Monday, April 16, 2012

Violence Mars Crown's Win

Saturday Will’s Crown Knights traveled north to Dalton, where they beat Christian Heritage School Lions 8-1 on a sunny April afternoon. Besides the upcoming Home School World Series trip, it very well could be the last baseball road trip I take Will on.

Crown scored one in the first, two in the second and fifth, and three more in the seventh to coast to the victory. Will led off the game with a line drive single to right field. As he led off first, both he and I remembered that Christian Heritage was the school he had taken out the second-baseman with a hard, legal slide, resulting in a push from the CHS shortstop.

Number two batter Nathan Shetler promptly hit a ground ball to third. As the third-baseman threw to second for the force, Will approached the bag, with his mind on breaking up another double play. At the last second Will saw the second-baseman bobble the ball, so he knew there would be no chance of doubling off the speedy Shetler at first.
With two out in the top of the second, and a runner on third, Will smoked a hard grounder up the middle for an RBI single. Will stole second and later scored on Nathan’s double.

In the fourth inning Will came to bat with one out and a runner on first. On a 2-2 pitch the runner broke for second. Will hit another hard line drive…right at the shortstop. An easy inning-ending double play.

Playing third base, Will cut off a sixth-inning grounder in the hole and threw the runner out at first. He also made the putout on a crazy failed bunt attempt that resulted in an extended rundown. With CHS runners on first and second, the batter missed on the bunt attempt. The runner on second held his ground, but the other runner broke from first and inexplicably ran all the way to second. Crown’s backup shortstop failed to tag one of the runners, as one of them broke back to first. The shortstop threw back to first, and the other runner broke for third. Will took the next throw, made one throw to second, then took another throw and tagged out the runner sliding into third: your basic 2-4-3-6-3-5-4-5 putout.

An ugly seventh-inning play marred the good, clean game, but the Lions didn’t let it get to them. Crown scored one run when Patrick was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. With one out Franklin singled to right center, and the runners on second and third scored easily, extending the lead to 8-1. The top of the order was coming to bat, meaning Patrick would have several opportunities to score from third. But he sailed around third and kept running. The relay beat Patrick by a good ten feet. Instead of sliding, Patrick leaned forward, hitting the catcher with an extended elbow. The catcher fell backward, but held onto the ball. The umpire immediately threw Patrick out of the game.

As the on deck hitter, Will approached the plate and quietly checked on the catcher, apologizing for his teammates’ ridiculous play, and telling the catcher he’d made a good play. The game was able to continue without further incident.

In addition to the wrath of coaches and some mothers, poor Patrick had more punishment coming. He may have to miss Tuesday’s game against arch-rival Gwinnett, but the worst part was having to ride home with the head coach. That gave Will and me a chuckle as we passed them on the highway.

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