Dateline: Field of Dreams (Field #17)
Day 3. The drama started again with a thriller against the hitmen. It was warming up as the team took batting practice at 1:00 to get ready for the 1:45 start. The night before the Warriors had a team party, swam in Lake Arnold and got refreshed and ready to go.
Conor led off the top of the first with a single to center. Marty singled. Jordan walked to load the bases. Sam was hit by a pitch to score Conor. Andy hit a long fly to center to score Marty. The TriValley pitcher settled down and induced two ground balls to end the threat but not before the Warriors had scored two and left two on base. Conor started the game and got out of the first inning on six pitches. A ground out back to the mound, a nice play by Brendan at second and a nice play by Sam at third ended the inning quickly. After one it was Warriors 1 HitMen 0.
In the top of the second Warriors bats were quiet. In the bottom of the second, the first batter grounded out back to the mound. The next batter singled to center. Then, the next batter hit a hard chopper to Brendan at second, he flipped to Marty who fired to Jordan at first for a perfect 4-6-3 inning ending double play. After two it was still a one run game.
In the top of the third, Conor led off with a single to left. He stole second and a ground ball by Marty moved him to third. Jordan singled to score Conor but unfortunately was out stealing second. In the bottom of the third the HitMan picked up a rare run off of Conor. After a leadoff strikeout the next batter walked and stole second. A ground out to second was good enough for out two. A single by the last batter in the lineup scored the run. Conor settled down and quickly got the leadoff man to ground out. After three it was 3=1 Warriors.
Warriors bats were quiet in the third and Conor stayed on the mound to pitch one more inning since after three he was only at 36 pitches. The hitman got two singles and then took advantage of an infield error to score a run. A hit batter (which did look a bit questionable to this reporter as the hitter talked a lot about how much pain he was in only after the umpire asked if he was hit) loaded the bases. The next batter hit a sharp grounder to Sam who fired home to Matt who made a great play for out two. A walk led to another run and then Conor settled down to strike out the next batter for out three. After four it was all tied up at 3-3.
In the top of the fifth Justin singled and moved to second on a wild pitch with two outs. Conor walked, but the TriValley pitcher was able to escape the threat with no runs being scored. Andy came on to pitch the fifth. The first batter singled. After a strikeout the next batter hit a long shot over the left field wall and TriValley fans celebrated their first lead of the day. A fly out to Graham was good enough for out two. A walk and two stolen bases put a runner on third. A single scored another run and Andy settled down to get the last batter. After five it was HitMen 6 Warriors 3.
In the top of the sixth the Warriors started to rally. Jordan continued his hot streak with a key leadoff single. Sam reached on an infield error. A fielders choice by Andy and a strikeout led to two outs. Suddenly the Warriors were down to their last out. Down three runs wit two men on Jake walked up to the plate. He worked the count to three and two and then blasted a long home run to left field. Suddenly it was a tie game and Warriors fans celebrated. The drama of Cooperstown continued and instead of a fourth loss, the Warriors were in business. In the bottom of the sixth, Andy looked sharp. He struck out the first batter, got the next to ground out to Marty at short and got the last batter to pop up to Sam at third. After six it was all tied up at 6-6.
The game moved on to extra innings. Graham got a huge single to lead off the seventh. He stole second. After a ground out Conor hit a hard single to center to score Graham and the Warriors regained the lead. Conor stole second and score on a single by Marty. Trivalley settled down after that, but Andy went out to the mound to close out the game in the seventh. The TriValley team chipped across a run but Andy settled down to get two batters to ground out to the mound and finally to hit a high pop up that Matt tracked down behind the plate and very close to the backstop for out three. Final Score: Warriors 9 Trivalley 7.
Assistant Coach Grossman had very little time as the team was starting preparations for their evening game due to the length of this game. He said, “Another big home run by Jake. We were down to our last out, but our guys stayed in the game and kept battling. Conor and Andy pitched extremely well and the whole team kept the offense going. We made plenty of solid plays in the field and if we keep playing good defense we are going to have a great time the rest of this tournament.”