[Fantasy Baseball] The Bread Loaf Open
Ford Fricks Asterisk : May 7, 2008 04:05 PM

Teams from around the country gathered in Bread Loaf on Tuesday with the hopes of rising to the top at the latest Barnstorming tournament. It was 73F and partly cloudy, with no noticeable wind as players began to warm up near the shadows of Bread Loaf Mountain.

After former Rangers first baseman Pat Putnam, from nearby Bethel, threw out the ceremonial first pitch, the Rubber City Blimps and Yoknapatawpha Yellow Hammers took the field for the day's first game. Brian Daubach put the first run on the board with a solo shot off Carl Hubbell in the top of the 4th, but the Yellow Hammers responded with three runs in the bottom of the inning on a bases-clearing double by Bill Merritt. The diminutive Mickey Welch had his assortment of curveballs working the rest of the day, though, and he Blimps loaded the bases themselves and tied the game on a 2-run single by Carl Yastrzemski in the next inning. They took the lead when Yaz doubled home Bernie Friberg in the 7th, and held on for the 4-3 victory. The Yellow Hammers fall to 0-7 in tournament.

Game #2 was even more of a pitchers duel between the Grunge Rockers Russ Ford and the Minneapolis Thunder Bitches Hugh Bedient. The Rockers broke through first with an rbi double off the bat of Brook Jacoby in the 6th. When Jacoby isn't batting cleanup for the Rockers, he still finds time to manage the Tilbury Rooks of the Hardball Strat League. The Bitches couldn't break through against Ford's emery ball until back-to-back doubles in the bottom of the 8th, but they saved the real drama for the bottom of the 9th, when Yogi Berra golfed a 2-run shot over the chain link fence in center for walk-off 3-1 Bitch bash.

The laugher of the day came when the dbacks scored early and often on the Kennard Killers Jack Harshman. It was 7-2 by the end of the 3rd, and Doyle Alexander settled in and cruised to a 10-4 victory. Carlos Delgado did the most damage with a bases-clearing double in the 2nd, and then made a curtain call after a lead-off homer in the 6th. Kevin Young provided half of the Killers eight hits, while Roy Thomas collected four hits of his own for the winning dbacks.

Schoolboy Rowe made just one costly mistake for Just Win Baby, but once was too often, as he lost 1-0 to the Pennsauken Pill Poppers. Rowe walked two batters in the 2nd inning, and then allowed a 2-out rbi single to Chuck Hinton. A 2-out Dave Philley single was the only other batter to reach base against Rowe, but nobody would beat the Wiz today, as "Wizard" Bill Hoffer allowed just 5 hits and 3 walks while shutting out Just Win. They did load the bases in the bottom of the 9th, but Hoffer got Placido Polanco to hit a lazy fly ball to center for the final out.

The Morris Townies, winners of one of the last two tournaments in Indian Trail, road the bats of their two immortals through the opening round in Bread Loaf. Nap Lajoie put them on the board with a 2-run homer in the 1st, and Ted Williams added a 2-run homer in the 6th. It was the only run support Randy Jones would need against the Livonia Lemon Drops, as he had the fro-jo working today to the tune of 3 runs on 8 hits and 3 walks in the complete game victory. Honus Wagner cut the lead to 4-3 in the bottom of the 9th with just one out, but Jones retired Patsy Donovan and Pete Rose to strand the potential tying run at second base.

Let's Play Two will only get to play one, as they dropped their opening round game to the San Jose Sonic Reducers 4-3. The Reducers built a 4-0 lead over the first three innings against Walter Johnson, as Dale Murphy hit rbi doubles in both the 2nd and 3rd innings. The Big Train reduced any further damage, but Lenny Barker allowed just 3 runs on 6 hits and a couple walks to get San Jose to the second round.

The Whiskeytown Loserings were true to their name, as the team with the league's best record was bounced from their second tournament in a row in the first round. Impulsive team owner Ryan Adams stunned Whiskeytown fans after the game by firing manager Skillet Gilmore and announcing that pitching coach Phil Wandscher will take over as manager. Adams and Gilmore had been clashing over the two recent tournament embarrassments and a game last week in which Gilmore refused to go to the bullpen as a tired Christy Mathewson allowed five straight hits to blow a game in the bottom of the 9th.

Today the team was shutout 2-0 by Earl Wilson, who allowed just two 6th inning hits and led the Mighty Minnows to round #2. Bill Buckner led the Minnows offense with four hits, including a solo homer.

The day ended with the Columbus Rippers advancing against the Shelbyville Shelbyvillians, 4-1. Rippers starter George Bradley received all the offense would need (and get), when the Killer K's each drove in a pair in the 3rd inning. First it was Ryan Klesko with the 2-run double and then Harmon Killebrew immediately followed with a blast to left field. Spec Shea took the loss for the Shelbyvillians. Shea's pitch count soared over 200 in the 7th inning, at which point no kept track, as he walked 7 and struck out 11 in the ballgame, in addition to the 7 hits he allowed.

Box Scores.

Round #2 Matchups:
Rubber City Blimps (Red Faber) at Minneapolis Thunder Bitches (Ed Karger)
dbacks (Dick Drago) at Pennsauken Pill Poppers (Red Ruffing)
Morris Townies (Larry Dierker) at San Jose Sonic Reducers (Andy Benes)
Mighty Minnows (Tommy John) at Columbus Rippers (Denny McLain)

- OJ

# of edits: 1
Last edited: May 7, 2008 04:56 PM

Ford Fricks Asterisk : May 9, 2008 07:36 PM

Round #2:

Wednesday was Bread Loaf Hat Day at the ballpark. The first three fans through the turnstyles received these hats.

The Rubber City Blimps and Minneapolis Thunder Bitches squared off in the day's first game, with both lineups being frustrated throughout. The Blimps left 10 runners on base, but the three runs they did get across the plate were more than enough for Red Faber, who was baffling hitters with his spitball. Oddly enough, Ty Cobb, who once called Faber "the toughest man I have ever hit against", went 2-for-4 on the day. However, the seven Thunder Bitch hitters between Cobb and Matt Kata (also with 2 hits) were a combined 1-for-25. The Blimps offense was fueled by Bruce Campbell and Billy Jurges, who both went 2-for-4 -- Campbell with 2 runs scored and Jurges with a run and an rbi triple that proved to be the game winner in the 3-1 Rubber City victory.

Things were no easier for the dbacks offense as they faced another Red in the second game. Red "One Toe" Ruffing twirled a 3-hit shutout, as the Pill Poppers moved on with 5-0 win. Greg Goosen took a day off from being Gene Hackman's lackey to drive in 4 of the game's 5 runs, and finishing a double short of the cycle.

Player-manager Larry Dierker called his own number and then tested the limits of being "effectively wild", as the Morris Townies defeated the San Jose Sonic Reducers, 8-4. Dierker walked 8 in the contest, but allowed just six hits while going the distance. Andy Benes struck out 10 in a losing cause for the Reducers. Not only was done in by 6 hits and 5 rbi off the bats of Nap Lajoie and Ted Williams, but he allowed another 8 hits to their teammates, including a Chris Fulmer home run. Bernard Gilkey provided all the offense for the Reducers with a bases loaded double and solo homer in the ninth.

The second day of the tournament wrapped up with a nail-biter between the Mighty Minnows and Columbus Rippers. Tommy John allowed just 5 Rippers hits, but two of them were home runs off the bats of Topper Rigney and Roy Foster (the right-handed Jody Gerut of his day). Foster's blast in the 3rd gave the Rippers a 3-0 run lead the Minnows couldn't overcome. The Minnows scored lone runs in the 6th and 7th, and then put runners on the corners with one out in the 8th but failed to score. Denny McLain retired the side in order in the 9th to send Columbus to the semifinals.

- OJ

# of edits: 3
Last edited: May 9, 2008 07:42 PM

Ford Fricks Asterisk : May 9, 2008 08:10 PM

The Bread Loaf Open's mascot Albin the Super White Bread was on hand to scare small children during Thursday's semifinal games.

The Rubber City Blimps' lineup was on hand to scare the Pennsauken Pill Poppers. The Blimps amassed 20 hits, including 9 for extra-bases, as they soared pass the Pill Poppers 13-4. Honus Wagner was a perfect 5-for-5 with a walk, while Bruce Campbell and Jack Stivetts each homered and combined for 7 rbi against Pennsauken's Doc Ayers. Billy Pierce struck out 9 and *scattered* 14 hits, allowing just four runs.

The Blimps were the only ones from Akron having a nice day, though, as Joe Neale pitched the game of his life for the Morris Townies. Neale held the Columbus Rippers to one run on five hits, while his catcher Rollie Hemsley drove in the go-ahead runs with a 4th inning double. Teddy Ballgame hit 2 doubles and single, and scored half of the Townies runs in the 4-1 victory.

- OJ

Ford Fricks Asterisk : May 9, 2008 09:10 PM

The Morris Townies attempted to win their second tournament in a row on Friday, as they took on the Rubber City Blimps for the Bread Loaf Open championship. With a victory, the Townies would join the South City Payroll Processors and Killer Rabbits as the only two time tournament winners.

Albin the Super White Bread was suspiciously absent after rumors he was linked to a white supremacy group. Local folkies Bread & Bones was on hand to sing the national anthem, though.

Rubber City's Mickey Welch and Morris's Randy Jones returned from their round #1 victories to face off for the championship. The Townies struck first with two runs in the bottom of the 3rd. Desi Relaford hit a leadoff double and two outs later, came the usual barrage of hits from Nap Lajoie and Ted Williams. Nate Colbert added a single of his own to plate the second run.

Like every pitcher before him, though, Jones couldn't stop the bottom half of Rubber City's lineup. The last four hitters in the Blimps lineup once again out-performed their Hall of Fame teammates at the top, and combined to go 10-for-17 on the day, while scoring and driving in every one of the team's runs. #9 hitter Bernie Friberg hit a 3-run homer in the 5th to give the Blimps a 3-2 lead, and 3B Billy Jurges added a 2-run homer in the 8th to make it 5-2.

After Welch plunked Chris Fulmer in the bottom of the 8th, Lajoie and Williams did the damage again, with a double and single respectively, to cut the lead to 5-4. Relaford drew a 2-out walk in the bottom of the 9th, but Welch coaxed Bill Everitt to hit a harmless grounder to short and win the tournament for Rubber City, 5-4.

During the tournament, Blimps 2B and #9 hitter Bernie Friberg hit .467 with a double, a home run and two walks, scoring four runs and driving in six. For his efforts, he was awarded the tournament MVP and a year's supply of bread.

- OJ

# of edits: 2
Last edited: May 9, 2008 09:13 PM

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