Oh this baseball game is a funny one alright …. a game driven by individual statistics, but most often won by team effort.
Today was no exception.
Let me see if I can give it some context ….
Cheltenham are a team you need to respect; they are generally very aggressive with the bat, have solid skills and more often than not – despite whatever their current record might be – will always rise to the occasion when we play our version of the local derby.
For me, today was about keeping our heads in the game, minimising the oppositions hits and runs scored – and continuing to develop our own hitting. To be honest a win really wasn’t front of mind.
But after an exhausting game we were left with the knowledge that not only had we notched up our third win, in walk off style – our pitchers had combined to throw a no-hitter!
I believe I’ve banged on in previous emails about wanting the boys to hit – and that for me, the best indication of how we went isn’t the number of runs we scored – but the number of hits we register. At this level of the game it’s tough – kids are learning to pitch, and catchers learning the skill of catching, so pass balls, and wild pitches have a tremendous impact on the game.
The key though, is to continue to look for your pitch to hit, and when you see it go after it hard. And when it mattered, that’s what we did.
We fell into the trap early, watching pitches trying to work out the zone – and we too benefitted from those pass balls. But in that final inning – when the game was there to be won, so were our bats.
A couple of hit by pitch and a walk, worked in our favour – but the breakout came from our next two hitters. James and Peter, both had career games! Peter’s second single of the day plated the tying run – and put us in a sensational position with only one out. It was a terrific piece of hitting that showed just how far he has come. His confidence to swing the bat is brilliant – and in this situation he provided us with the guarantee that we would tie the game if nothing else. James’ hit out to centrefield the at bat prior was just as important, and came at a time, where we needed just that little lift in confidence. He provided it – and the RBI that kept the game going.
Unfortunately, it would be one of those pass balls that would help us with the walk off win, and whilst it is rarely satisfying to win that way – we had done the hard work to get back into the game.
Once again we finished having scored 6 runs on 3 hits – not a bad effort, but one we can continue to improve on. Pleasingly, the hits came from other players this week, and at key moments of the game – and that shows the kind of depth we truly have.
Defensively we did a terrific job – Robinson gave us a great 2 2/3 innings on the mound giving up a couple of runs, and Sid was once again stellar behind the plate. The play he attempted in gunning down the runner at third was inspired – and was absolutely the right play, despite not getting the out. Hunter made a terrific attempt at the ball at third, and Peter in Left Field did what all good outfielders do, and backed up beautifully. Any other day that play gets made, and we get out of the innings unharmed.
Despite Roo losing his way a little, James took up the challenge on the hill – a shaky start gave way to renewed confidence, and he gave us what we needed and limited Chelt’s scoring. Both boys having given up no hits.
With our final defensive inning looking like it might crack open for Cheltenham, Sunny stepped in and took up where James left off. We made our three outs, we were three runs down – and none of our pitchers had given up a hit to the Cheltenham bats.
With the result in the book – we stand 3-0 for the season; today’s win being one of the best efforts I’ve seen from a team in some time. Mostly, because we had boys stand up and be counted.
It’s all we ask, every week – and if this continues there’s more enjoyment to be had from this funny, sometimes frustrating, always intriguing game.
We’re off next week due to Melbourne Cup, and we have a bye the following week. It would be great to continue training through this time – so hopefully I’ll see you all on Wednesday.
Let’s Go Royals.
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