Saturday, November 22, 2008

And for at least one day, they played baseball

An odd title, but by far the most accurate phrase to describe what I saw today.

This morning we returned to the area of our first tournament, Moreno Valley. It was at that tournament that we made it into the finals and Anthony helped to showcase his love of playing 1B. Through some fluke of scheduling our first game was not until 3PM! This was amazing, we could sleep in, have a nice morning then go to a tourney. No more 6AM for me. No sir!

When we arrived at the complex we were able to watch one of our future opponents win a game. They looked good, but we have played better historically. I checked at the host table and saw that the team we would be playing first had been the victim of a "Mercy" rule in their first game. You can never judge a team by their first result, so we were cautious in our hopes. When the other team scored first we were concerned, but it was only one run. We then ran off 13 unanswered runs before finishing the game as 14-2 victors ourselves. Rabbit struck out first, then walked, both on full counts. He is firmly cemented at 1B now, and played every out there today. He also stole a few and came around to score. The usual.

Game 2 was to determine if we were either the 1, 2 or 3 seed. This was very important. The one seed would play at 1PM, and if victorious, then again at 3PM. The 2 seed would play at 11AM, and if victorious, again in the championship at 3PM. The third seed would play at 9AM (ensuring a 7AM departure, blech) then if a winner there, 1PM, and if successful 3PM. A lot was on the line, not the least of which was my ability to sleep in a tad.

Rabbit again was at first and batting 5th. The first three innings were amazing. Both teams were making plays, throwing strikes and very focused on the game. We were luckily able to string together some runs and start to build a lead. It was a while before we noticed that we were still shutting them out in the 4th inning. By then Rabbit was 2-2 with 2 runs and some amazing plays at first. The usual stretches, getting to balls that he should not have been able to get to and acting as a captain in the infield. The communication was excellent and everyone was sharp. The result was a decisive 9-1 win and securing of the 2 seed.

Back to the title for a second. These kids are 10. For 7 innings today (the length of both games figuring the mercy shortages) they played like pros. They all focused and executed with amazing precision and dedication. 2 errors in 7 innings. 4 walks allowed. Getting lead runners. Make good throws to the correct base. They were a joy to watch. They played way above their level. Their maturity and dedication was amazing. I have paid money before to see much worse baseball than I saw today. Hopefully they remember this and play as well tomorrow!

Speaking of tomorrow, Rabbit gets the ball for the semi-final. All he needs is outs. He is ready, and due, for a great outing. Hopefully the team can continue on this path. It is fun to see what is happening to this group right now. However, as we know too well, one bad day erases months of progress. We will keep our fingers crossed.

3 3 2 0 1 1

No comments: