By Ellen Turf
In the always fierce and sometimes nasty rivalry between flowers and vegetables, the Duluth Daylilies clipped the Rochester Radishes 5-3 on Saturday evening in a game that was notable for the sportsmanship shown on both sides.
When the teams met in late March for a scrimmage, officials stopped the game in the fourth inning following a bench-clearing brawl. The fight broke out after Daylily catcher Brian Lily lost two petals as he rounded second base, and slow-motion instant replay clearly showed that Radish second baseman Carlos Radish had intentionally plucked the petals as Lily passed him.
No such dirty play marred Saturday’s game, as fans instead were treated to clean and thrilling baseball. A capacity crowd at Duluth’s Kale Park roared and nearly uprooted itself as the hometown Lilies broke a 2-2 tie in the seventh inning on a bases-loaded triple by Miguel Lily. The Radishes managed one run in the ninth inning but were then shut down by Lily pitching ace Jimmy Lily, who struck out nine batters, walked two, and sliced and salted one.
The Radishes had their chances. They jumped out to an early lead on a solo homerun by Alberto Radish in the first inning. A walk and a single then put runners on the corners as power-hitter Jason “Red” Radish came to the plate, threatening to put the game away. But Red Radish struck out on three straight curve balls by Lilly, who has perfected what his teammates have dubbed “the really silly Lily curve.” Opponents attest that the pitch is nearly unhittable.
“I swear that guy puts some kind of voodoo hex on the ball,” said Vince Radish, who grounded out twice and struck out twice against Lily. “He throws it and it starts to come at you, then it stops halfway to the plate and sort of grins at you, kind of mocking you; then it starts again but comes at you much faster, like it’s angry and wants to hurt you. It freaks me out.”
Duluth scored two runs in the third inning when Derek Lily ripped a double off the center field wall, knocking in twin brothers Alex Lily and Billy Lily. Their older brother Willie remains sidelined with an infestation of aphids and spider mites.
In tomorrow’s action, the Lilies host the St. Cloud Sweet Potatoes while the Radishes travel to Mankato to take on the Chrysanthemums.