On a very pleasant summer evening Reston National closed out their post-season tournament schedule with a game against McLean American. Reston fans were stunned to hear that star catcher, Justin Miller, was on the disabled list for the game due to an unfortunate skateboarding accident. Coach Grossman formally requested that Justin Miller be allowed to sit in the dugout and coach first base, but alas, the tournament director decided to follow the letter of the law — but perhaps not the spirit — but we digress and Justin was not allowed to sit in the dugout.
Coach Grossman finally won a toss. He called HEADS and alas, it was HEADS. Reston fans celebrated a rare win of the toss and they were confident that it was a great omen.
Ian strolled to the mound to start the game and he threw heat. The McLean boys were hitting and a leadoff single and double scored a run. Unfortunately an infield error and walk led to two more. The defense settled down and Ian got the next two batters to ground out to Eric at second who made nice plays as he threw to Cam at first for outs one and two. The last batter grounded to Cam who made a nice play as he touched the bag for out three. In the bottom of the first Reston bats were quiet and after one it was 3-0 McLean.
Ian threw heat in the second as he go the first batter to ground out to the mound as Ian threw to Kaz at first for out one. Two more strikeouts ended the inning. Bats remained quiet for the Nationals and after two it was still 3-0.
In the third, two leadoff doubles and two singles resulted in four runs. With the bases loaded, the next batter hit a shot to Eric at second who made the catch and flipped to Kaz at first for a thrilling double play. A long fly to center where Tyler drifted over and made the catch ended the inning. Reston bats were again quiet and after three it was 7-0 McLean.
In the fourth, Ian pitched a great inning and the defense was rock solid. After a leadoff single, the next batter hit a shot up the middle. Alec, at shortstop, glided over, got the ball and touched first for out one (he almost got the runner at first as well). With one out a ground ball back the mound was just about a double play — Ian fired to Alec for out two and Alec just missed out three by a step. With two outs the next batter hit one to the right of Ian. Ian dove for the ball and from his knees, flipped to Alec at second for out three. Reston fans rejoiced. Reston bats were silent in the fourth, so after four it was still 7-0.
In the top of the fifth, Ian gave up an infield single. The next batter hit a single. With runners at first and third, the runner on first tried to steal second but George getting the start at catcher, gunned down the runner as Alec applied the tag for out one. The runner on third did score. Another single was followed by a ground ball back to the mound and Ian threw out the runner at second as Alec made a nice catch for out two. The last batter hit a shot to Eric at second for out three. Reston got on the board in the fifth with a single by Ian to start the inning. Eric grounded in to a fielders choice at second for out one. Kaz reached on an infield error and Ian scored. Issac smashed a single to center, but the McLean pitcher settled down to shut down the Reston Nationals. After five it was 8-1 McLean.
In the sixth, Alec came on as Ian had reached his maximum pitch count 86 (its 85 but you can finish pitching to a batter). He gave up two walks, and Coach Grossman, knowing he had a deep bullpen thanks to Ian going so far into the game, brought in Tyler. Tyler started off with an inside fastball to hit the first batter and load the bases. He then relied on his specialty sinker and got the next batter to ground out to Eric at second. With the infield drawn in, Eric fired to George at the plate to get the runner at home. Another sinker resulted in another ground ball to Michael, who made an alert play as he fired to George for out two. Suddenly bases loaded an no out had turned into bases loaded and two outs and no runs in. A walk on a three and two count resulted in a run for McLean. Another sinker got the last batter to ground to Alec at short who flipped to Eric for out three. Reston fans applauded the excellent relief work done by Tyler. As we have seen all tournament, Reston did not quit.
In the bottom of the sixth, Tyler led off with a walk. A wild pitch put him on second. A single to right by Alec moved him to third. Ian grounded out to second and Tyler scored. Eric hit a shot to second, but unfortunately the second baseman made the play and got Eric at first by a step. Final Score: McLean 9 Reston 2.
Coach Grossman said, “This team has been a pleasure to work with. Ian pitched a great game and how about our defense — we only gave up two errors. That gives me some idea of how much improvement the team has made since we started. I think if the tournament continued for a few more games, you’d see some more positive things in the win column.”
This reporter asked Coach Grossman how it felt to go 0-4 in the tournament, he said, “Well you reporters are always looking for quotes or for coaches to make excuses. The reality is that this is a tough tournament and plenty of good teams lose many games in these tournaments. I think we came a long way in a very short time and I can’t say enough about how much help these parents have been, the assistant coaches have been and how much I have truly enjoyed working with this team. I would be thrilled to coach any one of these guys again and you can bet, I’ll be looking for them in the draft. I wish all of them a great rest of the summer and I thank them for all the time and hard work they put in. They never quit and they got better each game.”