there, but by not getting that third out, he allowed the inning to continue. Batting next with two outs and the bases loaded, Kelly 'Cagey' Garcia hit a liner to left to knock in Thunder and keep the bases loaded for Mike 'Mickey' Wilson. Mickey worked the count to 3-2 before blasting a rocket shot over the leaping left-fielder for a bases clearing, three-run double. That play ended the scoring for the Buzzards with the lead 6-4 after one inning of play.

The Astros fought back in the second with two to tie the game. A two-out rally produced the runs with two hits and an infield error after a nice double play by the Buzzard infield, 5-4-3 that cleared the bases earlier.

The Buzzards added six more runs in the second to take early control of the game. Wook led-off with a first pitch single up the middle. After second was stolen, Dave 'Evy' Everingham punched a single to left putting runners at first and third. Batting next, Thunder then wacked a single to right to score Wookie from third. Two outs later, Tomahawk got to first with a shortstop misplay on a bouncer. Cagey followed with a run-scoring single to center. After Cagey stole second, Mickey slapped a single up the middle to drive in a hustlin' Kelly. Welzy followed with a full-count smash to deep left field for a stand-up double to knock in Mickey for the final run of the second dig.

The score after two innings was Buzzards 12 and Astros 6. The third inning was scoreless for both teams. The Ol' Buzzards added two more runs in the fourth. Mickey started the frame with a shortstop misplay to get on base. Mickey stole second with Welzy at the plate. Taylor then nailed an 0-1 pitch and sent it on a line with a sizzling hiss for a base hit to left field to knock in Wilson. Up next, Wook walked on four pitches before Evy singled to drive in Welzy. With two outs, Flash hit a flare for a single to put two runners on, but the dig ended with just the two runs scored to make it a 14-6 ball game at the end of four.

The Buzzards changed hurlers in the fifth and righty Gregg 'Surf Dawg' Novotny #1 took the mound and shut down the Astros for the remainder of the game. The Ol' Buzzards, however, were not done scoring and put another run in the book in the last half of the fifth. Tomahawk led-off with a sharp single up the middle. Tommy stole second before Cagey walked. A passed ball then moved up the runners to second and third. Welzy crushed a 1-0 pitch to left, but the fielder was playing deep and caught the sacrifice fly to send Tomahawk home.

In the last offensive inning, the Buzzies scored one more in the sixth. After two were out, Milli laced a shot to left for a hit. Flash then ran for Mill-dog at first. After Flash stole second base, Tomahawk followed with a single to center to drive in Krantz with the 16th run of the game.

If the Buzzards could hold the Astros to no runs in the top of the seventh, the game would end early with the 10-run mercy-rule.

Surf Dawg mowed 'em down in the final inning, 1-2-3, to end the game at the 2 hour and 35 minute mark with the score 16-6.

Buzzard pitching got off to a rough start with the first five batters getting hits, but the seeing-eye hits by the Astros stopped after the second inning. Salmeri pitched four inning while facing 21 batters and throwing 69 pitches (45 strikes & 24 balls). Salmo got the win and gave up three earned runs on seven hits, no walks and four strike outs. Surf Dawg took the bump in the fifth frame and finished the game with three innings of work. Novotny threw 31 pitches (20 strikes & 11 balls) in facing 11 Astros. Gregg gave up no runs on two hits and no walks with two strike ‘em outs.

The Buzzard offense was up to the challenge of hitting slower Astro pitching. The mighty Buzzies peppered four Astro pitchers for 18 hits and five walks to score 16 runs. The hit club for the game included: Cagey (2), Evy (2), Flash, Mickey (2), Milli (2), Thunder (2), Tomahawk (2), Welzy (3), and Wookie (2). The always important ribbies were knocked in by: Cagey (2), Evy, Flash, Mickey (4), Thunder (2), Tomahawk, Welzy (3), and Wook. The Buzzards showed off their legs by running around the bases for 16 scores. The responsible Buzzies (in batting order) are: Welzy (2), Wookie (2), Evy, Thunder, Flash, Milli (2), Tomahawk (3), Cagey (2), and Mickey (2). The eagle-eyed Buzzards that were awarded first base were: Cagey, Flash, Milli, and Wookie (2). There were 10 stolen bases, but none bigger than Evy’s steal in the second inning to remarkably show that he is coming back stronger every week from his major leg injury at the end of last season.

The Buzzard defense was solid, as usual. There was only one fly ball out in the game. It was a nice catch by Mickey in left-field of a line-drive smash that he charged, then he caught the sinking liner sliding on his knees in the sixth. For a time early in the game, the Astros were picking on our new first baseman, but the Weatherman showed how cool he can look in grabbing hot shots in the second and third innings. Mark had four consecutive unassisted outs at the bag. After that display, the Astros hit the ball mostly the other way. Thunder came out of the game defensively with a sore knee in the fifth and was replaced by Garcia. Kelly was greeted with a hard hit by the first-batter for his wake-up call and unassisted out. There were 11 put-outs at first base (7 by Thunder and 4 by Cagey).

There was only one double play in the game. In the second inning with one on and no outs, Rankin hit a grounder to Surf Dawg at third. Gregg fielded the ball and threw a strike to Welzy at second, T-Welz completed the play with a nice easy turn at second and strong throw to Thunder for a good looking 5-4-3 double play.

This was technically a come-from-behind victory over the feisty Astros. A victory with no injured Buzzards is always a good win.

In the next four games, the Buzzards will be playing the 42+ division teams in the league. Next Sunday’s game is at 10 am at James Field against the young Dodgers.


Sunday, March 29

Gold Country Ol' Buzzards Game Report #2

Game: March 29, 2015

Buzzards stomp the Yankees, 29-6

The second Sunday of the new baseball season put the Ol’ Buzzards up against the older Yankees in a 2 o’clock game on a warm afternoon at James Field in Auburn. In spite of the mixed-up world of today, it still seemed bizarro-backwards that the undefeated Yankees (1-0) would be playing the yet to win (0-1) Buzzards. The Gold Country Buzzards would not take long to settle the pecking order of the division with the Yanks.

The starting pitcher for the pumped-up Yankees was veteran lefty, Jerry ‘Dealin’ Whelan #11. On the bump for the Ol’ Buzzards was the tough right-hander, Gregg ‘Surf Dawg’ Novotny #1, who was anxious to get back on the hill after last week’s loss.

The Buzzards jumped on the score board in a big way in the first inning with seven runs crossing home plate. Kevin ‘Flash’ Krantz started it off by getting hit by the third pitch of the game. Flash then stole second base before Dan ‘Wookie’ Wukmir hit a soft liner up the middle for a single. After a fielder’s choice, Mark ‘Thunder’ Weathers walked to load the bases. Up next, Pete ‘Baron’ Von Zboray was nicked by a 3-2 fastball to push in the first run of the game. Tom ‘Tomahawk’ Keatley followed with a base-on-balls, and then, so did Jim ‘Milli’ Milligan to force in two more runs. With the score quickly 3-0, the Yankees changed hurlers and brought in right-hander, Randy 'Dented' Dettman #28 to stop the early rally.

Kelly ‘Cagey’ Garcia then greeted the new pitcher by lining a 2-1 pitch into left-field for a two-run single. With two outs, Flash got on base via a misplay by the shortstop, and the runners advanced to second and third before Wookie hit one into the left-center field gap, with his second hit of the inning, to score both runs. The score after the first frame was 7-zip, Buzzards.

The raging Buzzards were nearly unstoppable in the second inning as they showed ‘no mercy’ to the Yanks. The inning started with a long double by Thunder to left-center field on a 2-2 pitch. The Baron was hit by a pitch again to earn first base. Tomahawk followed with a single to left to score Thunderman. One out later, Cagey knocked in the Baron with another run on a sharp single to left. Batting next, Mike ‘Mickey’ Wilson drove a 3-1 pitch into left-field for a run-scoring single. Flash then hammered a single to left-center to drive in two runs.

The runners then moved up to second and third on a wild pitch, before Wook crushed the first pitch for a double that rolled to the right-center field fence to score both runs. Up next, Dave ‘Evy’ Everingham knocked in Wookie with a single to left-center. Batting next, Weathers got his second hit of the inning with a line-drive to right. The Baron followed with a shot to left for a hit. Tomahawk, batting next, hit a high fly to center-field for a sacrifice fly that scored Thunder with the 15th Buzzard run of the game.

The Yankees scored four runs in the top of the third on a walk, infield error and four hits to tighten the score to 15-4. The Buzzards answered back with two runs of their own in the bottom half of the third inning.

Flash led off the inning with a walk. After a fielder’s choice, Evy singled to right putting runners at first and second. After an infield-fly-rule play for the second out, the Baron hit a rope down the left-field line for a two-run single. The score after three digs was now 17-4.

The Ol’ Buzzards scored in every inning of the game. In the fourth frame, the Buzzies ran around the bases two more times. Milli started it off by getting nailed by pitch number two squarely on the upper left arm. Up next, Barry ‘Brooklyn’ Forman singled to right and Mickey walked to fill the bases with Buzzards. After an out, Wook, on a roll, knocked in a fifth run of the game with his fourth hit, a liner to right, in the fourth inning. Evy then got nailed by a pitch, after quickly backing away and into the pitch, for a free ride to the bag before the inning ended with the score Buzzards 19 – Yankees 4.

The still hungry Buzzards went for the batting buffet in the fifth inning and feasted on Yankee pitching to score seven more times. Tomahawk led-off with a single to center. Milli then hit a flare to right for a base hit. Two outs and a couple of Yankee errors later put Surf Dawg at the plate with runners on. Gregg walked on five pitches to load the bases. After an E-4 on a hot grounder by Thunder, the Baron knocked in two RBIs with a single to left-field. Next, Tomahawk slapped a run-scoring single to right-center for his second hit of the inning. Milli then followed with a sharp single to left for his second impressive hit of the fifth. The score through five frames was 26-4.

The Yanks scored twice in the sixth inning to the excitement of the Yankee fans. Lefty Mickey Wilson #21 took the mound in his 2015 Buzzard debut. After two outs were quickly recorded on nice plays at third base by Surf Dawg, the plate and strike zone seemed to vanish. The next five batters got on base via walks or HBP to score two runs and make the score 26-6.

With time still on the clock the Buzzards batted in the bottom of the sixth and added the last three runs. Mickey and Flash started the inning by walking. After an out, Surf Dawg laced a solid single to left-center to drive in Mickey. Thunder followed with his patented line-drive to right-field to plate Flash. The Baron ended the scoring with a single up-the-middle for his fourth hit of the game and his sixth ribbie.

The Yanks did not score in the seventh inning as Wilson mowed 'em down, so the final score of the seven-inning, three-hour game, was 29 to 6.

Buzzard pitching and defense held the Yankees to six runs, while the offense went to town getting 24 hits and with nine walks to dominate the game early. Surf Dawg pitched five innings and threw 79 pitches (46 strikes & 33 balls) to 21 batters. Gregg gave up four runs (3 earned) on five hits with one walk and two strike-outs. Mickey pitched the last two frames and faced 12 Yankees and threw 49 pitches (21 strikes & 28 balls). Wilson gave up two runs on one hit with four walks, one hit batter and one strike-out.

The Buzzards brought their hittin’ sticks to this game and knocked around five Yankee pitchers for 29 runs on 24 hits. The hit club for the game included: the Baron (4), Brooklyn, Cagey (2), Evy (2), Flash, Mickey, Milli (2), Surf Dawg, Thunder (3), Tomahawk (3), and Wookie (4). The always important ribbies were knocked in by: the Baron (6), Cagey (3), Flash (2), Mickey, Milli, Surf Dawg, Thunder, Tomahawk (4), and Wook (5). Every Buzzard scored at least twice (in batting order): Krantz (4), Wukmir (2), Everingham (2), Novotny (2), Weathers (4), Von Zboray (3), Keatley (3), Milligan (2), Garcia (2), Forman (2), and Wilson (3). Four Buzzards joined the 2015 bruise club with one batter earning double entry by taking two for the team. The bruised boys in this game were: Evy, Flash, Milli and the Baron twice.

The Ol’ Buzzards were solid on defense, but only pulled-off one double play. In the fourth with runners on first and second and one out, a sinking liner was hit to center field. Flash charged hard and quickly closed on the ball and caught it just above his shoe laces, while the runner was on his way to second base. Kevin then fired a bullet to Weathers at first base to gun down the sliding runner for the inning-ending double play.

This was an easy win for the Ol’ Buzzards and we’ll take it. It was a nice offensive showing and no one got hurt. Evy continues to amaze the team with his recovery and fine play at shortstop. And now he is running the base paths and sliding, so even the sky is not a limit to an Ol’ Buzzard. As another famous Buzzie once said, “Infinity and beyond …” by Buzz Lightyear.

No game this Sunday, while we all enjoy Easter. The next game is April 12th at 10 am at James Field versus the Astros. The NABA schedule is being corrected this week and should be available soon. We start playing the younger division, 42+ teams, on April 19th.

Sunday, March 22

Gold Country Ol' Buzzards Game Report #1

Game: March 22, 2015

Buzzards can't score early, almost claw back,

Fall short to Solons in exciting home opener, 16-12

After a winter of warm, sunny Sundays, it seemed ironic to open the baseball season on a cool day with heavy clouds and rain in the late day forecast. The 2015 NABA baseball season's opening game pitted the Buzzards and Solons in a rematch of last year's championship game, which was won by the Buzzards 13-1.

The starting pitcher for the Solons was their lefty ace, Tom 'Foz' Defazio #31. On the hill for the Ol' Buzzards was the tough righty, Gregg 'Surf Dawg' Novotny #1. No jinks intended, but Surf Dawg was 8-0 last season.

The Buzzards tacked the first run of the game on the board in the bottom of the first inning. Taylor 'Welzy' Welz led off with a bouncer through the infield for a base hit. Up next, Dan 'Wookie' Wukmir walked on five pitches while Welzy stole on the first pitch. With one out and after both moved up on a wild pitch, Mark 'Thunder' Weathers, the new clean-up hitter, came to the plate. Thunder then hit a grounder to the right side to score Welzy for a 1-0 lead and the first Buzzard ribbie of the season.

Surf Dawg cruised through the first two innings on 22 pitches with 16 strikes. However, in the third frame the Solons placed five short flares into the outfield for hits along with two walks to score six runs. Rick 'Salmo' Salmeri #6 took the mound in relief to end the Solon rally.

The Buzzards answered with just a run in the bottom half of the third inning. With two outs and Kevin 'Speedy' Krantz on second via an infield error and a stolen base, lefty Wookie hit a chopper over the third baseman's head for a single to score Speedy and make the score 6-2 Solons after three innings.

Salmo held the swinging Solons until the fifth frame. Then seven singles, one ground-out and an unfortunate missed double-play opportunity put Welzy #26 on the bump in relief. Then one double-play groundball later and the 10-batter inning was over with the Solons up 12-2.

The Buzzards had a hard time with a sharp Foz and his mix of pitches on opening day. It was not until their bullpen got involved and John 'Hag' Hagen # 24 entered the game in the sixth that the Buzzards' bats started working. The inning started with Speedy knocking a single to left-field, then swiping second before Welzy sends him home with a sharp single to left. Wookie then looped a two-strike single to short center with Welzy holding at second. Both runners advanced on stolen bases to put Buzzards at second and third with one out. Welzy scored on a catcher's error, while Wookie scored later on a single to right by Thunder.

Pete 'Baron' Von Zboray followed with a line drive to left-center to put two on. One out later, Jim 'Milli' Milligan singled to drive in Thunder. Up next, Salmo was hit by a fastball on the left upper arm, just north of the elbow, to load the bases. Mike 'Mickey' Wilson followed that move by using the baseball magnet to also get hit by a pitch (left side) to push in the Baron from third base. With Buzzards still on all bags, Krantz cranked a two-run single to left for his second hit of the inning. The score through six was 12-9 Solons.

Just when momentum seemed to shift, the frickin' Solons banged out three more hits, two with the infield playing in, after an infield error to score three more times in the seventh dig. The Buzzards added three more runs to keep pace, but time was running out.

Four straight Buzzard hits to start the inning looked promising. To lead it off, Wookie slapped a single to right field for his third hit of the day and proceeded to steal second. Batting next, Dave 'Evy' Everingham singled sharply to left-center with Wook scoring from third on an over-throw from the outfield. Welzy ran for Evy and swiped second before Thunder, up next, hit a laser beam to right field to score T-Welz. The Baron then blasted a shot down the left-field line for a stand-up double with Weathers racing 'round the bases to score from first. However, the inning ended quickly after that with two good defensive plays and one K to make the score 15-12 after seven innings.

The Solons scored once more in the eighth on a hit, sacrifice bunt, hit batter, single, strike-out, single and strike-out inning. The Buzzies put up a valiant fight in the ninth. Speedy led-off with a bunt single for his third hit of the game, but was left stranded as he watched the shortstop make three excellent plays to end the game with no more runs. The final score of the 3 hour and 10 minute, eight-inning game was Solons 16 - Buzzards 12.

The Buzzard's solid pitching was throwing strikes (only 3 walks), but the good hitting Solons were finding the holes with lots of flares fielded on one hop in the outfield. The Solons scored in four innings and sent 47 to the plate. They collected 20 hits to out-hit the Buzzards by four. Of the 24 defensive outs, the pitchers got nine by strike-outs leaving 15 for the rest of the guys. Sadly, 20 hits were easier for the Solons than getting 15 outs for the Buzzards.

The Buzzard offense showed up in the sixth and almost had enough in the seventh to make up for the slow start. The Buzzards scored in only four innings, and seven runs in the sixth helped. The hit club for the game included: the Baron (2), Evy, Milli (2), Speedy (3), Thunder (2), Tomahawk, Welzy (2), and Wookie (3). The always important RBIs were knocked in by: the Baron, Milli (2), Speedy (2), Thunder (3), Welzy and Wook. The runs were scored by: Baron, Evy, Milli, Salmo, Speedy (2), Thunder (2), Welzy (2), and Wook (2). Salmo and Mickey were the first to get hit by pitches this season and get to join the 2015 bruise club.

The defense for the first game of the season was solid with just two errors and two nice and timely double-plays. There were only three fly ball outs in the game. The first was a deep drive to Kelly 'Cagey' Garcia in left field to open the fourth. In the sixth, Speedy charged hard from center field and made a terrific shoe top catch to end the inning. Tomahawk got under and smoothly caught the last out of the seventh inning in right field.

The two infield double plays are worth noting. The first one in the second inning was with two runners on and one out. The good looking Welzy to Evy to Thunder (4-6-3) ended the inning with no runs scored. In the fifth the bases were loaded and six runs had already scored in the frame. On Welzy's fourth pitch, Big Frank Smith hit a grounder to Wookie at second to start the inning ending 4-6-3 double play to Evy then on to Thunder at first. The other Big D highlight was the gun down of Foz in the seventh inning when he attempted to steal second base. An excellent throw by Milli and a good tag on a hook-sliding Foz by Wookie covering second got the exciting out.

The Buzzards will do better in the next game and as the season progresses. We will not lose many games, but it is apparent that the opponents will be coming hard at us, so we best not get in the habit of getting down by 10 runs early.

Next week, the Buzzards will tear apart the Yankees on James Field starting at 2 pm. The Yankees are 1-0 by beating the Astros last week.  

Buzzard Note #1: The Buzzards heartily welcome two new studs to the roster. Kevin Krantz was a Buzzard before and is now old enough to be an Ol' Buzzard. Kevin now lives in Auburn and is the closest to our home field. Mark Weathers has been a long-time nemesis while playing with the Dragons for years and recently with the Reds. The Reds broke up and Mark has joined the Buzzards. Mark comes the second farthest, Clarksburg, to our home games. Both guys are great athletic and personality pick-ups and add to an already strong team. This is going to be a fun season and another good year to be a Buzzard.

Buzzard Note #2: The NABA schedule is still not settled, but getting closer. The next four weeks are home games at James Field. Those dates are: Mar 29 at 2 pm, April 12 at 10 am, Apr 19 at 10 am, Apr 26 at 2 pm. No games on Easter Sunday Apr 5.

Buzzard Note #3: Team score-keeping note. Runs in the book count toward the original hitter/runner, not the courtesy runner. Stolen bases or caught stealing count toward the runner.

Gold Country Buzzards
Gold Country Buzzards
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