Monday, June 30, 2008

Back to the Grind

Trip back went pretty good… got back at 1:30 am Friday night / Saturday morning…so traffic on the trip back was a non-issue. Drove back through Ott, the way you had on your original directions (on the way down I missed that exit and went further south on the Interstate…using your alternate directions. Even then I missed a turn and stumbled across your original route in Florala…Ceil was none the wiser.

The 40 miles from condo to ballpark wasn’t much of an issue, either. Early games every day left rest of the days open. Destin beach was great…beautiful water and sand, not crowded at all. Saw dolphins and a Coast guard rescue practice. Will played well, especially at shortstop…even on a pretty bumpy field. Won 2, lost 3. You know me, I’ll add detail soon, I hope.

Got to talk to CSS’s Matt Stewart for a long time at a party Saturday…at the Hurt’s, in celebration of Margaret’s making it to the maintenance phase of her leukemia. Didn’t recognize Matt at first…turns out his cousin and uncle coached me years ago in Macon. Anna has done things with his daughter in the past, and Ceil knows his wife from home school meetings. Matt didn’t mind talking sports, and did a good job remembering names. There were few guys at the party to talk to, so we were stuck together for a while.

Ceil’s friend just bought an expensive camera and is trying to get into photography…she recently shot the neighborhood swim team. Will’s teammate Bryce’s mom did some photography for a fundraiser attended by Smoltz, Hudson, and Frenchy.

Month end today…it didn’t take long for me to hack off my boss. Things went smoothly while I was gone…I only checked email once…only returned one email and took one call…

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Tuesday: Pitching Duel Defeat

Tuesday: C, A, & M stayed at home, slept in, watched “The Minutemen” on Disney, and did laundry. Will had another 10:30 am game, this time against the NE Louisiana WarHawks. The day was sunny and much hotter than Monday’s game.

Beforehand Andrew’s dad Ernie invited me up to the scorer’s booth, upstairs from the concession stands and restrooms, in the middle of four fields. AIR CONDITIONING! Since there were no open windows we had to pay special attention, as we were cut off from the normal ballpark noise. Even the scoreboard we were keeping was hard to see.

The Wildcats loaded the bases in the top of the first with one out, then Will popped up…infield fly rule. Will caught the first four innings. In the bottom of the first NE La had runners on first and third, with two out. As usual, the WarHawks’ runner on first broke for second, trying to draw a throw. Will fired the ball to second in time, and the runner stopped, trying to give the runner on third time to score…but Andrew tagged him out before the other runner crossed the plate.

Six runners were stranded by the Wildcats in the first three innings. NE La loaded the bases in the second, and the Wildcats infield was drawn in. The batter grounded sharply to third-baseman Trey, but his throw to force the runner at the plate sailed to the right of the runner, past Will standing in fair territory with his left foot on the plate. Instead of an inning-ending double-play, NE La went up 1 – 0. This run would later loom large.

For the next 3-1/2 innings neither team scored. The WarHawks twice left the bases loaded, as Wildcat pitchers walked six batters in the six inning game. Up 0 – 1 in the count, Will squared to bunt. The pitch came in behind him, hitting Will in the back as Will tried to twirl out of the way. He said he got his hand safely on the base when he tried to steal second, but the confrontational umpire called him out.

NE La scored two more in the fifth, on a leadoff walk and a double down the third-base line (late in the game the baselines should’ve been guarded closer). Will handled his only chance at shortstop flawlessly. Down to their last at bat, the Cats finally rallied. Three straight singles and a walk plated a run, loaded the bases, and chased the pitcher.

Will stepped in with the go-ahead run on first. His hard grounder was speared by the third-baseman, who stepped on the bag for the force…but Nick scored to bring the Wildcats within one. Down one run, Ernie told his wife on the call that the only way Andrew wouldn’t bat would be if there was a double play. Chris hit a line drive right at the second-baseman, who fired to second to double-off Anthony…game over.

Will and I ate with some of the team at Subway, then we drove back to Destin. After some time in the condo and on the beach we ate at an undermanned Moe’s, then found Ceil some clam chowder at Harbor Docks.

A Long Thursday in Panama City Beach

Must-Win Morning Game

Facing elimination, it was someone disconcerting to make the early morning trek for the second straight day, only to discover the opponent was the second-seeded North Alabama Giants. Again I sat with devoted dads Ernie, Rick, Anjo, and Ron, discussing strategy. Experts Ernie and Rick agreed with me that Will, struggling at the plate, need to keep his weight back to produce more extra-base hits. I had told Will that at this point, he should do whatever felt most comfortable. Hitting off his front foot he was hitting grounders, but at least he was hitting them hard.

Andrew was the starting pitcher, and he pitched the game of his life, according to his dad. He went six innings, spreading out five hits and only one unearned run. Andrew was also perfect at the plate, going 2 – 2 with a walk.

In the second inning Will got things going offensively for the Cats with a walk. He reached second on a fielder’s choice, then scored on an error. In the fifth he stroked a low inside pitch down the leftfield line for an RBI single. He scored from first on a two-out double, so he accounted for 3 of the Wildcats’ 5 runs.

Again Will had an excellent game in the infield, turning double-plays in three of the six innings. He finished with six assists and five putouts.

After six Andrew was spent, having thrown 65 pitches. Will was brought on to pitch the seventh, and though the Giants managed a couple of seeing-eye singles, he fielded a come-backer to the mound and struck out two.

Thursday Afternoon

After the game Will wanted to spend the afternoon with a teammate, so he went with Jeremy and his dad Rick…who had taped their morning at bats. Rick showed them what they were doing wrong, and worked with them in a nearby batting cage.

C, A, M, and I again hit the new Pier Park shopping center, browsing stores and eating at Five Guys burgers. Ceil developed pictures at Target, I had keys made at Lowes, and we escaped the heat at Borders…where I quickly devoured The Baseball Economist.

Then we met all the team families for dinner at the Pineapple Cove restaurant, site of the original Panama City Boardwalk. As the sun set the temperature cooled, making for a nice night back at the baseball field. All the families were there, so Matthew again had the young boys to chase foul balls with, and Anna played games with a group of six girls.

Thursday Night Re-Match

We arrived at the park to discover our opponent were the GAC Spartans, who had demolished the Wildcats 13 – 2 the day before. This time the Cats played much better, but GAC leapt out of the gate with three home runs in the top of the first.

But in the second Will answered back, launching a deep home run of his own off an 0 – 2 pitch. Then in the fourth Will drove an outside pitch to the right-centerfield fence for an RBI double. He then scored from second to tie the game.

GAC then continued their homer-fest, scoring five more runs off two more homers. The Wildcats couldn’t answer, and lost 10 – 5. We made it back to Destin after midnight.

Wednesday Blow Out

An 8 am game with the chance of another later in the day, the whole family woke up early and drug out to the van. Behind schedule, but luckily the earlier morning traffic was lighter. With the sun out, it was to be another scorcher.

Wednesday’s opponent, the Greater Atlanta Christian Spartans, had lost their first two games and were seeded ninth to the Wildcats’ fourth. But perhaps they were saving their pitching until the elimination rounds, a little like we did in the Tuesday game. Things didn’t look good when the number two hitter hit a two-run home run in the top of the first inning.

The Wildcats loaded the bases with two out in the bottom of the first, but failed to score.

After GAC scored two more in the second, Will led off the bottom of the inning by ripping a double down the third base line. Ritchie bunted toward first, but my eyes were on Will as he rounded third base at full speed. The third-baseman was spectating, watching the bunt play while basically backing up onto the third base bag…and Will ran right into him. Meanwhile the pitcher finally picking up the bunt, and stood up to find no one covering first…Ritchie would be safe. But Will was steaming home, and finally the pitcher threw to the catcher. Will slid in (headfirst, of course) barely ahead of the tag.

Bryce walked, and Ritchie took third on a sacrifice fly, and then scored when Bryce was thrown out stealing second. The score was 4 – 2, but Bryce limped off the field…he had hurt his other hip.

GAC scored nine unanswered runs, aided by 8 walks, two batters hit, and five Wildcat errors. Will added a single to left, as well as a putout and assist at shortstop.

After the game we took the scenic route back to Destin, taking Highway 30 through Seaside. We briefly stopped by the outlets and Wal-Mart. At the beach we removed a jellyfish from the ocean. Matthew picked the restaurant…Longhorn.

Later we walked around the Destin Commons shopping center. I walked out of one store, later turning around to find Will talking to a teenage girl, while a gaggle of other girls stood waiting. After they talked for a while, they hugged goodbye. It was Avery, a Living Science classmate.


We come home?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Dining Room...Again

Ceil's hard work is paying off...the new curtains are hung...and look beautiful. It's becoming a dining room again.

The Latest Footwear

After wearing Crocs for a few years, Matthew finally spotted a pair of sneakers that he liked. Supposedly they say '1998' on the back...his birth year.

Ceil is coaching him on how to wear the footies with them.

He's also organizing his sock drawer. Things are a'changin'.


Can't let a throwback game pass by without posting a photo. Nice shot in SI of three sets of striped stirrups. Wish the Braves would switch to the dark tomahawk and striped stirrups full time.


Ate at Fuddruckers yesterday…they have a great burger, as does Ted’s. I had never had the regular burger at Ted’s until the last time…I like it better than the buffalo. But Ceil would rather eat at other places, so we’ll give y’all a rundown.

Had to go bowling last night with the work crew, at Jillian’s at Discover Mills. Sounds like the Braves game might’ve driven us crazy yesterday…Boyer is now 1 – 5.

Yesterday I accidentally sent a work email to Mary Hubert.

Knowing us, we won’t get out tomorrow until after lunch. Will may have a 7 pm practice on Sunday, and the first two games are at 10:15 am on Monday and Tuesday…then double elimination will start Tuesday afternoon.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


We have the same problem…shopping trips and going out to eat. When there’s a lot going on…multiple events on the same night, we eat out more. With summer things have slowed down. Hopefully next week’s beach trip won’t kill us. The Whitakers say they’re leaving food for us, which is great…they’re there this week.

We’ll hopefully have Sunday. Will has 10:15 am games, then bracket play starts…double elimination. The games are 45 miles away, so with one car we’ll all have to get up early. Maybe Ceil will have the kids at the beach there.

It was nice to see Gonzo back…that’s all I saw of last night’s game. Will’s team won at Shaw Park…as captain he got to make the lineup. I told him to think like he was on Survivor and bat last, letting the guys from the bottom of the lineup hit first. Instead he had a random draw, but it worked out pretty good.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Speed Skating Corner

Will's basketball teammate and classmate Jonathan is the new National Speed-Skating Road Champion. Today he won the following medals...

20k Road Race Gold Medal
500m Sprint Bronze

With the 20k win, Jonathan becomes the National Road Race Champion. He earned a place on the Junior World Speed Skating team. In September he will compete for the USA in Spain.

So he's good at both long races(12.4 miles),
and short distances (three-tenths of a mile).

Peachtree Pointers

If you ran the Peachtree Road Race with me, you’d grow tired of all the stuff I’d tell told you about the race. It’s fun to discuss now…I can go on and on.

We’ll be able to walk to the start together, since groups 5 and 6 are next to each other, on Peachtree just north of Lenox Road (there will be volunteers and directional signs). Yes, group 5 is a fenced-in area for all those with numbers from 50000 to 59999.

The start is staggered…all the groups wait and are released one group at a time, with about a 5 minute gap between groups. We’ll start a good 30 – 45 minutes after the Kenyans (around 8 or 8:15 am)…so the race will be won by someone before we start!

When we cross the starting line we’ll take note of the race time. There are mile markers placed on telephone poles, with a volunteer calling out the race time…so we can track our mile by mile progress. I’ll be pointing out the mile markers as we near them. My sport watch battery ran out, perhaps I’ll get it replaced before the race.

The start is particularly crowded and slow, and it takes a half mile to thin out (that’s where Will & Dixon will have to be most careful). I’ll outline strategies, like staying to the right, getting behind people moving at the same speed, etc. The course in generally “flat” for the first mile, then downhill the next two. Then we can walk up the hill past Piedmont Hospital, then alternate walking and running on the rolling hills the rest of the way. There’s a big clock at the finish, so we’ll be able to figure our time.

We’ll have a pre-arranged meeting spot for Will and Dixon, along with contingency plans. The meeting spot will probably be right at the base of the awards stage, as that’s were Will needs to be (and it won’t be as crowed there as the “alphabet balloons” will be).

As you’ve probably noticed, the multi-page Instruction Sheet is very informative. It’s a fun read, though 99% of the runners don’t…you can tell!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Action Shot

Will jumps over Addy at a recent pool party. Reminds me of when I was 14 and boys were jumping off the top of a boat house over me...until one kid didn't make it. Instead he landed with both feet on my back. I could have easily been paralized, or drowned.

Recital Picture

I couldn't find many good pictures from Anna's Mother's Day weekend recital, but here's one...

My Grandfather's Hat

That's MY grandfather's hat, which has become a favorite plaything in the house these days.

I inherited four of my grandfather's hats when I bought his house after he died. Three are kept in an old Rich's hat box, which is falling apart. The fourth has it's own deluxe box...complete with the receipt still in the box.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Four Games in 24 Hours (& 5 in 50!)

An interesting weekend. Friday I decided to work late, missing Will’s tourney game in Kennesaw, getting ready for next week’s vacation. Ceil went and had a good time. They only managed one hit…Will went 0 – 2 with a deep fly that was caught.

Saturday Will & got haircuts and ran errands, before finding out the game would be at 6:30. The tourney was double-elimination from that point on. The thunderstorms had pushed game times back, and games were running long…mainly due to umpires not keeping things moving. I dropped Will off at 5:30 and hit a store I had seen. Got back to find out the game would start at 8:30, so I did more shopping and reading. Then the game before ours went to extra innings…our game didn’t start til 9:55!

Will got one of the team’s two hits…beating out a grounder to short. At short Will had 3 putouts and an assist. With the bases loaded Will caught a line drive. The runner at third was close to the bag and there was no play at second, so Will fired to first to double off the runner…but the throw hit the runner, allowing the runner from third to score. That’s the way the game went. They only lost 7 – 3…the game finished just before midnight.

We were supposed to go to White Water Sunday morning with a family from Small Group, but we called it off because of baseball. Ceil was going to Decatur to see four of the Norman boys get baptized, at the church pastored by Fred O, Steve’s best friend. There was a large crowd there from Living Science, and Ceil, Anna, & Matthew ate at Everybody’s Pizza with them…A & M got to sit with all the bigger boys and girls. Then Ceil went to the Dekalb Farmer’s Market.

Will’s noon game started around one…they only had nine players. In the third inning rightfielder Anthony called time & removed himself from the game, feeling too bad to continue…though he finished with 5 RBI. They were permitted to finish the game with eight players, and the Wildcats beat a Shaw Park team with several coaches and players we knew. Will had a double and single and scored three runs. In the fourth his sac fly made the score 14 – 7, and the game was ended.

The next game started just before three. Audie wrapped his cast with an Ace Bandage and suited up, becoming the Wildcats’ ninth player. The opponents seemed talented, but again everything went our way. Again Will had a double and single, scoring two more runs. Once he was on third and was caught off base on a grounder back to the pitcher. The pitcher ran at Will and finally tossed the ball to the third-baseman. Will dashed home, but the throw was high, and Will scored.

At short again Will played well, with a putout and four assists. Up 6 – 0 with 2 out in the bottom of the sixth, a batter doubled into the corner. Jeremy ran the ball down and relayed to Will, who fired home just in time to nail the runner at the plate…ending the game.

The championship game started at 5:45. Will was the starting pitcher and struck out three in his two innings of work. He had two more RBI doubles…one a shot well over the leftfielder’s head. After Will scored to tie the game at three, I left for a Small Group meeting that I couldn’t miss. Later Will said he made a nice diving catch of a grounder up the middle, and hopped up to throw out the runner at first. The game was played the full seven innings, and the Wildcats didn’t have enough pitching to last, and lost 12 – 6.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Another Wildcats Loss

Wednesday afternoon and evening Will attended his varsity basketball team’s game at Phillips Arena, which was followed by the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream game against New York. After the game the guys spent the night together, and Will only got two hours of sleep. Thursday his Wildcats played an 8 pm game in the late afternoon heat, at Big Shanty Park in Kennesaw. Still, Will could not have played better.

He hit the ball hard every time he batted:

In the first the shortstop snagged a grounder and barely threw Will out at first.

He lined a fourth-inning letter-high inside pitch over the third-baseman’s head. The left-fielder ran hard toward the line are barely cut the ball off from rolling to the fence. The first-base coach waved Will toward second, but changed his mind as Will was a third of the way toward second. Will hesitated, then continued on to second when the shortstop missed catching the cutoff throw. As the second-baseman scooped up the ball near the infield side of the bag, Will slid in headfirst from the rightfield side of the base, barely sticking his hand in before the tag. Will took off for third on the next batter’s grounder to short, and continued home when the first-baseman was unable to handle the throw. The Wildcats scored another run to tie the game.

At shortstop Will also played flawlessly, with two putouts and an assist. He also handled several good cutoffs from the outfield, made a quick catch and tag to retire one base-stealer, and almost repeated that feat a second time.

Will was brought in to pitch the top of the sixth inning. With Audie, Nick, and Anthony out, the Wildcats defense was already depleted. Then slick-fielding shortstop / outfielder Andrew came up lame and sat out the inning. Will proceeded to face ten batters…only one hit the ball solid and hard. He walked none and only threw three balls to just one batter. Still, Will thought he pitched poorly, though eight of the ten batters should have been put out. Here’s how the inning went:

Grounder through the backup first-baseman’s legs (one missed out).

Line drive the centerfielder went for, then backed off (two).

Hard bunt that rolled under Will’s bare hand (three).

Bases loaded triple to right center…after a bunt rolled foul.

Strikeout (four).

RBI bloop single to center, off the handle of the bat.

Hit by pitch…later forced at home (five).

Bloop single just out of backup second-baseman’s reach (six).

Fly ball the backup rightfielder should’ve caught (seven).

Double play…pitcher Will to catcher to first (eight).

In the bottom of the inning Will hit a sharp grounder up the middle, but at the last second the pitcher flung his glove out and speared the ball.

Today should be a restful day for Will. Tonight’s game is at 6 pm.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Braves Blues

Jeff Schultz wrote: The teams with the top three payrolls in baseball (Yankees, Mets, Tigers) have a combined record of 88-101. The teams with the bottom three payrolls (Marlins, Rays, A’s) are a combined 105-84.

Think people will ever learn that in baseball, spending more money gaurantees nothing? The Pirates and Royals always have low payrolls, but have long missed the playoffs. Organizational compency and lack of injuries are big keys.

Every team suffers injuries, but the Braves have had it rougher than ever this year…Smoltz, Glavine, Hamption, Gonzalez, Soriano, Moyland, Jurrigans, Kotsay, Chipper, Diaz…that’s half the pitching staff and a third of the defense/offense. Still, they’re not out of it by any means. Now Chipper makes the cover of Sports Illustrated just about the same time he gets hurt…coincidence?

Just read the Brett Farve retirement SI cover…that article and most of the steriod article…reminded me of your comment on softball players taking steriods. Interesting that regular people in their 50’s are taking small amounts to improve quality of life, and how rappers, etc and Hollywood stars are using as well. Adam Sandler has to be.

Tuesday night C, A, and M really enjoyed College Road Trip…Will practiced, after cutting grass & clearing brush for most of the day. Today he went to the Atlanta Dream game…his basketball team played beforehand, and lost. DJ supposedly hit a “half-court, fadeaway, buzzer-beater”.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Golden Ticket (er, Silver Number)

Will got his Peachtree number yesterday, though I didn’t. He’s in time group 5.

The big white envelope is more clearly marked than previous years. There’s also a coupon for a free carwash enclosed.

I didn’t think anything about his number being grey, until I saw the enclosed letter, saying he is one of 250 to be given the “silver” numbers. At 10 am after the race one of the 250 is given a trip to Dublin Ireland. Perhaps the silver numbers were mailed a few days early.

The finishing instructions are interesting……the finish line is between Ponce de Leon and North Avenue on Courtland Street. After the finish the runners turn left on North Ave, then right onto Piedmont. The T-shirt lines are on Piedmont on the way to the Civic Center. Everyone walks past the Civic Center, then turns left onto Ralph McGill, then left again into the parking lot. But once you have your T-shirt, you can head to the right, east a few blocks to the North Ave or Civic Center MARTA Stations.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Weekend Stuff

Saturday I got the oil changed and worked around the house, then took Ceil to Perimeter, Lenox, Harry’s, and Ted’s Montana Grill.

After church Sunday we all went to Costco, and had pizza there. Ran into the Statham’s…parents of Anna and her younger sister Sarah, who was in Lang’s grade at SPdL, and is now handling the promotions at the Saratoga NY race track. Ben shook his head when I told him Edie retired.

Took the new Westside Parkway home from Windward Parkway, but they only have portions of it complete. It may take some traffic off 400.

After the Braves lost it in the 9th I took A & M to the pool…read through four Sports Illustrated’s, but I’m still a long way from catching up.

Will’s Friday night game had such lows and highs that I wrote a long essay about it.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Miracle Comeback Falls a Half Step Short

For 3-1/2 innings Friday night the Wildcats played some of their worst ball of the season, negating a fine pitching performance by Andrew by repeatedly failing to make plays. The Big Stixx’s first two hitters set the tone with a deep triple and RBI single, but after a fly out, Andrew fielder a sharp comebacker, wheeled and led shortstop Will perfectly, and Will turned the inning-ending double play.

Things then worsened in the bottom of the inning, when the Wildcats failed to put the ball in play: two walks were mixed in with three strikeouts.

In the top of the second, the next six Stixx batters should’ve been retired, but only three actually were. The lumbering Stixx first-baseman beat out a slow roller to third, and the next grounder was just out of the diving third-baseman’s grasp. The next grounder was in the hole, but Will made a nice backhanded stop. He set himself to flip across his body to force the runner…but the second-baseman failed to cover the bag. Will quickly reloaded and fired a throw to first, but the speedy runner easily beat it out. Will was able to force the next runner at second, but the second-baseman turned and threw to first - with no chance to get the batter. When the throw sailed to the fence, the runner scored from third. The next batter popped it up high, behind first-base…just out of reach of three fielders. Mercifully, Andrew struck out the next batter.

After the Wildcats went down in order, things got worse defensively. Three straight walks loaded the bases with no outs, but Andrew alertly turned another comebacker into a 1-2-3 double play. A looping line drive was almost caught for the third out, in right-field by a diving Jeremy, but instead it fell for a two-run double. The next batter’s sharp grounder landed quickly in the third-baseman’s glove, but instead of going to first, he threw to second. Since the easy play was at first, the second-baseman failed to cover the bag in time. Then a drive into left-center was cut off and thrown back to Will, who turned to see he had no play at third. He then saw the batter was halfway to second, an easy out…but no one was covering the base.

Jared came on to relieve Andrew and walked the first batter, then a single to center plated the 5th and 6th runs of the inning. Finally a grounder to second was turned into a close force out by Will. Jared had pitched two scoreless innings against a tough East Cobb Baseball team the night before, but the Stixx had his number tonight.

The lapses continued in the fourth. Another high pop fell in right field between the 2B, RF, CF, & SS, and with no one covering second, the batter cruised in with a double. the next grounder was up the middle, on the right-field side of the bag, but Will made a fine play and threw out the batter at first. Anthony knocked down a hard smash down the third-base line, but had no play at first. The runner on first took off on a steal of second, and the batter hit one through the vacated hole at short. The frustration grew as the next hitter popped it straight up, but neither the pitcher nor catcher failed to catch the ball in the air. The ball bounced and was headed foul, but the catcher touched it in fair territory. On a single to center the runner from second was held at third…until no one was able to stop the throw home. The fifth single of the inning extended the lead to 12 – 1, and I was ready to stop taking notes and head to the car.

With time running out and distant lightning flashes closing in, the Wildcats had one more long-shot chance. The first pitch of the inning hit Andrew in the foot. Will lined a single to center, then advanced to second as Andrew scored on a passed ball. As the pitcher looked in for the catcher’s signal Will dashed to third, and scored when the throw sailed high. Ritchie, Bryce, Trey, and Anthony walked, then Vince’s two-out double cleared the bases. Jeremy, Nick, and Andrew all walked, and Will strode to the plate representing the game-tying run. His line drive single to left pulled the Wildcats within two runs. Will was able to take second on the play.

Ritchie came back up, and quickly went down 0 – 2 in the count. His grandfather fretted that he would again take strike three, as he had in the first inning. Finally Ritchie sent a grounder to the shortstop’s left, and he put his head down and raced to first. Andrew crossed the plate from third as the shortstop bobbled the ball, hesitated, picked it up, and threw to first. Will rounded third and was halfway home as the first-baseman stretched to catch the ball. It was a bang-bang call, and I noticed the base umpire was positioned on the infield grass, way over near third. If safe, Will scores easily to tie the game, erasing an eleven run deficit. But the umpire called Ritchie out…end of game.

Still, the nine run rally lifted the spirits of the Wildcats players, coaches, and fans.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Two Thursday Losses

Will’s team lost both games on a nice field at Chattachoochee High in Alpharetta. They made 8 errors in game one, resulting in 4 unearned runs…the difference in the game. Will made an error at SS in each of the first two innings…then was moved to RF in the third…mostly to get his head together. He lets stuff affect his play too much, more than ever before. With two strikes he was protecting, and tried to foul off a pitch…but he just tipped it into the mitt for a strikeout. Next time up he launched it 310 feet, where it one-hopped the fence 325 feet away, for a double. Later had a nice line drive that was caught.

He caught the second half of game one and had a great inning. With runners on 1st & 2nd with one out, Will quickly picked up a bunt just in front of the plate, and quickly fired to third to get the lead runner. When the next batter came up he picked the runner off second, for the third out.

Game two was against an East Cobb team. They weren’t that much better, but hit the ball in the gaps. Will said he pulled an ARod when he popped one up on the 1B side of the mound. It was high, but the C & 1B didn’t move quick enough, so the pitcher went to catch it. Will seemed to jog to first in a way where he’d pass by the pitcher just as the caught the ball. Will said he whispered “ball!” as he passed…and the pitcher dropped the ball. Will made all the plays at short in game two. On a drive to the LCF fence, he made a perfect relay to third in time to get the batter, but the 3B snowconed the catch, and the batter slid in and knocked it out.

They play tonight at 8:15, but even if they win they won’t play the weekend…no baseball Saturday or Sunday. Ceil and I are going out tomorrow night.

Nice that Chipper is beginning to get more accolades. Hopefully he can maintain his lead in the all-star voting as well, and is realistic about keeping his average above .400.

Work has been relatively civil the last 2 days…except for today’s lunch meeting, which ran a bit too long.


Anna and Ceil joined a mother/daughter Wednesday night summer Bible study last night, and Will had practice, and with me out of touch Ceil had to leave Matthew with a friend at practice. I picked him up and we went to Burger King…he wanted the Indiana Jones kids meal toy. Used the free kids meal coupon at BK…which I had from M’s October birthday.

Will’s team plays two tonight and one tomorrow, against the other 4 teams in their pool. Gotta win the pool to play Sunday. It’ll be tough. Bryce, last year’s team leader in average and OBP (& an innings eater/strike-throwing pitcher), returns tonight after over 2 months off from a hip injury.

Compiled all of Will’s stats from both teams, the games I had scored. So far he’s played 53 games, hitting .534 with a .637 OBP. Better than last year, against tougher competition…and he thinks he’s not doing well. His slugging is only .659, because he only has 9 extra base hits.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Don't know if this is the best form, but Will has been working on hand positioning and keeping his weight back.

Will laces a line drive to left field. The outfielder was playing deep, and made a nice running catch to rob Will of an extra-base hit.

Will heads to third on a single to left, after reaching on a 310 foot double that hit the far-away fence 325 feet away on one hop.

During Will's doubleheader at Chattahoochee High in Alpharetta, Matthew takes a daredevil leap off the top level of the stands.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


W has started back organizing his baseball/basketball cards, but he has a long way to go. Matthew is helping, so that interest is good.

Matthew recently asked why I didn’t keep score of Braves games on TV. Told him that there’s not one game all year that I sit and watch the whole game. If I am watching I’m usually folding clothes, or falling asleep…or changing channels.

Friday Night

By Monday morning I had forgotten what we did Friday night. I worked until 8:15, and then watched the end of the national spelling bee with Will…with sideline reporter Erin Andrews and the newest host from America’s Funniest Videos. Anna, Matthew, and Ceil were playing with Charlotte…she was singing on the microphone and making up stories.


These days I’m doing good just to see a small part of a Braves game…much less get emotionally involved as I’d like to.

Last night was interesting…left work at 6:10, then called home. W said C wasn’t there, so I called her cell…no answer, which isn’t unusual. She called back, and was at the hospital…Becky had shortness of breath from a weekend of extensive work on her house, and they were running tests. I picked up Joel & Charles and took them home, then took them and W & M to the pool for two hours. Then we went home and fixed dinner for Ceil and Becky, who was ok.

So I saw the some of the first two innings…Chipper getting a 2-out hit, then later Frenchy’s HR. the next time I had a chance to think about the game, it was after 10:30. Around 11 pm I read on line what had happened, and scooted over to the TV to catch some highlights. Summer means everyone stays up later, which is bad for me!

Catherine Norman is spending the summer in South Africa doing mission work.

When we were at IKEA Sunday afternoon before the reception, M grabbed a map and pencil, and methodically checked off every section we went through, skipping over the sections we bypassed. He also knew exactly where the cookie samples were in the snack bar.

Monday, June 02, 2008


Had a great time yesterday at the retirement dedication/reception. We got there a little early and was able to check out the aquarium real good, as well as talk to the Condras, Watts, Hal Choyce, etc. I asked Ron about Marty. They’re a little like Reid and Lang, where the son grew up to do something neat that the dad is real interested in.

Both Reid and Edie had some great things to say, which made it great. I never knew the story of how Edith’s name became Edie. Talking to Claire, we didn’t realize how close we live to each other…we’re about as close to the Coleman Crossing Kroger as she is, and we go past her neighborhood all the time. It was nice to be able to talk to Lang as long as I did. Every time I found Reid in the crowd he was in the middle of a conversation with someone…it was easier to get a word in with Edie!

Ceil had a great time as well, and Anna and Matthew disappeared over to the magic show…three times! It was good to see so many people like us Murphy’s, who aren’t at SPdL any more but came back to honor Edie…George Wright was an example. I talked so much at the reception my voice wore out.

Drew was telling me about all the building improvements going on at SPdL…the foundation work, and how the reception hall building was the next to undergo renovations. His wife Nancy marched her teenage soccer-playing son up to Lang, prompting him to ask Lang any questions. They had a good chat, and Lang was nice. Bruce looked well, and both Ceil and I each had a good chat with him. He’d fit in nicely as a teacher at Living Science, the school Will and Anna go to.

It was so much fun that we stayed to the end. I knew Will had a ride home from his game, but we drove over to the field anyway. There was a line of cars leaving the park, but a few were still there. They lost to a tough team, and all the players were tired from playing six games in five days…with only nine players at just about all the games. Will caught again, and went 2 – 2. On the way home Will kept asking about the reception, about who was there.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Science Presentation

Saturday Game One: Winning Pitcher

Will helped lead the Wildcats to two tough wins Saturday, pitching in the first game, then catching and hitting in the second. The Wildcats beat their Sandy Plains rivals, the Prowlers, 5 – 3, in a 2 pm game. The Prowlers then beat the Chattahoochee Cougars 4 – 2, in the 4 pm game, then the Wildcats beat the Cougars 6 – 5 in the 6 pm game.

In the bottom of the first inning against the Prowlers, cleanup hitter Will sliced a single through the hole into right field to drive in Nick from second base, with the first run of the game. Later Will hit two hard grounders right to infielders, who turned them into outs.

Little Jared, the Wildcats starter, pitched well, and got through the first 2-2/3 innings allowing only a leadoff homer to Prowler slugger Tyler Seaman. But then Jared walked and hit the next two batters, and Will was called in two get the Wildcats out of the jam.

Will’s first pitch hit cocky number three hitter Jared A arons, who stared at Will as he made his way to first. Will stared right back. A fter a walk Will got Seaman to ground out to first to end the inning.

Then Will pitched three more innings, allowing only a single run. The only hit he allowed in 3-1/3 innings was a single that the centerfielder should have caught in the air. Will struck out two batters, and got another to ground right back to him. He was credited as the game’s winning pitcher.

In the bottom of the sixth the Wildcats retook the lead on four hits and a sacrifice, plating three runs. Then Andrew caught a pop just off the mound, and centerfielder Chris threw out a runner at third for the second out. Will then fielded a tough grounder in the hole at short, and threw the batter out at first to ice the win.

Last At Bat?

A pop to the pitcher in the playoff game, which was turned into a double play.

Saturday Game Two: Catching & Hitting

Will caught the 6 pm game, making several defensive plays to keep the game in hand for the Wildcats. In the top of the first with one out and one run in, two more runners were on second and third. Will caught a pitch and fired to second. The runner knew he was dead, so he headed toward third, starting a rundown. A ndrew ran at the runner until the runner at third headed home. In the ensuing rundowns the Wildcats were able to tag out both runners, ending the rally.

Then in the second inning the Cougars had runners on first and third with no out. The runner at first took off for second, hoping to draw a throw so the runner on third could score. When Will threw the runner on third did break for home, but Will’s throw was to shortstop A ndrew, charging in front of the bag. A ndrew’s return throw home to Will was in plenty of time to nail the runner at the plate.

With two out Will made an even more amazing play. The batter chopped a ball straight down, just in front of the plate. Will popped up and reached his mitt out into fair territory and caught the ball, and tagged out the runner before he left the batters box. Will then tossed the ball to the mound and jogged off to the dugout, with the batter still standing there.

In the bottom half of the inning Will’s one out single to center started a three run rally. Will beat out a dribbler toward third for an infield single. In the fourth Will hit a one-hop line drive that deflected far off the shortstop’s shin, knocking him out of the game. Later Will said that had the single been an inch to either side, the ball would’ve rolled to the fence for extra bases. Will finished 3 – 3 for the evening.

Down 6 – 2 in the last inning, the Cougars staged one last rally. Will helped end things, tagging out a runner after another short rundown. A ndrew picked a runner off first and struck out the last runner, and the Wildcats escaped with a 6 – 5 win.

Painting the Dining Room