Dateline: Fox Mill 2
It was a beautiful late Spring day, temperature around 80°, relative humidity 65-70 %. The Reds played their last home game against the second place Cubs.
Nick took the mound in the first and he induced two groundouts to second and struck out a third. The Reds offense came to play, with Juan Saravia getting a leadoff walk which was followed by a single to right by Nick and another single by Ian. Mason then drilled a base clearing double. After that the side was retired, with the Reds up 3-0.
In the second Nick walked the leadoff batter but caused the second batter to groundout to second. He struck out the next batter, but the third Cub hit a solid shot to right scoring the leadoff batter. After a few steals, a runner tried to score on a wild pitch, but alert play by Jack at catcher and Nick, got the tag out for three. The Reds went down 1, 2, 3 to end the inning with the Reds still holding a slim 3-1 lead.
Ben took the mound in the third and he stuck out the first batter and caused the next batter to hit a popup to Jack at short, for the out. The next batter got on via a soft fly just over the infield. The Cubs tried to steal second, but Nick at catcher threw a perfect strike to Jack who deftly applied the tag. The runner was out by ten feet. Juan again started the Reds offense with a walk followed by Nick with a crushing triple to left to score Juan. Ian beat out an infield hit to short but the Reds went down quietly after that. After three it was Reds 4, Cubs 1.
In the fourth Ben had some control problems so Coach Goldstein called to the bullpen for Garrett. Although Garrett tried hard, the Cubs had his number and after four hits and one walk, the Cubs had their four runs to take a one run lead. The Reds offense would not let up, after Devon walked Sean hit a single. A double steal advanced Devon and Sean. Ben smashed a single to score Devon and a fielders choice, hit by Michael got Ben out at second but scored Sean. Garrett and Nick then walked. With Michael, Garrett and Nick on base Ian grounded out to the pitcher, but Michael scored. Mason hit a shot to center to score Garrett for the fourth run. After four it was Reds 8 Cubs 4.
In the fifth, Coach Goldstein called to the bullpen one more time and brought in Mason the ace closer. The Cubs first batter hit a dribbler to 2nd and beat out the throw by a step. And after a few steals was standing on third. Mason struck out the next batter. The next Cub hit a weak roller to the left of the pitcher and was able to beat out the throw and score the runner on third. A popup again to Jack at short was out number two followed by a strikeout by Mason for our three. Not to be out done the Reds got Alec on base and all the way to third via a steal and passed ball. Devon grounded out to short to score Alec. Sean finished the inning with a groundout to the pitcher. After 5 it was Reds 9 Cubs 6.
In the Top of the 6th Mason confidently jogged to the mound, Nick gave him the fastball sign and Mason obliged. Batter 1: Strikeout, Batter 2 Strikeout, Batter 3 popup again to the left side of the pitchers mound, but this time Mason got on his horse and got under it for out three. Final score Reds 9 Cubs 6. Reds fans rejoiced.
This reporter asked Coach Goldstein for a lengthy interview but he declined due to preparations for the coming playoffs. Instead he did provide a brief quote, “Our guys were much more relaxed and ready to play. The Cubs although the second place team, is the only team the Reds swept, winning all three games in tight well fought games. I only wish Coach Grossman could have been here to see it.” Coach Grossman, who was on a scouting trip for young talent, was reached by phone and had this to say after being informed of the season ending win, “Your kidding! That’s great, I knew this team could do it! Maybe I should go out of town more often”.