Friday night’s 17-5 loss to Stockton might have been Modesto’s worst performance of what has been a very long season, but at least two players were allowed to have some fun amidst the debacle.
Jordan Ribera and Dave Bergin, who guys who split their time between first base and designated hitter for the Nuts, were pressed into pitching duties after the game had gotten out of hand – the first position players this season to pitch for Modesto.
“It was my first time since high school, and it was completely a fun situation except that we were getting smoked,” said Ribera, who pitched a little at Clovis West High and not at all at Fresno State. “It was nice to have fun with the situation at hand, pitching like it was a pick-up game and just trying to get batters our with pitches tht were thrown beneath bat speed.”
Ribera worked the ninth inning and faced six batters, giving up a run on one hit and three walks.
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“I’m pretty sore today in spots where I’m never sore because I went through pitching motions I’ve never gone through before. My arm is hanging a little bit, but it was fun to be on the mound and look around to see all my defensive guys behind me. It’s a great sore because I got to make my pro pitching debut.”
It also was the professional mound debut of Bergin, who turned some heads with his impressive eighth-inning work, hitting 92 MPH on the stadium speed gun. He allowed a hit and also recorded a strikeout while keeping the Ports off the board.
The difference between Bergin and Ribera was that Bergin pitched in college, and coming out of Tennesse Wesleyan there was discussion as to whether he’d start his pro career as a hitter or pitcher.
“It was kinda like riding a bike,” Bergin said. “I was nervous at first, but as soon as I saw the glove I was zoned-in and ready to pitch. I don’t want to give up pitching yet, but if the opportunity is there to pitch, yes I’d go for it again.”
And like Ribera, Bergin reported being sore in muscles that hadn’t been used in quite some time.
“My back is a little sore, especially my lower back, but I have no elbow or shoulder issues,” he said. “It was one of those situations where you’re called upon and you have to make the most of it. I don’t think I could throw today and I’m not in the lineup so I guess they’re giving me the day off.”
6 million fans and climbing
The Nuts needed less than 300 fans to come through the gate to reach the 6-million mark in all-time attendance (since 1946,) and Modestan Sara Randall, a third grade teacher at Garrison Elementary was the luck fan tripping the turnstile at the right time.
Randall, who attended the game with her son Preston, said she had no idea the franchise was so close to the milestone, nor was she aware of any prize package awaiting the fortunate fan.
In addtion to being able to watch Saturday night’s game from one of the VIP suites, fully catered, with her friends, Randall won 2015 season tickets and other prizes that brought the winning package’s value to more than $6,000.
To view a video of the prize-winning family, click HERE.