The Dodgers Salute the Santa Clarita Valley, and More Than 1,000 Fans Dodgers Fans Cheer Jim Ventress In Pre-Game Ceremonies, Another Dodgers Win
Santa Clarita Dodger Day 2014, the Los Angeles Dodgers 37th annual salute to the Santa Clarita Valley, drew more than 1,000 SCV fans to Dodger Stadium Saturday to watch the boys in blue beat the visiting Colorado Rockies 6-3.
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It was also the season’s first movie night at Dodger Stadium, so after the game fans got to kick back on the grass and watch Kevin Costner starring in “Field of Dreams” on the two huge DodgerVision screens towering over the center field stands.
In pre-game ceremonies, Jim Ventress, the soon-to-retire head of the SCV Boys & Girls Club, threw out the first pitch, with John Arriaga of Hart Baseball and Softball playing catcher and Jason Schaff of The Signal serving as umpire.
SCV Dodger Day Shout-Out to Officials & Youth Groups
The salute began as the Dodgers P.A. announcer introduced the officials representing the city of Santa Clarita (pictured from left): Pat Downing from the city’s Arts & Events office; Holly Michaels and Rich Carr from the city’s Recreation Division; Jason Schaff of The Signal; John Arriaga of Hart Baseball & Softball; and Ventress. Each waved to the fans and got a little face time on the giant DodgerVision screens.
The PA announcer also gave a shout-out to members of several Santa Clarita Valley youth organizations attending the game.
They included the Boys & Girls Club of the Santa Clarita Valley, Canyon Country Little League, city of Santa Clarita Youth Sports, Fair Oaks Ranch Community School, First Presbyterian Church of Newhall, Hart Baseball & Softball (celebrating its 60th year in 2014), Helmers Elementary School, Santa Clarita Valley International Charter School and South Valley Church.
Ventress Walks on the Field of Dreams – Again
Saturday marked a bittersweet occasion for Ventress, who after 29 years will soon pass the torch as the guiding light of the SCV Boys & Girls Club. Before that, he’d worked with the club’s Los Angeles branch for eight years.
“Thirty-seven years altogether,” Ventress told AM 1220 KHTS prior to the game. “I survived!”
“I’ll take some time off just to have no responsibilities other than around the house, and maybe some trips,” he said. “After that, I think I’ll maybe do a little consulting, working with other youth groups or other Boys & Girls Clubs a couple times a month or for special projects. No big deal.”
Guiding young people has been part of Ventress’s life for almost 40 years, so he looks forward to staying in the game at least a little.
“That’s what I’m going to miss the most – the kids,” he said.
Ventress noted it was his second time on the Field of Dreams at Dodger Stadium for Santa Clarita Dodger Day pre-game festivities. A few years ago, he played catcher when Action chief Cary Quashen threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
“I’m excited about it, but also a bit nervous,” he said, laughing. “I have to be around the plate, man. Make it to the plate – that’s my goal. I gotta look cool, though. Boys & Girls Club – we gotta represent.”
On Saturday at about 6:05 p.m., members of the Boys & Girls Club cheered Ventress on as he took the mound and delivered a pitch just a little outside.
“Boy, am I glad that’s over!” Ventress said with a big smile a few minutes later.
SCV Kids Take the Field
Santa Clarita Valley “Kids Take the Field” participants running out onto the field with Dodger players at the start of the game included Schroeder Frolick of SCVi; Joana Veres of Santa Clarita Youth Sports; Andrew Salisbury of Hart Baseball & Softball; and Adrian Nevolo of the SCV Boys & Girls Club.
Each youngster returned to the stands excitedly showing off the baseball their designated player had autographed.
Veteran of the Game U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Antonio Tinajero
The Dodgers and Bank of America salute a veteran at each game this year, and Saturday night’s honoree was U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Antonio Tinajero of Los Angeles. He enlisted 2003, and, based out of Camp Pendleton, served as an Infantry Assaultman with four different units.
Right now Tinajero is assigned to the Wounded Warrior Battalion West, Balboa Detachment in San Diego, as he recovers from injuries he suffered when an IED struck his vehicle while he was on patrol in Afghanistan. Tinajero’s decorations include a pair of Purple Heart Medals and a Combat Action Ribbon.
“It is pretty cool, especially since [this is] my hometown and my house is literally… you can probably see it from the top of the stadium,” Tinajero told KHTS News before the game.
SCV Dodger Day Game Notes
After all that pre-game excitement, the actual game was a blast, too. With paid attendance of 45,241, it was the second game of a three-game homestand with the Rockies, and the only game of the series the Dodgers won. It was also the franchise’s 9,999th win.
Paul Maholm picked up his first win as a Dodger pitcher, besting Rockies pitcher Juan Nicasio. The Dodgers posted six extra-base hits with three doubles, a triple and two homers, belted by Matt Kemp and Adrian Gonzales (his 1,500th career hit) in the third and fifth innings, respectively.
Here’s more from the Dodgers:
• Matt Kemp knocked a pair of extra-base hits with a leadoff double in the second inning and a solo home run in the third inning, finishing the night 2-for-4. 10 of Kemp’s 14 hits this season have gone for extra bases (six doubles, four homers).
• Hanley Ramirez doubled in his first at-bat and had an RBI groundout in the third inning before being removed from the game with a bruised right thumb. X-rays were negative and he is listed as day-to-day. Ramirez has batted .400 (8-for-20) with four doubles, a homer and two RBI in his last five since Tuesday.
• Adrian Gonzalez picked up his 1,500th career hit with a fifth-inning home run, his eighth homer of the season. Gonzalez finished the night 2-for-3 with the home run and a sacrifice fly to score Yasiel Puig in the third inning. Gonzalez leads the NL with eight homers and also tops the Dodgers in runs scored (18) and RBI (22, 2nd NL).
• Paul Maholm picked up the first win (1-4) in seven career games (six starts) at Dodger Stadium and snapped a personal seven-game losing streak against Colorado, picking up his first win against the Rockies since Aug. 23, 2007 – Pittsburgh at Colorado. It was Maholm’s first win as a Dodger, as he made his longest start of the season (7.0 IP) and second quality start in four starts this year.
• Andre Ethier reached base three times with a pair of singles and walk. It was his fourth multi-hit game of the year and first since April 4.
• Dee Gordon went 2-for-5 with a triple and a run scored for his ninth multi-hit game of the year. Gordon has batted .345 (19-for-55) with eight runs scored, two doubles, two triples, a homer and four RBI in 13 games in the leadoff spot.
• Yasiel Puig drove in two runs with an RBI single in the fourth and a ground-rule RBI double in the eighth inning. Puig has hit safely in six of his last seven games, going 10-for-29 (.345) with two doubles, a triple, two homers and nine RBI since April 20.
• Kenley Jansen picked up his ninth save of the season after entering the game with two runners on base and no one out. Jansen allowed a hit, but struck out two as he escaped the jam. It was Jansen’s fifth consecutive scoreless appearance and fifth consecutive successful save opportunity. Jansen has 26 strikeouts in 14.0 innings this season.
The Dodgers and local officials created Santa Clarita Dodger Day in 1978. The City of Santa Clarita, has coordinated the event since it incorporated in 1987. Longtime co-sponsors include the Hart Baseball & Softball program, The Signal and AM 1220 KHTS, the Dodgers’ exclusive radio broadcast affiliate in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Photos: Stephen K. Peeples
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Source: Santa Clarita News