Monday, April 26, 2010

A Career Day

3-3, 3HR, BB

I was hoping yesterday’s baseball game would be cancelled. After the blizzard on Friday and Saturday, camping trip with the Scouts, sleeping on a cot in a sleeping bag, up late, up early, I was beat and surprised on Sun morning to see that our game was on. The weather had cleared, so Delaney and I left early, around noon, got home, cleaned out the car of camping stuff, I did a run, and packed up for baseball.

The weather was nice, and we were playing a team that I’ve know a few years, and joke with the guys there. I got moved up to third, not sure why after a miserable first two games where I went 0-5, 2ks, 2 popups, and a walk. I did move around the bases well, but wasn’t feeling it yesterday. I was also starting at 1B, which I did like.

We were visitors, and after two line outs, I was up. I’ve faced the guy before, and he’s not overpowering, but has moved the ball well in the past. A foul, a ball, and a called strike that I should have swung at. Another ball and then he hung another strike just on the outside corner. I’d switched to my bigger, 34 inch bat, and caught every bit of it. As soon as I hit it, I knew it was out.  I jogged around, joking with a few of the players in the field.

My next time up, in the 4th (we weren’t hitting well), I faced the same guy. Worked to a 2-2 count, and he almost got me with an outside curve, but I fouled it off. One thing I’d tried is to take a bigger breath as he comes set and then exhale before he throws. He threw inside, I pulled the arms in and while it was a slower pitch, I got some arms behind it and it flew high down the right field line, arcing foul, but not enough to go foul. HR #2, which was cool. I’d had a couple of these days in the last 5 years, 2 HRs in a game.

We were getting killed, mainly from walks by our pitcher, but also some suspect defense. I had the shortstop throw one about 5 ft over my head, the 2nd baseman bounce two to me that I missed. One crossed me up, but one I should have stopped, or blocked better. The catched got a slow roller and threw it to me, but hit the runner. All in all, we played poorly, and as the weather turned worse (cloudy, windy, cold, some sprinkly rain), we had some long innings in the field.

However we joked around and it was fun. The 2nd baseman said he wanted to get me up again to see what would happen. I did come up in the 5th, and with a new pitcher saw a good one on the outside corner, faster than the first guy, and I held off swinging. After I saw 4 straight balls, none of them close, I regretted not trying for that one. I managed to get around the bases on a FC and an error and go home, which hurt. I’d jumped and come down awkward on my right knee, tweaking it early during warmups. Running was not in my agenda. After the 2nd inning, I was playing close to first, trying not to move too much.

We were down 12 in the 7th, and I was 5th up. We got two quick outs, but then two on, and so I was coming up for the fourth time, down 12. A third pitcher, who had a different delivery, good speed, but a curve as well came up. Same story for me. A good one outside that I let go for a strike and then 3 straight balls. I was thinking that I’d get a walk, but committed in my mind to swinging at anything close. Deep breath, let it out, and one low over the plate I went down to get. Caught it, and the right fielder was running back to the fence, the ball at him.

It didn’t feel strong, deep, but not strong. I figured he’d catch it at the fence, or it would hit the fence, but I was wrong. It cleared the fence. Barely, but it was over for my hat trick. Lots of congrats on the jog around, and then we were out of time, so congrats from the other team as well.

Lucky swings, given the way I’ve played the last couple years, but strong ones, and I saw the ball well. I was relaxed, and I cared less and less about performing for the team and just played for fun. Those days don’t happen often, and that’s a first for me, three home runs in a game.

I am glad the game wasn’t cancelled now.

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