It was one of those days again at the Carpenter Complex. The sky looked heavy with rain and storm clouds were all around Robin Roberts Field for the scheduled noon start of the GCL Phillies-Pirates game.
An earlier thunderstorm came rumbling in from the Gulf and delayed the start of the game. As Baseball Betsy and I walked into the Complex around noon we were not sure the game was on. Then all of the sudden the boys came out of the clubhouse, started to loosen up and we had ourselves a GCL ball game against the Pirates.
But soon the sky darkened again, the field lights came on, thunder could be heard everywhere and a gentle rain started to fall. After two innings the game was delayed but it was decided that the tarp would not be pulled. Only the mound and home plate areas were covered. The rain was intermitted enough that in about an hour time the game could resume with just a modest amount of “diamond dry” needed to be applied around the mound.
Once the two two umpires were summoned, GCL Phillies manager Roly de Armas conferred with his Pirates counterpart and they agreed to try to start play in the top of the third with the GCL Phillies leading 6-0. After all the Pirates bussed all the way up from Pirate City in Bradenton and this was no time to lose a ball game to the typical summer Florida weather. As they say if you wait a few minutes down here the weather will change. And so it did.
Tall right-hander Nic Hanson was back on the mound for the Phillies after the delay and left after five innings retiring all 15 batters he faced. Lefty Elniery Garcia came on the sixth and retired the first five batters he faced including a three pitch strike out of his first batter. SEE HERE.
Then with two outs in the top of the seventh a harmless ground ball was hit to shortstop William Cuicas and he uncorked a wild throw to first which resulted in an error and ended the perfect game after 20 Pirates were retired in order. Garcia would get the final out in the inning on a fly ball to center.
Then with two outs in the top of the eight the Pirates Julio De la Cruz would make soft contact on a Garcia pitch and lofted a single just over the head of Phillies second baseman Olvy Marte into right field to end the no-hitter. Hanson and Garcia combined to retire the first 20 batters in order.
The Phillies Jacque DeGruy would come on in the ninth to give up a second hit but preserved the shutout. Catcher Joel Fisher caught all nine innings which is unusual for a GCL catcher and did a great job of calling the pitches.
In the 8-0 win Venn Biter, Carlos Duran, Jose Pujols, and Trey Williams added two hits each while Cuicas drove in three runs with a triple. Duran and Pujols added two RBIs each.
It was good GCL baseball all around for the Phillies in the eight run, 13 hit shutout win to bring their record to 16-17 on the season. They hit the ball scoring six runs in the first and added tack on runs in the sixth and eight innings. With the exception of the one error they played good defense and they got great no walk, two hit pitching in the rain delayed game.
This game represented the beauty of GCL baseball. As I always say you never know what to expect when you go to a GCL game. That’s what we like about GCL baseball. We came close to seeing in person our first ever perfect game, then a no-hitter and as one of the few fans at the game I was glad they did not call on us to help pull the tarp for the first time ever. Though Baseball Betsy told one Phillies clubhouse addendent who was trying to get a crew together if they did pull it, she was ready to volunteer.