Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Soda Springs and Broken Arms

The first year Weldon coached Hyrum Little League, he was only 15, and I was 13, his assistant.  The kids on the team were only a year younger than me, and three years younger than Weldon.  However we had some good players.  James Keeley pitched, and he was as fast as anyone on the other teams.  Kenny Jensen was a natural ball player.  He played shortstop and had a high batting average.  We also had Nicky Bowen at third who had a high on-base percentage.  Jay Shaver was the fastest on the team, and was often called upon to steal a base.  Our league rules did not allow a base runner to leave the base until the ball passed the batter.  This made stealing a base a difficult affair.  Sometime we would employ delayed steals--taking off when the catcher threw the ball to the pitcher.  Jay was the only would who was for successful at a strait steal.  This was before the head first dive was outlawed for little league.  That was Jay's favorite slide.
We would take our all-star team to traveling tournaments at the end of the year.  We were not part of the Official Little-League.  Soda Springs was the first tournament.  Their diamond was a dirt infield and was fairly hard.  One game, Jay was called upon to steal second.  I don't remember if he was safe.  However with his head first slide he broke his arm.  It was a pretty bad break and obviously broken.

Jay Shaver is kneeling, facing the camera, in the middle
He ended up at the Soda Springs Hospital.  With no one over 16 in our group, we walked to the hospital.  It was a long walk.  The hospital was on the edge of town.  We made it there did did our best to cheer Jay up.
As for how the tournament went, I don't remember.  We were a win a game, maybe two before losing out of the tournament in those days.
I had my turn at the same hospital the next year.  Soda Spring also hosted a pony league tournament on the same diamond, with the fence and bases back farther.  We were playing Pocatello, and I was called upon to bunt for a suicide squeeze.  I laid the bunt down the first base line, scoring a run from third.  However as the first baseman went to tag me in front of the base, I had a momentary idea that if I crashed into him, maybe he would drop the ball and I could make it to first.  However he tagged me from the side, and I lost my balance and did a somersault tumble, breaking my left arm.   The umpire kicked the first baseman out of the game, more because of one of the kids in the Pocatello dugout laughing than for what he had done.
Me batting at Soda Springs the day before I broke my arm

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