By KEVIN ROBERTS
Zeke Diamond tapped a short roller down the third base and bolted toward first base. Diamond thought he could beat it out, but third baseman Buddy Dewaine had other ideas.
The Bristol Blue Dewaine scooped the ball up with his bare hand and fired it to first base. The throw beat his everyday teammate Diamond to the bag for the out, and Dewaine had something to say afterward.
“He wouldn’t really look at me after I did it,” Dewaine said, a smile on his face. “I think he was ashamed, I was talking a little bit, letting him know I could get him out any way.”
The play drew a bunch of wows—even from the opponent’s dugout.
“It’s the best place to pull it out, the all-star game,” Dewaine said about the play. “Show the fans something fun, that’s what they’re here for.”
That was just part of what happened at the Futures Collegiate Baseball League of New England’s all-star game on July 16 at Wahconah Park in Pittsfield, Mass. It was Bristol Blue against Bristol Blue all over the old ballpark, which has hosted organized baseball since 1892.
Dewaine, Austin White and Dominic Niman suited up for the Hillies, who won the game, 8-2. Diamond, Brandon Miller, Mark Faello and Will Nowak played for the Electrics. Parker Upton was on the Hillies roster, but he didn’t play.
In a fun twist, White and Miller each led off for their respective teams.
“It’s weird, but it’s also nice. We have a lineup that can do it at any position,” White said after the game. “It’s nice that he gets a chance to lead off and maybe do it in a game. Maybe I’ll bat third or something. We’re very flexible with our lineup, and it’s nice to see.”
White finished 2-for-5 with a stolen base, run scored and RBI while Miller wound up 0-for-3. On the first pitch of the game, Miller grounded out to Dewaine, who was playing first base. Dewaine hit fifth for the Electrics and finished 1-for-5 with an RBI single.
Diamond did score a run in the top of the third inning. He reached on an error, advanced to second on a walk, then stole third base before scoring on a bases loaded walk.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Faello took the mound for the Electrics. He gave up one hit and retired the other three batters that he faced.
The top of the fifth saw Niman take the mound for the Hillies, but that was also when the rain came. Niman struck out a batter and got a fly out, but also hit two batters in his 2/3 inning of work. Some pitchers worked 2/3 inning instead of a full frame so that all the pitchers could get into the game. The final out of the fifth inning was a grounder to Dewaine.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, White led off with a grounder to the shortstop Diamond, who threw him out at first base. Later in the inning, Dewaine singled to right field to drive in a run.
“It was a cool experience, I had a fun day,” Dewaine said. “It was nice to meet all the other kids from the other teams.”
White drove in a run in the bottom of the eighth inning with an infield single.
“It’s very nice,” White said about his RBI hit. “It’s humbling to be here, be with all this great talent, and be able to be one of them, it’s really awesome.”
Dewaine made his bare-handed play on White in the top of the ninth inning. The bottom of the ninth inning was played so all of the pitchers could get in, and the last for the Electrics was Nowak. Nowak struck out both batters he faced, including Dewaine.
“I wish I got an at bat,” White said. “You always want to face the best.”
A day that began with player and coach registration at 12:15 p.m. ended with Nowak’s second strikeout at 10:27 p.m.
“It’s long, it’s a little nerve-wracking, but it’s mostly exciting,” White said. “You’re here to have a good time, play with guys you know from around the league, and it’s just a good time with everybody.”
Dewaine said it was a time to take a break from the season and have fun.
“There’s a lot of talent in this league,” Dewaine said. “It’s good that everybody gets to showcase it, because a lot of times they don’t get to showcase it during their regular seasons.”
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Kevin Roberts, email him at KRoberts@SouthingtonObserver.com