Ricker Dominates 2019 Opener
Dominant Performance Ricker. Or something like that. The Stateliners opened their season on a cold early April day at the PAC. The senior pitcher set the tone early with a 1-2-3 inning to start the first. While the Liner bats weren't hitting many liners, Ricker was making quick work of an experienced Montgomery lineup as both starting pitchers were exchanging zeros. The Liners threatened in the third inning based on two bunt hits and a pair of stolen bases by Sunshine and the Marty Party. While the Pburg fans were hoping the both Blake and Robby would go home, they were stranded. In the rare event that Slick Rick would let an opposing player get on base he would end the threat with a strikeout. The only scoring of the game would occur during the bottom of the fifth. With the Cougar third basemen playing very far in and an overzealous (and probably smart) parent barking orders to go in even further, the speedy Sunshine would lead off the inning with a walk. Blake would waste no time stealing second and third (his second and third SBs of the game--he'd end with four total). Bryce-aroni, the 145 pound Alpha native, would then line a single into right to break the scoreless tie and put the Liners up 1-0. The funny thing was Bryce was worried before the game that he wouldn't make weight. He kept asking the coaches what the allowance was for second basemen today. It was weird but everyone was glad he ended up making weight. Anyways, he'd advance to second on a groundout and took third and then home on multiple wild pitches. Farmer Ray and Staggy Bear would then have back to back walks to set up the final scoring play of the game. On a 0-0 pitch with Big Mike at the dish, Stags stole second and the catcher tried to catch Stemie sleeping and threw to third. However, the throw went into left field and the speedy Stags followed the speedy Stem (who followed the speedy Bryce who followed the Speedy Blake) all the way home. He looked like a Big Ten linebacker chasing down a running back who had broken free. With a four run lead that felt bigger based on the way Ricker was pitching, Rick tossed an 8 pitch inning to get him within striking distance of his first career shutout. After having a minor meltdown when he thought he was being pulled from the game, Rick took the mound to finish what he started (Gabe Kapler and Aaron Boone would be very upset). With the aid of a gigantic tree playing first place, Ricker set the first two batters down in order. After a two out double, Ricker got the 21st out inducing a ground ball to Nice Guy Nick Helman to finish the game. It was a great team effort spearheaded by outstanding pitching. Ricker threw 7 scoreless innings, allowed 4 hits, no walks and 7 strikeouts. Bodajlo was 2-2 with 4 SB on the day. The Liners next game is Thursday against the Hustlin Warriors of Watchung Hills.
**Editor's note: it appeared the Liners learned their lesson today and did not try to play tic tac toe with anyone.