Matt Tupman launches key homer, scores winning run, and tries to kill RC...
RC's second day in Arizona was even better than the first. In the afternoon, we got a great look at some of baseball's best prospects, such as the Mets' Lastings Milledge and the Mariners' Jeff Clement, and in the evening we saw the Surprise Scorpions win a thriller in the bottom of the ninth inning.
When we arrived at the Royals' unbelievably beautiful spring training facility in Surprise, we quickly learned the Scorpions' lineup included both Billy Butler and Alex Gordon, and that they were hitting 3-4 in the order. Gordon played first base, and Butler was the DH. Neither had a tremendous game, as they went a combined 0-for-5 with three walks. Butler, who's been scuffling of late, was very patient at the plate while working several deep counts and walking twice. Gordon got one good swing, but lined out to left field. Here's the video:
To our surprise, the night's best performance came from catcher Matt Tupman. In the sixth inning, Tupman broke up Peoria's no-hitter and shutout with a game-tying line drive shot to right that carried the visitor's bullpen. We'll let the video speak for itself:
As you can see from the video, RC's delegation was firmly ensconced in the first row behind the Scorpion dugout. It was a seating arrangement that almost cost RC correspondent Chris Ray his life. In Tupman's next at bat, he rudely fouled off a one-hop screamer in RC's direction, and only Ray's camera bag -- which had been placed atop the dugout -- deflected what would have surely been a life-threatening injury to RC's most valuable source. The ball slammed into the bag, leaving a permanent mark while dislodging it from its comfortable perch, and then shot back several rows into the stands. Ray, somewhat dazed by both the sizzling line drive and this reporter's girlish scream-and-duck manuever, finally came to and asked what happened. The beauty of the whole thing was that Ray was filming the incident the whole time, so the video is clear right up to the moment that the ball whizzed by his ear. Unfortunately, the file is one that is not presently recognized by RC's official laptop, so you're out of luck for the time being.
In the end, RC's heart rate returned to its normal pace, and Tupman scored the game winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning on a Howie Kendrick single. The Scorpions ended the day with a 1.5 game lead over the hated Mesa Solar Sox, and they'll look to expand upon that lead tomorrow vs. the Grand Canyon Rafters. Of course, RC will be there with our camera in tote, and we'll continue to provide you with more great photos and video as they are obtained. In the meantime, here are some shots of today's action:
Butler and Gordon, back-to-back....Oh yes, this is what we're here for.
Gordon seemed to handle himself pretty well at first base today.
Scorpions win again! But RC is still waiting for Tupman's apology...