Tonight we played game one of the Senior League World Series. We entered it a player short: Mike, the head coach's son, and one of our pitchers, was hurt during Saturday's victory that got us here. The news was about as bad as it can be: he broke his leg on the play. He was coming into home plate and twisted his leg trying-- successfully, it turned out-- to avoid the catcher's tag. He will have surgery tomorrow, where they'll put a pin in.
We were happy that Mike was able to be there and participate (he kept the stats). He was one of the guys who got us there.
The game was rough from the start. Our starting pitcher was pulled in the first inning after inadvertently hitting two batters (it's a league rule). We usually depend on him to pitch three innings. We gave up nine runs in the first two innings.
One of the things I've loved about this team is how there is not one big star on the team. Each guy has had vital contributions at key moments. Tonight, it was Brandon, a little pip of a guy who is the youngest guy on the team. He came in to pitch and held the damage.
Our guys tried to rally back, loading up the bases at one point, but they were unable to score. It was tough-- the Senior League Cubs, the team they played, are a damned good team. One of their coaches, Mark M. was Adam's head coach for two years. He's a great coach who has always seen the potential and the love for the game that Adam had, and encouraged him, and when he was head coach picked him in the draft over guys who had better stats.
It was fitting, then, that in what is probably his last season playing ball in this league, he got to face his old coach in the championship. It was Mark's encouragement that made him keep trying. Even last year, when he was stuck out in right field for the whole season, he never gave up working on his game. In a beautiful little irony, it was that coach and that team, the team that had been annointed to win it all, that got knocked out by the last-place team, paving the way for Adam to be in the championship series. I'll leave it to you to make your own conclusions about those with little faith in people. But I know that Mark, despite Adam being on the other team in what is likely to be the only championship that Mark will win in all his years in the league, looks on Adam with pride in the part he had in where he was today.
Because you see, Adam didn't spend an inning this evening in right field, working on his tan. He played third base, the "hot corner" as they call it in baseball. And then he pitched the last inning, giving up not one run. As the sixth inning was ending, I heard my ex calling to me. The coach had told him to warm up to pitch the next inning.
I grabbed my camcorder and got ready for it. I'd missed a couple of great plays he had at third, where he'd tagged guys out trying to steal. I wasn't missing this one.
He had no idea he was going to pitch tonight. Like getting to the championship, unlikely chains of events had conspired to get him there. He ran out, warmed up and went out and pitched. He retired the side without a run scored. When the chips were down, he came through. I couldn't be prouder of him. I'm happy that Kim and Mel were there to see it, too.