Sunday afternoon the Wildcats lost 6 – 3 to Milton. With the time limit expired, Will came up to bat in the bottom of the last inning with two out and the bases loaded, representing the winning run. All he had to do was hit a grand slam. The game was played on the same Roswell Area Park field where he had last hit a home run, just a few weeks ago.
The first pitch of the game was a ground ball to third base. Will fielded it and easily threw out the runner at first. He made an identical play in the fourth, and in the third charged a bunt, fielding it so quickly that he considered throwing out the lead runner at second. Instead he wisely threw out the batter at first.
In the bottom of the first Will flew out to center. Although he’s been hitting around .500 and reaching base 75% of the time, he’s been frustrated at the plate. I thought his spirits were lifted with the long fly he hit Thursday evening, that would’ve been a home run on today’s field. In the third Will turned on an inside pitch and grounded it down the line. The third-baseman was barely able to throw Will out at first.
In the fifth Will led off with a single to left. Dispite another single by Ritchie, again the Wildcats were unable to score.
Down 6 – 3 going to the bottom of the sixth, Will was due up sixth in the inning. Vince led off and hit the ball hard, but right at the centerfielder for the first out. Trey was walked, but was forced at second. Chris barely beat the relay to first to avoid a game ending double play. Jeremy blooped a single to right, and Nick’s line drive single to right loaded the bases, setting the stage for Will.
Milton changed pitchers, and Will stayed near the batter’s box, eying the hard-throwing reliever. Will took the first pitch, a called strike down the middle. The next pitch was inside, and the third pitch was low. The fourth pitch was low and outside, but an anxious Will took a swipe at it, evening the count at 2 & 2. Will fouled next pitch back over the first base dugout, then fouled the sixth pitch back over the third base dugout.
With two strikes against him, Will had no choice but to keep swinging. With seventh pitch was also down the middle, and Will got a good cut on it. As Nick’s dad would later say, he got just under it, resulting in a fly ball the leftfielder caught to end the game.
Down on himself for not hitting a home run, Will went off by himself after the game. The same umpire who had complimented Will on his catching Thursday night went out of his way to offer encouragement to Will.