The coaches played instead of the kids, and rather than bats, gloves and a ball, Casey O'Connor of Christian Brothers Academy and Kevin Halburian of Colonie used dice to settle Friday's Suburban Council baseball opener.
"I texted Kevin and said, 'I got a righty,'" O'Connor said, chuckling, Friday night during a phone interview. "He said, 'I got a lefty,' and we went back and forth."
Halburian had a little more luck rolling the dice than O'Connor did, and Colonie came out with a 9-2 win in a seven-inning board game that was viewed via a text-message exchange by several more of the league's coaches. Halburian and O'Connor played using a board game made by “Across The Board,” a company that describes itself on its website as a “St. Louis family owned and operated workshop specializing in high quality, handcrafted, unique wooden board games.” In the company's baseball game, rolled dice combinations decide the outcome of each play.
"A couple of years ago, I bought the game for my kids," O'Connor said. "We were looking for things do, and I came up with the idea and texted the Suburban Council coaches about it."
O’Connor’s club was the home team for the game — so, as is customary, O’Connor reported the game to area media outlets. Actual contests between spring teams in Section II are on hold until at least April 19 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Halburian's rolls led to three runs in both the sixth and seventh innings as Colonie broke open what O'Connor said would be the first in a series of games to come.
"Everyone was having a good time with it except for me. I came out on the losing end," O'Connor said. "My starter got it going, and my reliever couldn't get it done."
O'Connor said there was plenty of good-natured banter between the coaches playing the game and those watching as the action progressed.
"One of them goes, 'Make sure your guy gets the proper days rest before his next start,'" O'Connor said in reference to the state’s pitch-count rules.
Colonie was slated to play Friday at CBA in one of several of the league openers that had been scheduled long before schools closed up and athletic competition was put on hold.
"I feel bad for the kids," O'Connor said. "They keep texting and calling me hoping I have an answer. I've got nothing to tell them, but to follow the [social-distance] guidelines and do the right things because that's what will help us get back on the field."