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We Won

March 24, 2016

We won the Boras Classic. Given how these boys have been playing, winning was not that unreasonable an outcome, I mean somebody has to win, and this team… well, it’s just really well put together. So… we’re competitive, and why not us?

BUT, by game four, we were reaching the end of our pitching inventory, AND we were facing a team–Junipero Serra  High School in San Mateo, that 1) has a serious reputation and a long tradition for exceptional talent*, and 2) had saved its star pitcher for the championship game, betting on the probability that they would, in fact, reach the championship game. Which they, of course, did.

(* Barry Bonds and Tom Brady are alumni)

So, I don’t know.. but it seemed like the odds were not in our favor.

At this point, I wonder if it would be unethical for me to just paste the Enterprise article right into this spot, because I cannot do a better job of describing the game than Bruce Gallaudet whose sports writing and understanding of the game, combined with his history with DHS baseball, are incomparable.  It was such a good summary, I’m just going to do it, here it is:

Blue Devils rally to clinch Boras Classic victory
By Bruce Gallaudet  | March 25, 2016

SACRAMENTO — Sometimes words fail.

But newspapers are obligated to tell the story, so let’s push through this by starting with the simple facts …

Davis High beat Serra of San Mateo, 10-6, to win the north division of the Boras Baseball Classic in front of 350 fans at McAuliffe Field on Thursday.

Now the hard part. How to explain what transpired?

The Blue Devils were playing without front-line pitching available.

They were facing a St. Mary’s College-bound hurler who had allowed just two hits and fanned nine while the Padres built a 5-0 lead into the fifth inning.

Davis asked a just-called-up junior varsity kid to start on the mound. A guy who hadn’t pitched this season.

For long relief, DHS coach Dan Ariola gave the ball to a happy-go-lucky lefty who hadn’t toed the rubber once in the locals’ angel-kissed first eight games.

So, of course these Devils found a way to get it done. They always do.

On this night, it was the energy provided by starter Sean Finerty — the JV shortstop who was unlucky to allow three runs in two innings of work. And it was the I’m-always-having-fun presence of reliever Eton Tuttle, who baffled Serra hitters just enough to allow his brethren to catch up — and then some.

“I knew (Wednesday) I was getting the start,” Finerty told The Enterprise. “I was excited. But then I just wanted to throw strikes and help our team win.”

Mission accomplished. A lost fly ball, an error, a walk and an infield single allowed the Padres to patch together that three-run second off Finerty. But only one ball was hit hard in Finerty’s outing.

As for Tuttle, he didn’t know he would be second up until just before the game.

“It was definitely surreal. It was a shining moment, I guess,” said the upbeat Tuttle after he and DHS third baseman Tyler Gibson shared game MVP honors.

Tuttle’s line read three runs and four hits, but he did enough to keep the Devils hanging around until they put up back-to-back five-run outbursts in the fifth and sixth frames.

Tuttle and Finery were pressed into service when ace Peter Frame (arm tenderness) was scratched from his usual start. Ariola said Frame “will be fine with some rest.”

Meanwhile, it looked daunting for DHS, trailing 5-0 and Vinnie Venturi cruising for Serra.

But the Devils began a different approach at bat. Ariola said he wanted his hitters to show some patience.

“We wanted to work (Venturi’s) pitch count … and then he got tired,” said the coach, who in two decades at the Devil helm has never won a holiday tournament. “We’ve done that a number of times this year where we’ve had three- or four- or five-run innings just like tonight.”

In waiting out Venturi, who entered the contest 3-0 with an earned run average at 1.68, Davis worked four straight walks to get on the board and send the lefty packing.

With one out and a run in, Reed Hessl tapped reliever Jack Petersen for the first of his two giant hits, making things 5-2. John Lagattuta’s two-run double followed. Ryan Kreidler got his umpteenth intentional walk of the year to reload the bases before a fielder’s choice by Ryan Holgate plated Hessl.

Tuttle’s quick sixth inning further energized the Devils, who got a leadoff double to the fence in left from Gibson before a hit by Griffin Duisenberg and a walk to Max Thompson filled the sacks for Hessl.

Again, the second baseball delivered: this time a two-run single to right-center and Davis was ahead 7-5. Kreidler added an RBI hit and Hunter Jury smacked a two-run single to put Serra in the rear-view mirror.

Gibson came on to efficiently get through the seventh.

“I feel like we play well as a whole,” explained Tuttle, still shaking hands with well-wishers 20 minutes after the final out. “We have really good chemistry and our offense is great — we put up 10 runs. And defensively we’re also very good. We’re just a scrappy ball club. We never think we’re out of a ballgame. We’re always going to give it 100 percent.”

Ariola was asked what he thought about the performances of Finerty and Tuttle:

“Just great. I save them for championship games,” dead-panned Ariola.

Like May 7 in Berkeley, when the Boras Baseball Classic “state championship” game will be played against the winner of next week’s south-division tourney?

“Probably. Yeah. We’ll pitch both of them.”

 

I hope that wasn’t cheating.  Great article, though, right?

Here’s the team following the trophy presentation, wearing their new Boras champion shirts.

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Like a dream!

 

Night Ball

March 23, 2016

I love night games. This one was particularly fun, not just because we won–to earn a spot in the championship game–but because, and mostly because, it was a very pleasant, warm and still night, and the stands were densely packed with every single baseball family we’ve known and shared bleachers with for, oh, say the last 12 years. (And okay, not every family, but this year’s crop, which includes so, so many of the oldies.) It was just so sweet.

It helped that whoever was in charge of the music had a boomer sensibility, so not only were we all just primed for excitement, but we were listening to Bonnie Raitt, Fleetwood Mac, the Rolling Stones.. felt like a party.

Here’s a shot o’ the sky and field, just prior to nightfall. My view from my spot in the stands:

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This is a shot taken by Korlyn, of the boys taking a group selfie, immediately following their third straight tournament victory, a 7-5 win over Maria Carrillo (of Santa Rosa).

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Bora Bora Boras

March 22, 2016

This being spring break, it’s time for the annual Boras Baseball Classic. I don’t know how Davis gets invited every year, but we do. This fellow explains this prestigious tournament better than I could:

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Each team plays four games over the three days. If you win all four, you are the champion of your division (ours is northern California), and you play the champion of the other division (southern California) for the title–what they consider best high school team in the state. This game happens later in the spring, this year at UC Berkeley.

We won our two games today and are in the hunt. Completely unexpected.

Our two wins today bring our season total to 7-0 (11-0 if you count the pre-season games). It sure makes a difference when you have a hitting team.

Here is a pic of the draw, at least a portion of the winners’ bracket side:

Boras Draw

Boys between games, eating lunch, scouting their next opponent:

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Peter was going to pitch today but had a sore shoulder. If it doesn’t feel better by day #3, he may sit out the entire tourney, which would be a bummer. He went to Hideshi today (maybe only his second time seeing a trainer/therapist in a 13-yr baseball .. uh.. do we call it a career?).  Hope he feels better tomorrow.

Anyway.

It was an incredibly beautiful day today in Sacramento.

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Once an Artist…

March 21, 2016

… always an artist.

Met my old kindergarten buddy Sarah for lunch today… hoping these meet ups just keep going and going, because damn they’re fun.

One reason we got together today was to transact an art deal.. that is, I expressed interest in one of Sarah’s paintings at an art show last month, she said yes, she’d set it aside (yay!), and today I went to Sac to pick it up.  Here it is (it’s actually two pieces):

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Probably too small for the space above the fireplace, but sure looks great against that wall color.

Here it is closer up:

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Besides being colorfully rich and appealing, it’s just incredibly charming.

I’m so happy to have this painting! Will love looking at these two folks walking down the road every day.

So here’s an early work by the artist. From 3rd grade.. our unit on the pilgrims, apparently. You can see Sarah had it then, as she does now.. a keen sense of human goodness.

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This picture comes from a book our teacher assembled of all of our Thanksgiving art that year.  I had a similar interpretation of that first feast:

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I should point out, the rest of the drawings in the collection look nothing like these two.. so I imagine Sarah and I were sitting next to each other. I expect I was an admirer of her art even then, and just plagiarized her entire theme–embellishing with some hills, a tree and, of course, the sun to make it my own. Ha!

I’m really appreciating, and loving, this story:  That there was a pint-size friendship that existed way back in the early sixties, and evidence of a wee artistic “collaboration” between 8-year olds. That then, following graduation from high school, a 40+ year gap happened in which we each lived full, entire lives, becoming people in (or near) our 60s.. only to discover, all this time later, that we live within easy driving distance and can meet up occasionally for lunch. And that one of us is still a great artist, and the other of us can buy her fabulous art and hang it in her very own house.

Is that great or what?

Mrs. Von Mueller would be so pleased.

 

 

Spectrum Meal

March 20, 2016

I remember some weeks back having a vague sense that my quarterly cooking group was soon to meet, but that vague thought just dissipated and I didn’t think about it again. A few days ago I got an email from Rissa, with the entire group cc’d, asking if I was okay and if perhaps I’d forgotten I was hosting the group. Like, in three days.

Yes. I’d forgotten completely, except for that dissipated vague notion of a few weeks back.

This is more than a wee bit problematic because the host usually sets the theme for her dinner well in advance, giving people time to think about their dishes. Often people spend a few weeks or at least days sampling recipes.

On the spur of that moment, and somewhat desperately, I blurted out a theme and confirmed with everyone their assignments. I figured it’s spring, which is all about color, so how about colors of the rainbow as a theme?

Me, main dish: red

Tracy, salad: orange

Rissa, dessert: yellow

Madeline, appetizer: green

Susan, drinks: blue

Carol, side dish: purple

Everyone agreed. Bunch of good sports, they are.

So, today was the day.

I decided to do tandoori chicken, which is usually bright red. Mine didn’t come out bright red. It didn’t even come out recognizably red. Oh well. Served it over basmati rice with a side of cool raita, which was good because the chicken came out very spicy.

Here are a few of the spices that went into it:

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Clockwise from top: pepper, salt, smoked Hungarian paprika, tandoori mix, cumin, chili powder, cayenne.

There was also fresh ginger, fresh garlic, onion, orange bell pepper, thai chili paste, tomato paste, chicken broth, fresh cilantro, and butter.

And chicken.

I had a couple recipes I was blending… a traditional version of the marinade and a slow cooker variation. I’m not sure if what I ended up with was 1) authentic, 2) replicable, but it was good. Once assembled, it looked like this:

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And was quite a bit spicier than I’d expected. Which, again, is why I’m glad I made raita to go with it:

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Raita: yogurt, cucumber, cilantro, green onions, cumin, ground coriander. Served cold.

Here’s Madeline’s green app:

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We all agreed THAT was cool: using cabbage leaves as bowls. The spinach dip was exceptional, incredible depth of flavor and made with homemade mayo which made all the difference.

Carol’s roasted beets were fabulous, and deep purple! (She also threw a ratatouille in as purple insurance).

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Tracy’s carrot salad… very fresh and crisp, just loved this:

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Here’s everything together on a plate… not all that obviously rainbow-y, but at least colorful:

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I missed getting a shot of Rissa’s yellow dessert — a lemon bundt cake with lemon glaze, served with raspberries and whipped cream. Fantastic.

We missed Susan and her blue drink, for reasons I’ll explain another time. If you’re reading this, please send healing vibes into the universe, thanks.

Don’t Tread on Me

March 19, 2016

Glad to be sharing the planet with artists.

So.. I might not hang any of this in my house, and I can’t say the subject matter thrills me, but I did smile when we came upon these chalk portraits this afternoon (along Third Street, on the sidewalk just outside of Newsbeat).

 

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And, oh, okay, this one, too…

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Here’s the whole piece:

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Don’t know who Tom is, but I think he did a pretty good job.

 

 

We won another game today, this one against Vintage, a team from Napa (what else would a wine country team be called?). (And we.. that’s a whole bunch of taking credit where credit is not due!) The winning streak continues!

This is all great, of course, but I’m still reveling in last night’s game at Raley Field. So, if you don’t mind, I’m posting another couple of pictures from that game…

The first was taken by Wes, my absolute favorite baseball photographer, who has a knack for catching unique images of the players in their habitat. To wit, four Blue Devil pitchers hanging out in the dugout.

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Peter, looking particularly smug, Bell, Ray and Eton.

And this is one Wayne Tilcock of the Enterprise took, and is the one that accompanied the article in today’s paper:

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~~

At a team party tonight, Dan (coach Ariola) showed me an email he received earlier today from one of the Davis Little League administrators. The email had been sent out to a bunch of other Little League parent/coach guys, with an article attached from today’s Enterprise. His email reads:

In case you missed it — and want to share it with your boys (especially those who love pitching) — today’s Enterprise has a nice piece on the Blue Devils’ win last night.

The two boys pictured in the article — pitcher Peter Frame and outfielder Solomon Biers-Ariel — are two of the three boys who were kind enough to help us out at practice the other night.

It made me so happy 1) to think an article that features a few column inches about Peter Frame is being not only read, but circulated locally, and 2) that Peter helped at some kids’ practice. I did not know this.

Makes me smile.

And I guess since I’m referencing the article, I may as well post it here:

Frame’s gem is Blue Devils’ fourth-straight win

By Bruce Gallaudet

WEST SACRAMENTO — You don’t have to tell these Blue Devils that all it takes is a little Frame Work to build a solid foundation.

With senior right-hander Peter Frame pitching five innings of one-hit ball and Davis High taking advantage of opportunities, DHS rolled to a 7-0 nonleague victory over Rocklin (1-2) on Thursday at Raley Field.

In 14 1/3 innings, Frame (2-0) has yet to allow an earned run. Along the way he’s fanned 10 batters and allowed only four hits.

“It was another great performance by Peter,” said longtime DHS coach Dan Ariola after he saw his charges go to 4-0 on this young season.

“(Frame) throws a lot of strikes. He pounds the strike zone with his fastball, then throws in the change-up. Peter also holds runners well and fields his position.”

But these Devils are by no means a one-trick pony.

Even Frame recognizes where this team has especially excelled:

“I think we’ve got the best team we’ve had in a while,” Frame told The Enterprise.

When asked where the strength was, the pitcher’s answer was surprising:

“Our bats. One through nine … We’re one of those teams where everyone has power.”

While it wasn’t the overwhelming offensive display that saw DHS hitting .389 through three games, the six Devil hits came at opportune times.

For instance, after Nick Jury doubled to put runners at second and third in the second inning, Gabe Gutierrez thought he had loaded the bases when a

Shane Gustafson pitch plunked him in the leg.

However, the home plate umpire didn’t allow the advance, explaining to Ariola that his right-fielder didn’t try to avoid the incident.

Remember, we’re talking about timely hitting?

On the next pitch, Gutierrez drilled the ball to the Safe Credit Union sign on the left-field wall. Tyler Gibson (who had walked) and Jury came home on the play, and Davis was off and running.

It was Jury’s two-out single in his next at-bat that plated Ryan Kreidler, making things 4-0.

The whole-package aspect of these Blue Devils was clear in the late innings.

Reed Hessl’s infield hit, a walk (to Solomon Biers-Ariel), a Kreidler single, a wild pitch, an error and pinch-hitter Griffin Duisenberg’s sacrifice fly got Davis its last two runs in the fifth.

Then in the top of the sixth, with Frame retired, Ray Young walked a couple of batters before Dan Henrickson came in in relief.

As solid as the senior righty has been, he needed a little help when Rocklin designated hitter Mitchell Secondo slapped a roller toward left field.

Shortstop Kreidler made a nifty backhand play and nipped Alec Beingessener on a force at third. Henrickson got Adam Caron on a slow roller to second and the threat was over.

The Devil reliever sent the Thunder packing, 1-2-3, in the final frame, er, inning.

“Kreidler made that unbelievable play there in the sixth inning, backhanding it in the hole,” Ariola recalled. “That would have been bases loaded, one out and it could have been them getting a big inning going.”

Not on this night.

In addition to Kreidler’s lovely leather, DHS centerfielder Biers-Ariel made two hit-the-ground snags of Thunder fly balls.

Hitting, starting and relief pitching, defense? Through four games it’s all been evident — and it sounds good to Dan Ariola:

“If we throw strikes, with our defense, we’re pretty solid. I’ve been happy with the way we’ve been playing.”

Next up for DHS is a 4 p.m. home game with Vintage, a Monticello Empire League title contender.

“Our opponents are starting to get good. We’ll know more during the Boras Tournament next week, too.”

Davis plays Heritage High on Tuesday in the weeklong event.

Notes: Frame says he “got more mentally ready” during fall ball and preseason scrimmages. He says he started throwing harder … “warming my arm up better.” Asked about his out pitch on a perfect baseball evening before a crowd estimated at 300, Frame said: “I varied it a little bit. It had been the changeup, but tonight I got a few guys out on the fastball and one on a curve. But my best (pitch) is still the changeup.”