BRONX, N.Y.—Wednesday at New Yankee Stadium, it didn't take long for the Nets' players to realize their best chance at beating the coaches meant avoiding the vacuum-cleaner at shortstop.
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from Wednesday's game.
"Stop hitting it to Jeter!" Paul Pierce barked, trying to rally his squad. "Let's go!"
But Coach Jason Kidd – who played baseball through high school and occasionally practiced with the team at University of California – smoothly fielded all 10 of his chances, erasing several would-be hits and at one point playing a hand in six of eight outs as the coaches edged the players, 10-9. Assistant Eric Hughes scored the deciding run on a fielder's choice in the bottom of the seventh; Athletic Trainer Tim Walsh earned the RBI.
"I'm sure happy that Coach Kidd got done playing," said lead assistant Lawrence Frank. "One guy can change your whole culture."
The coaches jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first, when Hughes and Kidd laced back-to-back singles in front of Assistant General Manager Frank Zanin, who opened the scoring with a ground-rule double. Walsh roped another double and both runners scored.
They added two more in the third on a pair of multi-base errors by the players, with assistant Charles Klask reaching second on a throwing error and scoring on a deep dropped flyout that left YES Network coordinating producer (Nets Basketball) Frank DiGraci on third. Assistant Trainer Nixon Dorvillien singled home the fifth run.
In the top of the fourth, the players finally broke through, with Jason Terry and Alan Anderson singling and then scoring when Pierce's deep fly ball bounced off the rightfielder. They followed with two more in the fifth, when Stephen Walsh roped a two-RBI single that plated Director of Team Security Robbie Masiello and T.J. Kidd.
The coaches roared back with four in the sixth, opening the inning with five straight hits, the most damaging of them a two-RBI triple by Chief Marketing Officer & Chief Revenue Officer Fred Mangione, who brought home Director of Public Relations Aaron Harris and Assistant GM Bobby Marks. Klask singled home Mangione, and DiGraci later singled and scored on a base hit by Director of Minor League Operations Milton Lee.
With a commanding 9-4 lead, the coaches had control, but the players chipped away immediately. Plumlee and Pierce reached on singles in front of Anderson, who's triple plated two. Masiello followed with an RBI knock, and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by equipment manager Joe Cuomo.
That set the stage for Hughes' single and score in the bottom of the frame, putting the coaches up 10-8. After an exchange of three-up, three-down half-innings in the eighth, rookie center Plumlee sparked visions of a rally, leading off the ninth with an inside-the-park home run. But Anderson and Pierce grounded out, and Masiello's liner was snagged safely out of the air in right.
"That was a big hit by Mase," Pierce said. "That's our power guy. He came up big for us, but unfortunately we came up short."
Added Plumlee: "If we were on our game, we shouldn't lose to anybody. It was a tough one, but we'll get 'em back next year!"
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