Xavier’s baseball game against Bryant & Stratton College on Tuesday at Wesley Barrow Stadium had all the hallmarks of something special.
Unlike most small college games, a live singer – Carson Cooper, a Chicago student – played the national anthem. After the lineups were announced, Judge Ivan Lemelle, a 1971 graduate of Xavier’s, knocked out first place.
There were cheerleaders, and a small but lively crowd was there to see more history than brave the chilly weather.
Sixty-one years after a Gold Rush team cast a diamond, baseball was back for Xavier.
Only the result made for an imperfect evening when the gold rush fell 5-3 on the Bobcats in the first game of a double headed ball.
“We just left too many runners in the goal position,” said Xavier coach Adrian Holloway, who had been waiting for the opening day since January 2020 when he was hired by sporting director Jason Horn. “We have to capitalize on guys in goal position. We just didn’t get any timely hits.
“Overall, it was great, it was exciting to get started. But we would have liked to have finished with a win. “
The gold rush got off to a great start when the game actually began. When Xavier hit the plate in the first inning, lead-off batsman Co Co Simoneaux, who plays midfield, pitched a 2-1 pitch to deep right midfield and raced for whoever it was with the urgency of it Bases I wait forever to get started.
When Simoneaux’s legs stopped spinning, he slid headfirst into third base for a triple. The crowd, understandably, went wild. That was certainly an indication of great things to come, and maybe not just for this game.
However, the next three batters kicked out and left Simoneaux stuck.
Then came second place and the reality of having an aspiring team became very apparent. Bryant & Stratton of Albany, NY, came 5-0 into the game and lost four games to established New Orleans Junior College Delgado. But having played showed.
The Bobcats broke out for four runs, three of which hit center right on a lost in the sun bloop double to take control.
The Rush responded with three runs at the end of the third. Right fielder Trae Hall led with an infield single against Bobcats starter Ryan Catyb. Simoneaux then persuaded them to take a walk, and catcher Tristan Rodriguez went with an out.
Then Catyb went with two outs to second baseman Jose Fulgencio and brought the first run of the new era. Shortstop Antonio Rodriguez went and scored another run. With first baseman Dillon Cousin on the plate, Catyb uncorked a wild field, making one run score a goal and bring the result to 4-3.
However, with the runners in second and third place, Cousin fanned out and ended the threat. Xavier took first and second place in fifth with an out, but nothing came of it.
The Bobcats scored an insurance run in the sixth on an RBI single to the right of centerfielder Austin Davis.
At the end of the inning, cousins led one opposing field to the left, but the next three batters knocked out, knocked out, and emerged to the top right. Xavier’s last chance at the end of seventh place was marked by three hits against reliever Jared Ortiz.
The first time, especially after the first few games were postponed, it wasn’t a bad performance. The scheduled season opening series was canceled when Morehouse canceled the sport due to COVID-19 issues. Then a series was snowed out at Rust College.
“I told them before the game to relax, have fun and put on a show for the fans,” said Holloway. “After the game we only looked through the mistakes we made. So let’s make the adjustments. “
Hopefully with the thought of better days.
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