Bancroft League Columnist
With the All-Star break quickly receding in the rearview mirror, it’s high time – perhaps past time – to highlight some of the best performances of the first half of the Unified Middle East Baseball Associations 2038 schedule.
From near-no hitters to three-homer offensive barrages, UMEBA players from the Bart and Bancroft leagues turned in a number of notable games in the first three months of the season.
Here’s a sampling from both pitchers and position players:
What’s a guy gotta do for a win?: Matt Hansen of Cairo struck out 10 Manama Pearls in 8 innings during a July 8 start. He walked just 1 batter, allowed only 4 hits, and 1 run – but did not get the victory. Neither did Cairo, for that matter. The game went into the 10th inning tied at 1, when center fielder Claudio Moreno hit an RBI single with runners on first and second to bring home the decisive score. Manama won 2-1, with Juan Pagán picking up the victory in relief.
In control: Raúl Sánchez of Beirut shut down Jerusalem on June 20, striking out 8 and walking no one en route to an 8-0 victory. He allowed just 4 hits in what the BNN ranked as the second most-dominating start of the season so far (behind only the 1-hitter thrown by Manama’s Reséndez).
Double digit K’s: Salvador Gonzáles of Mumbai struck out 10 batters and walked no one over 8.1 innings against Bucharest on April 18, picking up an 8-2 win. Gonzáles allowed 1 run on 4 hits before being lifted for relief pitcher Kevin Fowler.
Who says RBIs don’t matter?
Getting it done across the board: Jerusalem catcher Bob Wagner filled out the box score nicely against Mumbai on June 1, going 3 for 3 (with 2 walks!), hitting two homers, knocking in 4 runs, and scoring another 4. Needless to say, it was a big win for the Hebrew Hammers, who rode Wagner’s performance to a 17-2 victory.
Not just chicks dig the long ball: Left fielder José Ramírez of Jerusalem gave everyone what they wanted (well, for the most part) in a home game against Bucharest on June 29. He smashed three homers, one 2-run shot and two solo blasts as he went 3-4 with 4 RBIs and 3 runs scored. It was a Herculean effort, to be sure, but still not enough: the Hebrew Hammers lost the game 10-7. Ramírez’s feat was the second time a UMEBA player has hit 3 homers in a game. The first time came on Sept. 9, 2037 when Roberto Pérez – also of Jerusalem – jacked three out of the park against Beirut.
Unlucky 7: Cairo DH Byron Hearle hit a grand slam and a 3-run homer in a June 4 game against Istanbul, as he went 2 for 3 with 7 RBIs. It wasn’t enough for a win, though, as the Bosphorus outslugged the Chariot Archers 11-7.
For a look at more outstanding performances, check out the BNN rankings here.