When Sports Were Played: Kane, Wild Things were able to pull off 2003 comeback – Observer-Reporter

Posted: July 1, 2020 at 8:48 pm

Todays When Sports Were Played goes back exactly 17 years, to July 1, 2003, when the Washington Wild Things overcame a dreadful first inning and an eight-run deficit to beat the Kalamazoo Kings.

After losing two consecutive games with listless performances and surrendering 15 runs while being drubbed Monday by Kalamazoo, the Wild Things desperately needed a good start last night against the Kings.

So what kind of start did Washington get? Try this:

It was a brutal way for a scuffling team to start a game.

But there were eight more innings to play and the Wild Things were determined to use them to their advantage. So they chewed away at Kalamazoos lead like termites in a lumber yard, and when Jason Kane hit a three-run homer off reliever Keith Nawrocki in the bottom of the eighth, the Wild Things had secured a wild and stunning 12-11 come-from-behind victory before 3,287 at Falconi Field.

Kane came to plate with no outs, runners on first and second and Kalamazoo leading 11-9.

Everybody in the park expected a bunt, said Wild Things manager Jeff Isom.

Everybody, that is, except Washington hitting coach Joe Charboneau.

Bunting was the right thing to do, but I looked at Joe for a second opinion, Isom said. He said Jason was having good at-bats, so we let him swing.

And why argue with Charboneau? After all, it was Joe Charboneau Mini-Bobblehead Doll Night.

So Kane swung at the first pitch he saw from Nawrocki (0-2) and drove it over the second tier of fence in right field.

I expected to get the bunt sign, said Kane, the Wild Things left-handed hitting third baseman. When I didnt get it, I was trying to drive the ball hard to the gap. I got a good pitch to hit.

Kane, who was 1-for-5, almost had a three-run homer in the fourth that would have cut Kalamazoos lead to 10-8. Instead, he hit the ball into the teeth of a strong wind that was blowing in from right field, ahead of a storm front. The wind knocked the ball down at the edge of the warning track.

I hit the first one harder than the second, said Kane. I definitely thought the first one was gone. The second one, I didnt know about.

The 7-0 first-inning deficit wasnt the largest of the game for Washington (22-12). The Wild Things trailed 10-2 in the fourth, but they scored three times in the fourth and added four more in the seventh to pull to within 10-9. Kalamazoo (13-21) added what seemed like an insurance run in the eighth, but the Wild Things responded by putting together another amazing comeback in the bottom of the inning.

It was quite a change from the games beginning.

I didnt have anything to say to the guys after the top of the first, said Isom. I got out of the dugout as soon as the third out was made. They knew they couldnt make three errors and give up four hits and seven runs, especially after the way we played Monday night.

Anthony Kozol (2-0), the third Washington pitcher, was the winner, pitching two innings. Kozol entered in the top of the eighth with the bases loaded and no outs. He escaped by allowing only a sacrifice fly.

Kane, who also hit two run-scoring groundouts, finished with five RBI. First baseman Zach Cates went 3-for-5 and hit his seventh home run leading off the bottom of the second.

When Sports Were Played: Kane, Wild Things were able to pull off 2003 comeback - Observer-Reporter

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