Editor’s note: This is a multipart series in which Progress sports editor Kevin Green uses a boardgame called Across the Board Baseball Game to simulate Claremore High’s canceled season.
It appears my dice-rolling skills don’t favor Claremore one bit.
“You’re going to have to roll the dice better or start running some foul poles,” Zebras baseball coach Jim Sherl said after the boardgame version of his team dropped a surprising 6-5 decision to Vinita in the first game of my simulation experiment.
I have a hunch he won’t much like the result of Game 2, either.
In defeating Claremore 6-3, Will Rogers managed to do something it hasn’t been able to do for years in real life.
It is simply a game of odds; there is nothing realistic about it. Despite that, the Zebras have struggled to find the odds that lead to victory.
If there are any more losses at my hand moving forward, I might have to rethink this project. After all, I don’t want to sabotage what was a great 5-0 start for Claremore before the season was canceled due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Unlike the Vinita loss, though, the Zebras found themselves playing catchup for a majority of the contest this time around.
Claremore overcame two early deficits to tie the game at 2 in the fourth inning, but it was all Ropers from there. Will Rogers outscored the Zebras 4-1 the rest of the way, sparked by a three-run fourth.
Charles Humphrey began the spurt with a triple to score Oscar Silvar, and a double from Arthur Forte brought him home shortly thereafter.
It was then Diego Cardoba’s turn, as his single scored Forte to give the Ropers a comfortable 5-2 lead heading into the fifth.
Ethan Grimett answered with an RBI double, scoring Brooks Sherl, but Claremore left runners stranded on first and second.
Unfortunately, Will Rogers led off the bottom half with a single and double from John Williams and Jared Mulvaney, respectively, and Humphrey used a single of his own three at-bats later to score the former and extend the lead to 6-3.
A triple from Dasen Tilley and a Noah Smallwood walk put the Zebras in scoring position in the sixth, but it amounted to nothing. Claremore then went three up and three down to close the game in anticlimactic fashion in the seventh.
The Ropers tallied 10 hits in all, with Cordoba, Zach Dolph, Humphrey and Forte accounting for two apiece. Meanwhile, the Zebras managed eight hits.
Cardoba wasted little time building Will Rogers’ momentum, notching a triple on only the second at-bat of the game. He scored on the next play thanks to a Dolph RBI single, giving the Ropers an early 1-0 advantage.
That is where the score remained until Trevor Janzen singled in Tilley in the third, tying things at 1.
It didn’t stay that way for long, though, for Dolph tallied his second RBI single to regain the lead for Will Rogers at 2-1.
Claremore tied it yet again in the fourth, this time with a Cash Flegal single that scored Carson Young.
Unfortunately, the Ropers finally created permanent separation with their game-clinching run in the bottom half of the inning. Stranding six batters overall was too much for the Zebras to overcome.
Claremore will have a chance to avenge the loss in the next game, which is a rematch with Will Rogers.
May the odds be ever in the Zebras’ favor.