Happy’s Islanders are off to a torrid 2-0 start at the 24th annual Roy Hobbs World Series of Baseball in Florida. This is the fifth year that a Valley team has participated in the event.
After Saturday’s practice at the Boston Red Sox Player Development Center, the team headed on Sunday morning to the Lee County Complex, the Minnesota Twins spring training facility, and headquarters of the tournament.
Playing against the Rhode Island Indians, the Islanders took their time to get things together. But by the second inning, the bats were in gear. Led by veterans Buck Briggs, Ron Carter and Ray Vandermark, the Valley boys laid a beating on the other ‘island’ team (where the heck is the island in Rhode Island?) With Dobbelsteyn and Gowans on the mound, this turned into a rout, with the final score 22-4 after seven innings. Every one of the 16 Islanders scored at least once.
On Monday morning the crew was at the City of Palms facility in downtown Fort Myers, training complex for the Boston Red Sox until earlier this year. With the Carolina Rockies as opponents (now, really, where the hell are there rocky mountains in Carolina?), this was a tougher test.
After a couple of booted balls in the infield, the Rockies had a lead for a time. The lead changed a few times until the Island bats once again came to life Slowly but surely, the Islanders crept into the lead, and headed to the ninth up 7-5.
With Davey Odamura throwing heat (remember, at 55+, ‘heat’ is kind of lukewarm), the Carolina team loaded the bases. After a wild pitch made the score 7-6, and with runners on second and third and one out, the decision was made to not walk the next batter to load the bases and put a force play all around. Odamura calmly struck out the next batter, and then, on a 3-2 count, had the next Rocky hit a game-ending line drive.
Ron Carter continued his torrid hitting (along with several excellent catches in left field), and Scottie Murray and Tony Powell also had great days at the plate (including a 380-foot blast by Powell to the warning track).
Tune in Friday for results from Jet Blue Stadium and check out the website at http://www.royhobbs.com/world-series/results/2012.
– Happy’s Islanders