Fall Ball, Games 3 and 4

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Second double-header Sunday of the fall baseball season.

We’re playing at 10am and 4pm again, which is tough. The break between games means that our energy level falls, and we’re coming up against teams that are playing their second game of the day right after the first. You’d think that we’d have an advantage, with the time to rest, but the opposite seems to be the case.

Our first game of the day, Game 3, was against the St. Croix Ponies. We scored in the top of the first, then gave the Ponies 5 outs in an inning, letting them score 2 runs to take the lead. We got it back in the 4th with a big inning, scoring 5 runs to take a 6-2 lead. We sent in Alex K to pitch, and he was a K machine, getting two strikeouts in the 4th and 5th as he put two scoreless innings on the board.

With the time limit looming, we took the field with our 6-2 lead in the bottom of the 6th. Alex K got two quick strikeouts to start the inning, but we couldn’t close the door. A couple of walks, a hit batter, a ball that fell in for a single in short center, a seeing-eye single, missed throws to first – once again, we gave the Ponies 5 outs, and they used them to score 4 runs.

Final score: Iron Express 6, St. Croix Ponies 6 – our first tie.

Season record: 1-1-1

The second game of the day was against East Ridge. They were fresh off a comeback win against another team, and we were not sharp. Our pitchers were missing high and wild in general – we hit two more batters in this game, which is really unusual for us. They were also not getting their usual velocity, and so the Ridges were putting a lot of balls in play. Had we been playing our usual defensive game, this would not have been a problem, but we weren’t playing our usual game. None of our guys is used to losing – remember, the two teams we put this team together from went a combined 26-2 in the regular season, and 31-3 if you include the playoffs – and they were kind of rattled from the morning’s game.

We could blame it on a lot of things, but the end result was that we lost. The Ridges scored 2 runs in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd, and even though we got two back, we were still down 9-2 in the top of the 6th, when we managed to give the Ridges some extra outs and surrender 3 more runs to make the score 12-2 and trigger the mercy rule.

Game over. The high point for me was that Steven, one of our guys from the Ironpigs, came to see the game. He told me he’d figured out playing was a lot more fun than watching. At the end of the game, with the guys feeling down from having been trounced for the second time this season, I pointed out that playing was better than not playing, and asked Steven if he’d rather be playing, even on the losing team. He said “Yes!” I’m not sure if I got my point across – it’s hard to tell with teenage boys.

Final score: East Ridge 12, Iron Express 2

Season record: 1-2-1

We’ll get ’em next time.

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