The Mother Lode Miners rose to the occasion, battling against the Preston Nine and emerging victorious by a 14-6 tally. It was closer than the final score relates, as it was still anyone’s ball game as late as the 5th inning.

Getting things started was speedster Dylan “silky” Bell who bunted towards third base and beat it out. He then stole second. In the box for the Miners was “Picasso” Branco who was watching Bell intently, knowing he was a threat to steal. Branco had some difficulty with his control early in the match, allowing a passed ball which Bell capitalized on and made it to third and scored. Before the first was over, the Nine led 2-0

The Miners bats were silent for two solid innings, part of that due to the fielding work of Kurtes Carney who played third for the Nine. His fielding came in handy when blocking the advances of the Miners’ Jalen “Tank” Brown when he was attempting to stretch a double into a triple in the second inning.

The top of the third saw the Nine score two more runs and turned in a wild play to boot. It all started when Kristen “Baby Face” Russell thought he had struck out and was on his way to the dugout when the Sir informed him that he only had two strikes. The rules in 1886 allowed the pitcher to throw whenever he pleased, and taking advantage of that, Branco set up to pitch while Russell ran to get to the batter’s box, and in so doing, put the bat up in mid pitch from the left side (he bats right) and put the ball in play, running to first but was thrown out by Branco to the first tender. Fans and players cheered this exciting and unique play.

Perhaps energized by this display of acrobatics and footwork, the Miners went to work and came alive when Jalen “Tank” Brown hit a solo homerun on the first pitch he saw in the bottom of the third. This left the score 4-1 in favor of the Nine, but then “Nitro” Taylor erased the deficit with a three run shot making it 4-4 before one more tally came in and lifted the Miners up 5-4.

The Miners didn’t look back after that, as one more home run was involved, Jarome “Grizzly” Jacob launched a three run shot to center field in the bottom of the 5th and the Miners held the Nine scoreless. In fact the Nine didn’t score again until the 7th and last inning when two more runs were plated, but their offense ran out of gas. 

“Today was a great day to be a Miner fan in the stands! It was so much fun to watch the close plays that happened during the game, and fun to cheer on the Miners as they made home runs!  I can’t wait to see what happens at their next game!” said crank Lauren Ramirez.

Jeremy Sweet, pitcher for the Preston Nine gave the Miners credit, letting their opponents know they played a good game. “My perspective on the game falls on a great quote from Yogi Berra “If we would have beaten  them, they wouldn’t have won”…it seems that the Miners have the Nine’s number, timely hits, big home runs and favorable bounces are hard to overcome. Well played, a tip of the hat to you gentlemen!”

AROUND THE HORN: In other games of the day, the Rancho Murieta Bandits lost to the Represa Pioneers 26-2. Rancho Murieta pitcher Matt “Splint” Corsaut was injured, and the injury forbade him to run at full speed, getting thrown out at first by the left fielder. “The game is always fun, and this is probably the worst loss we have had in our team history. The Pioneers played great defense, hands down!” he said. The Ione Indians forfeited, giving the Highlanders a win. This writer is seeking photographs and memorabilia of mother lode baseball. If you are interested in sharing please email me at ericmarks1886@gmail.com. No games will be played this Sunday due to the July 4 holiday. Action resumes July 14th and will be the last regular game of the season before playoffs start. Game time is 10 a.m. at Stonehouse Park in Rancho Murieta.