Will’s Dodgers beat the other Mt. Paran pony team, Henry’s Yellow Jackets, 10 - 7 last night.
Again Will was the starting pitcher. He arrived at the game tired, having worked with George again, cutting 9 yards. Will struck out two of the first four batters, and got three of the next four to ground out. Two of the groundouts were back to Will on the mound.
On one high grounder, Will had to quickly reach across to spear the ball. His cleat couldn’t catch on the carpeted artificial mound, instead sliding out from under him. He fell onto the mound, his hands making a big thud on the carpet-covered wood. He was able to quickly stand up and throw out the batter at first.
In the third Will struck out two more batters, but the shortstop’s throwing error on the leadoff hitter led to two unearned runs. After Will’s three innings of pitching, the Dodgers led 7-2. The only balls hit off him had been grounders.
At the plate, Will batted second again. In the first he walked, stole second, and scored on a single. With two out in the second, he walked again, advanced to second on an error, and to third on a walk, before the side was retired.
Garrett came in to pitch the top of the fourth, threw hard, and made good pitches, but the fielders had a hard time catching the ball. Our small group’s babysitter Jared led off and drove the ball to the fence, over 350 feet away. In right-field Joe made a good throw to Will, now the second-baseman/cutoff man. Will wheeled and fired home, holding the long-legged Jared to a triple.
The Jackets scored four to come within a run, with one out and the tying runner on third. Then our neighbor Alexander hit a soft spinner down the first-base line. The spin kept the ball from rolling foul. As the tying run charged home, the first-baseman came in to make the play. But the ball spun past him, near the bag. Alexander sprinted to first. All the activity kicked up a cloud of dust, but the umpire’s OUT call was clear…Will had charged over from his second-base position, grabbed the ball, and slid into the bag for the putout!
On the play Alexander had spiked Will’s ankle, but Will was able to field the next batter’s more routine grounder, to make the last out of the inning. Now it was getting darker as the Dodgers came to bat in the bottom of the fourth. Will came up with two on / one out and hit a two-strike pitch hard, but right at Jared at third. Jared made a nice play and stepped on the bag for the force. Later Will stole second and scored, when the shortstop’s throw to first to end the game tied was off the mark.
Joe had another good game with two hits…lining a single to right for an RBI, and singling up the middle in his other at-bat. He and Nathan each scored once. Nathan showed up for the game with a Red Cross sticker on his helmet, just like the Braves.
There's the chance they won't make the playoffs, sure. Things have gone the Braves way the last 14 years, so you never know when it's gonna go the other way. It's never the regular season when Ron Gant gets pushed off first or Lonnie Smith gets fooled on the bases. But the Braves have been there before. The Marlins have a good team, but have never won the division. The Phillies are always waiting for things to go wrong. That rookie 1st-baseman is good, as is Bobby Abrahue, but it seemed typical last night when Langerhans took an extra base off Abrahue. The Mets and Nationals won't charge.
So for the Braves not to make the playoffs, both the Marlins and Phillies or Astros would have to pass the Braves. But since the Marlins have to play the Phillies, that just makes it harder for both teams have to win a lot of games. I wouldn't bet that the Braves won't make the playoffs.