ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – For 50 minutes Monday afternoon, Tropicana Field belonged to baseball’s better half.
Wives and girlfriends of Miami Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays players and coaches held the third annual “Citrus Classic” before the Memorial Day matchup between Sunshine State teams. Rays Wives won 13-12 in a dramatic finish, when Sarah Fuld, wife of outfielder Sam Fuld, scored from first base on a game-ending single by Aly Shelton, wife of batting coach Derek Shelton.
The game was held for good causes, with Rays Wives playing on behalf of Autism Speaks, an autism advocacy organization, and Marlins Wives for Shake-A-Leg Miami, a non-profit organization in South Florida that works with kids and adults with physical, developmental and economic challenges in a marine setting.
“I have faith in Sam,” Sarah said of the winning run. “He was our first-base coach. He told me to be aggressive.”
The victory marked the start of a winning streak of sorts in the series for Rays Wives, who won 14-2 last year at Marlins Park. In 2011, Marlins Wives claimed the inaugural game 6-1 at Tropicana Field.
Make no mistake: This was no light-hitting affair. The game included some power: Ashley Koehler, wife of Marlins pitcher Tom Koehler, smacked two home runs with the shortened field; meanwhile, Tiffany Smith, girlfriend of Rays pitcher David Price, cracked one as well. Rays Wives outhit Marlins Wives 21-19.
“I wasn’t thinking home run,” Smith said. “But I did tell the coaches my birthday is today, and I wanted to hit a home run.”
Call Price impressed … and eager to offer a sweet postgame reward.