Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Baseball Finals

Doesn't he look tough there?
Finally, getting around to talking about Samwise's Little League Tourney. Sorry for the delay, life and stuff interrupted.

So the team entered the tournament having finished the season in First Place--and, Sam wasn't a small part of that (wasn't a huge part, don't get me wrong, but he's was a role player), so they got a bye for the first game and the lowest seeded team for the second game. Which basically served as batting practice for the team--although there was a moment or two where it looked like the other guys could make it interesting.

Sam's coach spent the week walking the tightrope between an intense desire to win and trying to keep things fun for the kids--he succeeded for the most part, but came close to running the kids ragged with practices on top of their games. If it wasn't the end of the season, it'd have been cruel.

Then came Saturday--the big day. 2 games guaranteed--one more elimination game for the four remaining teams and then either the consolation game or the championship game. The team they faced first (at 8:30 in the morning! How mean!) was no slouch--finished the season in a close fourth. This was everything that a parent/fan/coach/player could've wanted. Some decent defense (great defense for this level, if you grade on a curve), great offense, dumb young kid mistakes...a real nail-biter for too much of the game. In the end, Sam's team won and the 4th place team went to the consolation game (they ended up winning in an offensive slugfest, at one point it was 17-14 and they played a couple more long innings after that).

So we get a few hours off (nap time for the dad who came straight from work for the early game). Thankfully, the second place team ended up in the championship game with them--the third place team had beaten Sam's team twice and had this psychological hold on them, and would've likely won. Sadly, they were hurt by illnesses (flu, pneumonia, etc.)--one player in the second game wasn't feeling good enough to play in the first of the day. They had enough to field a team, but had no bench to draw from.

This game wasn't as good--both teams were tired (Sam's had a couple more hours of rest tho), neither team's big hitters were able to do as much as they wanted to, which was frustrating to all. The end of this game was never in any real doubt--thankfully. The lack of bench came into play towards the end--in the penultimate inning, the "big gun" on Sam's team hit this monster line-drive right into the face of the girl playing pitcher. She got a small cut by her eye, a bloody nose and a trip to the ER (seemed okay, but parent's were being understandably paranoid). The game really ended right there, although another full inning was played.

Typically, the parents on the losing team took it harder than their kids--on the whole, the parents on the winning side muted our celebrations because of the injury (the players really didn't...breaking into an impromptu cover of "We are the Champions" shortly after congratulating the other team).

Then there was the award ceremony--and, like I mentioned the other day, Samwise now has a trophy that had nothing to do with participation. An actual trophy, signifying an actual accomplishment and victory. Couldn't bee prouder.

Of course the thought that occupied my mind for the rest of the day was..."what nimrod spends 6 hours at a baseball field without a cap on a sunny day?" OW!!