Sunday, November 23, 2008

Mercy, Mercy.

As mentioned previously, Rabbit was starting our semi-final game. With all 6 innings available he was scheduled to go as far as needed. He chose the economic route.

The very first batter (we were home, so in the field first) grounded back to the pitcher. He totally vapor locked and neither tagged the runner nor threw the ball to first. One pitch, runner on first, E1. No worries. He picked the kid off on his first throw over. I believe the word I am looking for is bamboozled. Next batter again taps to pitcher. Again Rabbit cannot find the handle. Two pitches, runner on first. And again, he picks the kid off. The coach was stunned. The poor runner had no idea what just happened. Next batter singles sharply. He never took a lead of more than 1 step. Every pitch Rabbit made to the plate the coach was screaming "back" to his runner. It was amusing. It was also the last runner the opposition got all day. A 3 pitch strike out ended the inning. 9 pitches, 3 outs.

In his first at bat Rabbit struck out looking at a pitch most of us felt was up and out. Oh well. In the second inning they went 1-2-3 in only 11 pitches. We broke the game open in our half of the inning scoring 9 times, including an RBI infield single by Rabbit. 10-0 after 2. Another 1-2-3 inning in the third (only 6 pitches this time) and two more scored by us in the bottom of the third led to a 12-0 mercy win. The boys carried the momentum from yesterday through to today. They were a force. Rabbit pitched a one-hit shutout over 3 innings on 26 pitches. That was the effort he had needed for a while now. He retired 9 of 10, including the final 7 in a row. What a tremendous boost.

Then they went to lunch.

In the championship game we played 2 1/2 innings of solid, decent ball. Then the wheels fell off. After making 4 errors in the first 3 games of the tourney (including Rabbit's back-to-back errors to open game 3) we had 7 errors in the third inning alone. Rabbit was responsible for 3 more today, including 2 on the same play. The boys were tired and behind, and just gave up. After such a dominant performance it was a let down, but fairly understandable. After his double error inning Rabbit was due up third. The first two kids were retired quietly and Rabbit watched ball 1 go by. He said he heard a voice from the other teams stands say to just throw strikes, that he would not swing. Bad advice. Once again, he destroyed a ball. I got a good look at the CF number as he walloped a triple on the way to scoring for the second time that game. Alas, the damage was done. And even when he came in for mop up he was throwing strikes, but the defense which had been so sharp was unable to cleanly field balls. A 16-6 final put them out of their misery.

It was a down ending to an amazing set of games. For the first time ever this team won 3 games in a weekend. Also this was the first tourney that I can recall winning by a mercy margin twice, much less three times. I am excited to see their confidence grow and watch them build from here. It was a great weekend for 3 1/2 games. We will gladly focus on that!

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