Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Come From Behind Walk-Off Win

Crown came back from a five run deficit to claim an exciting 7-6 walk-off victory. The Knights loaded the bases with one out, and four straight singles by Will, Braeden, Perry, and Casey pushed across the tying and winning runs.

One following the game on GameChanger might think Will had a terrible game, but the internet only conveyed a small bit of the story.

With trivia friend Gary in attendance, Will retired the side in order in the top of the first, striking out the leadoff and number three hitter. Then in the bottom of the inning Will chopped a one-out double down the left field line. This produced the first run of the game, when Perry also doubled down the line.

In the top of the second some questionable ball-strike calls and an uneven mound contributed to four unearned Covenant runs. Will appeared to have one batter struck out, but the umpire instead signaled ball four. Then the next four batters attempted bunts. The first bunt was perfectly placed up the first base line. Even if Will had fielded it cleanly, he would‘ve had to make a spectacular play to get the out at first. This is the very definition of a base hit. I’m not even sure anyone was covering first on the play.

The next batter bunted near the third base line. Will made a fine play, smoothly fielding the ball, then quickly turning and firing the ball to third base to get the runner. An excellent play…except no one was covering third base. The throw sailed into foul territory, two runners scored, and the batter made it all the way around to third.

Unable to hit Will’s pitching, the next batter drew another full count walk. Still with no outs, the number nine batter bunted. Despite the need for an out, the catcher tried to catch the runner off third, but the play wasn’t close. Will struck out the leadoff hitter for the second straight time, got a force out at second, and a runner thrown out trying to steal. Rough inning: Covenant had scored five runs without hitting the ball into the outfield. Only one run was earned.

In the next inning the first batter chopped a grounder just over Will’s outstretched glove, then neither the second-baseman nor the shortstop could make the play. Another infield hit. But Crown was able to turn a clutch double play, then Will struck out the next batter to end the scoreless inning.

Will led off the bottom of the third with a four pitch walk, then advanced to second on an error. After Braeden struck out, Perry flew out to deep center. Will tagged up and easily advanced to third…but the umpire ruled he left second early. Sitting behind the plate, I had an excellent view of the catch and tag. It was a questionable call at best.

In the top of the fifth the leadoff batter hit a routine grounder to Will at third base. Will fielded it cleanly, but with all the time in the world, threw high to first. Braeden tried to make the catch while keeping his feet on the bag. Had he left his feet to make the catch, he had plenty of time to come back down on the bag before the batter arrived. A 6-4-3 double play and a 6-3 groundout retired the side, but the catcher’s ill-advised pickoff throw into the sun allowed the runner from third to score. This led to another unearned run, and Covenant led 6-1.

In the sixth Will had made a clutch play at third, cutting off a slow chopper to his left, then firing hard to first to get the out. Had Will let the ball go through to Perry, the shortstop would’ve had to stoop low to make the catch, then throw across his body to first with little momentum. A great play by Will.

Crown scored three runs in the bottom of the fifth, and came to bat in the bottom of the last inning needed two runs to tie. Franklin reached on an error, then Patrick popped out in foul territory. Will poked a single in front of the rightfielder. Braeden singled to left, loading the bases. With the outfield playing Perry deep, his pop fly landed in front of the centerfielder. Franklin scored.

The catcher tried to pick Will off third, and the throw bounced away, allowing Will to score the tying run. With the winning run on third, Covenant had to bring the infield and outfield in. Casey lined an 0-2 single into right-center, and Crown had an improbable, exciting walk-off win.

Patrick 0-4, run
Will 2-3, double, walk, 2 runs
Braeden 2-4, RBI, 2 runs
Perry 3-4, run, 2B, HR, 3 RBI
Casey 1-2, GWRBI
Andrew 0-2
Adam 1-3
Sam 1-3
Ray 0-3
Franklin 1-2, walk, run

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