Dateline: Crabtree Field
The pleasant weather was starting to turn a little colder with pre-game temperatures in the mid-50’s as the Phillies took the field in round 1 of the playoffs. Michael led off with a sharp single to center. Sam walked. The runners advanced on a wild pitch. Another wild pitch scored Michael. Kyle drilled a single to center to score Sam. Krishan hit a hard chopper to short, but the Rockies made a nice double play as the shortstop stepped on the bag and fired to first. With two outs Reese blasted a long triple to right and made a very professional looking headfirst slide into third, but alas Little League rules preclude a headfirst slide so he was called out to end the Phillies thread. Bottom of the first and the leadoff man hit a sharp grounder to third where Isaac gobbled it up and made a throw across the diamond that Krishan scooped nicely for out one. Aidan had some control problems and walked and hit the next two batters. Another walk loaded the bases. An infield error scored a run. A ground out back to the mound scored another. Another infield error scored a third run. Aidan settled down and struck out the next batter. After one it was 3-2 Rockies.
Top of the second and Aidan led off with a walk. He was thrown out at second on a ball that took one bounce past but the catcher kept it in front of him and made a nice play. Cam singled. Krish reached on an infield single. With the bases loaded and no outs, The Rockies drew the infield in. Isaac grounded to the shortstop who bounced the throw to home but the catcher made a nice play and caught it for out one to just get Aidan. Joseph hit the ball to the same place and again the Rockies made a nice play to get Cam for out two. The last battter struck out to end the inning. into a fielders choice as . In the bottom of the second, Cam made a nice play on a grounder to first and tagged the batter as the small batter foolishly tried to run over Cam. The next batter reached on an infield error and Coach Grossman went to the bullpen. Krishan came in and got the leadoff hitter to pop out to Evan at second who took charge and made a great catch. A walk and then a sharp grounder to Aidan (he moved to first after coming off the mound) ended the inning as Aidan went far to his right and then sprinted back to first to make a nice play. After two it was 4-2 Rockies.
Top of the third and Michael led off with a solid double to left. Kyle beat out an infield single and Michael scored on a wild pitch. Krishan walked and Kyle was out going to third on a delayed steal. Reece popped out to the catcher for out three. Krishan gave up a double and then a single for a run but settled down and struck out the next batter. A single scored another run. The next batter hit a ground ball to Kyle at short who ranged far to his right and and fired to Krish at second for out two. The last batter grounded out to Evan who made a nice play at second for out three. After three it was 6-2 Rockies.
Top of the fourth and Aidan led of with a solid single to center. With one out Krish hit a soft fly that landed 20 feet behind second and Isaac Joseph grounded out to first and the next batter struck out. Krishan went back out in the bottom of the fourth and walked two batters in a row. Michael came in an struck out the leadoff man. A walk loaded the bases. A single to left scored two runs and two more wild pitches scored two more. Michael settled down and struck out the last batter. After four the Phillies were down a daunting 10-3 and were six outs from elimination.
No one gave up and the Phillies rallied in the fifth. Evan led off with a walk. Michael walked.. Sam beat out an infield single. Kyle singled to center and Evan scored, but the Rockies got Michael between third and home for out one. Krishan was hit by a pitch. Reece was hit by a pitch and Sam scored. Aidan walked and Kyle scored. Cam walked and Krishan scored. Krish popped out to first for out two. Isaac walked and Krishan scored. Joseph walked and Reece scored. Evan walked and Aidan scored. A wild pitch scored Cam. Suddenly by virtue of a seven running inning, the game was all tied up at 10-10. With new life, Reese went to the mound and was rock solid. A leadoff double and a walk woke him up a little and he struck out the next two batters. The Rockies then desperately tried to steal home but Reece calmly tossed the ball to Kyle who applied the tag for out three. After 5 it was all tied up.
Top of the sixth and the Phillies went down quietly as Sam popped out to the mound, Kyle singled for his third hit on the day, Krishan hit a line drive right to the center fielder and Reece grounded out to the mound. Bottom of the sixth and the first batter led off with a walk. The runner tried to steal second but was gunned down by Kyle for out one. Reece quickly struck out the next two batters. That closed the book on Reese with four strikeouts in two innings. After six it was still tied up at ten each.
Top of the seventh and Aidan led off with a long triple to center. After a strikeout, Krish hit a sharp line drive to short and the Rockies alertly doubled Aidan off of third. Sam came on in the seventh and looked sharp. He struck out the leadoff man, got the number two batter to hit a sharp grounder to Reese. Reese went far to his right, backhanded the ball, planted his feet and fired a perfect strike to Aidan in what was clearly the best infield play of the season for out two. Phillies fielders celebrated. The next batter walked and then Sam struck out the cleanup man. After seven it was still all tied up.
Top of the eighth and the Phillies went down in order with three strikeouts. Bottom of the eighth and Sam struck out the first batter. The next batter grounded out to Reese at second for out two and the next batter grounded out to Kyle at short. This closed the book on Sam and he had three strikeouts and gave up no hits and only a single walk.
And so the game moved to the top of the 9th. Michael led off with a walk. With one outs, Kyle and Krishan walked. Reece picked up an RBI ground out too first. Aidan smashed a bases clearing double to right to score Kyle and Krishan. Cam blasted a double to right to score Aidan. Krish hit a hard double to left to score Cam. The next batter struck out to end the threat, but the Phillies now had a five run lead. Kyle went to the mound and quickly struck out the side to end the game. FInal Score: Phillies 15 Rockies 10.
Coach Grossman was only briefly available as he had to begin preparations for the league semi-final game next week. He said, “WOW, this is one I’ll always remember. Down 10-3, we tie it and go up an extra five runs in the 9th. Our pitchers all looked pretty good and threw plenty of strikes. We only walked six batters and I love how deep our bullpen is. Aidan, Krishan, Michael, Reese, Sam, Kyle all looked great today and its excellent to have six proven pitchers ready to go in a playoff game. Our bats are getting better and better and how about Reese’s great play at second. In the last three innings we didn’t make any errors in the field and that usually makes a big difference in these games.”