Goffstown - 26 July 2016: Larry Bird versus Magic Johnson. Martina Navratilova versus Chris Evert. Sam Sheepdog versus Ralph Wolf (you need to be over the age of 40 – or a YouTube junkie - to remember this classic Bugs Bunny skit – “Morning Sam”, “Morning Ralph” punching-in at the time-clock on the tree). What do these pairs of names have in common? Each fierce rivals while the game was played, but each close friends when the game was over.
Tuesday night, July 26th brought another rivalry/friendship into focus: Jimmy Fund Goffstown 1 versus Jimmy Fund Goffstown 2.
Playing in separate All-Star Jimmy Fund “pools” these two teams were not suppose to meet face-to-face, but with the season winding down, the teams evenly matched, and both squads on a “bye” for the night, the coaches and players voted to go at it, in a “bragging-rights” scrimmage under the lights at Goffstown’s Majors field.
The game, especially the opening inning, lived up to the hype. In the top of the first, with Goffstown 2 batting, Zachary Godette, Owen Sereno and Harrison Neff all reached base, bringing cleanup hitter Max Bridgeman to the plate. The outfield for Goffstown 1 moved back – these kids talk everyday at local camps and at Barnard Pool, they’ve played with (and against) each other in the regular season – they knew Max was a dangerous hitter. But they didn’t move back far enough. You only needed to hear the sound of the bat hitting the ball to know Max got all of it. The ball sailed over everyone’s head and Max was mobbed by his teammates as he crossed home plate. A Grand Slam!
The excitement just built from there. In the bottom of the first, eight year-old Adrie Reeves stepped to the mound to make her pitching debut. A girl? Pitching in the Minor Leagues? The fans stood and moved closer to the fences to watch. You don’t see this too often. After the first pitch came in low, Adrie threw a perfect pitch right down the middle and all of Goffstown got a glimpse of Adrie’s potential. It didn’t matter that she gave up a few walks and a few runs, she threw straight and hard, and only allowed one infield hit, proving to everyone watching that she belonged. Like Max the half-inning before, Adrie was mobbed by her teammates when she came back into the dugout from her inning of work, slapping fives and getting pats on the back.
Max then added a 2-run triple in the second inning, while Goffstown 1 added to their total and after two innings, Goffstown 2 was down 9-7 to Goffstown 1. Game on!
The score stayed tight after that, with both Goffstown teams pitching well. For Goffstown 1, Gavin Philbrook shined - not only pitching superbly, but adding several hits including his own solo HR in the 4th inning. For Goffstown 2, Owen Sereno was back on the hill throwing strikes and later Harrison Neff got into a nice throwing rhythm and during one stretch struck out 5 batters in a row.
Zachary Godette (2nd base) and Connor Bernard (1st base) were impressive in the field, making several excellent plays together. Owen Sereno, Brady Godette and Griffin Wilkinson added needed base runners with walks. “No Fear” Levi Locke also got on base twice, unfortunately both times via Hit By Pitch (doesn’t matter how many times he gets hit – a lot - he gets right back in the box the next time up, ready to go). And Adrie Reeves, not content with just demonstrating her skills as a pitcher, showed she could swing the bat too, adding a hit and scoring a run in the 3rd.
When it ended, two and half hours later, Goffstown 1 walked away with a hard-fought, well-played, emotional 14-8 victory over Goffstown 2. But there were no losers in this game; this game among friends. The score didn’t really matter. Everyone knew that this is the type of game where the total number of runs will be long forgotten the minute these kids see each other again laughing and goofing around in the park, around town, at the pool, or perhaps while punching-out at that time-clock on the tree. “Have a nice evening, Sam.” “Have a nice evening, Ralph.” “See you tomorrow, Sam?” “Yep. See you tomorrow, Ralph!”
About: Jimmy Fund Little League co-presented by Extra Innings and Franklin Sports provides more than 5,000 little league baseball and softball players throughout New England the chance to continue playing after their regular season ends by fundraising and participating in local tournaments.
Off the field, these players take to their communities to raise vital funds for the Jimmy Fund, while learning the importance of philanthropy and volunteerism, and that they, too, can make a difference in the fight against cancer.
Help strike out cancer by participating or supporting Jimmy Fund Little League.
Since 1987, the hard work and winning spirit of the coaches, parents and, most importantly, the players, have raised more than $4.5 million for the Jimmy Fund.