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Friday, August 19, 2005

But it is not by players alone . . .

They still have to play.
The team went 2-2 over the weekend - 14-0 win, 11-1 loss, 9-1 loss, 8-4 win.
Tournament conditions were tough: 100 degrees on the fields themselves, dirt infields, but the overall field conditions were good. Fake mounds, however, in the complex of 5 fields so that they can be converted to softball and little league; the mounds are small and not sloped so pitchers step onto a flat surface with their post legs - did not seem to bother most of the pitchers.
When we scored, we won, that's about it. Game 1 drained everyone on the team - we probably spent about $75 - $100 on day 1 on drinks (you were not allowed to bring any in, and they checked bags but not players' bags, so dumped drinks in them after game 1, although they were not cold). Game 2, the players on our team simply stopped sweating no matter how much they drank and they were just beaten by a pretty good pitcher - 3 hits total.
Game 3 on Sunday morning was the only really bad one - errors that let in key runs and one very bad call at home against us that took us out of an inning where we were doing some damage. We also lost our shortstop on the play when the catcher fell on him and turned his ankle. He was a really terrific player and an intense, fiery competitor and his loss hurt. My son pitched 5 and 6 and struggled with a new catcher calling a limited selection of pitchers - he has still not learned to shake anyone off, and got 0-2, 1-2, 2-2 counts and gave up hits. The final insult and the game-ender came when he walked a kid, who then ran to second without stopping and caught us off-guard and my son threw the ball over second into center field, giving them the 8-run lead after 5. Ugly end.
My son hit well, drove in 3-4 runs, and played well at first, but the end of game 2 changed his mood, I think, and his attitude. He has come around some since then but that kind of embarrassment does not just melt away but lingers. We'll see how he does in a small wood-bat tournament this week.
Wood bats are great, they definitely change the game but the sound is authentically baseball and there are lots more opportunities for plays at the bases with more ground balls. Metal bats should be confined to Little League and Cal Ripken.