Dateline: Crabtree Field
On a very, very hot summer evening, Reston National took the field looking to close out their tournament run with a three game winning streak. With their convincing win over Great Falls, this was certainly not out the question as they faced off against a winless Arlington team.
The Arlington Coach called “tails” the coin landed. It was…..TAILS. Reston National faithful were stunned. Coach Grossman had just lost a coin toss. His first loss of a coin toss of the tournament.
Reston National jumped on the Arlington starter in the top of the first. A leadoff walk to Matt, an infield hit by Marty, a walk to Conor and the bases were loaded with no outs. Matt scored from third as the pitcher slowly walked back to the mound. Reston National had their first run. A single by Jake scored Marty. Conor scored on a wild pitch. Justin hit a long fly to right center that dropped to score Jake. With two outs Brendan walked and Brian hit a shot past the third baseman that scored Jake and Justin. Matt, batting again, singled to score Brendan. Marty hit a chopper back to the mound that got past the pitcher and he beat the throw to first and Brian scored. When the dust settled, Reston had seven runs. Brendan got the start and looked masterful on the mound. The first batter grounded back to the mound for out one. He struck out the next batter and on the third batter, he induced a ground out to Conor at short who made the play and gunned down the runner for out three. After one it was Reston National 7 Arlington 0.
In the second, Jake hit a long fly to left that was barely caught for out one. Johnny hit a sharp grounder to first for out two. Graham placed a perfect bunt down the third baseline to reach base. Tommy smashed a long shot to center that was chased down by the center fielder. Brendan continued throwing heat. He struck out the cleanup hitter. The next batter grounded out to Conor at short. After a walk, the next batter grounded out to Johnny at third who made a nice throw to Jake to get the runner by a step. After two, it was still Reston National 7 Arlington 0.
Brendan led off the third with a walk. He was called out stealing by a step. This reporter couldn’t believe it, but it is what it is. Chance walked. Marty drilled a shot to left to score Chance. With two outs Conor singled. A wild pitch put Marty at third and Conor at second. Conor led off from second and the pitcher whirled and fired to second to try to pick him off. He reached the base safely. As the throw went to second, Coach Grossman sent Marty home from third. The shortstop made a great throw to the catcher who just got Marty by a step. Marty was out at home and his ankle was squashed by the catcher. After three, it was now Reston National 8 Arlington 1.
Marty was unable to continue (this reporter notes that after the game, Marty seemed recovered from this incident). Coach Grossman then had a complex situation on his hands as all subs were in the game. He discussed the matter with the tournament director. This reporter was able to obtain a full transcript of the conversation:
Coach Grossman: “Ummm, I’ve used all my ummm subs and ummmm well I have a player who can not continue and ummmm we talked about this at the ummmm managers meeting and you guys said you would “work something out” if this happened. Well, it has happened and I’m mighty curious as to how we are going to “work something out.”
This reporter notes that this was a new situation for Coach Grossman and he seemed truly interested in how this would be resolved.
Tournament Director: No problem coach, the other coach can indicate which sub is to come in. Please summon the coach of Arlington to have an audience with me immediately.
Coach of Arlington: Yes?
Tournament Director: You may choose which sub Reston can use in this situation.
Coach of Arlington: He may pick any sub he would like [to Coach Grossman], you know your players, choose the best sub for this situation.
Coach Grossman [to Coach of Arlington] Thank you coach, this was an unusual situation. [To the tournament director] Thank you your imperial benevolence in this complex matter.
This reporter notes that the Coach of Arlington is truly a great coach who has been coaching for 42 years.
Back to our game.
Erick came in for Marty and play resumed. Brendan continued his great work by inducing the next batter to ground out to Justin at third for out one. The next batter hit a shot back to the mound which Brendan snagged for out two. Finally, another chopper was hit to Conor at short who made the play look easy by firing to Jake for out three. This closed the book on Brendan as the coaches were eager to use their bullpen in this final game. Brendan threw only 44 pitches in four innings, gave up just one walk, struck out four and gave up no earned runs. In the bottom of the fourth Jake singled to left. Justin popped out to the mound for out one. Graham placed an even better bunt that was converged upon by the entire infield. The third baseman came up and fired to first — but alas there was no first baseman near the bag. The ball trickled into right. Coach Grossman sent Jake home, but he was out by a step. Tommy walked. With first and third and two outs, Coach Grossman gave Tommy the steal sign but he was out stealing by just a step for out three. After four it was still Reston National 8 Arlington 1.
Chance came out of the bullpen for his first appearance of the tournament. He threw blistering heat. The first batter grounded back to the mound and unfortunately the throw went into right field to put the runner on second. A single scored a run for Arlington. Chance settled down and blasted three quick strikes by the next two hitters. The last batter hit a shot well to the right of Jake at first. He dove and made the catch for out three. In the bottom of the fifth, Brendan popped out to first. Brian walked. Matt bunted perfectly to put runners on at first and second. Erick beat out an infield single to load the bases. Conor hit a hard shot to the third baseman who stepped on third, but Brian scored. Jake singled for his second hit of the day. Johnny lined out to the pitcher to end the inning. After five it was Reston National 9 Arlington 1.
Graham came on in the sixth and looked sharp. The first batter singled. He settled down and struck out the next batter. After a walk to put runners on at first and second, the next batter hit a shot to Brendan at second who caught it, whirled and flipped to Conor to double up the runner on second to end the game. Reston National fans rejoiced as the team trotted off the field: Reston National 9 Arlington 1.
Coach Grossman had plenty of time for a post game interview, but he was drained after being in the warm dugout all game. He said, “I am extremely proud to have been the coach of this team. It will be a team I will never forget. We really came together and our defense was truly amazing the last three games. We only had three errors in the last three games. Our pitching has been great. Matt did a phenomenal job behind the plate. I was glad to see Chance get to pitch as he’s worked very hard in practice. Graham looked great on the mound the last inning and I can’t say enough about Brendan’s very solid four innings. I wish everyone on this team a great summer!”
Coach Goldstein was also available for a post game interview. He said, “I had a feeling we had depth in the bullpen and Brendan stepped up on short notice. Although I was banned from the dugout since we had less than thirteen players (this reporter notes that Sam was unable to attend today’s game) the team came together and did a good job coaching first. One again, there were thrilling plays in the field and the Grammes to Grammes double play to end the 6th was the clincher we needed. Great game and another star for the hat rack.”
This reporter asked if Coach Grossman had any specific future plans about coaching future all star teams. “Well, you reporters are always bugging coaches after the end of a season for specifics of the future. Right now, I just want to take a break. I will definitely coach a T-ball team this fall and if my son enjoys playing I’ll coach his T-ball team in the Spring. Whether or not I am able to have time to help out a Majors team in the Spring and be eligible to coach an all star team will depend on what my wonderful wife has to say next Spring. She’s put up with quite a bit this summer and right now I certainly wouldn’t want to bring this up with her and if you, as a reporter, value your life, you might not want to ask her either.”
This reporter decided not to interview Coach Grossman’s wife.
We note that a few tickets remain for the exciting semi-final game at our own Smith field with Reston American facing off against Vienna National on Thursday evening at 5:30.