UTICA – Sometimes things just don’t work out. Michael Sandman brought the college game to Utica for one night.
The game gave fans in Utica a chance to see high-level baseball as well as one of their own. Utica graduate Garrett Robberts was playing third base for the Ohio Marlins, an Ohio Collegiate Summer Baseball League team based out of Millersport.
The Marlins, who stand at 11-4 overall atop the league standings, were set to play the Columbus-based TNT Knights.
But Mother Nature had other plans.
After waiting through three delays, a fourth was just a bridge too far. The game was canceled with the Marlins and Knights tied 3-3 with one out in the bottom of the third inning.
“I believe it was Yogi Berra that said, ‘Some days you win, some days you lose and some days it rains and that’s baseball,’” Robberts said about his return to Utica. “The community came out and there was a lot of support out here. They stuck it out until the end. It was a great time and hopefully we can something else like this up here.”
“We had a lot of people work very hard to get this thing put together,” Sandman said. “I’d like to thank the fans. They stuck it out. At least they got somewhat of a good show with three home runs.”
It started with a short delay before the game and only got worse. Robberts got to play an inning in the field and saw two pitches in his first at-bat before the rains came back. His Marlins team had already taken a 2-0 lead on a two-run home run by Ryan Peltier, who plays college ball at Ball State.
Robberts could only laugh about his time in the field.
“It wasn’t the best day at the ballpark,” he said.
When he resumed his at-bat, he fouled a ball of his foot. Something was working against him in his return home. Robberts, who plays college ball at Ashland University, ended up grounding out to third in his only time at the plate. He was on deck when the game was called.
Mother Nature brought the lightning and rain, but the players brought the thunder. Izaiah Withrow hit a three-run homer in the top of the second to give the Knights the lead after Marlin starter and Clear Fork graduate A.J. Blubaugh hit consecutive batters. Blubaugh now plays at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Blake Griffith answered with a solo shot in the bottom half to tie the game for the Marlins. Griffith plays at Oakland University and played his high school ball at Grove City.
Sandman said he would try to get a return game at Utica.
“(The community) really came out and did a great job for us,” Sandman said. “That’s why I’m so proud of this place and that’s why I wanted to bring something like this. I knew they would show out and do well.
“I’m going to get with Ryan (Weaver) and see what we can do. I would think that they would be fairly interested just because of the turnout.”
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