The Dodgers were in uncharted territory as the Eastern Baltimore County Over-40 Baseball League entered its sixth week on Sunday.
The team was 2-3, the deepest into a season it ever had a losing record. Heck, Dodgers manager Tony Ranocchia couldn’t remember if the Dodgers had ever before lost three games during the regular season.
Then again, it is a new season for the Over-40 League. For the first time since the lague’s second season in 2011, the defending champion is someone other than the Dodgers (or their earlier incarnation, the Reds) or the Pirates.
The Royals won the league title for the first time last season, defeating the Cardinals in the championship game.
The Dodgers got back to .500 with a 9-3 win over the Astros at Martindale Park, but the five-time league champs still have not had a winning record this season, having alternated losses and wins since dropping their season opener to the Rays 10-7.
The Rays share second place with the Cardinals, both teams 4-1 after the Cardinals beat the Orioles 21-4 on Sunday at Patapsco High while the Rays had a bye.
(There are nine teams in the Over-40 League this season, so one team has a bye each week. The league also technically just finished its eighth week; there have been a lot of rainouts.)
The Cubs are in first place with a 6-0 record and are hoping this is the year they finally turn a good regular-season record into postseason success.
They opened the season with a 14-8 win over the defending champion Royals, and have also beaten the Cardinals 9-7, the Dodgers 7-5 and the Rays 13-7.
The Royals have a 3-2 record and are tied with the Astros for third place.
Sunday’s game between the Astros and the Dodgers was tied 1-1 after three innings when the Dodgers erupted for six runs in the bottom of the fourth.
Tom Szewczyk’s bases-loaded triple was the key hot of the inning, giving the Dodgers a 4-1 lead.
Ben David, Ranocchia and Mike Wizdbar also had RBI singles in the inning.
The Dodgers added two more runs in the seventh inning with an Astros error, an RBI single by Rob Levine and an RBI double to deep center by Stu Anthony.
The Astros weren’t able to mount much of an offense until the ninth inning, when Herb Randolph blasted a two-run home run and estimated 360 feet into the Elks Lodge parking lot next to Martindale Park.
(There is a fence around the parking lot).
Vince Butzner pitched the first five innings for the Dodgers and had seven strikeouts.
In the top of the thrd, the Astros got a single, walk and another single to scorea run and have two runners on base with one out.
A walk loaded the bases with two outs, but Butzner ended the inning with a strikeout.
Bryan Pennington hurled the last four innings for the Dodgers.
This Sunday sees the Cubs play the winless Diamondbacks at the Legion Post 38 field; the Royals play the winless Orioles at Dundalk High; the Cardinals face the Padres (1-4) at Martindale Park; and the Rays take on the Astros at Patapsco High.