Ben Kussie digs out of the box for the Reds in the 18th annual old-timers and alumni Stars and Strikes game as MacKenzie Bond waits on deck. Bond tripled home Kussie in the bottom of the seventh to tie the game and send it to extra innings. (Photo courtesy Paimon Jaberi)

Ben Kussie digs out of the box for the Reds in the 18th annual old-timers and alumni Stars and Strikes game as MacKenzie Bond waits on deck. Bond tripled home Kussie in the bottom of the seventh to tie the game and send it to extra innings. (Photo courtesy Paimon Jaberi)

Reds win BI’s Stars and Strikes game with walkoff double

Participants glad to be back after year off due to COVID

After COVID-19 wiped out the 2020 iteration, the boys of summer were back at the Bainbridge High School baseball field on Independence Day.

The island’s old-timers and alumni gathered once again for the 18th Stars and Strikes game. It was one of the few 4th of July events that was held unaltered, though they were able to hold the game later than normal.

First pitch usually arrives a little after 9 a.m. at BHS, but with no parade or other competing events, the game started at noon.

The Grays have been on a winning streak the past few years, but the Reds came up big in the late innings to capture the victory.

“There’s getting to be a rivalry there,” said Gregg Mesmer, one of the event organizers.

The Reds trailed 6-3 at one point and were down to their last three outs in the seventh, but with Ben Kussie (Class of 2014) on base, MacKenzie Bond (Class of 2009) smashed a triple to the outfield to tie the game 6-6 and send it to extra innings.

After holding the Grays scoreless in the top of the eighth, Nate Gottlieb (Class of 2005) led off the bottom of the inning with a single. With one out, Kevin Roach (Class of 2005) doubled to the outfield to drive in the winning run.

With July 4 occurring on a Monday next year, the 19th version of the game may take place on July 3. Under the assumption that 4th of July events return to normal in 2022, a late afternoon game could be in the cards.

But for now the players and organizers are just happy to have had the opportunity to get back on the field.

“It was really a lot of fun, and they were totally stoked about getting it going again after a year off,” Messmer said.

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