Dateline: Fox Mill 2
On a brutally hot, humid summer evening the Reston Nationals opened the tournament against Falls Church. The coin toss was held precisely forty-five minutes before the game. The Falls Church manager, by virtue of being the team from the furthest away was asked to call the toss. He called “heads”. The coin flipped and flipped, it landed on the cement, and it was…..TAILS. Coach Grossman immediately chose to be the home team and Reston Nationals fans rejoiced at the good omen.
Eric started the game on the mound and threw heat. Unfortunately, three errors in the field led to four runs. Despite this, Eric settled down and induced a groundout to Ian at short and another one to George at second where Cam made a couple of nice catches for two outs. Eric struck out the next batter for out three. The Nationals bats were quiet in the first and after one it was 4-0.
Eric threw more heat as he go the first batter to pop out to George at second and ground out back to the mound where Eric made a nice play as he flipped to Cam for out two. Unfortunately, a single, double, single and an error resulted in two runs with two outs. Eric calmly settled down and struck out the last batter on three pitches. After one out, Eric reached on an error, stole second, moved to third on a passed ball and scored on a wild pitch. With two outs Isaac layed down a great bunt and he was only out by a step at first. After two, it was 6-1, but the Nationals were coming back.
After a leadoff single, Coach Grossman went to his deep bullpen. He brought in Alec who immediately looked sharp with a quick strikeout. After a walk, a wild pitch put runners on third and second. Kaz made a nice play at first on a ground ball for out two but a run scored. With two outs another walk brought Coach Grossman out of the dugout (Editors Note: In the tournament if a player pitches 20 pitches or less he can pitch the next game. Otherwise, he’s out for a one day rest and, worse than that, no pitcher can pitch in consecutive tournament games. So there is a lot of incentive to keep pitchers to 20 pitches). Tyler came on and gave up a single to score a run and then settled down as the last batter popped out to George at second for out three.
In the bottom of the third, the Nationals came roaring back. Down 8-1, they clearly did not give up. George led off with a single to center. Tyler layed down a perfect bunt and made it to first without a throw. Ian walked to load the bases. Justin drilled a shot to center for two RBI’s as George and Tyler scored. Justin moved to second on the throw. With runners on at third and second and no outs. Alec came up with a big two RBI single to score Ian and Justin. Eric singled to score. Michael, with his first plate appearance was hit by the pitch and he went to first. With no outs, four runs in and the bases loaded, fans were ready for more. Unfortunately a couple of strikeouts and a pop out to deep third ended the inning. After three it was anyone’s game at Falls Church 8 Reston National 5.
Tyler started the fourth and got the first batter to ground out to George who made a nice play at short for out one. A single and an error put runners on at first and second. The runner on first scored on the error and a wild pitch scored the second run. Tyler settled down and got the next batter to ground out to George for out two. Coach Grossman came out as Tyler had just thrown his 20th pitch and put in George. George made quick work of the next batter as he struck him out on four pitches. Down 10-5 Reston Nationals fans were in for an exciting bottom of the fourth.
Tyler walked. Ian walked. With runners at first and second, Justin strolled slowly to the plate. He fouled off a first pitch. The pitcher, got the sign, looked in and fired a hard fastball. Justin turned on it and blasted it over the scoreboard. That’s right readers…over the scoreboard. Reston Nationals fans rejoiced. Two runs scored. (Editors Note: The alert reader might suspect that three runs should have scored, but that’s another story for another day.) Reston fans celebrated heavily. Alec drilled a hard single. Eric hit a shot right to the second baseman for out two. Michael hit a long fly to right that the right fielder misplayed and Alec scored. After four it was Falls Church 10 Reston Nationals 8.
George came on and got the first batter to hit a long fly to center that Tyler nicely ran down for out one. The next batter hit a high fly to right and Nick drifted over and made a huge catch for out two. The last batter hit a hard shot up the middle and George snared it and threw to Kaz at first for out three. Seven pitches, three outs. In the bottom of the fifth, Nationals bats were quiet and we moved to the sixth with the score Falls Church 10 Reston National 8.
George started the inning with a hit batter. The runner on first foolishly tried to score on a double to right. The throw came in to Eric threw a bullet to Justin at home. Justin deftly applied the tag for out one. Ian came and threw heat and got out two on a shot to George at second. With two outs, Ian threw a lot of great pitches and had two outs and a three-two count, but the umpire called his 20th pitch a ball. Coach Grossman brought in Justin. Justin had just caught five and two thirds innings in the heat so it was a lot to ask. After a few good hits by the Falls Church team, he settled down and struck out the last batter. The Nationals never gave up and started a final rally. With one out, Alec got his third single of the day. Eric singled to score Alec and Nick singled to score Eric. Isaac singled to score Nick. The last batter grounded out for a force at second for out three. Final Score: Falls Church 20 Reston National 11
Coach Grossman had to start immediate preparations for his next game against Vienna Colonial but he took a moment for some post game remarks. “I liked what I saw of our offense. If we can score eleven runs every game we’ll be fine. Our pitching staff threw a lot of strikes and Eric really had a great outing — our defense just didn’t play as well as it is capable of playing. The final score today is very misleading, we were in this game the whole time and I was really proud of how our guys fought back from a seven run deficit to cut the lead to two. We’ll be ready for game 2.”