Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Game 3: Struck by Lightning

It’s often said that when you think you’ve seen everything in baseball, a game like last night’s comes along. Before the game talking to other dads, I remembered that though we’d beaten Powder Springs at home, we’d never won at their place.

The Marlins pitcher wasn’t overpowering but struck out 7 of the first 13 batters. It was still a scoreless game when Joey, the 14th and last batter in the lineup, walked on a full count with 2 out in the 4th inning. Not a speed merchant, Joey stole second base and scored on young Patrick’s single to right. Powder Springs had yet to produce a hit, so I wondered if the pitching duel would continue.

But relief pitcher Tanner walked the first two batters in the bottom of the fourth, after walking two the previous inning without harm. The next Saints pitcher gave up four hits and a walk, so Will was called in to pitch with the bases loaded and no out, the score 4 – 1. Will got his first batter to hit a routine grounder right to the second-baseman, but the ball was misplayed the ball and two more runs scored. With runners at second and third Will struck out the next three batters, ending the inning.

Down 6 – 1, John Fulton led off the top of the 5th by bunting the relief pitcher’s first pitch foul. He then slammed the next pitch over the left-fielder’s head for an easy double…the longest hit I’d ever seen off his bat. Christian, Will Grey, and Preston all walked, loading the bases for Will. He promptly lined the second pitch into left-center for an RBI single. Will then scored game-tying run, scoring from second base on Colin’s line drive double to right-center.

Jack and Tanner reached on errors before the inexperienced Kevin lined an RBI single to center. As Russell and Josiah walked and advanced to third and second, you could see lightning quietly light up the distant sky far beyond centerfield. It appeared to be moving closer as Russell and Josiah advanced to third and second. The Saints had scored 9 runs in the inning without recording an out. But if the game was called before the home team could bat, the score would revert to the end of the previous inning.

Coach Chris instructed Joey to swing at everything. Russell and Josiah were instructed to give themselves up, and they were tagged out between bases. Powder Springs huddled in the infield, then with two strikes on Joey, decided to change pitchers (a stall tactic perhaps, but the previous pitcher had yet to throw the ball in the strike zone after 12 pitches). The lightning was slowly moving closer. After the new pitcher was finally warm the umpire “decided” to call the game. Instead of winning 10 – 6, the Saints lost 6 – 1.

Notes: John Fulton also walked and advanced to third, and made a sharply-hit grounder to second look routine. Josiah also made a nice play at shortstop, on a tough hop. His bases-loaded walk drove home Tanner.

FYI: The Marlins may have played an “ineligible” player. When I arrived at the field I was greeting by Powder Springs coach Randy, so I stopped to say hello. I hadn’t seen him at the Interlock scheduling meeting, and he said he was taking the fall off, as his son Corey was playing football and was only filling in. Was he on the official roster? Later I noticed Randy sitting behind the fence near first base, signaling his catcher son with a wave. Joey stole second on the next pitch. Randy had stolen our steal signal!

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