Monday, July 12, 2010

Sixteen Hour Saturday

The Rays won one and lost two Saturday, playing in a tournament in McDonough. It was a long day of highs and lows…about sixteen hours long.

Will played well; going 4-8 with a triple, three RBIs, and two runs scored. Pitching, he recorded a save in the Game One victory, returning to the game after a violent collision at first base.

We left home at 6 am to get Will to Drew High School in Riverdale. From the stands we could see the planes on final approach into Hartsfield, far beyond the leftfield fence.

Batting leadoff, Will stroked a first-inning triple into the left-centerfield gap. Cole drove him home with a single to right. Bradley also singled to right, and he and Cole scored on Dustin’s double into the gap in right center.

Michael pitched another gem, striking out five of the first seven batters. He pitched four shutout innings, and only allowed one run on a fifth-inning wild pitch. Fowke only walked one if the twenty batters he faced, and gave up only four hits over his five innings.

Interesting play: Runners on first and second, one out. Cole hits a high pop in front of the mound. No one can catch it, and it lands in fair territory, before bouncing foul. Neither umpire invoked the infield fly rule.

Will was hit by a pitch and beat out an infield hit. In the fifth he hit a two out grounder. The shortstop’s throw sailed high, and the first-baseman leaped, caught the ball, and whirled to tag Will. They collided, and Will crumbled to the grass. He had pulled a muscle in his back, and was pulled from the game.

Up 8-1, Bradley came on to pitch…a smart move, saving the other pitchers for later in the tourney. But suddenly the Lynx bats started finding holes, barely falling fair, taking bad hops. Nine batters later the tying run was on first, with the winning run at the plate.

Will came on to pitch, to the weak number ten batter. Sore, he walked him on four pitches. But then Will got the next batter, the leadoff hitter, to ground out weakly to first, and the Rays had their 8-6 win.

The game ended at 10:03 am. With almost 4-1/2 hours to kill, we took our time. Watched a few innings of the next game. Filled up at Racetrac. Shopped some stores. Ate at Wendy’s. Drove around, and meandered from Riverdale to McDonough’s Eagles Landing High. Chatted with parents of the next opponent, the Louisville Dodgers, from Kentucky.

This time Jake led off the game with a triple, to right-center. He scored on Will’s RBI grounder. Unfortunately, the Rays would not score again, and they only managed four more hits in seven innings. Will got one of them, a fifth inning single to right-center.

Ryan T kept the Rays close, pitching a whale of a game. He pitched five innings, only allowing single runs in the second and third. He worked out of bases-loaded situations in the first and third. In the fifth the first two batters got hits. Ryan had already thrown 75 pitches. After the next batter flew out, he struck out the next two batters to end the rally.

Key play: Will walked in the third. Bradley hit a grounder to the second-baseman, who tried to start a double play. He threw to the shortstop covering second. Will slid in hard, and the shortstop dropped the ball. The umpire ruled Will out, saying the ball was dropped as the shortstop went to transfer the ball to his throwing hand. Probably the correct call.

With the time limit drawing near, the Rays would need to get three quick outs. Connor “Milkshake” Lange came on to pitch and did just that, throwing nine straight strikes to retire the 2-3-4 hitters. But the Rays couldn’t tie the game, and lost the 2-1 pitcher’s duel.

Game Two ended at 4:25, leaving 2-1/2 hours before Game Three. Many of the Rays went to OB’s BBQ. Will and I went with my parents to Truett’s Diner for Chick-fil-A faire. Will’s back was hurting, and the hot car seat felt good.

Game Three was against Peachtree City’s Young Guns, a bunch of mostly big boys. The spirited Rays scored seven runs in the first three innings. Will drove in two of the runs and scored a third. His sacrifice fly to center again drove in Jake with the game’s first run. He smashed a line drive RBI single to left in the second, took second on the throw home, and then third when the return throw sailed into centerfield. Will scored on Bradley’s single to left.

Will played third base in Game One, and no balls were hit his way. After he was knocked out of the game, his replacement Connor got two chances in two innings. Will played left field in Game Two. Only two balls were hit to him: one on the ground and one in the air. Meanwhile, Richie had a busy time in right, fielding six balls. So when Will played right in Game Three, he again only saw two balls hit his way. Kyle had nine balls hit to him in left. That’s baseball.

But the Young Guns battled back, taking the lead with a seven-run third. Then the Guns coach did a good job of stalling, changing pitchers in mid-inning three straight innings. The game was called after an hour and 45 minutes, after just 4-1/2 innings.

It was 8:46, and we wouldn’t get home until ten. Long day.

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