8/4/13 at John Thurman Field

In the 8 days previous, I had been to 5 games. This was my 3rd day in a row with a baseball game. After this game, it would be my 6th in 9 days. Oh yeah!

This game would be me, my sister, my dad, and my uncle, however after we picked up my uncle, my sister decided that she didn’t want to go, so we dropped her off and headed back out again.

My dad, uncle, and I got to Modesto around 3:45pm, with the gates opening at 5. I went over to area behind the Nuts bullpen. The Nuts pitchers were playing catch down the RF line.

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I was hoping for some pitchers to start throwing in the bullpen, so maybe I could get a tossup, as it looked like there wasn’t going to be BP.
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Eventually, a few guys started throwing, but it wasn’t anything special. All of the Nuts hitters were taking turns in the indoor cages.
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I then noticed that the cage was set up on the field, so I headed over to area behind LF to get ready for BP. Only a few Ports players hit, it wasn’t anything cool, so I only got 1 ball. It all wrapped up at 4:50, so I headed to go get in line with my dad and uncle.

Eventually, the gates opened at 5, and we headed over to the LF line, where we were allowed to go on the field to play catch.

My dad, uncle, and I played sort of a three-way catch for the entire half-hour. Despite the fact that he is in a wheelchair, my uncle had a really strong arm!

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There were not many people on the field, so Al spent a lot of time watching us play catch.
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As did the Nuts On-Field Emcee, Mike on the Mic.IMG_0043

Eventually, my dad would toss the ball to my uncle, who would toss it back to him. Then, my dad would throw the ball to me, I would throw it back to him, and it would start all over again. I was the farthest out in the grass of everyone there.

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At 5:30, we all had to leave the field to that the Ports could warm up and stuff like that.
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The Nuts players warmed up as well.

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There was also this “pre-game parade” that included 15 or so kids, who in the end, got a box of animal crackers.

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Sometime after we got off the field, I saw Will, who I again thanked for the ride to the game the previous day.

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I decided to head over to the area where the Ports players were warming up to try and get a ball from one of them.

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However, I was unable to, so I headed over and slid into my seat right before the first pitch, just in time for the national anthem.

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The managers and umpires met at home plate and exchanged lineup cards.

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And it was time to get started!

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The Nuts starting pitcher was Tyler Gagnon.

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On the mound for Stockton was Raul Alcantara.

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In the bottom of the 1st, Jared Simon flied out to Myrio Richard to end the inning.

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Myrio ended up tossing me the ball, for my 2nd snag on the day.

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After the Ports had put up 2 runs in the first, they kept the scoring going in the 2nd inning. They scored an additional 3 runs, on 2 singles, and an Addison Russell home run.

The Ports tacked on an additional run in the 3rd.

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The 4th inning was when things started to get ugly for Stockton. Will Swanner singled, then Harold Riggins doubled, which was then followed up by a sac bunt from Niko Gallego, who was able to stay on first after a missed catch by Tony Thompson at first.

After a quick strikeout and popout, Ryan Casteel and Jared Simon hit back-to-back doubles, bringing the score to 7-6, at which point the Ports brought in a new pitcher, in Thomas Walz.

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Taylor Featherston then doubled in another run, bringing the score to 8-6.

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The game settled down at this point, with the Nuts tacking on an additional run in the 5th.

In the 7th inning, Bobby Crocker stepped to the plate for Stockton.

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He then fouled a ball straight back, out of the stadium onto the golf course behind the stadium. I decided to make an attempt at it, so I headed out of the stadium, sure enough, finding the ball!

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In the middle of the 8th, I found myself a seat right next to the Ports dugout. I was going to make an attempt for the 3rd out ball, then stay next to the dugout and try and get the Ports lineup card after the game ended. I was unable to get the 3rd out ball in the 8th from the Ports, so I grabbed a seat in the 2nd row next to the dugout, so I could go grab the lineup card after the game.

Between the 8th and 9th innings, Mike on the Mic gave out the MVP fan of the game award. I was sitting in my seat, on my phone, when I all of a sudden heard him announce my uncle’s name!

Yep! My Uncle, Seth, was the MVP Fan of the Game at his first game in Modesto! His prize was a Nuts logo baseball, autographed by the ever-amazing Mike on the Mic.

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Scott Oberg game on in the 9th inning, to shut things down for the Nuts, and he did just that.

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Wade Kirkland lead off with a home run, which was followed by 2 quick outs, then Addison Russell AND Bobby Crocker both reaching on fielding errors. However, B.A. Vollmuth grounded out to end the game, sealing the 9-7 win for Modesto.
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As soon as the final out was recorded, I rushed down to the Ports dugout to ask for the lineup card, but someone beat me, to it, so I was unable to get the Ports lineup card. As soon as I realized I had no shot, I rushed over to the Nuts dugout to try and get theirs.

I asked their manager, Fred Nelson, who peeled it off the wall and gave it to me. I then spotted Ryan Casteel inspecting a bat, as he was the last one in the dugout.

I could see a look on his face that something was wrong with the bat. We made eye contact, and I got the bat!

3 balls, 1 bat, 1 lineup card. Great day in Modesto! I had tickets to be back again two days later, as Benjamin Hill, from MiLB.com would be in town.

Thanks for reading!

BALLHAWKING STATS:

  • 25th Game of the Year… 8th MiLB Game of the Year
  • 3 balls at this game
  • 51 MiLB Balls in 8 MiLB Games = 6.375 MiLB Balls Per Game
  • 14 Consecutive MiLB Games with at least 1 Ball
  • 66 Lifetime Minor League baseballs
  • 74 Baseballs this Season
  • 117 total balls

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Nick Badders is a unofficial reporter for MLB.com. He writes the blog, 7000 Coliseum Way, and you can follow him on Twitter @nickbatters or his blog @7000ColiseumWay. You can also LIKE his blog on Facebook or follow him @nickbatters or his blog @7000ColiseumWay on Instagram. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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