The new field was as pristine as the weather - and as perfect as the turnout (an exact 18). Sadly for the pitchers, the same can't be said of the defense on Sunday. Through the first four innings, there were probably somewhere on the order of 10-12 errors. A few of them sun related, a number of them glove-related. And one of them (I'm looking at you Don) feet-related.
Greg was the first to take the immaculate new hill in the middle of the diamond, and was able to wiggle out of a two on, two out jam to leave it scoreless. Nick toed the rubber for the visitors, and struggled with his command early before his defense began to struggle with their command of catching the ball late. Fortunately for us, that ineptitude in the field was matched by the homers as the game quickly turned very Mission-y... Maybe we just aren't used to a field where the ball rolls that nicely and takes true hops?
The first sign of trouble was when Mike (Chris' friend, not sure of his last name) in-advisably tried to take third on a fly out to Don in center in the second inning. The throw had him by 5 feet, but short-hopped Tony and skittered to the fence. Mike decided to break for home, and Tony would have had the ball, ready to throw, with him only about a quarter of the way there. But he couldn't find the handle. And then couldn't find the handle. And then couldn't find the handle.
That theme repeated for both sides over the next few innings. And by the time Greg and Nick made way for fresh meat sometime around the 5th the score was about 10-6 visitors. We eked out a couple more runs against Sean over the ensuing innings, as Mitch kept a tight leash on the homers - and we headed to the 9th up 12-6.
But, as is often the case, no lead is completely safe. A string of hits (some solid, some bloops) in the 9th, along with a dropped fly ball in left, had the tying run on first with two outs. Alas, we locked it down finally and left with a 12-10 victory.
* The Jameson Twins made their long overdue returns. Looking like they've been enjoying their downtime to the fullest. They've threatened to become more regular again. We shall see.
* The sun was the star of the game (see what I did there) for both offenses. Any ball hit into the air in center or left was an adventure. So hat tip to those brave souls (Don, Mitch, Noah, James, Nick) who manned those positions and gave it their best.
* Mitch made two great catches. One a line drive back to the box while pitching, the other an over the shoulder catch in center after breaking in, losing the ball in the sun, and then having Noah direct him to the right spot.
* I remember solid line drives from Tony, Mike, Randy, Sean... I'm sure there were more. So it wasn't all bloopers and sun balls. But there were a lot of them.
* There was a broken windshield in the parking lot, and Parks and Rec came out. Unclear if we'll be on the hook for anything, but stay tuned in case a hat needs to be passed...
Overall, the new field is stellar. Every ball I threw around the infield from first base took nice true hops, rolled smoothly, etc... It was a treat to play on a great infield for a change. Just have to consider whether playing there in the winter - when the sun is low in the southern sky - is the best idea.