Cheerio, Cunningham’s ball had a lot of English on it

Zach Cunningham has been swinging a sizzling bat of late.

The Marietta Post 64 left fielder was a combined 5-for-6 with a couple of doubles in his team’s doubleheader sweep (11-6 and 8-6) of visiting Cambridge Post 64 at Legion Field last Thursday night.

“Actually, I’m just trying to do my piece,” Cunningham said.

But it was the right-handed-swinging Cunningham’s only “out” in the sixth inning of Game 1 that had everybody kind of scratching their heads. Even Cunningham was wondering what was going on.

“Honestly, never in my life have I seen that happen,” said the former Frontier Cougar, who is now a roster member of the Capital University baseball team.

Here’s what Cunningham and everybody in the vicinity witnessed. With two outs, two on, and two Post 64 runs in, he stepped into the batter’s box to face Cambridge Post 84 right-handed reliever Hunter McClellan.

McClellan of Meadowbrook High entered the game in the bottom of the fifth inning, and before the frame was over, Marietta had plated six runs to pad its lead to 9-2.

McClellan, who threw what could only be described as a “blooper” pitch, walked Cunningham the first time he face him. Up to that point, Cunningham was 3-for-3.

“I don’t know what you would call it,” said Cunningham of McClellan’s pitch. “It was a curveball and it was super slow — and it dropped a lot.”

Anyways, in Cunningham’s second at-bat against McClellan, he hit a ball off the end of the aluminum bat, and it appeared to spin foul to the right side towards the Cambridge first-base dugout.

But the next thing you knew, the ball spun sharply left back onto the infield grass to the charging McClellan, who fielded it and threw to first-baseman Steve McPeek to get Cunningham out.

“I was a little anxious and was way early on it,” Cunningham said. “I hit it right off the end, and I thought it was going into the (Cambridge) dugout.

“The next thing I know, it’s in the first baseman’s mitt. It’s crazy. I froze then I took off. I was thinking, ‘Wow, I can’t believe this is happening.'”

But happen, it did.

The ball had so much English on it that you could almost imagine it saying “Cheerio” to Cunningham as he hustled down the first base line.

Occasionally, on a bunt down the first or third base lines, the ball will have a tendency to do this (spin), and that’s why the fielder will immediately pick it up when it goes into foul territory, so that it doesn’t roll back fair.

But in Cunningham’s case, he took a really hard swing at the ball. And, that’s probably why it veered back into fair territory.

If fans saw it on film, they would be truly amazed.

The ball basically had a mind of its own.

Would really like to see Cunningham perform that “trick” again. (LOL)

Ron Johnston is a Marietta Times sports writer, and can be reached at rjohnston@mariettatimes.com

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