by Kevin Burton
The USA Legends ran their record to 3-1 at the 2021 Beep Baseball World Series with an 11-3 win over the Philadelphia Fire Wednesday.
Leadoff batter Marvin Morgan continued his hot hitting with four runs in five at-bats to set the tone.
The Legends have exceeded expectations thus far, beating two teams seeded higher than them. But their biggest test awaits today: a matchup against the defending world champion Indy Thunder.
This matchup has generated not one but two analogies on the beepball Facebook pages this morning, the turtle vs. the hare and little brother vs. big brother. Game time is 8:30 a.m.
The Legends took the lead for good with three runs in the bottom of the first inning Wednesday and never looked back. The win moved he team to eighth place in the tournament seeding so far.
That was the only game Wednesday, but the Legends will play as many as three games today in the heat of late July in Wichita.
Teams are now into the double elimination part of the tournament. There are several scenarios for today’s games of course. But several sources who have looked at the tournament bracket tell me the Legends can place no lower than ninth.
Not bad at all for the beepball equivalent of the Over The Hill Gang. Of course they can do even better with a win or two today.
The legends have done it with defense. Only the powerhouse San Antonio Jets have scored more than three runs off the Legends.
So far in this series I have done a lot more typing of blog posts than anything else. I have scored no runs and contributed only five putouts in four games. Maybe I should be happy just to be upright, trying to play a demanding game after how long I’ve been away from the game.
The USA Legends are not about individuals, but about team. I want to highlight one Legends player and make sure his efforts do not get overlooked.
A little background.
The Legends did not buy team hats. You will notice on the team pictures on Facebook that the players are wearing hats from teams they have played on previously.
Because we were playing a Philadelphia team Wednesday, for part of the day I wore the hat I wore in 2008 when I played for the Pennsylvania Wolfpack. That team didn’t have hats either so I wore a Washington Nationals baseball hat.
The Wolfpack was a team put together by my longtime teammate Greg Gontaryk. Wearing that Nationals hat was a salute to him.
While a member of the Kansas Allstars in 2007, I moonlighted with the Wolfpack, travelling to Long Island for a doubleheader against the Bombers.
I am the answer to this trivia question: Who was the first player to score a run and to record a putout for the Pennsylvania Wolfpack. One would think that would be Greg but it was actually me.
Greg is one of the main organizers for the USA Legends. Much of the energy that breathed the team into being came from him.
He was not able to attend this series, but people should know about his contributions to the team. He deserves to be much more than a footnote to whatever story the team writes in Wichita this week.
That Wolfpack team swept the doubleheader from Long Island. The first game was a blowout but the second game Pennsylvania won by one run, with me recording the final putout in the bottom of the sixth.
One year the Columbus Vipers team I was on had a minor personnel disaster by adding the wrong free-agent player. After news of a blowup travelled around the league (as these things will) we got some advice from a player I respect: “If you have to add players, get Greg Gontaryk.”
We did and we were happy we did.
Gontaryk designed the defense that has worked so well this week in Wichita. He will be a big part of whatever else we accomplish.