The Long Ball/Durham Triple Play Leagues baseball program concluded its seventh season recently with its annual doubleheader championship at Durham Athletic Park.
Despite a rocky start – which is nothing new for the non-profit program – Long Ball ended the season on a high note.
Long Ball teams were coming off a successful showing as hosts of their inaugural RBI Carolina Cup at the USA Baseball Complex. The junior division (13-15) went undefeated against state competition during the two-day event in Cary, while the senior division (16-18) lost just one game.
“We were so proud of our guys,” league president Patricia James said. “They played some of their best ball.”
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Back in the DAP for the league championship, the junior division’s Double A title matchup featured the Bats versus the Rock Hounds. The Bats were looking to make it a sweep after winning the regular-season title. And they did just that with a 7-1 victory.
Pitcher Jaden Bailey went the distance and got the win. He struck out six.
Leading 1-0 after the second inning, the Bats broke open the game with a four-run, third-inning explosion.
Isaiah Graddy led off the inning with a walk, and quickly stole second and third base. Centerfielder Phillup Forster singled him home for a 2-0 lead.
After another single by third baseman Emmuel Bryant put runners at first and third, Cory Williams banged a single up centerfield to send both runners home for a 4-0 lead.
The Bats increased their margin to 7-0 before the Hounds prevented a shutout in the fifth.
Dogs claw out win
The Triple A Muck Dogs also were trying for a sweep in Long Ball’s senior division after winning the regular season. And just like their junior colleagues, the Dogs walked away victorious, with a 4-1 win over the Marlins.
Matt Miller was the winning pitcher and struck out eight.
The Dogs’ speed on the bases was the difference maker. A walk would turn into a steal and then another. All four runs came from players “stealing” themselves into scoring position.
Long Ball officially ended the season Sunday with is annual awards banquet at the Durham Armory.
Dwayne Wade Sr. visits Durham
The father of NBA star Dwayne Wade Jr. was in town last week as part of a three-day “Back2School” event at the Hayti Heritage Center and Hillside High School. Wade Sr. is president of ProPops Foundation, an extension of NBA Dad’s Association in Miami. The nonprofit organization helps fathers become more involved in their children’s lives.
At Thursday’s Community Awards Fundraising Gala, Hillside High’s “Pony Express” basketball team was honored for its record-setting accomplishments. The Pony Express, which played during segregation, won the 1965 NCHSAC championship and averaged over 100 points a game during the 1965-66 season.
Also honored was Missouri Morris, Durham’s first black female all-American basketball player.