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2015 Holiday League All-Star Game

GRINDSTON — The hard-nosed denizens of Grindston took the day off yesterday and filed into Quarry Park to watch the East division all-stars take on the visiting Westerners in this year’s Holiday League summer classic. “These ballplayers don’t disappoint,” said league Commissioner Arturo “Bonnie” Bonnafesta after throwing out the first pitch. “They never fail to put on an extraordinary display of grit and flair, talent and determination, and hustle and drive.”

Arborville Huggers’ fleet left fielder JJ Audubon awed fans in the bottom of the 2nd, soaring high into the air to snatch a towering drive off the bat of Amityville Creepers slugger Francis N. Stein. Audubon slammed into Grindston’s famous 37 foot-high wall, affectionately known as the Granite Monster. “Hope it hurt,” the Creepers’ cleanup hitter and Home Run Derby winner grunted after the game.

JJ Audubon of the Arborville Huggers saves a home run ball off the bat of Francis N. Stein of the Amityville Creepers

West All-Star and Arborville Huggers left fielder JJ Audubon saves a home run ball off the bat of Amityville Creepers slugger Francis N. Stein. (Illustration by Daniel Guidera.)

Audubon’s flight proved only the first of many memorable moments in this All-Star Game. Bourbonville Krewe pitcher Henri Chateaudeaux used his famed Zulu Coconut fastball to mow down five consecutive batters – Vladi Drak of the Creepers, North Pole Reindeer Blitzen and Vixen, Potter Gould of the Emerald Island Shillelaghs, and the Hard Hats’ rookie sensation Rosie “the Riveter” Miller. Asked about Chateaudeaux’s pitching, she replied, “I got no idea what a Zulu Coconut ball is, but I know I ain’t never hit one.”

East All-Star and fan-favorite Rosie "The Riveter" Miller of your hometown Grindston Hard Hats.

East All-Star and fan-favorite Rosie “The Riveter” Miller of your hometown Grindston Hard Hats. (Illustration by Daniel Guidera.)

But while fans applauded the stellar play of all the luminaries between the chalk lines, one hometown hero stood above the rest. With two outs in the bottom of the 9th and the bases empty, the West clung to a 3 – 2 lead. All that stood between them and victory was Grindston’s own John “Steeldriver” Henry. Rushmore Commanders’ Grover Alexander Cleveland tried to sneak a slider by him for strike three, but Henry smacked a hard grounder toward the hole between third and short. Slick-fielding San Valentino Sweeties shortstop Alfonso Romeo stabbed the ball and fired a shot that landed only a split-second too late in Commanders first baseman Howie “Big Boy” Taft’s glove. Spurred on by his hustle and the crowd’s lusty cheers, Henry’s teammate Rosie Miller blasted a shot over the Granite Monster that not even Audubon could catch. Walk-off win for the East, 4 – 3.

Grindston baseball legend John "Steeldriver" Henry legs out a hit against West first baseman Howie "Big Boy" Taft of the Rushmore Commanders.

Grindston baseball legend John “Steeldriver” Henry legs out a hit against West first baseman Howie “Big Boy” Taft of the Rushmore Commanders. (Illustration by Daniel Guidera.)

“We gave it all we had out there,” Henry said referencing both teams’ diamond play. “That’s what Holiday League fans deserve, and we’ll keep playing that way play ‘til we don’t play no more.”

North Pole Reindeer right fielder Vixen, Bourbonville Krewe starter Henri Chateaudeaux, and Amityville Creepers shortstop Vladi Drak pose for fans before last night's All-Star Game.

North Pole Reindeer right fielder Vixen, Bourbonville Krewe starter Henri Chateaudeaux, and Amityville Creepers shortstop Vladi Drak pose for fans before last night’s All-Star Game. (Illustration by Daniel Guidera.)

League play resumes Friday, July 17, 2015 with the Hard Hats traveling to Easterland for a three-game set against the Hoppers.


Reporting by Steve Leonard, for the Grindston Gazette.
All illustrations by Daniel Guidera.

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