Dateline: Field of Dreams (Field #19)
Reston Warrior fans went to sleep, had some breakfast and headed for remote field number 19 for an 11:00 start on Cooperstown Day Number 2. The Warriors were rested, put on the home red uniforms, took some batting practice at 10:20 and were ready to go.
Graham got the start and looked sharp as he struck out the leadoff man. The next batter singled but the third batter grounded to Conor at second who tossed to Marty at second for out two. A walk and a home run put a damper on things but Graham settled down to get the last out on a popup to Sam at third. In the bottom of the first Warriors bats were quiet and thus after one it was Eagles 3 Warriors 0.
Graham got the first batter to ground out to the mound for out one. The next batter struck out and it looked to be an easy inning. Unfortunately, it was not to be. The leadoff hitter singled, the next batter walked, and another single loaded the bases. Unfortunately, the cleanup hitter was hit by a pitch to score a run. Sam came on for his first appearance of the tournament and got the next hitter to fly out to center field where Graham made a great catch for out three. In the bottom of the second Warriors bats were quiet. In the third, Sam gave up a solo shot to left center, but quickly settled down with a ground out to the mound and two strikeouts. Warriors bats were again quiet so after three it was Eagles 4 Warriors 0.
Sam shut down the Eagles on five pitches in the fourth on a ground out to Thomas at second, a ground out to Conor and a popup which was behind the pitcher and hovered over the infield for a while before Thomas took charge and made the play. Sam grounded out to start off the Warriors half of the fourth. Marty singled and stole second. Andy reached on an infield error. With two outs, Jake beat out an infield hit and Thomas hit a key single to left to score Marty and Andy. After four it was Eagles 5 Warriors 2.
In the fifth, the Eagles led off with a walk. The next batter singled and the runner on first tried to go to third. Thomas, now in left, gunned him down on a great throw to third. The next batter lined out to second for out two. Two singles and a run scored. Sam settled down to strike out the last batter. In the bottom of the fifth Justin led off with a single. Conor singled to left to put runners on first and second with one out. Jordan grounded out. Sam walked to load the bases. Unfortunately, Warriors bats were quiet and no runs scored. After 5 it was Eagles 6 Warriors 2.
Nick went to the mound in the sixth and looked great as he got the first batter to fly out to Graham in center and the second batter to popup to Conor at short. A walk, an infield error, and a home run all came with two outs. Nick settled down and struck out the next batter for out three. Down 9-2 the Warriors came to plate in the bottom of the sixth. They needed six baserunners to put the tying run at the plate. They got them. Matt and Jake reached on infield errors. Brendan walked to load the bases. Graham beat out an infield hit to score a Matt. Justin hit a shot to right center to score Jake. Bases loaded, down 9-4, Conor came to the plate. The first pitch was a strike. The second pitch was deposited well over the left field wall. Warriors fans celebrated as suddenly it was Eagles 9 Warriors 8. Jordan walked and stole second. One out, tying run on second. Oh the drama of Cooperstown! Eagles bring in their closer and look most worried. After a strikeout there were two out and Marty at the plate. With a 2-1 count, Marty hit a shot to right center. First it looked like it might sail out of the park for a game winning home run. Then it started to come down. Slowly, ever so slowly. The right fielder was sprinting at the crack of the bat and made a tremendous catch just as it was about to hit the ground. Final Score. Eagles 9 Warriors 8.
Assistant Coach Grossman said, “Wow! Two one run losses in two days. I don’t know what we have done to the fates of baseball, but I think we deserve some good fortune in the next few games. We could easily be 3-0 and here we are at 1-2. Well, I think we’ll probably have a tough game tonight against a very strong Hard 90 team and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if they went on to win the whole thing. After that I think we’ll do just fine. Our guys held together, never gave up and Conor’s grand slam is probably something that we’ll remember for quite some time.
Editors Note: The Bethlehem Eagles went on to go 3-3 with an average runs per game of 8. They were seeded #51. On Wednesday, they won 7-6 over the 102nd ranked team (Phonenixville Phantoms) and then lost 14-1 to the 50th seeded Ramapo Rangers. Clearly, they had their finest game of the tournament against Reston.