Between LL and Blue Wave we played 6 games over the three day weekend. It marked the end of the Little League season and the beginning of tournament time. It is amazing to see how much confidence and momentum matter in this game. We witnessed both ends of the spectrum, invincibility and the complete inability to do anything correctly. Breathe deep and remember, they are only 10.
Saturday morning was in Huntington Beach with Blue Wave. We were playing in the 11U bracket, but had nearly as many 9 year old players (3) as 11 year old players (5). We also had 15 on the roster. Since the coach has every boy hit, we had a 15 man batting order. In our first game we faced a very good team that had all 11 year old players and was a favorite to win the whole event. The game went about as expected. We knew that they could hit our pitching, but our defense was not adjusting to where the balls were being hit. Also, with over half our roster used to playing on smaller fields (46' mound and 65' bases, whereas this tournament was played at 50' and 70') we were unable to play the strong defense we needed. The game ended at 9-0 after 5 innings.
Jumped into the car and then off to Santa Ana for Little League City Tournament. Our coach for LL had his game plan, and was not going to deviate from it for any reason. Our starting pitcher, who was excellent all season long, did a good job, but was not as sharp as he had been. In fact, in the fourth inning he threw 30 pitches. The high pitch count would come into play and he would need to be replaced. With our team leading 4-2 in the bottom of the last inning our pitcher had finally met his number and needed to be replaced. With a runner on first and no outs the coaches son came in to close out the game. The problem is that he throws curveballs, almost constantly. This meant an extreme workload on our catcher to block the balls and prevent steals. Well, a walk and an error later, it is now a one run game. Then tied. Then the winning run for the opponent came across on a wild pitch. I lose my ability to second guess when I declined to manage. However, a control pitcher makes more sense to me in that scenario. And we had 4 of them ready to go.
Oh well. The good news is that we are out of that tournament and don't have to sweat juggling practices and games mid-week. An anti-climactic ending to a positive LL season. Rabbit played well in both games, but is still not finding hits. They will come.