Written by Biko Skalla:
The best start in Bananas franchise history is still strong as ever after the boys snagged 5 wins in 6 games played this past week. Yes, that means they finally lost, but the way they responded (with the first ever Nanners no-hitter, sparking a four-game winning streak to close out the week), shows you how special this team really is. Besides the continued success on the field, as the Bananas close out the week a league best 15-1 on the summer, it was also a WILD week on the social medias. Before the guys had gotten on the bus on Monday to ship up to Florence to take on the RedWolves for the first time this season, our friends at Jomboy Media posted the 20-second clip of Ty Jackson making a diving catch in left field after saying he struck out in front of his girlfriend’s mom that had cracked 5-million views on Tik-Tok.
Little did we know the media avalanche over the next three days that Jomboy and company would help set off. Also worth noting, just a few minutes later Kyle Luigs locked up Coastal Plain League Pitcher of the Week with his 6 inning, 1 hit, 9 strikeout performance against the Bacon the previous Saturday.
Guy’s just been an absolute horse for the Nanners this season, we’ll have more dominance from him in the last game of this week’s recap. Anyhow, once the guys got up to Florence it was business as usual with the best pitching staff in the league leading the way. Tom, I hit .545 my last year of high school, I could definitely be a two-way guy at A&M, Vincent, only gave up one hit in 3 terrific innings thrown. Unfortunately for Tom, the one hit was a solo home run, ballooning his season ERA to 0.90 (unacceptable, I know). Zach, I’m probably not gonna let anyone reach base against me all season, Patterson, retired all 6 RedWolves he faced in his Bananas debut, striking out 3.
The Nanners tied the game when Eduardo, I bet the Astros would have drafted me if Jeff Luhnow was never fired, Malinowski, got plunked with the bases loaded to bring home Bill, BILL! BILL! BILL! BILL! BILL!, Leroy. Danny, one time I hit 6 home runs in 3 games at school, Oberst, tapped a ball to 2nd base to bring in Tristan, it’s ridiculous Toronto gets to decide what happens throughout all of Canada, Peters, to give the Bananas the lead.
Bill, I miss the cheddar I had in 2020, Knight, and Bryson, Big J Journalist, Bloomer, both walked and scored in the 6th to push the lead to 4-1
Matthew, I’ll throw more pitches than the amount of words I speak in Savannah this summer, Steidl, threw 3 scoreless innings only allowing 2 hits while striking out 3 in his first Bananas outing. Dylan, I called Kathy Bates “Waterboy’s Mom” when I saw her, Cunningham, got his second save of the summer striking out 2 in his 4th straight scoreless appearance to start the season. Nanner’s win 4-1, improve to 11-0.
Tuesday is where things flew off the handle. Seeing how well Jomboy Media’s post of Ty did, ESPN decided to send it out on their Twitter and Instagram too.
Then Sports Illustrated posted a video of Tristan Peters coming to the plate with his walkup song being played by the Banana Band. That led to Sportsnet, The Score, Whistle, Starting 9, Bleacher Report MLB, The Athletic MLB, yada yada yada – basically every company with a big baseball following on Twitter got in on the action. That led to none other than John Cena reposting the video because Tristan was coming up to his intro song.
Rather cool stuff! With the Bananas all over social media, they packed their bags and headed to Macon for a double header. The first game started with them down 1-0 in the bottom of the 2nd inning, as it was a game that was rained out from June 6th. The Bananas tied the game in the 3rd inning after Ty, that was pretty good timing by me talking about striking out in front of my girlfriend’s mom, Jackson, and Eddie drove him in with a sac fly.
The game was tied at 1 until the bottom of the 6th when a combination of Bacon bats heating up, a miscommunication at 2nd base, and an unexplainable bounce on a routine grounder gave Macon 4 runs. That would just barely hold up, as the Nanners put 3 runs across with 2 outs in the 8th, the big swing of the lumber from Drew, I’m not sure how I feel about my nickname being Stainer, Yniesta, who lined a 2-run single to left field. The rally came up short in the 9th though, as Tristan Peters was stranded on 2nd base and the Bacon survived with a 5-4 victory.
How did the team respond to losing their first game of the year? Well, for the 7-inning night-cap they turned to 3rd year Banana, Ryan, you can’t name 5 foods I won’t eat, Kennedy, and he had a decent night on the mound. Ryan tossed 5 no-hit innings, while only walking a pair, hitting his college teammate Logan Fink, and striking out 9.
With the pitching humming, the offense came out to prove they didn’t enjoy losing a baseball game very much either. 2 runs scored in the 2nd inning, and another in the 3rd to give the Nanners an early commanding lead. The Bacon were really blown out of the water in the 5th inning when the Bananas went: Clarno single, Ty walk, Eddie RBI single, Danny RBI single, Peters walk, Knight 2 RBI single.
With the Nanners up 7-0, Cole, I first saw the Bananas in a magazine, Kitchen, threw a 1-2-3 6th inning with a strikeout. Jakob, I once threw a perfect game without knowing it, Barker, came in for the 7th and got a pop out to Leroy in fair territory, where both he and Clarno were calling it, neither thought they could catch it (especially Nick), and then Bill snagged it falling backwards and tumbling to the ground just a few feet in front of home plate. It was awesome. After Bill took another spill in an unsuccessful attempt at a foul pop fly, Barker whipped out the uber breaking ball and struck out the last 2 Bacon hitters to secure the first no-hitter in Bananas history. Everyone lost their minds, it was pandemonium on the field and in the broadcast booth. Leroy, who called the whole game, had his picture taken with the 3-man no-hitter crew.
The 12-1 Bananas got an off day Wednesday, but while the guys were enjoying some free time, the front office had their own little celebration for selling out every game in the 2021 season (sorry to anyone who couldn’t get a ticket. I would highly recommend getting on the Priority List for the future!)
Before the RedWolves came to town on Thursday, Alden Gonzalez released a terrific story on the Bananas for ESPN, (sorry for those who don’t have ESPN+, I swiped the card to get it just for the story).
Really incredible stuff.
Florence met Bananas starter Joe, I love getting into jams so I can get out of them, Miller, with a flurry of 3 straight singles to start the game, loading the bases with no outs. Without breaking a sweat, Joe then struck out the next 3 RedWolves to strand the bases loaded. It was a wild scene. As you could have predicted, the Bananas made Florence pay for missing their opportunity to strike. Peters drove in Kitchen with a single and then Knight brought home Oberst with a sac fly, and that is all the offense the boys would need for the evening. Joe K’d 7 in 4 scoreless frames, to pass Kyle, this will not last for long, Luigs, with 25 strikeouts on the season for the CPL lead. Zack Patterson once again threw 2 perfect innings against Florence, making it 12 up 12 down to start his Nanners career. Nolan, taking me on a date to Taco Bell is a deal breaker, Daniel, started his 2nd season in Savannah with 2 scoreless innings tossed, snagging a pair of strikeouts and getting some help his boys up the middle as Jesse, the artist formerly known as Mr. Glove Flip, Sherrill, and Eddie Malinowski turned a wicked double play.
The Nanners got some insurance runs on RBI singles from Zane, I actually have a more beautiful singing voice than Zayn Malik, Denton, and Danny Oberst, as well as a sack fly from Tristan Peters to take a 5-0 lead into the 9th inning. Quinn, we just fish in stocked ponds out in Nebraska, Mason, finished up the Bananas fourth shutout win of the season, as the boys improved to 13-1. I was able to snag a few of the stars of the game for some questions as they got their player meals…
I don’t think I have anything else to add to that one, just your typical postgame interview, appreciate the guys for taking the time with me.
On Friday, what was supposed to be a 4-hour drive up to Spartanburg took nearly 7 due to some brutal traffic. The game got pushed back a half an hour because of the Bananas tardiness, and Nathan, I don’t need no warmup, Dettmer, scrambled to get ready for his start. After working his way out of a 2-on, nobody out situation in the 1st without giving anything up, Nathan cruised through 5 innings. Only one man reached base over the next 4 innings, with Dettmer retiring the last 9 Burgers he faced in order.
Clarno got the 3rd inning going with a sharp single up the middle and came in to score on a Sherrill liner back up the middle. Kitchen scored on a Livan, I bet most Bananas fans don’t even know I’m a nasty pitcher too, Reinoso, bouncer to short that was thrown into the Bananas dugout. Bloomer, tattooed a double to left center, got moved over to third on a grounder to 2nd from Yniesta, and then was driven in on a grounder to short from Clarno. Just terrific situational hitting from the 2 second year Nanners. With 2 outs in the 6th Drew worked a walk and then Clarno peppered a laser off the left field wall for a double, driving Drew in. The next man up, Ty lined a double down the right field line to drive in Clarno and give the guys a 5-0 lead.
In the bottom of the 6th the Nanners turned to Andrew, how lucky am I that I get to sit next to Riley on only my second bus ride with the team that just happens to be 7 hours long, Armstrong, and the southpaw tossed 2 scoreless frames, (with an assist from Clarno who picked a tiger off first base), while striking out 4 and only giving up 1 hit in his Bananas debut.
Steidl got 2 quick outs but gave up a tough 10-pitch walk and then a 2-run homer to Spartanburg’s best hitter this summer, Kyle Jenkins. The man with both the longest, and most beautiful blonde hair on the team, finished the inning with his 2nd K, and the Bananas turned to Jakob, I bet if I ever give up a hit this summer it will be some dinky infield single or something, Barker, for the save in the 9th.
After a strikeout, Jakob gave up his first hit of the season in his seventh inning pitched on a grounder that Jesse Sherrill nearly made an insane play on in the 3rd base hole. Barker gave up his second hit of the season on a blooper to left that Bill Knight almost made an incredible diving play on. He then clipped a batter with his curveball to load the bases and struck out the next man looking on a slider. With an 0-2 count he fired a fastball to the backstop for a wild pitch, bringing in a run to make it 5-3, and pushing the tying run to 2nd base. He came back with a curveball just above the zone and felt some discomfort in the back of his arm. Gillum immediately took Jakob out of the game, with the flamethrower’s health obviously being the number one priority for the coaching staff. With Jakob icing his arm in the dugout, Dylan, if the next game was close I was about to come in and do this again to the Burgers, Cunningham, took his time warming up on the field, as he hadn’t been loose at all when Barker left the field. After a foul ball, DC missed with 2 fastballs just above the zone to load the bases, putting the winning run on 1st. With Barker outside the dugout screaming for Dylan to lock the game up, shortstop Matty Brown worked his way to a 2-2 count, and then got his doors blown off by Cunningham’s fastball, securing the 5-3 victory for the Bananas.
It was bittersweet, as the Nanners improved to 14-1 on the season, winning a really tight one on the road, but Jakob Barker’s right arm was the main concern of everyone after the game. The man has been basically superhuman for the Bananas throughout their incredibly dominant run to start the summer, as he finally gave up 2 hits (2 very weak ones at that), 7.1 innings and 15 strikeouts into his season. He has come in to strand numerous runners in multiple high pressure situations already, and is just an awesome, quirky guy to be around off the diamond. We’re all hoping it’s nothing serious, and I’ll update the Bananas world as soon as we have more info.
Of course, a major bright spot on the evening was Nathan Dettmer’s 5 innings of 1 hit, 1 walk, 1 hit batter, and 6 strikeout work, earning him the CPL line of the night for pitchers.
With Barker sticking around with the team, hoping his arm will recover quickly, assistant coach Adam, I dream of a Utopia where everyone where’s my mechanical glove and nobody needs Tommy John surgery because of it, Morreau, got the team ready for another matchup with the Burgers with some slam poetry.
The game was a couple days before the legendary Reginald, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Dennis Rodman are the three greatest basketball players of all-time, Horton’s birthday, but with no home game in the next three days, it was celebrating time in Historic Grayson Stadium for the man who’s been working in the hallowed grounds for over 15 years.
With Reggie getting the crowd pumped with his First Banana toss, the Nanners turned to 4-year vet Kyle, remember when I told you Joe wouldn’t be at the top of the league strikeout rankings for very long, Luigs, for the start. Kyle actually gave up a pair of runs on 3 hits in the 1st inning, which seemed less likely than the Babe arriving to swing it once again in Grayson for the starter who had only allowed 1 run on 2 hits in 15 innings thrown on the season. Luigs was dialed in after the Burgers ambushed him in the 1st, and he was a part of a super nifty 3-6-1 double play started up by Danny Oberst and turned terrifically at 2nd base by Jesse Sherrill.
It is not easy to keep the Bananas down for long, as the 2nd inning went: Sherrill walk, Yniesta single, Ty strikeout (sorry Ty, everyone can’t always be invited to the party), Oberst RBI single, Peters RBI double, Reinoso 2-RBI single, Denton single, Malinowski walk, Sherrill pop fly, Yniesta flyout. 11 batters, 5 runs scored, game basically over.
Luigs went 5 innings, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits, while only walking 1 and striking out 10, to overtake Joe Miller as the CPL’s new (old) strikeout leader with 31 in 20 innings tossed. Kitchen threw a scoreless frame. Jared, basically Randy Johnson but taller and nearly as good at pitching, Beck, tossed a 1-2-3 7th inning. Christian, I get more movement on my breaking ball than is legal in 17 states, Dearman, wrapped the game up with 2 scoreless innings while striking out 3. Peters was 3-5 with a double, 2 RBI, and a run scored – Zane was 2-4 with 2 runs scored – Livan was 1-4 with 2 RBI (but 4-4 in quality at-bats, dude stung the ball 3 times straight to fielders). Ty was the only starter not to get a hit, but he did have this electric HBP, and then scored and ran straight down the right field line and out of the stadium.
When all was said and done it was a good ole’ fashioned 9-2 drubbing, as the Bananas improved to 15-1.
Tyler Gillum and Eduardo Malinowski were kind enough to stick around and take questions from the media after the game.
Good questions, even better answers.
The Bananas get their first three day break of the summer, and return to Grayson Stadium to welcome the Blowfish into town on Wednesday the 23rd. The magic number for clinching the first of four CPL playoff spots is at 3, and will be lower on Wednesday if the Hi-Toms drop any games before then. I don’t think I have many more words I can use to describe the squad but I will end with this: a no-hitter, four shutouts in 16 games, the top ranked offense and pitching staff in the CPL, and by far the most electric baseball team I have ever seen play the game. What an incredibly fun journey is has been so far. Let’s have another Bananas week!