I nearly cried yesterday. It was getting really dusty in the old dugout around 5 PM at the Little League Field.
After losing our first 8 games, some closely, some not so much, we finally won one. It was a dominant win by the Codgers, who rolled to an 18-11 win over Amvets. It was the best Father’s Day present ever.
It didn’t look like we would get it done early. The first inning was another entry into our patented “One Bad Inning” Syndrome. It happens every game, and this one it was out of the box. We hit the ball well in the top of the first, putting up 3, but they got six as our starting pitcher, who hadn’t pitched before in a game, struggled. Maybe it was nerves, maybe it was mechanics, maybe it was coaching, but he couldn’t find the plate and they took advantage.
But the Codgers bats were alive. Every player in our lineup on this day reached base at least once. We had a couple of triples, a couple doubles, a bunch of singles. We just kept crushing the ball, it was a beautiful thing.
And our coaching strategies were sound on this day. We went to our second best pitcher early, putting him out there in the second inning and he battled. He didn’t have his best stuff, but he did the job and kept us in the ballgame.
In the top of the second we got the lead, but then they got it back. In the third, though, we rallied again and took it for good.
Our league has a rule that ends innings after 10 batters. I made my best coaching move of the year with our 10th batter of the inning up.
Here’s the situation, we had runners at second and third and one out, but the outs didn’t matter because Jaden was the last batter of the inning no matter. The other coaches decided to intentionally walk our free swinger, instructing their guy to bounce the ball in, knowing that the inning would end as soon as the man took first.
So, I told my runner on third that as soon as ball four crossed the plate to break for home and get into a rundown. He looked at me like I was crazy, but I said “just do it, trust me.”
Wouldn’t you know it, the move worked. The catcher was dumbfounded that the runner was bearing down on him, and came after him and then threw it away. Jack scored easily from third and we almost got the other man in from second before the coaches finally got their catcher to hold the ball and wait for the play to end, but we stole another run and had complete control.
Gavin came back out for the bottom of the inning and rolled. We got one more in the fourth and then brought in Jack, our top pitcher, for the fourth inning. He mowed them down and the game ended on the time limit.
Our guys were ecstatic. They doused me with water like we had won a championship. Maybe there were no trophies, but it sure was a great afternoon and sometime I’ll never forget.
Rye was so happy that we finally won, and he scored his first run of the year. He’d been so close, but had been stranded on third several times. He strolled across home plate in our big third inning rally and jumped on the dish like he had just scored the winning run of the World Series, hopping on it with both feet triumphantly. I wish I had a picture of that moment, but I’ve got the memory.
This is a busy week, we’ve got three games in three days, starting Monday. After that the playoffs begin this weekend. We’re not about to get cocky, but maybe — just maybe — it’s all coming together.
By the way, I haven’t forgotten you, my readers. I was on vacation the last week or so. It killed me not be writing about the NBA Finals and the resurgent Red Sox, but when you’re on vacation you really need to step back from work, at least that’s what my wife kept telling me.
The views and opinions in the Enterprise blogs are those of the author and are not neccessarily shared by Falmouth Publishing.