Saturday, May 30, 2009

Pro Ball Returns to Victoria

The Seals' home opener was a resounding success on Friday night in spite of a 6-3 loss to the Long Beach Armada that dropped them to 1-7 on the season. The team drew well over 4,000 enthusiastic fans who were clearly thrilled to see the return of professional baseball to Victoria. Hundreds of fans were seated in the soccer grandstand, facing away from the action. But there was nothing that could dull the crowd's positive vibe on this night.

Isaac Hess, the feel-good story of this young season, took his bionic hip to the mound to start the game. In spite of not having command of his breaking pitch throughout the evening, Hess limited the Long Beach squad to only two earned runs in six gutsy innings. Catcher Joshua Arhart earned his minor-pro pay throughout the evening as he blocked at least eight of Hess' curve balls in the dirt.

Jamar Hill scored the Seals' first run at RAP in the second inning. In spite of picking up a pair of hits, Hill looked tentative during the game. He turned a double into a single when he stood at home plate and watched his flare fall 15 feet inside the left-field line. Hill then tried to make up for his mistake by attempting to steal second, but he was easily thrown out. He capped off his inconsistent evening with a Manny Ramirez impersonation in left, as he stood and watched shortstop Bret LeVier attempt to run down a flyball. When it was clear LeVier could not make the catch Hill sprinted to make a last-second running grab.

Seals second basemen Wilver Perez hustled throughout the evening. He beat out a routine grounder that was bobbled by Long Beach's Steve Young by running hard for the full 90 feet. He then drove a frozen rope over the left field fence for the first Seals home run at RAP.

Victorian Graham Campbell pitched two perfect innings for the Seals to keep the score close. But Armada closer Ryne Tacker slammed the door in the 9th to seal the win.