Good lord it was a hot one. The switch in time to 1pm to better accommodate the blindedness of the outfielders was not a rousing success. But every little bit helps I guess. The good news was we had 19 1/2 players out, the 0.5 being the return of Lil' Josh Gibson, my younger slugger. If we counted his runs, the homers walked away with the game, which he kept reminding us of. He was all in, all game: there to hit dingers, slide hard into 3rd and home, smother foul balls down the line, and remind Tony of the dangers of cigarette smoking.
The game starters were Aiden and Tony, respectively, and Aiden continued his dominance of the club. Amazing what a fast ball and a decent breaking ball will do to a bunch of senior citizens. Tony pitched well, but we did not help him too much in the defense department, my own flailing in left field being the most egregious. Adam put a decent bat on the ball and I thought I was all lined up on that thing, and it just defied the laws of gravity and stayed up in the air, over my head before I could realize what was going on.
Sonny came in for Tony, Aiden stayed in to punish up some more and then hit his limit, bowing out with the score 5-1. I came in after Sonny, did one inning, then Mike N, and James rounded it out. Aiden gave way to Dave, Chris L., Elon, and Abe. It was a Baskin Robbins of pitching days for sure.
Somewhere along the way we started scoring runs, and by the time we reached the 8th inning we had built ourselves a 7-5 lead! No one more surprised than us, and Greg came through with the late inning RBI that we always seem to miss. But the 9th proved to be complicated, and Nick W. hit on to center right into the sun, past Mike and rolled to the wall. Nick was for sure to get an in the parker, until he crashed and burned coming around 3rd. I've been there, and it ain't fun. So we still had a chance, but short lived, he was driven in, and the game was tied. Extra innings, back and forth, to the 11th, and the visitors finally scored that crucial go ahead. Josh and me had to hit the road, so didn't see the coup d' grace but the writing was on the wall.
A great game! Probably final score of 8-7.
* Homers would have been very much back in the game, but 8 of the last 10 balls we hit were to Aiden at SS, who gobbled them up left and right, taking hits away.
* Marcella, I believe, had her first hit and run scored and almost nabbed a runner on the right field SQ play.
* Visitors turned at least one double play
* Elon robbed me of a double in center, on a semi diving, into the sun play
* James made several great catches in center, to keep the score close
* I actually managed to catch the next 3 balls that were hit to me, 75% is a passing grade.
* There were a lot of great plays made from SS and 3rd: Tony, Mike, Aiden, John, Abe
* The jury is still out on how Don keeps his Fuck Um Bucky shirt so vibrant?
*Greg's single down the line gave me hope
* We had a respirator and boat shoe-clad Bob as a second baseman for the last frames, almost back to playing form
* See you's in Grass Valley.
James' Field Report:
Welcome to another episode of This Week in Mission Baseball!
What a roller coaster of a game! The home team -- my crew -- was down 5-1 around the midpoint of the game. We rallied to tie it at 5, Aaron said the ol' "Feel that momentum shift?", we took a 7-5 lead into the 9th, and then... Yikes, again! Let's give out some awards and see what happened.
SWING OF THE WEEK: I'm giving this to Nick. Let's set the scene: Two outs, top of the ninth, down two, runner on first. I was cruising, getting guys on easy grounders. It looked like an easy save. I threw a really hard fastball, and Nick blasted it to deep center. The dreaded conditions of centerfield paralyzed the defense, and the infinite roll on the rock-hard dirt commenced. One run scores and it is clear that Nick will very easily score the tying run because we will need a five-man relay chain to get this ball to the infield. It's still rolling back there. Nick approaches third and slows down! What? After like a minute of his team screaming at him, he restarts for home. He trips and falls. The crowd is going bananas! Get up! Run! The ball is being relayed from the other field dirt, and we're bobbling it. Nick crawls around a little bit and retreats to third. His team is outraged! So much yelling, laughing, head drooping (on my team)... Bonkers. He could have easily crawled home on all four, backwards, and still made it easy. Luckily, Dave came up next and got an infield single because the throw to first was not in time (Aaugh!).
Tie game on two runs in the top of the f'n ninth with two outs. In the top of the eleventh the visitors struck for two more due to the dreaded, paralyzing center field effect. It is no joke. But our unraveling all began with that blast from Nick, perhaps the longest ball I have ever seen him hit. Congratulations. It was memorable!
Honorable mentions: Aaron stayed hot, but was finally retired after a 9 for 9 streak over three games, I believe.
PITCHES OF THE WEEK: Let's give this to Elan and Abe for late inning relief work. They managed to cool off the home team in the late, crucial innings to allow their comeback. We were hitting the ball hard on both of them, but their gloves were working!
GLOVES OF THE WEEK: Tons of gloves to give out this week. Primary winners: Mike N. and Aidan. Mike made so many put-outs at third early in the game on hard grounders, it was ridiculous. Every throw over to first was money. Plus, he threw out Dave a home on a grounder to third. In the later innings, it was Aidan for the visitors. In the late innings, the kid showed so much range at short and a strong throwing arm, it was also ridiculous. I blasted one up the middle that I was sure was a hit, and he glided over and made it look easy. I even sensed a little arrogance in how long he was holding the ball on some of his throws over to first. He did not look like he was in a hurry at all, and was delivering lasers over to first like nothing. Elan and Abe owe him for vacuuming up everything.
Honorable mentions: Elan made a falling catch to rob Aaron of a double to deep left center, Abe made a spectacular sprinting catch of a shallow bloop to left, and you know what? I'm giving myself honorable mention for my play in center field in this game. Yeah, that's right! Due to playing CF so often, I have mostly overcome the massive learning curve of the sun, speedy grass, and slope of Portrero's pastures. I made a few blinding catches that had me seeing spots for the rest of the inning, and I even robbed Dave on a deep drive to left center onto the other field dirt. It ain't easy, folks, and your certainly in for a baptism by fire the first time you stroll out to play CF at Portrero.
- Home team takes a 7-5 lead into the 9th, loses 9-7 in the 11th. Aaugh!
WORD OF THE WEEK: Roll. As in the infinite roll of the ball if it gets passed an outfielder. Of the visitors' 9 runs, I think 6 of them can be attributed to this effect. Elan's basic single to right became an RBI triple and then he scored (2), Nick's blast to CF might have been catchable, but the infinite roll was an RBI triple and he later scored (2), and then Aidan's base hit to center in the 11th also got by and infinitely rolled. RBI and an inside the parker (2). This was absolutely our downfall. Aaugh!