Sunday, March 11, 2012

Game Two: Will Goes Down

Game Two was against the host team, Tatnall. TSA is one of Macon’s three top private school’s, with excellent facilities like the finely manicured baseball field. The Trojans sent their best pitcher out to face Crown, and he retired the first ten Knights batters in order.

Down a run, Will stepped in with one out in the fourth and poked a single into right-center, breaking up the no-hitter. He took second on a passed ball and advanced to third on Braeden’s groundout. After Perry struck out, Will scored on Casey’s infield single, tying the game.

The exciting sixth inning decided the game. With the score still tied, Will was hit by the first pitch of the inning. He went first to third on a single to right, but Braeden was picked off first. Perry was intentionally walked, even though he was hitless in his last eight at bats. Next up was Casey.

Trying to manufacture a run, Perry allowed himself to be caught in a rundown between first and second. This play often works in Little League, but rarely against experienced high-school teams. The second-baseman ran Perry back toward first, while keeping an eye on Will, leading off third. Feeling pressure to make something happen, Will finally broke for home. The second-baseman turned and fired home to the beefy catcher, who moonlights as a record-setting linebacker being recruited by the University of Georgia. The throw arrived well before Will, who briefly considered plowing through the catcher. Instead Will juked right, hopping in the air as the catcher applied the tag.

When Will landed on one foot, his knee bent backward. He quickly fell to the ground, writhing in pain, hardly ten feet in front of my front row seat. The coaches ran to his aide, along with two Tatnall trainers. While I wondered if Will’s baseball career was over, others wondered who would catch Saturday. Finally he was lifted to his feet. Then in typical Will fashion, he RAN off the field.

What momentum Crown had was now gone. Ray grounded out to end the inning. Adam had pitched a whale of a game, only allowing three hits. He had thrown 77 pitches in five innings, and came out to pitch the sixth. He struck out the first batter, the son of former Cy Young award winner Kevin Brown. But the next batter reached on an error. Then Adam struck out another batter, but the number nine hitter’s roller was slowed by the infield grass, to putting the winning run on third.

The runner on first took off on a steal of second. Crown catcher Patrick impulsively fired to second…but no one was covering. The ball sailed into centerfield, and on the error the runner trotted home from third with the go-ahead run. Another single plated another unearned run, and Tatnall led 3 – 1.

Crown had one more chance, but only managed one baserunner. The game ended with Will on deck.

When we got back to my parent’s house, Will was amazed to see the lights of the field from the driveway. He iced his knee, and said it felt weak. We ate at Logan’s, where Will had the tilapia, and Charlie the meatloaf.

No comments: