Little League is worse than the mob. Just when you think you are out, they pull you back in. Rabbit was starting against a team in our division that was within 1 game of us for first. With only 3 to play this was a must win for us to move on into Tournament of Champions. I was quite surprised when Coach told me that Rabbit had the ball. Coach was hoping to get 1-2 innings and then let the No. 1 come in and finish the game. What he got from Rabbit was nothing short of exceptional. 4 IP, 7K, 1BB, 1H, 0ER, 57 pitches. All of this against a team coached by a manager who said at the draft that no 10 year old should be in Majors.
Rabbit was doing a great job of changing speeds, raising and lowering eye-levels and spotting the ball perfectly. He was Maddux-like only in the sense that they were taking balls down the middle and swinging at things 6-12" off the plate. He struck out the side in the third, including his best friend from across the street (3 pitches) and the boy who 2 weeks ago told him that he had no business being in Majors and was only there because I made the league draft him, also on 3 pitches. In the fourth he got a friend, and former teammate on a fantastic sequence. Change-up for a called strike, swung and missed a high and outside fastball, then screwed himself into the ground swinging on a change-up that bounced twice on the way to the plate. He also made two strong fielding plays (we had been working on fielding the position lately) and managed to not slide head first into home this time.
That was the good news. Now the frustrating stuff. The officiating has passed bad, blew straight through awful, and is almost beyond embarrassing. Strike zones change from pitch to pitch and factual calls are missed several times a game. 6 of the 7 strikeouts Rabbit got were swinging so the opposition has nothing to complain about there. However, it is a joke what the boys have to deal with behind the plate. More bad news, we are now firmly atop the league standings and look to be facing City Tournament, ToC and All-Stars. So much for this being the last week of Little League. Rabbit's Coach has nominated him for the 11U All-Star team. A real accomplishment and we will see if he gets accepted. We highly doubt we would accept the honor since he wants to play with Blue Wave more and was incredibly frustrated by last years All-Star experience, but it is still a tip of the cap to all of his hard work.
We are in the middle of a stretch right now where we have baseball 10 days in a row and 13 out of 17. In the midst of all of that Rabbit is also doing State Testing at school and is headed into his classroom an hour early each morning for study-hall. I am nothing short of amazed at his focus and resiliency. I am exhausted and I just watch.
Blue Wave is coming nicely, big tournament over Memorial Day in Huntington Beach. OC Flyers open at home on June 9 and the Dodgers are starting to fall back to earth. I may have a comment on Manny later, but for now I just don't care enough to put it in writing.