Dateline: Hook Road Field
It was a gorgeous fall afternoon as the Brewers took the field to play the vaunted single-A “Majors” Cardinals. Coach Spencer Neilson has won several AA championships and was at the helm. Coach Grossman said, “Its a beautiful day. I think we are going to have a great game and I’m sure any team coached by Coach Nielson. Its really too bad that Isaac is out with a cold, but the team physician tells me he’ll be ready to go later this week and should play next Saturday. He was sluggish yesterday but he’s showing some signs of recovery today.”
In the top of the first, the Cardinals led off with two singles. The third batter hit a hard shot to Jordan at third who alertly stepped on the bag for out one. The next batter hit a ground ball back to the mound where Matthew scooped it up and calmly threw to Mitchell at first for out two. The third batter hit a hard chopper to second. Olivia gobbled it up and tossed to Mitchell to obtain a nice out for the twins. Bottom of the first it was all Brewers. Sofia led off with a single, Amanda followed with a single off the soft toss [Editors Note: The league added a couple of soft toss pitches to get players ready for AA in the second half of the season.] Colin hit a shot down the first base line where the first baseman made an out but the runners advanced to third and second. Jordan drilled a soft toss for a single to score Sofia. Matthew smashed a hard single to center off a soft toss to score Amanda. Michael singled to left to score Jordan and Mitchell singled as well. Finally Nicholas grounded into a fielders choice, but he picked up an RBI as Matthew scored on the play.
Top of the second the Brewers defense played tough. The first batter hit a bouncer to the mound where Mitchell fielded it and threw perfectly to Matthew at first for out one. After threes singles and a run, the next batter hit a grounder to third where Olivia got it and easily outran the runner on second to third for out two. The last batter grounded into a routine out where Mitchell fielded it and threw to Matthew for out three. Two runs had scored, but that was it as the Brewers kept the Cards from scoring their max of four runs. Bottom of the second and Olivia got things started with a single to third. Sofia singled, Amanda singled and Colin singled to score Olivia. Jordan grounded out but Sofia scored on the play so he picked up an RBI. Matthew hit a hard single to center to score Amanda and Michael followed with a single to score Colin.
In the top of the third after two singles, the Brewers made quick work of the Cardinals. Two straight grounders to Michael resulted in outs when he calmly threw to Colin at first. The last batter hit a shot to Nicholas who scooped it up and trotted over to third for out three. Bottom of the third, the Brewers launched another offensive barrage.
In the top of the fourth it looked like the Brewers were going to get three outs quickly as a grounder to Michael almost resulted in an out, a grounder to Matthew was very exciting as he fired across the diamond and was just a step late before the runner crossed the bag. A third almost out happened on a grounder back to the mound where Colin made a great play on a tough chopper but again the runner just beat the throw. The Brewers settled down and starting make some real outs. Colin made a crisp play on a grounder back to the mound where he threw to Michael for out one. Olivia gobbled up a grounder a short where she tossed to Matthew at third for out two and another grounder back to the mound ended the inning.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Brewers went back to work. Matthew singled to short. Michael singled to first. Mitchell singled to short. Nicholas singled to score Matthew. Olivia singled to score Michael. Sofia singled to score Nicholas and Amanda ended the onslaught with a single to short to score Olivia. The minimum of seven batters and four runs were in.
Now the pressure was on. Coach Grossman in a bid to set the team record for outs asked the Cardinals to bat one more time. The team had reached twelve outs before but never higher. The Brewers secured the defensive team record immediately. A hard grounder to Mitchell at second was played perfectly and he then threw right on a line to Olivia who made a great catch for another 4-3 out by the twins. For the alert reader note that they had done the same thing in the first inning except it was Mitchell and first and Olivia at second. The next batter hit a dribbler in front of home plate. Matthew sprang from behind the catchers position, got it and fired to Olivia at first for out two. After a few infield singles, the Brewers recorded the final out of the game on a grounder back to the mound where Jordan made a great play, set his feet and threw to Olivia at first for out three.
Coach Grossman said, “These Cardinals are a solid ball club and I am just thrilled to see our team go out there and record 15 outs. We still need to do some work on base running and we will also have to work on backing up throws as I fully expect teams to start taking extra bases on us in the future. We are doing a great job getting force outs at third and second and teams are going to start trying to take those away. We’ll work that in practice. I also liked how everyone got a hit off the machine or soft toss and I think our offense is only going to get better. I want to work with hitters on being more relaxed at the plate, but that often comes with time. I’m very much looking forward to practice this week. This game was such a stellar performance, I can’t wait for another one. “