Friday, May 1, 2009

We walked out with our heads up this time....

So, after the ugliness that was the last SQ game, we had a simple plan of what we wanted to accomplish. We were gonna score a run, goddammit, and after that, it was all gravy. The gametime changed from 4 to 5, which robbed us of some daylight, and then the usual problems of waiting around the parking lot ensued. I think it is a bad idea to go into SQ during the shift change, cuz everyone is all edgy and stiff, you would think they worked in a prison or something.

Anyway, the hardass at the second gate wouldn't let Adam in with an expired license, so we pleaded for a while knowing it wasn't going to do any good, and then left our MBC brother at the door, and headed in 8 strong (sorry Adam, get that thing renewed....) A bunch of student teachers were leaving while we were coming in, and one asked if we were intimidated about pitching inside to the team. And the answer, NO. Its part of the game, and the SQ Giants are one of the most stand up, quality hardballers I have ever played against, and they understand that you can't give away a side of the plate cuz you are scared about hitting someone. And since most of them look like they could strike a match in the palm of their hand, the prospect of accidentally hurting someone isn't really worrisome.

The yard was pretty deserted when we got there, and we were 30 minutes late, and the Giants still hadn't gotten their equipment, apparently the "Man" had screwed with the mealtimes, and yard times, due to some sort of non-issue. I don't know how long any of us would last having people tell us when to eat or sleep....Anyway, we warmed up quick and got the game going. We took Noel, a bencher from the Giants, who played right for us, got our first hit, and also was involved in a difficult play at third. He argued, we shut up.

Stretch was pitching for the SQ, since the Saturday game had been canceled, and we called on Johnny Bartlett to once again weave his spell over the convicts. He did a bang up job, a few twists and turns aside, and in the third we actually scored a run, and all of us relaxed. It was a 2-1 game for another inning, then they scored a few more, then we got another one (although we had to plead with the scoreboard to put it up there). Then it was 6-2, and we started to fear that we might be into another long game, but with two on, Chris Powell stepped up and crushed a ball over the left center field, into the guard office. It bounced off the wall and then back over the fence, so those of us on base thought it was still a live ball, so I was chugging as hard as I could towards home, and didn't get to enjoy the moment. 6-5, a real game, the tension on the Giants was palpable, they suddenly realized we had the skills to take this one from them.

We held them for an inning, stranding a guy at third with a failed squeeze play. Stretch suddenly beared down and our offense came to a halt. Their response, small ball. Two perfect bunts cleared the way to our downfall. The men on were in scoring position, when a foul ball was hit down the third baseline. Johnny fielded it, clearly in foul territory. No one called the ball fair or foul. The batter was confused, I was confused, Johnny was confused. The umpires conferred and then told the batter it was a ground rule double. So, it went from foul ball, to ambiguous single, to ground rule double. We might have complained, but we knew better. Then came the flood of gorks, and suddenly it was 11-5, and everyone relaxed. The light was gone, the Giants had 15 minutes to be back in their cells, and we stopped the game in the 7th. We got a little time to talk while there was an alert in the prison, and Stretch presented Chris with his home run ball, apparently the first of the season.

Walking out we felt like a real team, and I bet all of us felt like we had won the game, despite the score. We challenged the Giants, and made them sweat for once, a hard thing to do when you are facing a bunch of lifers. If we had gotten Adam in, who knows how it might have turned out.


* The home run, of course.

* A great defensive game, especially in the outfield to reel in the Giants bats.

* The only really bad baserunning mistake was Noel, who technically isn't on our team. We gotta work on our baserunning.

* Making their defense work, and reaping the benefits in errors, or as we call them MBC hits.

* The pickoff when we needed an out.

* The pitchout that almost was. Since they steal every base they can, it was a smart move.

* Johnny and Greg keeping the Giants uneasy

* Everyone who caught a ball when we needed an out, a welcome change from the last game.

So, the next game scheduled is against the Pirates, who the coach seems to think we will walk all over. In any case, sign up now.

Pray for sun and wind to dry the field for Sunday

S. Paige

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