Friday, April 18, 2008

Game 6 against CL recap

I created quite a stir with the upper school teachers yesterday when I said, "In the event that one of the students below has a 6th period, they won’t be there. They’ll be going up CL to get their heads handed to them with me."

I fielded a few e-mails and several other passing comments from folks wondering why I was so down and where was my spirit. What I didn't include that initial e-mail was that CL was 3-0 for the season, outscoring their opponents 60-0. They had thrown two perfect games. And last year, they tossed a perfect game against us as well. While maybe I shouldn't have been so honest, my belief in getting our butts kicked was justified.

So we traveled (and I drove...all 22 miles including trips on the Beltway and suburban Maryland) up to CL to get beat. As it happened, when we arrived the team was taking infield and outfield practice. They were like Hoover's out there. Sucking up everything in their path. I knew for sure we'd never make it 60 feet to first.

We had a minor hiccup in that no ump showed up, so a dad for CL was pressed into service behind the plate. He was decent, but didn't know all the rules, so CL's coach and I had to do some officiating during the game.

In the first inning, my leadoff hitter, a freshman with ice in her vains, was able to make contact with the ball, but grounded out simply to the 2nd baseman. My next hitter stood her ground in the box when an errant fastball skipped off the ground 5 feet short of the plate and hit her in the shin. Hit by pitch!!!! A runner on 1st!!!! No perfect game! I'd have to go to the video replay, but I believe I jumped up in the air in excitement.

The runner, a junior and our starting 2B, is a beast on the base paths. So I gave her the steal sign. And steal she did. Runner on 2nd! That's twice as many bases as we had last year. Over the next couple of pitches, the runner was taking big leads and just itching to come to 3rd. However, the catcher's arm was too good and I didn't give her the steal sign. After pushing the count to 2-2 on my All-Star catcher, their catcher lazily threw the ball to the pitcher, who missed it and let it roll slowly toward 2nd. My runner, looking for any chance to get to third, took off like a bolt of lightening. She was at 3rd before the ball was even picked up.

When she got to third, I told her, "You are my favorite." Unfortunately, my catcher struck out and so did the next batter. We stranded "my favorite" on third.

In the top of the 1st, my pitcher started off with a strikeout. And then gave up 9 runs. She just doesn't throw hard enough to fool anyone on that team. That, combined with some miscues by my outfielders, meant that CL batted around and then some. So at the bottom of the 1st, we were down 9-0

The top of the 2nd was uninteresting as every girl struck out. In the bottom of the 2nd, CL put another 5 runs on the board before we could get 3 outs. Even then, I think CL's coach was helping us. With the bases loaded and his #5 hitter up, he had her bunt. Obviously, the easiest force play is at home and we got the girl to end the inning.

The top of the 3rd was a little more interesting. Two girls made contact and hit the ball to SS and Pitcher, respectively. They were both thrown out by several feet at 1st. The 3rd batter of the inning struck out on an outrageous change up. The CL pitcher's fastball is around 57-60 mph (from 40 ft away). Her change up probably comes in at 45 or 50 mph. My batter could have swung twice before the ball got there.

In the bottom of the 3rd, it was all bunting all the time by CL. Although they loaded the bases, we kept them from scoring. 14-0 after 3.

In the top of the 4th, "my favorite" walked. She stole 2nd and then advanced to 3rd on a passed ball. My All-Star catcher struck out for a 2nd time that game, but my pitcher grounded a slow roller to 1st base. "My favorite" scored, while the pitcher was the 2nd out of the inning at 1st. The next batter struck out. BUT WE SCORED!!!! In fact, we were the first team all year to score on them. 14-1 after 3 1/2. Again more bunting practice in the bottom of the 4th. I tried to get every player in the game so they could get some playing time and to reward them for coming out all season. For several girls, it was their first playing time all year.

As it so happened, my pitcher-of-the-future's (because she is the only underclassman that can pitch) dad showed up. She got on my case about not having her dad there to watch her sit on the bench. So when we got 2 outs (and bases loaded), I put her in. While she was warming up, I looked at the bench and realized I had left out one player. She was my back-up 2nd baseman. So I called "my favorite" off the field and put in the freshman back-up. As "my favorite" left the field, she ran past me and said, as only a 16 year old girl can, "I thought you said I was your favorite."

My pitcher-of-the-future walked the first girl (nerves) forcing in a run, but was then able to make the final out at home on a bunt play.

In the top of the 5th, we went 1-2-3. Game over.

15-1 was the final score. But I take that as a moral victory. We are now 1-5, 6th in our 7 team conference.

Our last regular season game is on Monday. I'm feeling confident that we can win that game, but I was confident last year and we played like sh*t. So stay tuned for the details.