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06/06/06
And then there were three…
Filed under: General
Posted by: Gavin @ 10:39 pm

I know I haven’t gotten you all caught up on what’s been going on over the last few months yet, but I hope to soon.  But tonights Giant game (Tyler’s little league team) against the Orioles was one for the ages and I must let it out.

The Giants were facing their second test of elimination going up against the big and tough Orioles squad this time.  It’s win or go home for these kids.  The Giants are the home team and Tyler’s given the ball for this game.  He takes the mound and warms up looking good as he throws his heater into Wesley’s glove.  Tyler just turned 11 a week ago but his fastball is estimated to be around 60 to 65 miles per hour.  That’s fast for a league age 10 player.  It’s game time, 5:40 PM.  Game time temperature, 106 with clouds building from the south.  Tyler works hard and allows a hit or two in the first but leaves them standing on the bases as he strikes out the number 5 hitter for out number three.

The top of our order is one of the best in the league.  Brando 11, is a speedster on the bases with quick hands at bat and is our lead-off hitter hitting somewhere in the high 400’s for the season.  David 11, is our number two hitter and is probably the weakest hitter in the top of our order hitting just .333 for the season.  Wesley, 12 and our catcher extraordinaire is our leading hitter in the third spot followed up by John 12, the power in the four hole.  John has five home runs to his credit this season with a beautiful Walk Off Home Run to end the first game in the tournament.  Daniel 12, is our number five hitter with a great on base percentage in the 500’s.  Following Daniel is Nolan 12, another solid hitter batting about 400 now.  Behind him is Gary 12, who’s hitting of late has come on at the right time to help us win some needed games.  They say speed kills and in Gary’s case, he will have a long and glorious life.  Gary is the dump truck on the team bounding around the bases when he gets a hit.  Harley 11, follows Gary who is sporadic at the plate but hit a timely home run to help us win a game toward the end of regular season.  After him is Tyler 10 (league age), our Tyler hitting in the high 200’s since April 12th which we’re extremely proud of.  Bringing up the end is Sasha, 11 and Walter 11, who have struggled at the plate but come out and work hard every practice and every game to get better.

That’s the line-up that won us the Season scoring 117 runs on their way to a 15 and 3 record (with a forfeit included).  This is the team that held their opponents to just 30 runs all season.  A powerhouse of a team.  The top of our order comes up with the Orioles throwing a big kid that surprisingly doesn’t throw hard.  This could be trouble for us.  We seem to struggle against mediocre or average pitching.  We get out in front of the pitches failing to hold up for the ball to travel to the plate.  The bottom of the first saw this come to thruition.  Brando was thrown out at first while David struck out.  Wes got on with a hard hit single to left but was stranded there when John grounded out to Second base.  Bottom of 1 score tied at 0.

Tyler takes the mound for his second inning of work and allows a hit to the lead-off batter of the inning.  The next batter hits the ball sharply to Brando at short who tosses the ball to second who turns and throws wildly over the first baseman’s head moving the runner over to second.  The next batter looks at strike one on the outside of the plate.  He then takes a ball before swinging at the third pitch for a strike.  Wes comes up ready to throw as he always does but somehow loses the ball in the transfer.  He looks down for the ball as the runner on second breaks for third.  Spinning around he’s furiously looking for the ball as the umpire moves out of the way.  Wes sees the ball and grabs it but not before the runner is standing on third.  That’s OK, no harm done.  Tyler delivers the next pitch, a beautiful change up that has the hitter swinging way out in front of the pitch for strike three.  Two down with a runner on three.  The next batter steps in as Tyler gets his sign from Wes.  Tyler winds up and throws the ball wide right to the backstop.  The runner breaks for home as Wes jumps up running for the ball.  Tyler’s running home to cover as Wes grabs the ball and from his knees he turns and throws to Tyler.  Tyler’s just reaching home as the ball is coming in just a little high.  He reaches for the ball and brings down the tag on the sliding runner kicking up dirt and dust as he crosses home plate.  ”Safe!” yells the umpire as the ball dribbles behind Tyler.  It was a great play at home and the runner had to be out if Tyler could have held onto the ball.  Orioles fans cheer in celebration to our right.

Tyler picks up the ball and returns to the mound.  His head down for a moment.  You know he’s hurting over allowing that run.  But he lifts his head ready to take the signs from Wes to get this batter out.  ”Strike!” yells the ump as the ball screams past the batter into Wesley’s glove with a whump.  That was a nice pitch.  Now Tyler’s fired up.  The batter swings at the next pitch which dribbles weakly to Gary standing on first base for the third out.  Orioles 1, Giants 0 in the middle of the 2nd inning.

The Giants come up to bat in the bottom of the second inning going three up, three down quickly.  Tyler takes the mound for the third inning and strikes out the first batter.  The next batter takes the first two pitches for balls before Tyler throws inside and hits the batter in the upper arm.  As the batter reaches first, blue gives him time as his arm really hurts and a coach has to take a look.  They have him rotate his arm a few times in a big windmill fashion and he finally takes his place on first after a few minutes break.  Tyler really throws hard.  Tyler is placing his pitches on the corners and at the knees but not getting many calls from the umpire.  The next batter walks putting runners on first and second with one out.  Tyler throws a beautiful pitch to the next batter that he hits back to Brando at short who makes the out at second leaving runners on first and third with two outs.  Tyler hits his marks again but doesn’t get the calls.  Borderline balls are called which allows another walk loading the bases.  This brings Jake Nicholas to the plate, the Orioles number three hitter.  Two out, bases loaded and their number three hitter at the plate.  Tyler throws the first pitch by Jake for strike one.  Then Jake hits the second pitch to our ranging second baseman who makes a great play to get the ball and throw out Jake at first.  Tyler worked his way out of a jam there allowing no runs with bases loaded going through the top of their lineup.  Way to go kid.  Way to go.

The bottom of three has Tyler leading off the inning.  He stands in there and takes a good swing fouling off the first pitch.  The pitcher delivers the next pitch, looks good Tyler watches the ball into the catchers glove.  Ball 1.  Tyler takes ball two and then likes the next pitch grounding it hard to second who fields it cleanly throwing Tyler out at first.  Sasha and Walter end the bottom of the inning with the last two outs leaving Brando our lead-off hitter on deck.  After three, the score remains Orioles 1, Giants 0.

Tyler takes the mound for his fourth inning of work as a dust storm hit.  The game was delayed a few minutes as the front passed and then the Giants took the field with plenty of dust and dirt still in the air, wind blowing making it pretty hard to see.  It was 6:30 or so and the dust storm reduced visability quite a bit but our first baseman dawned a pair of sunglasses to help sheild his eyes from the debris.  The coaches asked if he could see and he said he could, so play on.  Tyler completed his warm up and takes the mound getting the first batter to ground out.  The next batter steps in and takes a ball.  The next pitch the batter swings and misses for a strike.  The batter drives the next pitch into the hole to right field for a single.  The next batter steps in and swings hitting the ball back to Brando at short who tags second and throws to first, “Safe!” is the umpires call as the runner beat the play.  The next batter steps in and lines the ball to right field.  The right fielder goes down for the ball but it rolls by him to the fence.  This allows the runner on first to score as the error costs the Giants two bases with the batter ending up on third.  Tyler takes the mound and strikes out the last batter for out number three in the inning.  Orioles 2, Giants 0 in the middle of four.

Top of the order coming up for the Giants.  Brando grounds out to second for the first out.  David gets on with a single to left bringing Wes up to bat.  Wes looks for his pitch and finds it crushing the ball to the fence in right.  David takes off from first heading round second to third.  As David’s approaching third Wes is already rounding second and the ball is being received by the second baseman in right.  It looks like the third base coach has to send David as Wes will surely be out at second if he holds the runners.  So he sends David home.  The second baseman throws home on a line to the catcher.  David slides as the catcher receives the ball and lays the tag on.  “Out!” cries blue.  No one will know for sure why the coach sent the runner but that’s how I saw it.  Two out bottom of four and John grounds out to second to end the inning.  Orioles 2, Giants 0 after four.

Top of five and Tyler goes back out and takes care of business facing four of their batters including their lead-off hitter for the last out.  He looks strong and has thrown only 72 pitches through five innings.  Tyler usually goes into the mid to upper 80’s in an outing before his pitch count really comes into play.  No matter what happens, win or lose, we are so proud of Tyler and his performance here tonight.  He’s performed tremendously under the pressure of playing up, pitching to 11 and 12 year olds and in an elimination game.  He’s kept the Giants in this game.  If only we could get some hits. 

Bottom of 5 with Daniel coming up to bat.  The Orioles have replaced their pitcher with one of their top pitchers, Jake Nicholas.  I guess with the two run lead their taking no chances now.  Jake throws to Daniel who hits a single past short.  Nolan stands in and takes strike one looking.  Jake sends the next pitch in the dirt moving Daniel to second on the wild pitch.  Nolan takes the next pitch and hits the ball hard to right for a single scoring Daniel.  Nolan moves to second on the throw home to the plate.  Never say die.  Gary stands in and on the first pitch he crushes the ball to the fence in right center.  Nolan scores as Gary rumbles around to second for a stand up double.  Tie game everyone.  Harley stands in and takes the first pitch laying down a beautiful bunt out in front of the catcher.  By the time the pitcher retrieves the ball Gary’s arriving at third and Harley’s rounding first to take a look at second.  Jake looks to throw back to second and Gary starts for home.  Jake stops and looks at third stopping Gary in his tracks.  This moves Harley closer to second - almost half way between the bases now.  Jake turns back to throw to second and starts to send Harley back to first.  Jake stops and pumps to first as Harley’s watching, slowly heading to first.  Finally Jake decides to throw it to first and Harley sprints for second as Gary barrels for home.  The first baseman catches the ball and throws back home but he’s too late.  Gary scores home from third and Harley’s standing on second.  I don’t know what happened exactly but damn, we’re up by a run now.  Tyler steps in and grounds out while Sasha and Walter make the last two outs of the inning.  Proud to say, Orioles 2, Giants 3 bottom of 5.

Top of six and their number two, three and four hitters coming up to bat.  The Giants take the field and Tyler heads back to the mound for his sixth inning of work.  But this time with a lead.  Their number two hitter comes up and promptly ropes the second pitch to right field for a double.  Jake Nicholas stands in and Tyler stands behind the mound taking deep breaths trying to calm himself.  He takes the mound and digs deep inside for the next four pitches.  Strike 1, ball, Strike 2 and a pop up foul down the third base line.  Tyler’s running for it, John on third is running for it and Wes jumps up running for it.  No one really has a shot at catching this ball, but you see Wes making ground and he calls, “I’ve got it.”  The balls close to the dugout heading for the ground as Wes dives for it.  Some how he came up with it.  It was a spectacular play.  Oh my, what a catch from the “All Star” Wesley Sutton.   Jake slams his bat to the ground in a chopping motion as the call is made and storms back into the dugout.  The Orioles number 4 hitter stands in with the runner still at second base.  A big and powerful hitter with an intimidating presence in the batters box.  Tyler delivers the first pitch, a beautiful pitch on the inside corner of the plate that the batter swings past for a strike.  The second pitch was a duplicate of the first for strike 2. The next pitch falls low for ball 1 while the next pitch is in the dirt.  Wes scoops up the ball leaving the runner right where he was at second.  Tyler winds and delivers a beautiful pitch on the outside corner of the plate for a strike.  “Ball”, says blue.  Ohhhhh, that was a strike.  Three balls, two strikes, count full.  Tyler winds up and throws.  Swing for strike three.  Two out.  Tying run on second.  The number 5 hitter in their order stepping up to the plate.  Tyler delivers the first pitch.  He swings and hits the ball.  A lazy grounder back to Tyler.  Tyler scoops up the ball and throws it over to Gary for the last out of the game.  “Giant’s Win!”  

Blue (the umpire) took the ball from Gary our first baseman and delivered it to our Coach.  He wanted the pitcher to have that ball.  I was the official score keeper and blue came over to me to sign the card and said, “Now that was a great game.”  I just said, “Yes it was.”  Carol was sitting next to me as Tyler made that last out and looked at me with tears in her eyes.  She has missed so many of Tyler’s games because of Tracey’s games as we have to split up to cover.  But this was the only night that Tracey didn’t have a game or practice.  Carol, Tracey and Grandma were all present for this one.  And he pulled it off.  Our little guy pulled it off.  What a great game.  How proud am I?  I can’t put it into words.  He is the star.  I just get to sit there and watch him play. 

The Giants now face the Nationals in the finale of the loser’s bracket.  The Nationals are the team that put us into the Losers bracket.  The Nationals are the team that wouldn’t postpone a game where we only had eight players show for a game forcing a forfeit in the regular season.  The Nationals are a team we want to beat and I think we can do that Thursday night.  But you have to play the game.  Thanks for tuning in and listening to my ramble.  Until next time, take care and I’ll be typing at you later.

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