It was a take-me-out-to-the-ball-game kind of night at Dwyer Stadium. A nice night for a ball game and fireworks.
The hometown team, alas, didn't win. It's a shame.
As 1,782 fans watched, Batavia let first place in the Pinckney Division slip from its grasp, the mood in the stands was barely even dampened, even by a short rain delay in the eighth inning. There would be, after all, win or lose, an Independence Day fireworks show after the game.
Families were there with their children -- some seeing their first professional game -- and fans had the peanuts and Cracker Jacks (not to mention beer and sausage) to fall back on.
The evening started poorly for the home crew, and never really got better. The final, 7-1. The Muckdogs drop to 12-8 on the season. The Spikes are now 13-7.
In the first, starter Jorgan Cavanerio (1-1) sandwiched a walk between a pair of singles, giving up a run, and setting the tone for his fourth outing of the season.
Two singles and a walk in the second led to another run -- a run that scored an inning-ending double play, something you don't see often. The Spikes' Chase Raffield scored on a sacrafice fly to center, then a base running blunder led to Danny Diekroeger getting doubled up at second.
Cavanerio held the line in the third, but the Spikes blew the game open with four runs in the fourth. All four runs came with two outs.
Jake Stone started the scoring procession with a home run, which could have been worse, if a lead-off walk hadn't been erased by a double play.
During Stone's at bat, there was a lot of griping on the home side about the inconsistant ball and strike calls of home plate umpire Anthony Perez. To partisan minds, Stone should have been out on strikes, and the inning over, on the pitch prior to the gopher ball.
After a team conference on the mound in which manager Angel Espada appeared to try and console his struggling hurler, Espada stood in front of home plate and jawed in the face of Perez for a good two minutes. Perez, stone-faced, just listened. Ejected, Espada walked to the dugout, handed his line-up card to his assistant, and trekked the 300 feet to the clubhouse cheered by fans along the third base line.
Cavanerio gave up 10 hits in four inning of work, walking four. The six earned runs raised his ERA through four starts to 7.71.
Offensively, the Muckdogs never really got anything going. Brian Anderson, Ryan Cranmer, Kevin Grove and Miles Williams each picked up singles for Batavia's only four hits on the night.
Anderson, a third-round draft choice out of Arkansas, has played 10 games at second and is hitting .317.
Batavia's lone run came in the second, after first baseman Eric Fisher reached on a strikeout, eventually advancing to third and scoring on a double play. There were no hits in the inning.
The National Anthem and "God Bless America" during the seventh inning stretch were sung beautifully by Emily Helenbrook.
The Muckdogs are on the road tonight, traveling to Mahoning Valley. They return home Monday for a 7:05 p.m. game against the Jamestown Jammers.