Dateline: Fox Mill 2
On a very warm and humid Spring Saturday afternoon, the Indians continued their home stand against the second place Reds from the National league. The Indians were set to avenge their opening day loss and looked ready to go. Indians fans expected a thriller and they were not denied.
Charles went out the mound and walked the leadoff man but looked sharp and struck out the next two. A wildpitch and two walks scored a run for the Reds, but Charles settled down and struck out the next batter. Brendan led off for the Indians with a walk and a stolen base. Charles grounded out to the mound and a nice play by the Reds kept Brendan from scoring. Christian T. hit a sharp grounder to short for out two but it was a key RBI as Brendan scored on the play. Will singled and stole second. With two outs and Bryon at the plate, Coach Grossman gambled and gave the steal sign. Will had a great jump and sped toward third. The Reds catcher, Coach Grossman’s neighbor Sam fired a perfect strike to third and got Will by a step. Indians fans groaned and considered writing letters to Indians management about the wisdom of sending a runner to third with two outs this early in the game. After one it was all tied up at one a piece.
Charles struck out the first batter in the second. But then a single, a hit batter, and a single scored a run. A wild pitch scored another run. Charles settled down and got a key strikeout and induced a popup back to the mound for out three. Bryon led off the Indian half of the second with a line drive back to the mound that was caught. Connor walked, Christian V walked and Chad got a huge RBI single to score Connor. Pedro grounded out to the mound for out two. Christian V scored on a wild pitch. After two it was tied again at three a piece.
Brendan went to the mound in the third and threw heat. He got the first batter to ground out to the mound. A single and four walks and some wild pitches resulted in four runs for the Reds. The Indians kept battling as they have done all year as Nikhil led off with a single, Jesus walked and Brendan singled to score Nikhil. Charles grounded into a fielders choice at second, but Jesus scored so it was yet another RBI for Charles. Christian T singled and the Indians had runners on at first and second. Will hit a sharp grounder right to the third baseman who stepped on the bag for out three. After three it was Reds 7 Indians 5.
Brendan was dominant in the fourth with two strikeouts and he got the last batter to ground out to second where Chad made a nice play and threw perfectly to Will at first for out three. The Indians continued their offensive prowess with a leadoff single by Connor and a walk to Chad. With two outs, a wild pitch scored Connor, the catcher then overthrew the pitcher and Chad scored with the tying run. Indians fans rejoiced. After four this nail biter was all tied up at 7-7.
Will came on in the fifth and looked sharp. Unfortunately a hit batter with two strikes and a long double for the third hit of the day by the Reds cleanup hitter scored a run. A groundout to second was played nicely by Charles for out two but another run scored. Will settled down to strike out a batter and he made a great stop on a grounder past the mound where he flipped to Christian T. from his knees for out three. The Reds put in their ace closer and he recorded three strikeouts to shut down the Indians in the fifth. After five it was Reds 9 Indians 7.
Will got the first batter to pop out in the sixth, but two walks and some trouble in the infield resulted in a run for the Reds. Will settled down to get a strikeout and then the Reds cleanup batter hit a towering popup to first where Christian T. made a great catch in short right field. Will led off the sixth with a double but was called out for slinging his bat. A strikeout and a ground out back to the mound ended the game at Reds 10 Indians 7.
Coach Grossman said, “Well we’ve just had two close losses to the first and second place team in the National league after we won a game against the first place team in our league. I wouldn’t worry about our record right now and if we take things one game at a time…..you never know. Our players are working hard all game and making some great plays. We got seven hits on the day and we only gave up five. If we reduce the number of walks (13) I think we would have been in better shape. I really like how our guys are swinging the bat — 10 out of 12 of our players put at least one ball in play and a lot of balls were hit nicely.” This reporter asked Coach Grossman why he sent Will on a two out steal of third, “Well, you reporters always have lots of these kind of questions. I was thinking that if he got to third he might score on a wild pitch, but their catcher made a great play and it didn’t work out like I was hoping.”
Coach Goldstein said, “Its tough to lose these close ones, but our catchers adapted nicely to the new rule allowing runners to advance on a wild pitch and I think if a couple of key hits had found a hole we wouldn’t be sitting here thinking so hard about this one.”
Coach Kidd, the coach of the Reds was available for a rare interview by this reporter, “This one could have gone either way — what a great game.”
The Indians begin the second half of their season with a game against the Cubs on Thursday night — it will be the start of a quick three game set with games on Thursday, Saturday and Monday. A few tickets still remain.