Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Missing Link Leads Fearless to Win #1 Over Orinda Thunder

As I mentioned in the previous blog, John was able to play in the first baseball game of the season. I wanted to share with you the email his coach, Dennis Wong, sent to the team after the game. Enjoy......

The Missing Link Leads Fearless To Win #1 Over Orinda Thunder
When I spoke of John Ricksen in a recent email, I referred to him as the missing link. Little did I know that John would be found on opening day. I should have known as I named this team after John. After all, only someone truly fearless could battle their way back into the opening day line-up while fighting an illness that would make most men weep.
It was just the spark Fearless needed as Jack Dakis skied right from the slopes to Santa Maria, leading off with a solid base-hit. After Nicholas Wong forced Jack out at 2nd, Alton Schmitt ripped a double to the hill to set up 2nd and 3rd. Big Brian Harris then thumped a hit to drive in two runs. Kaden Buckley then doubled to put runners at 2nd and 3rd once more. John and Greg Austin followed with back to back hits, but they could not cash in due to superb heads-up defensive play by the Orinda Thunder. Fearless would have to settle for 3 in the first.
The Thunder answered loudly with two runs. Alton helped limit the damage by snaring a hot shot to get an unassisted out at first, making the score 3 to 2.
Matt Lyons almost got it started in the top of the 2nd with a hard grounder to the right side, but was just beat to the bag by a hustling first baseman. Perhaps inspired by Matt's hustle, Jack kicked it off again with a triple. Nicholas doubled him home, and then scored on an Alton single. Brian got another base-hit to move Alton over to 3rd. Matt Ritchey then scored his first Fearless hit by plating Alton.
Fearless maintained their 6 to 2 lead until they hit again in the 3rd. John played the lead-off hitter with perfection by getting an infield hit. Then, two of our tiniest players showed they were anything but as Roenigk Straub and Brenden Ball had back to back hits that drove in John.
The 7 to 2 lead would stand through the bottom of the 3rd as Roenigk made a sparkling play on a ball hit to the pitcher's circle. Fielding it cleanly, he fired off to Alton who reached up to snare it for the big out. Alton then made an other unassisted play to score another scoreless inning.
Nicholas, Alton and Matt Ritchey all had base-hits to start the 4th inning. After hard grounders by Kaden and John forced in a pair of runs, Greg and Roenigk followed suit with singles to help give Fearless 4 more runs.
The talented Thunder struck back strong in the bottom half with the heart of their order. Notching five hits in a row, they answered back with three runs to make it a 11 to 5 game. With Pinto games being like pinball games, this was still anybody's game.
The 5th inning was the final key. After a Jack double to the hill, Nicholas and Alton had back-to-back "Pinto" home-runs (you know the kind). Brian tried to start another rally with his 3rd hit of the game, but he was left stranded.
In the bottom of what would be the last-inning because of impending darkness, the Thunder mounted a mighty two out rally. With their top of the order loading the bases on 3 straight hits, and their best hitter at-bat, this was the potential game-changer. With a mighty swing, the Thunder clean-up batter launched a deep drive to center-field. All the runners took off on the sound of the smash, and the ball appeared destined to go over the cones for a grand slam. Instead, the missing link was standing there with his glove ready, closing it perfectly upon impact. And yes, John's smile and the others around him was then probably bright enough to let us play some more. But even the gracious Thunder could not deny the perfect ending to the last game of OBA opening day.


  1. Way to go Johnny, sounds like a fantastic game.

    Love, Candy, Roger and Adam

  2. Lisa Libby AlbertApril 07, 2010

    Inspiring for everyone.
    Teammates, a cause, and a caring coach.
    Congrats to all!!!!

  3. John,
    That catch was amazing!!!! I hope you get back out there soon and are able to repeat that day over and over again....!!!!!
    your big ( well smaller ) sister,Caroline

  4. Way to go John!!!!!!
    I bet you will make many more catches like that this season.

    I am glad you are feeling better.

    Carrie, Mike, Brett, Matt and Scott