Game 2 – Can the Grays Even Things Up Against the Monarchs?
With the Monarchs off to a one game lead in the Series (just like the real world, where they won Game 1 by an 8-0 score), we’re back at Griffith Stadium on September 10, 1942 for Game 2 of our Series. This time, Monarchs’ manager Frank Duncan is sending Hilton Smith to the mound, and he’ll be opposed by Roy Partlow.
David Whatley opened up the bottom of the first for the Grays with a base hit up the middle. Jerry Benjamin bunted Whatley over to second. Then Buck Leonard lofted a booming fly ball to right field which looked like it was going out. Ted Strong managed to get his glove on it for the out, but the speedster Whatley managed to score all the way from second on the sacrifice fly. Hilton Smith then loaded the bases on a single by Josh Gibson and back-to-back walks by Sam Bankhead and Howard Easterling, but he got manager Vic Harris on a ground ball to third.
The Monarchs briefly threatened in the top of the fifth. After Buck O’Neil led things off with a ground ball, Bonnie Serrell singled to right. Jesse Williams singled Serrell all the way over to third, but Williams was cut down on the next pitch trying to steal second. Not long after, Monarchs’ manager Frank Duncan ended the inning with a foul pop fly to first.
The Monarchs threatened again in the top of the seventh. After back-to-back ground balls, Bonnie Serrell doubled into the left-center field gap. After Partlow walked Jesse Williams on four pitches, Monarchs’ manager Frank Duncan sent up Booker McDaniel to pinch hit for . . . Monarchs’ manager Frank Duncan. McDaniel tagged on to right center, but Whatley made a diving stab for the third out.
The Monarchs finally got their threats to pay off in the top of the eighth. Pitcher Hilton Smith led off by drawing a walk. After Willie Simms hit a single to short right field, moving Smith over to second, Herb Souell bunted both men over. Two pitches later, Partlow managed to hit Ted Strong, loading the bases. After Willard Brown and Buck O’Neil followed with singles – to right and right-center, respectively, bringing in Smith and Simms, Vic Harris had seen about enough of Partlow.
So what do you do two hitters after your pitcher beaned a guy to load the bases? Yep, bring in a guy known as “Wild Man” Walker. Walker promptly gave a practical demonstration of his nickname by throwing his first pitch over Josh Gibson’s head, scoring Ted Strong with the third run of the inning and sending Buck O’Neil to second. Serrell followed with a base hit to right, moving O’Neil over to third. Jesse Williams closed out the scoring of the inning with a base hit up the middle, scoring Willard Brown.
But the Grays answered in the bottom of the eighth with a two-out rally of their own. Jerry Benjamin stroked a two-out single to left. Buck Leonard followed up with a single to right-center, advancing Benjamin to second. When Hilton Smith walked Josh Gibson to load the bases, Frank Bradley went to his bullpen, bringing in fireballer Frank Bradley to face Sam Bankhead. Bradley gave up a sharp single to Bankhead which scored Benjamin and Leonard, making it a 4-3 game. Bankhead advanced to second on the throw home by the Monarchs. With a base open, Bradley intentionally walked Howard Easterling. But he then walked manager Vic Harris too, scoring another Grays run and tying the game at four. Bradley got Matt Carlisle a couple pitches later, as Carlisle hit one of Bradley’s infrequent curves a weak grounder to second.
After a 1-2-3 ninth inning on both sides, Game 2 went to extra innings.
Ted Strong led off the Monarchs’ tenth with a walk. Willard Brown singled to right, bringing Strong all the way around to third. Buck O’Neil then sacrificed in the Monarchs’ lead run. After Bonnie Serrell was out on strikes, Jesse Williams crushed one into the right-center field gap, scoring Brown all the way from first. After Pea Greene drew a walk, pitcher Frank Bradley lined a single to right, scoring Williams with the Monarchs’ third run of the inning and seventh of the game.
In line for the win after blowing the save, Frank Bradley was back on the mound for the bottom of the tenth. After he got Buck Leonard on a pop up and Josh Gibson on a line drive to right, he lost Sam Bankhead on a full-count fastball that was just a bit low. But Howard Easterling was next, and when Bradley popped him up to first baseman Buck O’Neil, the Monarchs had grabbed a two games to nothing lead in their opponents’ home ballpark.