Dateline: Nike Field 2
On a pleasant early fall morning, the Cubs traveled to the Great Falls league to play the hosting Nationals for their inaugural game of the season. Coach Grossman available for a rare pre-game interview said, “I’m excited to get the season underway. We have a young team this fall, but I”m pleased to have three players from our Spring ball club and we’ve got another three who played for us at the AA level. We may lose by two or three today, but I’m sure this team will come together shortly.”
The Cubs went down quietly in the top of the first. Greg strolled out to the mound for his first start and threw some nice heat, but unfortunately the Nationals bats were hot and after a few hits four runs had scored. A nice play by Dylan at short got one out, Greg settled down and struck out two more to end the inning. After one it was Nats 4 Cubs 0.
The Cubs retaliated quickly with a single by Kengo and a walk to Danny. John hit into a fielders choice at short where Kengo was out a third on an alert throw by the shortstop for out one. Michael walked to load the bases. Jordyn and Colin walked to score Danny and John. Michael and Jordyn then scored on wild pitches. John went to the mound in the bottom of the second. Three straight singles loaded the bases. Some more walks scored four runs, but John settled down to strike out the last batter. When the dust had cleared it was Nats 8 Cubs 4.
The Cubs battled back with a leadoff single by Justin, a sharp single to left by Greg and a long double by Kaz. Coach Grossman sent Justin home but he was beat by a nice throw. Cubs fans grumbled at Coach Grossman’s poor judgment and this reporter heard a few comments from fans wondering if the game has past him by as he has aged. Dylan got a key RBI single to score Greg and Kaz scored on a wild pitch. Justin came on in the bottom of the third and threw heat. Two runs scored on some leadoff walks, but Justin settled down to strikeout three in a row to end the inning. After three it was Nats 10 Cubs 6.
Cubs bats were relatively silent in the fourth even though Danny drilled a shot to right. In the bottom of the fourth, Justin kept the Cubs in the game by throwing more heat. After a leadoff walk and a single, he settled down and struck out two. Two runs scored on some wild pitches. Coach Grossman, realized Justin had reached the league imposed fifty pitch limit and put in Dylan for the final out. Dylan looked sharp as he struck out the last batter to end the threat. After four it was Nats 12 Cubs 6.
The Cubs then embarked upon a thrilling rally. It was clear that the fifth would be the last inning due to time constraints. Robbie drilled a shot to second and the second baseman made a great play on the ball to barely beat the sliding Robbie at first. Christian singled, Justin walked and Greg hit a shot to left for a clean double to score Christian and Justin. Kaz singled to score Greg and suddenly it was a three run game. Kengo and Danny walked to load the bases, but the Nats pitcher settled down and ended the threat. Final Score: Nationals 12 Cubs 9.
Coach Grossman spoke in a relatively content tone in his post game interview. Although he had to begin immediate preparations for the game against the Reston Dodgers this Thursday he made more time than usual for his interview. “I’m just very pleased with how our guys played hard the whole time. When you are down six runs and its your first game, its easy to just give up — but our guys have a lot of heart and they kept scratching and clawing their way back into the game. With a couple of good practices we should be ready for the Dodgers. Give some credit to the Nationals — they hit well, the made the routine plays and they had some good pitching. I think we have the nucleus of a good squad here and I’m looking forward to the Dodgers”.
Coach Goldstein said, “Our catchers did a nice job of blocking the ball and taking away some of the Nat’s vaunted running game. The Dodgers are a good ball club, but I think we’ll be ready for them on Thursday.”
Some tickets remain for the Cubs first game in Reston — against the Dodgers at 6:00 on Thursday at Fox Mill Park.