Banana Ball returns as Bananas defeat Catawba Valley Stars

On Saturday night, the Savannah Bananas saw the return of Banana Ball, the fastest and most entertaining game of baseball (trademark pending), back to Historic Grayson Stadium. The Nanners defeated the Catawba Valley Stars, 3-2.

Speed is the Name of the Game

If MLB really wants to make improvements to the pace of the game, Banana Ball is exactly where they need to start. The game of Banana Ball, in general, moves at a much quicker pace than a regular game. Much of that is due to the rule changes that happen. But this game on Saturday had to be done in a near-record time.

Thanks to a rain delay, the official start time on Saturday was 7:45. The Bananas got through nine innings in just an hour and 45 minutes. Without the benefit of batter’s stepping out between pitches, no mound visits or pitchers needing to come set, the game moved incredibly quickly. However, it was as lively as I’ve ever seen a Bananas game.

MLB could learn a few things from the folks here in Savannah.

Nick Clarno Stole the Show

As a former Party Animal myself during the Spring Series (shoutout to the OG Party Animals), let me just say Nick Clarno has exactly the type of bravado to earn a lifetime contract as a Party Animal. Clarno is typically one of the more energetic players on the roster, but this man took it to another level on Saturday night.

He was fielding ground balls barehanded with his glove in his mouth. He was sitting down while pitches were being thrown with his glove off. He was an absolute menace on the field. And, of course, he was contributing with the lumber.

For his first two at-bats, Clarno walked up to the plate paying homage to Stone Cold Steve Austin. He crushed two energy drinks, essentially pouring it all over himself and then proceeded to snap a bat over his leg and throw it back to the dugout. That was just before he even got to the plate. Clarno won an inning for the Bananas in the second with a single to right field, driving in Eduardo Malinowski to get the Nanners on the board.

“I watched some Stone Cold Steve Austin videos before the game so that really, really got me going,” Clarno said.

Then for his third at-bat, Clarno walked to the plate with his caddy, Dan Oberst, who had a bag full of bats to choose from. Almost in perfect Shooter McGavin form, Clarno found the bat that he wanted, ripped a ball to the wall in left field and gave the Bananas another win. He then led the team in a Naruto run in the outfield after the walk-off inning.

“The third at-bat, my boy Danny, picked the perfect iron for m. We judged the distance, everything,” Clarno said. “He’s a great caddy. He’s been a great caddy for a long time so I give credit to him for my third at-bat.”

With two walk-off hits in the game for Clarno, he wanted to make sure he did it for the boys.

“It’s awesome. Just celebrating with all my guys. I love these guys around here.”

Job well done, Clarno. Job well done.

Kyle Luigs Was Untouchable

For this rendition of Banana Ball, the Nanners turned to none other than starter Kyle Luigs, the man whose combination of fastballs and sliders was untouchable. It got to the point where Luigs would motion what pitch is coming as if he’s warming up and still get whiffs.

He had multiple punchouts while doing so. Who does that? The best pitcher in the CPL. That’s who. Luigs went 5.2 innings pitched, allowing one hit, no walks while striking out six.

Not One, But Two Proposals

Love was in the air Saturday night as we had not one, but two engagements at Grayson Stadium. For the first engagement, the couple played a game of charades in which the crowd acts out the word on a board behind the fan. After she got a few guesses right, her *now* fiance was on a knee waiting to pop the question. She said yes, and the crowd erupted louder than I may have ever heard it at Grayson Stadium.

But wait! There’s more! During another mid-inning promotion, the Bananas were distributing roses and this lucky woman seemed to get them all. More importantly, she got a nice piece of jewelry to follow!

Two proposals. A Bananas win in front of a lively crowd. Fireworks to end the night. What could be better?

What’s Next for the Nanners?

The Bananas travel to take on the Macon Bacon on Sunday, July 4 with first pitch set for 7:00 p.m. ET.

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