PROCTOR GETS HIS TEAM PUMPED BEFORE THE GAME
After missing a big game last week, I and the rest of the team were anxious to take the field Sunday night. Me obviously because I hadn't played in two weeks and the rest because we'd lost two in a row. It was gut check time.
As the game began, it seemed like a lock we'd end the losing streak as they were one player short. That meant, they'd be playing one fielder short-- usually it was three outfielders, but they also played without a 2nd baseman at times. It also meant they had to take an automatic out at the end of their lineup.
Then the game began.
We never took full advantage of their shortcomings. We got out to a quick two-run lead but gave it back in the bottom half. It was a 3-2 deficit and we could tell this wasn't going to be easy by any stretch.
BRIAN HIRTEN LACES A TRIPLE THAT WAS FOLLOWED BY A HOME RUN BY CHRIS GERVAT
It's tough to remember exactly how the rest of the game went chronologically because I was on little sleep and a few energy drinks after catching the red-eye back from Alaska, but our bats never responded enough to take the lead in this game and it was close all the way through. We seemed to hit everything at their shortstop who made every catch and every throw to first and missing opportunities in a wide-open outfield and a gap at second at times.
One defensive inning (maybe the 4th) stands out. Their first batter got on and their second hit a grounder up the middle. I scooped it on a bad hop, slid across the bag and fired to first to get the runner by a half step. I was pumped. Mostly because of the double play, but also because I didn't let the ground get by me. This field is awful for bad hops and I had three in the game eat me up. Their third baseman also had a couple jump on him. Anywho, after the double play, they rallied to get a couple runners on, but their lead-off hitter fouled one toward the fence in left and Brian Hirten came in to make a sliding catch up against the fence. He got jumping celebration fives from me and Proctor for that grab.
Probably the key play of the game came in the 5th with a runner on first and two outs and after their batter they had to take an automatic out. In these situations, you usually instruct your player on the bases or at bat to take an extra chance, possibly never stop running and hoping the other team throws it around and you score because you're going to be out of the inning after this batter no matter what. The other thinking is to not gamble and get thrown out if it's imminent, because if you get caught, then you start the next inning with the automatic out. Since this was a not-so-fast girl on the bases, all we had to do was hustle the ball in and we'd be out of the inning. The guy at the plate hits a hot shot to me at short, it takes a bad hop and bounces over my head into the outfield. I hustle out for the cut-off which goes over my head and the girl on first is able to get all the way around to score.
I slammed the ball down and it rolls into the dugout before the ump yelled time. Luckily, he recognized I had it long enough and acknowledged the third out of the inning, but the damage was done. 8-5 bad guys.
We rallied for two runs in the next inning thanks to a clutch double by Matt Ondecker, but we'd strand him and trail 8-7 going to the bottom of the 5th.
They scattered a couple runners and with two outs, one of their best hitters flared one to left where Brian came up with his second diving catch of the game to get us out of the inning. [Note: This was a little redemption for Brian. The batter, a female, came up in the 1st and crushed one over his head in left].
EVIDENCE OF A GOOD DEFENSIVE EFFORT FROM THE TEAM
I led off in the 6th with my best hit of the night that I thought was headed for a gap given they were playing with 3 outfielders. But they were moving one back for a fourth with some hitters and were able to cut this one off and hold me to a double. Big play. Tori followed with a shot down the first base line the first baseman was able to come up with and make the out. The girl playing first was also a huge key in the game with her hits and fielding. Next batter-- pop up to the pitcher. Next batter-- a ground out back to the pitcher. Stranded at third.
We held them again in the bottom half, but we went meekly in the 7th and lost 8-7.
Lost in the outcome was a pretty good defensive effort from us. Steingreaber made a couple nice catches in her first ever game at third, but it was our lack of exploiting their weaknesses that killed us. In fact, they turned their disadvantage into an advantage in a couple places that really turned the game.
So, we have to live with that disappointing effort for two weeks thanks to a week off for the July 4 holiday. But we'll be back and ready to get a win and to get Proctor's pants off. Whoa-- I probably shouldn't let that hang out there-- he refuses to wash his pants until we win. And they stink. If you knew Proctor, you'd agree.