Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Game Saving Double Play

Will turned a dramatic game-ending double play with the tying run racing to the plate, to save the Longhorns 7 – 6 victory last night in Powder Springs. It was at least the fourth straight game where Will turned a double or triple play.

Will came up in the top of the first with two on and one out, and drove the ball to deep left-center field. The ball bounced once, then hit the top of the fence, and bounded over for a ground rule double, knocking in the first two runs of the game.

In the second Will came up with two out and the bases loaded and hit the ball even harder…pulling it down the left field line. The sizzler bounced once and scooted down in the corner. All three runners scored easily, and Will pulled into second with a standup double. He took third on a passed ball and scored on a wild pitch. After two innings the Longhorns led 7 – 3, with Will accounting for six of the seven runs.

Coach Henry’s defensive plan finally worked, with Will catching and David Bartlett playing shortstop most of the game. In the first inning Will just missed throwing out a runner stealing second. He made a great throw, but the runner slid in just ahead of David’s tag. Later it appeared Will let a pitch roll away from him, trying to goad the runner to go to third. Then the next pitch sailed to the backstop, and bounced back close to Will. He grabbed the ball, squared his body, and made a perfect throw to Michael to nail the runner at third, ending the inning.

Will threw out another runner stealing in the fourth inning. After the leadoff hitter struck out, the number two hitter, the shortstop, lined a single into left field. On the second pitch he took off for second. Will made another perfect throw, and David made the catch and applied the tag, ending the threat and preserving the one run lead.

The Longhorns failed to score for the third straight inning in the top of the fifth. Will again reached base with a sharp hit after being down two strikes in the count, but he and Christian were stranded. Will finished with the only Longhorn hits of the game.

Up by only one run going to the bottom of the last inning, Henry stuck to his plan. Little slow-baller Russell went out to pitch his third inning, having only allowed one run in the first two inning he had pitched. Will went out to play center field. The cleanup hitter led off, and he quickly lined a single up the middle. Will charged it with the intent to throw the batter out at first. I don’t know if Paul was paying attention, so it was wise for Will not to throw.

Then the next hitter hit another sharp single up the middle. Again Will charged the ball. Coming up with it quickly, he had the runner coming from first. Second-baseman Christian was a step off the bag, ready to take the throw from Will to force the runner. But at the last minute shortstop David stepped in between Will and Christian, so the out couldn’t be made. The next batter grounded out short to first, putting the tying run on third and the winning run on second with only one out. The runner on second was Powder Springs best player, a tall, lean fast runner.

The next batter again lined the ball into centerfield, a high rope that Will had to reach to the right, across his body, to spear for the second out. The runner at third went back and tagged, heading home to score the tying run. Will took this in, but quickly turned and snapped a bullet throw to second base to double off the runner and end the game.

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