Dateline: Fox Mill 1
On a warm Spring evening, the Indians completed their three game home stand with a game against the Tigers. Brendan went to the mound and started the game like he frequently does — three strikeouts. In the bottom of the first, the Indians threatened with a leadoff walk to Brendan. Bryon grounded into a fielders choice to the shortstop for out one. He stole second and third but did not score as the Indians starter Justin (who played for Coach Grossman in the fall) settled down and threw heat. After one it was 0-0.
In the second, Brendan again pitched well. He struck out the first batter. He walked a batter and got the next batter to pop out to Will at first who made a nice catch. With two outs, the next two batters walked to load the bases. Brendan settled down and struck out the last batter to end the inning. In the bottom of the second the Indians got on the board. Charles singled sharply to center. Nicholas also singled to center. A wild pitch put runners on at second and third. Nikhil walked to load the bases. Then, with two outs, Jesus strode to the plate very calmly. He glared at Justin. With a 1-0 count, Justin reared back and threw a fastball on the outside corner, Jesus went with the pitch and blasted it to deep right. Charles scored, Nicholas scored, Nikhil scored and Coach Grossman sent Jesus home to try for an in-the-park grand slam and he was …. SAFE at home to complete a four run inning. Indians fans celebrated.
In the top of the third, Nicholas strolled to the mound. He had some control problems and there were some infield errors that resulted in two runs scoring for the Tigers. Coach Grossman went to the mound and signaled for Charles to come in out of the bullpen. With runners on third and second, Charles went to work and quickly struck out a batter for out one and got out two with a ground out back to the mound. Will fired home to Christian at home and the runner on third was safe at home. Another runner on third stole home on the throw back to the mound — a great heads-up play by the Tigers and suddenly the score was tied at 4-4.
The Indians were not daunted and came right back. Brendan walked and stole second and third. Bryan walked and stole second. Christian drilled a single to center to score Brendan. Will blasted a single to right to score Bryan. Charles walked to load the bases. Christian V walked to score Charles and Nikhil walked to score Nicholas. After three it was Indians 8-4 Indians.
Charles continued in the fourth and shut down the Tigers. Brendan made a great stop on a sharp grounder to second and he flipped to Will for out one. The Tigers picked up a run on a double, a stolen base and a fielders choice. Charles settled down and struck out the two more to end the inning. The Indians added much needed insurance in the bottom of the fourth on a leadoff walk to Chad and a sharp single to right by Jesus for his second hit of the day. Brendan walked to load the bases and walks to Bryon, Christian T, Will and Charles scored Chad, Jesus, Brendan and Bryon. It was the third inning in a row where the Indians had hit their limit of four runs. After four it was 12-5 Indians.
The coaches conferred and due to time constraints agreed the fifth inning would be the played with unlimited runs (Editors Note: If the inning had ended before the two hour mark, a final sixth inning would have been played with the four run limit, but we digress.) Bryon started the inning and ran into some control problems. He walked two and struck out one for out one. He walked another to load the bases and an infield hit and an overthrow resulted in three runs. Will came on in relief and got the next batter to ground out to Brendan and short who fired to Bryan who was now at first but a run did score on the play. Bryan made a great catch in the dirt for our two. The next batter walked and Will settled down to strike out the next batter for out three.
The Indians batted in the bottom of the fifth since there was a remote possibility that a sixth inning would be played. They picked up one more run on a walk to Christian V who stole second and then moved to third on a wild pitch. Nikhil grounded out to first, but he picked up another RBI as Christian V. scored. Indians bats were quiet the rest of the inning and the game ended due to time constraints: Indians 13 Tigers 9.
Coach Grossman said, “After our slow start, these two games have been great. Its clear we have plenty of depth in our bullpen as even when a couple of our guys had some control problems we were able to bring in folks like Charles and Will who threw a ton of strikes. Our bats were fantastic today with the huge hit by Jesus and five other players got at least one hit. I don’t think we are far away from a game where everyone hits. One way or another everyone got on base at least once. Also Coach Garcia is an excellent coach and its never easy to do well against one of his teams – I liked it better when he was an assistant for us in the fall.”
Coach Goldstein said, “I’ve got to give credit to Christian for catching all five innings. We don’t like to ask players to do that, but we haven’t had too many practices to work on catching and Connor was out today. I thought Christian did a fantastic job.”
The Indians start a brief road trip with games against the Cardinals on Saturday and the Twins on Monday. Coach Goldstein will be at the helm on Saturday as Coach Grossman is off on a crucial scouting trip as he makes plans for the Indians farm system. Some tickets remain for the next two games, but they are selling briskly.