Jul 26, 2007 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Safe to say, no one in the history of the Marcellus baseball program had taken a longer road trip to play the Mustangs.
Just before it was set to play in last weekend’s Connie Mack League tournament in Fabius, the Mustangs served as gracious hosts to a San Francisco high school team making a tour of the Northeast.
Lowell High School, playing as the “San Francisco Cardinals”, came to Marcellus last Wednesday, and though the Mustangs won the game 5-4, everyone, from Upstate New York and the Bay Area, enjoyed the occasion.
Head coach Pete Birmingham said the opportunity to play Lowell arose from contacts made through the American Baseball Coaches Association. Lowell’s long-time coach, John Donahue, said his team had an open date in their tour — and that Marcellus could fit into the plans.
Accustomed to making annual summer trips, Lowell hadn’t done so since 2003, instead making spring runs to closer venues like San Diego and Las Vegas.
However, Lowell was able to raise the $10,000 necessary to make this cross-country trip through raffles of tickets to events related to the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, played this year at AT&T Park — where Lowell claimed the city championship this spring.
The Lowell group left the Bay Area July 23 and, after a four-hour delay in Houston, arrived at LaGuardia Airport in New York City that night.
From there, they boarded a coach bus and came upstate, to Cooperstown, to play the first of five games on the tour — at Doubleday Field, located right down the street from the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
“It was outstanding,” said Donahue. “People from Ohio and Minnesota were cheering for us.”
Then came Marcellus. Following that, Lowell would travel to Massachusetts, squeezing in a tour of Boston with a visit to the Cape Cod Summer League to see Lowell alumnus Charlie Cutler play for the Brewster Whitecaps.
Two more games in New Jersey would follow, and the trip wrapped up Saturday with a tour of New York City and that night’s Mets game against the Washington Nationals at Shea Stadium.
Marcellus, for its part, has been enjoying a successful summer of baseball after it made a surprise run to the Section III Class B-1 finals this spring.
And it showed off that confidence against Lowell, with some help. Down 4-3 in the bottom of the sixth inning, it took the lead for good on a throwing error off a bunt that allowed the tying and go-ahead runs to score.
Dan Heil pitched the whole way, shutting out Lowell over the last four innings in his complete-game effort. Dan Zdanowski had an RBI double, stole home in the first inning, and made a great catch at the fence off first base in the fifth inning.