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  • Writer's pictureKirk Jenkins

Game 7 – New York at Pittsburgh With the Series on the Line

With the series on the line – 3 games Crawfords, 3 games Black Yankees – both managers have opted for risky moves, bringing back starters on short rest: Roosevelt Davis for the Black Yankees and Satchel Paige for the Crawfords. Who will take the series? Let’s find out!

Both teams threatened in the first. Jake Stephens reached on a one-base error by Crawfords’ shortstop Chester Williams and then advanced to second on a stolen base. But Paige bore down and managed to get Fats Jenkins on a ground ball and struck out Rev Cannady to end the inning. In the bottom of the first, Sam Bankhead launched a two-out double to right, but Jake Gibson was out on a line drive to right fielder Jim Williams to end the inning.

The Crawfords mounted a mild threat in the bottom of the third as Cool Papa Bell sliced a double to right center with two outs. But Jimmie Crutchfield ended the inning with a fly ball to center.

In the top of the fourth, Jake Stephens led off with a walk. After Fats Jenkins was out on a pop up to second and Paige got Rev Cannady on strikes, George Scales singled to right. Stephens stopped at second.

The Crawfords staged another mild threat in the bottom of the fifth. Judy Johnson led off the inning with a base hit to left. Davis got two straight hitters – Dickie Seay on a line drive to left and Satchel Paige on a pop up to first baseman George Giles – but Davis then walked Cool Papa Bell to put men on first and second. But he then managed to get Jimmie Crutchfield on a ground ball to short to end the inning.

The Crawfords had yet another man in scoring position in the bottom of the eighth. With one out, Sammie Bankhead singled to left. Davis walked Josh Gibson on four pitches to put men on first and second. But he then got Johnny Washington on a long fly ball to right and Chester Williams on a ground ball to short to end the inning.

Billy Williams led off the tenth for the Black Yankees with a double off the left-center field wall. Williams was stranded at second as Marvin Barker and Bob Clarke went out on back-to-back ground balls to short. Clarke sent up Spoony Palm to pinch hit, hoping to bring the run in, but Spoony grounded out to third.

Henry McHenry replaced Roosevelt Davis in the bottom of the tenth, pitching for the Black Yankees. Sam Bankhead reached on a one-out one-base error by Jake Stephens. Josh Gibson then doubled to left, leaving men at second and third (and the Crawfords closer to scoring a walk-off run than ever before). Johnny Washington flew out to short left field for the second out. The Black Yankees intentionally walked Chester Williams, but they then got Judy Johnson on an inning-ending line-out to third baseman George Scales. So with the series on the line, the game continued.

In the bottom of the twelfth, Jimmie Crutchfield led off with a ground out to third. Sam Bankhead followed with a double off the left field wall. After Josh Gibson grounded out, sending Bankhead to third, McHenry intentionally walked Johnny Washington. He then managed to strike out Chester Williams to end the twelfth.

The thirteenth and top of the fourteenth passed with one-two-three innings, and the game continued, nothing to nothing. Satchel Paige, who had pitched a complete-game three hitter only three days earlier, was still on the mound, and Henry McHenry, having relieved Roosevelt Davis in the tenth, was still on the mound for the Black Yankees.

Cool Papa Bell was set to lead off the fourteenth for the Crawfords. He worked the count to 3-1 and then stroked a single into left field. After Jimmie Crutchfield forced Cool at second, Sam Bankhead came to the plate. Notwithstanding the situation, he was cautious, ultimately working McHenry for a seventeen-pitch walk, putting men on first and second. That brought Josh Gibson to the plate.

The first pitch from McHenry was a strike on the outside corner. After McHenry missed twice, bringing the count to 2-1, he evened the count on a swinging strike to Gibson in the outside right corner. Gibson then fouled off two breaking pitches. McHenry tried to follow him off with a looping curve which was supposed to be on the outside corner.

Gibson went the other way with the pitch, slapping it to right field. Jim Williams rushed back towards the fence as the wind caught Gibson’s fly ball, pushing it further out. Finally, Williams rested his right hand on the fence and leapt for the ball, but Gibson’s slam was several feet beyond his reach, dropping over the fence for a three-run, walk-off homer.

Fourteen innings. The Crawfords win, 3-0 and four games to three and advance to the championship series against the surprising New York Cubans, upset winner over the Kansas City Monarchs.

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