Sometimes, a game can turn on a single decision.
We won our first game, so we can do no worse than 4th place. We have our sights set a bit higher, though. We’d like to win it all.
To do that, we need to win today. The Roseville Cubs, of course, think they should win. We played them before, and they played hard, so we’re expecting a good game.
Craig and I got a chance to catch up with the Cubs coach before the game. They had a fairly easy game in the first round, beating the Little Canada Blue Jays by 10 runs or so, but they’re expecting today to be hard.
We lose the coin toss, and the Cubs elect to be the home team. This is a good strategic call; it means that they will bat last. I think it’s also the call that lost them the game.
We score three runs in the top of the first. Alex starts and gives up a run, but we get three outs without much trouble.
In the second, we score three more run, and Alex pitches a scoreless inning.
In the third, we score another three runs, and Alex gives up his second run of the game.
Somewhere in the second inning, or maybe the third, the Cubs lost. They knew coming in that we’d beaten them before, and we were scoring runs in every inning and they weren’t. We were playing our game, and they weren’t playing theirs.
They shut us down in the 4th inning, finally getting a 1-2-3 inning by striking out our 9-10-11 hitters, but the mental damage was done. We added four more runs in the 5th to make it 13-2, and two more in the 7th to make it 15-2, and although the Cubs managed to get two runs in the bottom of the 7th, there was never any doubt about the outcome.
I think it came down to that initial decision; almost every time, being the home team is the right move. This time, it gave us the chance to score runs and rattle the Cubs, and we capitalized on that by playing excellent defense and scoring more runs to keep them off-balance. They never got a chance to start playing their game. Which is good, because we’d seen that before, and they could have beaten us.
They didn’t, though.
Final score: 15-4 Ironpigs.
Tournament record: 2-0. We’re going to the championship game.