February 17, 2010
Game 9 away (4-4)- This game was supposed to be a DH, but game 1 was rained out and if I wanted to make this post much longer Iâ€™d explain the controversy that went with it. However as it was it was played against one of the stronger teams in the league. We had our ace going and I figured itâ€™d be a close game. They played very sloppy defense through the first 2 innings but we were only able to score 2 runs to take a 2-1 lead into the third. In their half of the third they took at 3-2 lead after their 3 and 4 hitters hit back to back doubles to lead off the inning.
In the top of the fifth our 3 hitter led off with a triple and scored later on a FC. In the top of the seventh, we had finally chased their starter and lead off the inning with a double to center. He later advanced to third on a WP and we had a runner on 3rd with no outs. After a pop out and walk our nine hitter lined out to short and the guy on first wandered too far off the bag and they were able to turn it into a DP. Unfortunately we wasted a big chance to score there.
With our pitcher around 100 pitches I let him start the 7th, he lead off with a walk and I decided to bring in a new pitcher. It was a hot and humid day and I probably shouldâ€™ve pulled him before the inning. After we walked the next batter the next 2 batters made outs without advancing the runners. With 2 outs and runners on first and second their next hitter singled to center, the throw home was late and we lost another close game to drop our record to 4-5.
Game 10 home (4-5)- Never had a chance in this one, our starter struggled and we were down 8-0 after 3. Ended up losing 10-2.
Game 11 home (4-6)- In this game we were playing the team we lost to in 11 from game 4. We had our #2 going and were hopeful he could give us a good start. We were up 2-0 after 2 despite a big mistake by me in which I stopped a runner too late coming around third and that led to a DP. We were able to tack on another in the third to take a 3-0 lead. In the bottom of the 5th still up 3-0 we put the game away when the first five hitters; singled, singled, K, walked, and tripled. They threatened a couple times late but we were able to limit the damage and win 10-2. I was hopeful that this win would get us going as we could only lose one, possibly two games the rest of the way and still make the playoffs.
Game 12 away (5-6)- Playing another good team we were down 2-0 after 1. We tied it up in the fourth thanks to some fortunate luck and cheap hits. In the top of the fifth with 2 out and a runner on first, our 3 and 4 hitters hit back to back doubles to give us a 4-2 lead. We added 3 more runs in the top of the 7th and won the game 7-3. Our #3 starter who I didnâ€™t even plan on using in the rotation to begin the year was 3-0 and throwing very well.
Game 13 away (6-6)- This was a game against another team in the middle of the pack. It was scoreless going into the third and we had the heart of order up. The inning went; single, single, F9, double, single, 1-3, 3u and we had a 2-0 lead. They tied the game in the next inning and added one more in the fifth to take a 3-2 lead. Still down 3-2 in the bottom of the 7th with one out and nobody on our leadoff hitter singled and our 2 hitter also singled to put runners on 1st and 2nd. After our 3 hitter flied out to left, our 4 hitter hit a double to CF that scored both runs and he eventually scored on a single.
Up 5-3 going into the bottom of the seventh they started the inning with back to back singles putting runners at the corners with their 4 hitter coming up. He hit into a 4-6-3 DP and their next hitter flied out harmlessly to center to preserve a 5-4 win. We were finally back over 500 and into the playoff race.
Game 14 away (7-6) This was against the same team as game 10. We had our ace going this time but the game started out awful. The first 2 batters reached base and advanced to third after they were picked off (our pitcher is LH) but errors by the 1B led to both runners advancing the third. Up 1-0 with 2 outs and a runner on third our catcher caught a ball in a bad spot and it basically destroyed his thumb. It turned into a PB and we were down 2-0 and had to play the rest of the game with our emergency catcher.
Still down 2-0 in the 5th our nine hitter got things starter with a double and our leadoff hitter walked. I then had this conversation with our 2 hitter before the next AB.
Me- â€œYou know what I want you to do here?â€ him- â€œgo yard?â€
After laughing I agreed that if he tried to sacrifice on the first pitch Iâ€™d let him swing. He then attempted the worst sac bunt I had ever seen and he was down 0-1. I let him swing away and on the next pitch he double to RC scoring 2. He was stranded there but it was a new game. Our ace was throwing very well and had 11 strikeouts through 6. In the 7th our 9 hitter again started things with a lead off single. After a sac bunt our 2 hitter again drove him in with a single to left center and they never threatened in the bottom half. With the win we were 8-6 and right in the tick of the playoff race.
Games 15 and 16 (8-6) This DH was played on the road against a team thatâ€™s always good. It was on July 5 and unfortunately our whole team pretty much showed up tired from the night before. The 2 games werenâ€™t very eventful and we lost 5-0 and 5-2. This was extremely deflating as we had our #1 and #2 going. Nonetheless they just beat us in every possible way and we were back to 8-8. After the game I told the team we have to run the table to have a shot at the playoffs.
One thing about this team that I love is that they werenâ€™t intimidated by anyone or anything. They loved facing the best and being presented with a challenge. I knew I was going to get their best effort over the next 6 games.
Game 17 home (8-8)- This was against the same team as game 12. They were 2 games ahead of us in the playoff race. We jumped on them early scoring 9 runs in the second. Things fell apart for them when up 1-0 one of our players stole home. In total 15 hitters came to the plate in the second, we had 6 hits, 4 walks, and one reached on an error. Up 9-0 we coasted to a 9-1 win and our #3 starter was 4-0 on the year.
Game 18 away (9-8)- This was the second game of a 6 game in 5 days stretch. I had to start a sophomore as this was one of the weaker teams in the league. Tied 2-2 in the fifth our 3 hitter lea doff the inning with a double. After a ground out to second advanced him to third, our five hitter drove him in with a suicide squeeze. However they tied it in the bottom half with a 2 out single and double. In our half of the sixth we went; single, E5, bunt single, walk, walk, sac fly to take a 6-3 lead going into the bottom of the 6th.
I brought in a freshman pitcher that is usually our catcher. Never having seen him throw before I was a bit concerned but I had no other choice. He threw very well and despite putting runners on 1st and 2nd with 1 out he was able to wiggle out of the jam and we held on to win 6-3.
Game 19, 20 home (10-8) This was the first game of a DH against the second best team in the league. We caught a break when they had some bad luck with scheduling and were in the middle of an 8 game in 5 day stretch and they had just used their #1 and 2 pitchers the previous day. However theyâ€™re extremely well coached and I knew it was going to be extremely difficult to sweep.
In game 1 they hit a 3 run homer in the first and had a 5-1 lead going into the third. In the bottom of the third our first 5 hitters reached base and with the game tied and runners on 1st and 2nd with 2 outs our 8 hitter singled down the left field line to take the lead. Our starter then found his groove retiring 9 of the next 10 and we had a 7-5 lead going into the 7th. I had to make a difficult decision here. Our starter was at 100 pitches, but he was cruising. However we had our closer (the D1 SS) ready to go.
My philosophy is different from most coaches as I believe you have to save a little something for your next games rather than go all out to win the current game especially when you have 3 tough games left so I sent my starter back out there and unfortunately he struggled. With 2 outs, he walked in a run and I brought in our closer. Their next batter grounded to short and we hung on to win 7-6.
In game 2 they were exhausted from playing so many games in a short time and at the bottom of their rotation. We had our ace going and were full of confidence. Taking a 2-1 lead into the second we scored 4 times in the inning, once in the third, and twice in the fourth, we ended up winning 11-2 and were one game back of a tie for a playoff spot. In this league all ties are decided by play in games and the two teams in front of us had really tough games so we figured if we won our next 2 games weâ€™d be in a play-in game as the worst case scenario.
Game 21 home (12-8)- Same team as game 9. We had to start a pitcher that wasnâ€™t even in our rotation this game but every team was in a tough situation playing so many games in a short amount of time. We took a 1-0 lead thanks to 3 straight 2 out singles in the first. In the second with 2 outs nobody on we scored 3 more runs after a single, single, E9, double. We tacked on 2 more in the third and it was 6-2 going into the fifth. Our pitcher then tired and they made some nice adjustments at the plate scoring 4 in the inning to tie it at 6.
In the bottom of the in 5th our first 2 hitters reached base after and single and a walk. A wild pitch advanced both runners to second and third with 0 outs. Our 8 hitter popped up and I decided to squeeze with our 9 hitter, the only problem was he bunted through the ball and our runner was caught up. After a couple throws their 3B bobbled the ball allowing our runner to score and we had a 7-6 lead going into the 6th. I brought in our closer and things didnâ€™t go according to plan.
The leadoff hitter walked on 4 pitches and their 2 hitter doubled to left-center. With 0 outs, their coach tried to score the runner from first and he was thrown out at the plate with the batter advancing to third on the throw. With a runner on third and 1 out our pitcher who can get it up to about 91 or 92 struck out the next hitter on 3 pitches. After a walk to their clean-up hitter he advanced to second after we conceded it when he stole with our pitcher still set. Their 5 hitter had a good AB but grounded out to SS to end the threat. They went 1-2-3 in the 7th and we won 7-6. Unfortunately we got no help from any other team and were one game back.
Game 22 home (13-8)- Same team as game 13. We were starting our #3 who was 4-0 on the year. Tied 1-1 in the third we took the lead when our 5 hitter singled in a run with 2 outs. They tied it next inning with a 2 out RBI double from their 3 hitter. In the bottom of the 6th our 6 hitter led off with a single. After an errant pickoff throw chased him to third our 7 hitter struck out, but our 8 hitter picked him up with a single through the right side. Up 3-2 in the 7th we ended the game with a 4-6-3 DP and were hoping for some help.
However we didnâ€™t get it. The first place team got swept in a DH and the other top 4 seeds held. It was again frustrating but nothing we could do as we won our last 6 and if we played better in the beginning of the season we wouldâ€™ve made the playoffs. Nonetheless I had a blast coaching this team and learned a lot from them. It was a fun experience and it wouldâ€™ve been interesting to see what we wouldâ€™ve done in the playoffs.
This was my last year coaching summer ball as Iâ€™m going to travel a bit more this summer, but it was great to end with this team and Iâ€™m not sure if I couldâ€™ve enjoyed coaching another team as much as this one. Hope you guys enjoyed it, with some luck Iâ€™ll have a better ending this year with school ball. (Also, Iâ€™m too lazy to proofread this so sorry for any mistakes.)