It’s Game 6 and the Crawfords Go For the Knockout in Pittsburgh
Our scene has shifted back to Greenlee Field in Pittsburgh for Game 6 of the second simulated 1936 semifinal series, the New York Black Yankees versus the Pittsburgh Crawfords. Today, the Black Yankees will have Bill Holland on the mound, trying to stay alive in the series. Crawfords’ manager Oscar Charleston is countering with Spoon Carter.
The Crawfords started off the scoring in the bottom of the third. Cool Papa Bell led off the inning with a single to right and then stole second on the first pitch to Jimmie Crutchfield. A few pitches later, Jimmie Crutchfield lofted a fly ball to right, with Cool tagging up and easily reaching third. Sam Bankhead then plated the Crawford’s first run with a fly ball to right.
The Black Yankees took the lead in the top of the fourth. With one out, Fats Jenkins singled to right. Spoon Carter then walked Rev Cannady and George Scales back-to-back to load the bases. Jim Williams then scored two runs with a double into the right-center field gap. Carter re-loaded the bases by walking the next hitter Marvin Barker, but manager Bob Clarke saved Carter’s bacon by grounding into a 6-4-3 double play.
The Black Yankees broke the game open in the top of the fifth. Pitcher Bill Holland led things off with a base hit to right. Carter got George Giles on a fly ball to left, but his control then deserted him for several minutes, as he uncorked two consecutive wild pitches with Jake Stephens at the plate, advancing Holland around to third. Stephens ultimately drew a four-pitch walk. Fats Jenkins hit a ground ball to second, as the Crawfords got the force out on Stephens but couldn’t double up Fats as Holland scored. Rev Cannady then stroked a single to right, as Jenkins came around to third. Three pitches later, Rev Cannady stole second. George Scales then slammed a base hit to deep right, scoring Jenkins and Cannady. Jim Williams followed that with a double off the left field wall, scoring the Black Yankees’ fourth run of the inning.
The Crawfords pulled just a bit closer in the bottom of the sixth. Johnny Washington led off the inning by slamming a hooking liner which stayed just barely fair along the right field line, bouncing around in the right field corner. Chester Williams walked to put men on first and third. Judy Johnson hit a ground ball to second and the Black Yankees – illustrating just how confident they felt with a 6-1 lead – completed the double play, allowing Washington to score. Holland then struck out Judy Johnson to end the inning.
The Crawfords pulled to within 6-3 in the bottom of the seventh. With one out, Cool Papa Bell drew a ten-pitch walk from Bill Holland. After Jimmie Crutchfield grounded out to third, Sam Bankhead slammed a double off the right-center field wall, as Cool Papa easily scored from first.
The Black Yankees plated a seventh run in the top of eighth. With one out, George Scales hit a line drive which slammed off the left-center field wall and rebounded a good part of the way back to the infield. By the time the Sam Bankhead and Cool Papa Bell corralled the ball, Scales was standing on third. Jim Williams then lofted a sacrifice fly to center, scoring the run.
The Crawfords mounted a small – very small – threat in the top of the ninth, with the score 7-3 Black Yankees. Dickie Seay opened things up with a fly ball to right. Pinch hitter Daniel Wilson hit a ground ball to second, putting the Crawfords within one out of a tie series. Cool Papa Bell lined a single to right and Jimmie Crutchfield walked, putting men on first and second, but Bill Holland struck out Sam Bankhead to complete the 7-3 win for the Black Yankees.
So we’re six games in, and the series stands at three games apiece. One game, winner take all!