Brothers hit home runs—for opposing teams

The 17th version of the Big Rock Men’s Fastpitch Invitational last weekend in Mount Vernon, Wash. proved doubly delightful for Marshall Shields.

Wearing two hats as manager of both the Richmond Junior Athletics and Stealers, Shields relinquished the latter for one game Sunday after both teams made the tournament final. Then in the championship game, his two boys exchanged home runs—for opposing teams—as the Stealers overcame a 4-0 first-inning deficit to defeat the Athletics 8-6.

Ryan Shields connected on a massive 300-foot shot off Stealers’ starting pitcher Darren Strang  in the second inning, his brother-in-law James Spooner cleared the fence with a third-inning offering.

“It was a family affair,” laughed Marshall, who after filling out both lineup cards surrendered control of the Stealers’ dugout to Strang to focus on managing the under-19 Athletics.

Though he gave up a home run to Jake Doyle on the game’s opening pitch and two more first-inning singles to the Athletics, and additional runs in the second and fifth innings, the victory ensured Strang had the last laugh.

The young Athletics reached the final with a come-from-behind victory over their own in the semifinals, defeating Seattle Inter Door 6-5.

Doyle also delivered a home run in that game, the deciding score being set up by a pair of back-to-back singles by Tyler Mackoff and Michael Hicks in the bottom of the seventh inning. The Athletics had trailed 5-1 going into the inning.

Midget-aged sensation Brandon Donegan pitched three games for the Athletics and also had three homers in the invitational. His play, and that of his teammates, drew much praise from opponents.

“The other clubs were so impressive with how well the boys played,” said Marshall. “It’s a credit to the Richmond boys’ program.”

The Stealers are slated to be back in action Tuesday against Team Canada’s under-19 squad—featuring Ryan Shields and Jake Doyle—in an exhibition game at Steveston Park. First pitch is 7 p.m. Team Canada will also square off against the Richmond Mariners at 8:30 p.m.

On Monday, Richmond Canadians and Richmond Mariners will play back-to-back games against New Zealand’s under-19 national men’s fastpitch team at 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

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