Monday, April 23, 2007

0-4 looms heavy over our heads

Sorry for the lack of posting. Softball season still has 2 more weeks and my soccer reffing is in full swing: 4 games this weekend.

Last week we only had one softball game. It was on Wednesday. We started off so beautifully. I've been preaching "plate discipline" to my girls so that we only swing at strikes and it really paid off. The pitcher walked in 3 runs and gave up a couple of base hits that gave us a 6-0 lead at the end of the first inning.

Yet, our opponents wouldn't be counted out. They scored 2 in the 2nd and another 1 in the 3rd. Still up 6-3 after 3 innings (and the first hour of a two hour time limited game), I was feeling upbeat. In the top of the 4th, we loaded the bases, but my batter lined out to third, who doubled up the runner and ended the inning.

In the bottom of the 4th, my infield made 2 errors and it rattled my pitcher. She was very erratic and walked the bases loaded. After a hill conference, she walked in one run. I had my catcher try to settle her down again and she did. She struck out the next batter and got the next one to pop out to 2nd. So bases loaded, 2 outs and still up by 2. Then my pitcher gave up THE hit of the game. A deep drive into the left-center gap that cleared the bases. And the batter was awarded home when the cut off throw ended up in the 5th row of the bleachers. The next batter grounded to shortstop, but we were now down 8-6.

In the top of the 6th, my batters went one-two-three. In the bottom of the 6th, my pitcher was running out of gas and gave up a series of singles that padded the opponents score by 2.

Even down 10-6, my girls had faith. They had been hitting the ball well all game. It just usually went right at someone or we didn't get the hit when we needed it. I had the the number #8 batter leading off and she drew a walk. My #9 batter was hit in the leg with the pitch. My leadoff hitter hit 3 or 4 foul balls before drawing a walk. Bases loaded and no outs. My #2 hitter took the first pitch into left field and that scored one. My #3 hitter hit a ground ball to the 2nd baseman, who made the force at 2nd, but we scored. Now, first and third with 1 out and down two runs going into the part of my order that can actually hit. On the first pitch, my runner on 1st stole 2nd. My number #4 hitter tried to win the game with one swing, but instead struck out. My #5 hitter fouled a few off before running the count to 2-2. Then a glorious sound...a CLANK! that only aluminum bats make when they get all of a softball. The ball streaked down the first base line, a sure double that would bring home the tying run.

Then the first baseman stabbed at the line drive with her left hand and caught it in the webbing of her mitt. Our opponents celebrated...we were crestfallen. The "O" in 0-4 weighs heavy on our hearts.

In fact, team discipline has already started to break down. My practice on Friday only attracted 5 girls for batting cage time. Granted it was a Friday and the first sunny day we've had in several weeks, but still...

We have a game today and Tuesday. I'll be back with the results, but things aren't looking good. I'm without my sophomores (class trip to Florida) all week and I'm without my only good pitcher tomorrow (driving test).

We shall see.