After a week off, we have three games this week, all with just 9 guys – the normal Monday and Wednesday games, and a makeup game from earlier in the season on Thursday.
For the Wednesday game, we faced the Little Canada Dodgers. They’re fielding 15 guys, which is really tough on the coaches. MAA rules say that all players must play at least half of the innings in the game, and everyone bats. In turn, that means that everyone is getting less time in the field and fewer at-bats, and that means that they’re not building the skills they need to be successful. The Dodgers also have a lot of 6th graders, which means they’re physically smaller and have a year less baseball experience. All in all, it’s not surprising that they’re 3-8. I expect them to to better next year – we certainly improved since last year.
We still can’t count on winning, though. We need to stay in this game and play our best. Since Alex, Marco and Luke pitched on Monday and we have another game Thursday, Craig decides to go with Lucas and Aaron tonight – they could use the innings, and we can always bring in the big guns if we need to.
First inning: The Dodgers score one on a pair of singles and an error. We come back with 5, sending 9 guys to the plate.
Second inning: Lucas shuts down the Dodgers, 1-3, K, 5-3. We’re back at the top of our lineup (since we only have 9 guys), and send 8 to the plate, scoring 3.
Third inning: Lucas gives up a harmless walk while getting three outs. Justin, our #9 batter, leads off with a single and scores, and finishes the inning 9 batters later with a single that scores the 7th run of the inning.
Fourth inning: Aaron comes in and mows down the Dodgers: K, 1U, 4U. Back at the top of our lineup for the 4th time, we add another 3 runs.
Fifth inning: The Dodgers start their second trip through their 15-man lineup. Aaron gets an out, then we make an error and he gives up a single to score a run, then a walk that puts another runner aboard. A strikeout, another single that scores the second run of the inning and then a 4U play to finish the inning – and the game, because it’s 8:10 and there’s no point in us batting any more.
I would be remiss if I left out the highlight play of the game, which involved me. I coach 3rd base, which is known as the “hot corner” because batters who pull the ball are usually hitting it very hard. This means that a number of hard-hit balls come my way. Usually, they’re in fair territory, where I am not standing. Sometimes they are in foul territory, and sometimes they are hit right at me. Marco in particular, because he swings very hard, tends to pull the ball, and on Wednesday night, he hit a screaming line drive foul, directly at me.
Right at groin level.
I don’t wear a glove, so I can’t catch the ball. And I’m not sure that I could have – it was hit very very hard. I didn’t have time to get out of the way, just enough time to start to react by jumping backwards. The ball hit me square on, and everyone stared, expecting me to fall down and pass out.
I am the luckiest guy on earth because it hit me:
– an inch above the area that would have sent me to the emergency room
– on four layers of fabric (shirt, undershirt, pants, underwear) and a plastic belt buckle
– when I was moving backward
It hit me below the belly, above the groin, and while it smarted a bit, it did not hurt. I don’t bruise much at all – I haven’t had one in years – so it didn’t even leave a mark. I do have a bit of a bone bruise on the top of my pelvis in the front, but no ill effects. Everyone was staring at me, so I gave thumbs-up, picked up the ball and threw it to the pitcher.
Final score: Ironpigs 18, Dodgers 3
Season record: 11-1, still in first place