If you have been able to work your way through this site, you have read about my son and his baseball team. This week, we are in Battle Creek, in the western part of the Enchanted Mitten, as his team plays in the Mayor's Tournament.
Their first game was this morning at . . . wait for it . . . 8:30 a.m.!
Although the boys were half asleep when they got to the park at 7:30, they slowly awakened and began the game. Alex, my son, was the starting pitcher. He was salivating over the fact that instead of the mound being 60 feet from home, as he has played all year, it was only 54 feet in this tournament. That's a 10 percent increase in velocity, without doing anything differently.
The game started slowly, with Alex walking the first hitter, who made his way over to third on an error. Then, with one out, the batter hit one back to Alex, who grabbed it and got the runner in a pickle between third and home. It looked like they might get out of the inning until the ball got away and the runner scored. No further damage that inning or in the second. 1-0, going into the bottom of the second.
After a lead off walk and a stolen base, Alex doubled up the gap in right center, driving in the tying run. He then scored the go-ahead run on a single, and the team widened its lead to 4-1, then later 6-1 with some timely hitting. Alex was rolling on the mound, pitching very efficiently, although he gave up 5 walks. Still, the other team was not scoring until the fifth, when they put together three unearned runs (on only one hit, their first of the game) to pull within 6-4.
Not to worry. Our boys hung a 6-spot on them in the bottom of the fifth to close out the game on a mercy, 12-4 (8 runs or more ahead after 5 innings and the game is over). Alex pitched 5 innings, gave up 4 runs, all unearned, and had 5 walks and 5 strikeouts while giving up only one hit. He was also 1-3 with 2 runs batted in. All in all, a good performance.
The good feelings were short-lived, however, as the boys had to go right back to work with a game at 10:30 against a very good team. The boys fought hard, but they seemed tired and the bats stopped working, the end result being a 7-0 loss.
Two more games tomorrow and one on Saturday. Then, we'll see whether they make the playoff games on Sunday.
It's hot here -- high 80s. Gatorade sales are through the roof.
So what do we do tonight, with some down time from the baseball tournament? We watch baseball! Alex and I are going with one of the other boys and his dad to the West Michigan Whitecaps game in Grand Rapids.
It's summer. There is baseball to be played, watched, analyzed, and loved for all of its intricacy, difficulty, and beauty.
I wish you baseball.