The New Jersey Lightning officially opened their 2013 beep baseball season by hosting their second annual ‘Lightning Classic’. It was held June 15 on the campus of the Christian Brothers Academy. The Long Island Bombers, Pennsylvania Wolfpack, and a newly formed team from Lancaster Pa provided the competition for the Lightning on a simply glorious day for beep baseball in NJ.
In game number one the visiting Bombers were the opponent. For two innings the Lightning field defense consistently thwarted Bomber batters as Rich Koppenjan provided some stellar play along with Omar Atin and rookie Robert Weekes. In the top of inning number three The Bomber lead off batter found a hole in the Lightning defense managing to reach base safely a split second before the Lightning defender was able to gather in the beeping sphere. In the top of the fourth the Bombers tallied another run for a two run advantage. In inning five, however, the Bombers broke it open with three more runs for an insurmountable lead. The final score was six to nothing.
In game two the Wolfpack were the adversary and were able to build a three to 0 advantage after two innings of play. However, the tide began to change as Sherlock Washington blasted a pitch from Toni Gunn for the Lightning’s first tally of the day. Three batters later Douglas Winthrop powered the beep ball passed all of the Pennsylvania defenders to notch run number two. Exceptional defensive play continued by Koppenjan, Atin and Weekes along with superlative plays from Sherlock Washington and Paul Daye keeping the Wolfpack hitters at bay.
Meanwhile, Washington and Daye accounted for a run a piece in inning four putting the Lightning ahead for the first time this day. Sherlock completed the Lightning attack in the top of the next inning and the Lightning came away with a hard fought five to three victory.
The final contest of the afternoon pitted the Lightning against the team from Lancaster. Three rookie players along with three veterans made up the Lightning line-up which resulted in an underwhelming record setting eighteen straight strike out performance leading to a one to nothing loss to the Lancaster team.
The Lightning were paced this day by Sherlock Washington’s three run offensive performance while Rich Koppenjan’s double digit stellar defensive stops lead the play in the field. The Lightning defense could not have played as well as it did without the superb zone calls by the spotters Kathy and Michele Wadolowski. These young women have been the spotters for the Lightning since their inaugural year of 2010. The next tournament slated for June 29 will be held on Long Island where five teams will be vying for top honors at the Long Island Classic.